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Posted at 7:02 PM ET, 02/16/2010

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

Hear two different sides of The Soundtrack of Our Lives on Thursday night: An acoustic show at the House of Sweden at 6 p.m., followed by a full plugged-in performance at the Black Cat. (Boel Ferm)

An international week of music features a samba party for Brazilian Carnival, English DJ Lee Burridge, and appearances by two Swedish bands: veteran retro-rockers The Soundtrack of Our Lives and indie darlings Fredrik. Not enough? Try a date auction, Parkey Posey movie marathon, hipsters on a boat and the biggest '90s dance party around.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Monday | Tuesday

Wednesday, Feb. 17
We write about our fair share of charity date auctions in Nightlife Agenda, and the contestants' bios tend to have a similar ring: They're new to the D.C. area, they work at a nonprofit, they had great graduate school experiences and they love marathons and sampling new places and cuisines. You'll find very different date candidates at Sova's Date Auction for Haiti, which benefits Doctors Without Borders. The people up on the auction block include DJ Gavin Holland of Nouveau Riche and See You Next Tuesday; Washington City Paper beer columnist Orr Shtuhl; ukulele player-singer Maureen Andary from local indie-folk group the Sweater Set; Sticky Rice karaoke host Andrew Herndon; and stand-up comedian Mike Way. Rest assured that you won't get the standard dinner-date with any of them -- not that you'd want it. (Tip: Arrive before the auction starts for half-price beer and wine beginning at 5 p.m.)

If the "Jeopardy" answer is "popular 1990s independent film actress," then you better ring that buzzer and tell Alex Trebek, "Who is Parker Posey?" Used to be that you couldn't walk into the kind of theater with screens slightly bigger than your living room TV without seeing Posey in at least one film: "Sleep With Me," "Party Girl, "subUrbia" and "The Daytrippers" are just a few of her films. If you were a director with hardly any budget and a script with a sassy, urban, Gen X-er, Posey was totally there for you. Asylum hosts a mini Parker Posey Marathon, although the first one, "Best In Show," isn't the best example of her work. (But it's nicely timed with the recent Westminster Dog Show.) The other two, "Party Girl" and the overlooked "House of Yes" rank among two of her best.

Thursday, Feb. 18
One of the wildest parties on Earth, Rio de Janeiro's Carnival festival means four days of parades, music, feasting and dancing in the streets. If you couldn't hop a place to Rio this year, don't worry -- you can still get a taste at the special Carnival edition of the Brazilian Rhythms dance night, where DJ Neville C will be spinning samba, bossa nova, baile funk and other native tunes, while videos of Carnival spin on the flatscreen TVs and bartenders whip up caipirinha cocktails. There's no cover charge, and early arrival is suggested; this party gets packed every month.

Last summer, globetrotting DJ Lee Burridge (listen) had Muse Lounge's crowds in his hand. When he spun at Electric Cabaret, he took dancers on a trip through house, techno, breakbeats, tech-house and unclassifiable genres where all that mattered was that the groove was deep. The veteran British jock -- named 10th in DJ Magazine's list of the world's top 100 DJs -- returns for Electric Cabaret's first anniversary party, alongside San Francisco techno whiz Alland Byallo. The 18-and-over affair is $20 at the door or $15 with pre-sale tickets from tecanniv.eventbrite.com.

Over the past 15 years, Sweden's The Soundtrack of Our Lives (listen) has demonstrated a chameleon8 like ability to ape (and occasionally, improve on) the sounds of its heroes: Dreamy, psychedelic rock a la Pink Floyd, the harmony-laden pop of the Kinks, the charging power chords of the Who, all touched with '60s spaciness. The Soundtrack of Our Lives is still touring behind 2009's double album "Communion," and the band touches down in D.C. for two very different shows on Thursday. First, there's an early (6 p.m. doors) acoustic show at the Swedish Embassy's House of Sweden. Then the band packs up and heads to the Black Cat for a full show (8 p.m. doors) with Los Angeles rockers Nico Vega.

Harry Dixon and DJ Smudge are escalating the arms race of creatively themed DJ nights. TV Party pays tribute to the both the iconic New York City cable access show of the same name and the analog box that molded the minds of '70s babies. Old television sets will be installed around the bar at Asylum, some running loops of classic shows and others tuned to snow -- an experience we'll never have again in the era of digital TV. Harry and Smudge's sets for the evening will be divided into 30-minute themed episodes, complete with commercials and your most beloved television theme songs. The duo plan to have some special gewgaws on hand to give away as commemorative items, too.

After sold-out pool parties and New Year's Eve gatherings, the next port of call for the Brightest Young Things crew is ... the Potomac River? The hipster Web site is debuting its newest so-out-there-it-just-might-work idea this week: A three-hour tour aboard the Odyssey, an upscale cruise ship more used to tourists and reunion groups than 20-somethings wearing ironic captains' hats and dancing to disco tunes spun by local duo Beautiful Swimmers. (Who knows? You may find love exciting *and* new.) The ticket price for Crusin' includes free appetizers but no drinks, so bring some cash to tip Isaac the Bartender. Also, buy tickets in advance, because none will be sold on site. And don't be late: Boarding begins at 7 at the Gangplank Marina, and the boat leaves promptly at 8.

Help children and teenagers in Liberia while sipping whiskey, snacking on cupcakes and dancing to DJ Moose, a fixture at Eighteenth Street Lounge and Wonderland. Sounds sweet, right? The funds raised for Friends United for the Education of Liberia's Youth (FUEL Youth) at Bourbon tonight will help construct a new school and dig new wells in the West African country. All you have to do is enter raffles to win gift certificates from Pulp, Adams Mill Bar and Grill, Capitol Hemp and other local businesses, or order up a drink from the bar. Doors open at 6, and there's no cover charge.

Friday, Feb. 19
Roll over Madonna, and tell Boy George the news: As the years go by and the Gen-Xers start having kids and settling down, '80s nights aren't the force they once were. Instead, the Children of the '90s are staking their claims to the club scene. Need proof? Check the No Scrubs all-'90s dance party, which started in February '08 as a one-off gathering on the backstage of the Black Cat. By last August, it brought in more than 1,000 customers to the 9:30 club. Yes, that many people showed up to dance like crazy to Boyz to Men, TLC, Biggie, Technotronic, Nirvana, Bell Biv Devoe, Big Audio Dynamite and the Prodigy. The vibes are fantastic. The music -- spun by DJs Will Eastman and Brian Billion -- is a trip down memory lane for those of us of a certain age. The cover charge is $10, and we wouldn't be surprised if it completely sold out this time. (Get a preview of the night courtesy of a Brian Billion '90s mix here.)

Thanks to Snowpocalypse-caused rescheduling, you can get a double dose of complementary flavors at Velvet Lounge tonight. Afro-pop band Elikeh plays upstairs along with DJ Kimosaki. Downstairs is a classic U Street underground hip-hop show featuring some mainstays and new, young talent. Orbit122 and DJ Underdog rock the decks, Eurok, Maverick and Surock handle the beats and emerging duo DTMD get the featured performer slot. Five dollars gets you admission to both.

Saturday, Feb. 20
Truth be told, the Trinidad and Tobago Clubhouse is one of the simplest venues around, but it's also one of our favorites. There's a huge ballroom on street level, a low-ceilinged basement below, a tiny bar and a cranking sound system. It's like having a great house party at a rec center, really. The no-frills venue is perfect for the latest installment of the Dig, an ongoing series that shows off some of D.C.'s best (and most disparate) DJ talent. Saturday's episode features the electro-hip-hop sound of Nacey from Nouveau Riche, house beats by Juan Zapata of the Everybody Loves Music crew, and the one-two party punch of Meistro and Deep Sang, the Dirty Bombs collective who've just dropped a fresh new mixtape chock full of house, '90s hip-hop and dance classics. They'll have you sweating it out in no time. Downstairs, it's a heavy drum'n'bass session with Locals, Illeffect and special guest HipGnosis. Admission is $5 before midnight and $10 afterward. The party's open to everyone 18 and over.

On Saturday night at the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the attraction won't be 19th-century French paintings or works by Pissarro and Van Gogh. Instead, crowds will be at the venerable museum to play Texas Hold 'Em poker and blackjack and compete in Guitar Hero and Wii Golf tournaments. The National Kidney Foundation's Casino Night raises money to support medical research and services for people with kidney disease in the D.C. area. For a $100 ticket, you get a DJ and dancing, an open bar, guided spirit tastings, hors d'oeuvres, a large silent auction, $10,000 in fake money for gambling and the good feeling of knowing all proceeds go to charity. The black-tie crowd ranges from the 20s through the 50s and beyond. Get tickets in advance from the Kidney Foundation's Web site.

Remember when the 9:30 club (F Street version) used to have those "3 bands, 3 bucks" shows? Now, $3 at the 9:30 club will get you about 6 oz. of Budweiser. But inexpensive local shows live on, albeit often in a house and not a club. This show at the Cherch (1616 New Jersey Ave. NW) features three of the area's most promising bands. Hume, the highlight of last month's Sockets Record showcase, plays a unique mix of Afropop/post-rock/power pop. True Womanhood's just-released debut EP, six songs of finely-crafted textures, surging walls of sound and dramatic vocals easily puts the trio near the top of the "Local Breakout Bands" list. And the Laughing Man is always good for some ragged blues-folk-drone jams. Joining in on the fun will be Brooklyn's Dinowalrus, who create spastic art-rock that sounds like it's played through giant amps made of old Pac-Man arcade games.

Now that D.C.'s fraternity of DJs have had a few months to turn weekends at Little Miss Whiskey's into proper dance workouts, the decks are being opened up to other national talents. Cosmo Baker hits the booth tonight with a resume spanning both coasts. From his early days on Philly's scene with King Britt and Rich Medina to his current fame as part of The Rub in Brooklyn, Baker has been a DJ's DJ. His classic hip-hop background and encyclopedic musical knowledge means he knows how to give crowds just what they want -- even if they don't know they need it. The best part is that you don't have to pay anything to find out, because admission is free.

Austin-based La Snacks sound like they might be slackers. That's not a bad thing, mind you. The band's casual songs aren't packed with effects or a bevy of sounds to try to convince you of its members' extremely diverse record collections. Some clever turns of phrase and a slinky guitar line with just the right amount of distortion is enough to make the songs memorable. Sometimes the best way to show off is to show that you don't need to show off. Typefighter, the Ionosphere Club and Transmography make it a full night at the Velvet Lounge.

Monday, Feb. 22
On the other side of the Swedish indie spectrum from Soundtrack of Our Lives (and from the other side of the country, to boot) comes Fredrik. The group makes the kind of quiet, introspective music one would expect from people who spend long winters in dark, snow-covered Scandinavia. But this isn't hopelessly desolate stuff. Songs may move slowly, but they're never glacial in pace. And the temperature remains chilly, but never icy, thanks to the arrangements that neatly work in programmed beats, chiming bells and soothing vocals. Meredith Bragg and May Tabol of Pree, label mates on local Kora Records, open the show.

Tuesday, Feb. 23
Judging by how much old funk and soul vinyl people were buying and selling at the jam-packed D.C. Record Fair this past weekend, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears should be a big draw at the Rock and Roll Hotel. Newcomer Lewis does a fantastic job of re-creating every element of the old-school sound while also adding some garage rock swagger. His shouted, verging-on-hoarse, sometimes-explicit vocals are the centerpiece of each song, but the funky brass is what keeps the momentum going. This isn't smooth soul by any stretch; it's rough and gritty and all the better for it. Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm open at the Rock and Roll Hotel.

-- Fritz Hahn, David Malitz and Rhome Anderson

By Fritz Hahn  | February 16, 2010; 7:02 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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Comments

A booze cruise qualifies as a "so-out-there-it-just-might-work idea"? Seems pretty standard to me, hipster or otherwise.

Posted by: Kev29 | February 17, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

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