Join the Going Out Gurus for a pre-St. Patrick's Day happy hour with live music, free food and free whiskey, hear new music from promising locals Title Tracks and Casper Bangs, celebrate spring on the Georgetown waterfront, wake up bright and early to party with Andrew WK, or get down to Yacht's off-kilter electro-pop.
Wednesday, March 10
Many married couples shape their travel plans to be a little more comfortable once they reach age 60. Maybe you go on a cruise or take a relaxing vacation somewhere warm. Fred and Toody Cole don't do that. They still trudge around the country delivering sharp blasts of backwoods, garage-rock fury, just as they've done for the past 25 years. The only difference is that they used to use the name Dead Moon and now they call themselves Pierced Arrows. Their second album as Pierced Arrows is another shot of authentic rock-and-roll that bands half their age would be lucky to match in terms of energy and execution. Worthy opening act J Roddy Walston and the Business perform roadhouse rock anthems that should nicely set the tone for the evening at DC9.
We wrote about Title Tracks' show in the Snowpocalyse edition of Nightlife Agenda, when lots of shows were canceled or postponed. Title Tracks is now on for Wednesday at the Black Cat, and while we would have trudged through snow to see the band then, we're sure glad it will be easier to get to this time.
Mayer Hawthorne's style brings to mind the music nerd who hangs out at Arnold's Drive-in with Richie, Fonzie and the gang, and then goes home to pore over his rhythm and blues and soul 45s because they're more exciting than what was on the juke. One day he gets up the nerve to pen a song to ask a classmate to the homecoming dance, and he turns into an instant blue-eyed soul sensation. Hawthorne's retro crooning gained a real-life fanbase almost that fast. People packed in to see him on his first visit to D.C.; this time, he's playing Rock and Roll Hotel.
For many years, the Capstan Shafts were best known for two things -- an alarmingly prolific output of lo-fi indie rock gems and an air of mystery. Each year brings a new album or two, packed with 15 to 20 two-minute songs overflowing with inscrutable lyrics and meaty hooks. The extremely rare live performances often were just mastermind Dean Wells playing on his own. But now he's wrangled a band, adopted the D.C. area as a temporary home and is ready to bring his songs to the stage. Fans of Guided By Voices would do well to check out Wednesday's show at the Red & the Black.
You've seen the Nutcracker. You know about the Washington Ballet's classical repertoire. But what you might not know is that the company also offers edgier and experimental works far away from the Kennedy Center's footlights. The 7x7 series of collaborations with the Corcoran College of Art and Design meld new dance works with sets that double as art installations at the Ballet's England Studio in upper Northwest. Next month is the premiere of Septime Weber's "Shoogie, the Tail of My Wiener Dog," a coming-of-age tale set in his home state of Texas. There's only one problem: the school needs money to create the art. Hence the Shoog-a-thon at L2 in Georgetown. You can see previews of the students' art projected throughout the venue, mingle with Washington Ballet dancers and enter a raffle to win tickets to the show. The exclusive lounge will also have special food and drink items. A $10 donation to the Ballet is suggested, and proper dress is required. RSVP to Leah@L2lounge.com to reserve your space.
Thursday, March 11
The Going Out Gurus have hosted some great happy hours over the last year. Drinks on the roof of BLT Steak, Kostume Karaoke at Solly's, and the shuffleboard tournament with Matchbox pizza at Rocket Bar stand out as a few highlights. But honestly, we think that this month's is going to be best of them all. Join us at Ireland's Four Fields in Cleveland Park for a St. Patrick's Day party without all the St. Patrick's Day hassles. We have a free Irish whiskey tasting with Michael Collins. We have live music by Celtic rock band 40 Thieves. Guinness and Smithwick's are $4. And if you buy a Guinness, you'll get a hands-on lesson in how to pour the perfect pint. Unlike most St. Patrick's Day events, there's no cover charge. Just drop by the pub between 6 and 8 and say hi.
We've said it before and we'll say it again: '90s dance parties are the new '80s dance parties. (How else to explain 1,000+ people going nuts for new jack swing hits and Technotronic at the 9:30 club's sold-out No Scrubs event?) Peach Pit at Dahlak is the low-key '90s party: No cover, no dress code -- unless you want to rock your Cross Colours or Hypercolor while DJ Matt Bailer drops rock and dance hits.
You may remember the Team BBC crew from the celebrity-headlined Pandora happy hour parties at the Park at 14th or their very short stint at the Reserve. They're back to a weekly night at the Shadow Room called Bad Behavior Thursdays with DJ Hostility spinning hip-hop and club jams. Send your name to firstname.lastname@example.org by 4 p.m. to get on the guest list for free admission before 10:30.
Friday, March 12
With songs including "Party Hard," "Party Til You Puke" and "Long Live the Party" - not to mention his ownership of the New York club Santos Party House - Andrew W.K. has set himself up as hard rock's king of the raging kegger. It remains to be seen, though, how he'll handle playing at 9 a.m. as party of DC101's annual early-morning Kegs and Eggs bash at the 9:30 Club. (Honestly, there's no way to picture Andrew W.K. turning in early on a Thursday night, so let's hope a flunkie makes an early Starbucks run.) Also on the bill are Jet - the Aussie band still trying to recapture the magic of its first single, "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" - Crash Kings and perennial K&E openers Carbon Leaf. There's no cover charge, but get there early - capacity is limited, and the beer taps start running at 8 a.m. sharp.
Art Whino's massive 'G40: The Summit' exhibition -- five themed floors of a Crystal City office building dedicated to art from D.C., New York, California and beyond -- is worth a visit itself, but if you need an extra reason to go, try this: An all-ages concert by local reggae-house band Nappy Riddem (listen) featuring members of Eighteenth Street Lounge projects. You'll hear them turn roots reggae into remix-friendly electronic music for the dance floor while Mustafa Akbar's vocals soar over the grooves. After the band performs, founder Rex Riddem hits the DJ booth to spin funky cross-cultural mashups. (Listen here for some sample hour-long DJ sets.) The music starts at 7. There's no cover, which leaves more in your pockets for the cash bar.
Cody Chesnutt's lo-fi debut "Headphone Masterpiece," the Roots cover of his song "The Seed" and his appearance in "Dave Chappelle's Block Party" once had him flirting with stardom. Since then, he's been scarce around these parts. See what the eccentric soul rocker's been up to as he joins Fertile Ground's Navasha Daya and African drummers Farafina Kan to celebrate Maimouna Youssef's birthday with a show at Liv. Youssef's a young talent who sounds like an old spirit; like Daya, she's made her mark singing everything from jazz to aboriginal music. She's able to spit a rap verse and sing Native American songs and slave spirituals with equal authority. Common's DJ Dummy rocks the party after the show.
We usually don't list events with three-digit price tags in this column, but we think the Diplomatic Caribbean Celebration ball at the Organization of American States hosted by the Ambassador of Barbados is worth telling you about. Why? Well, it includes -- deep breath -- a full Caribbean buffet, an open bar with specialty rum drinks and Caribbean beers, live salsa music, DJs, salsa dance lessons, a limbo contest, a raffle for a Caribbean vacation, and on top of that, a portion of the proceeds go to Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti. The Things to Do D.C. Web site has the full rundown of details, including the mouthwatering menu -- Bahamian grilled fish with spicy mango salsa, West Indies chopped salad with papaya vinaigrette -- and details about diplomatic welcomes. Sounds like a night to remember, despite its $105 price tag.
St. Patrick's Day is next Wednesday, but there are plenty of people looking to get a jump on the celebrations -- especially those who want to enjoy a few pints of Guinness without worrying about getting up for work on Thursday. At BlackFinn downtown, for example, the no-cover VIP Ladies Night offers free appetizers and plenty of spirited drink specials (including $3 green beer, $3 green shots and $5 Guinness-and-a-shot-of-whiskey concoctions). Besides food and drink, there's a raffle for a green (naturally) iPod Nano and a $100 bar tab. Email VIP@blackfinndc.com to get on the list.
Saturday, March 13
In the period between disco's wane and hip-hop's rise to cultural prominence, R&B went through a transitional period when funk and electro flirted with and grafted some of disco's DNA. Think of the roller-skating jams of the late '70s and early '80s. Because West Coast labels like Solar Records figured prominently then, the songs of that period are sometimes affectionately referred to as Jheri-curl funk, though modern collectors and DJs classify it as "boogie." DJ Dâm-Funk has risen to the top of this scene's revival with his comprehensive library of the most obscure titles. Since linking up with Stones Throw Records, he's released a torrent of original material that gives a 21st-century spin to the boogie-funk genre. Catch the sound of his Los Angeles Funkmosphere parties when he comes to D.C.'s Warehouse Loft, assisted by Glenn Echo and the Beautiful Swimmers.
Every year, the ShamrockFest concert adds more bands and more attractions. This year it's up to 40 bands, including Celtic rockers Black 47, Enter the Haggis, Scythian, Donegal X-Press and headliners the Roots. Is there a more unlikely headliner for a St. Patrick's Day festival than the Roots? Probably not. But aside from the Irish pub area, the bagpipers and the Irish dancers, this is more a giant outdoor party with Dewey-style cover bands than a celebration of Gaelicness. (Just ask the folks queuing up at the beer trucks or carnival rides.) If you want to escape the crowds, look into the VIP tickets, which allow access to special areas, unlimited beer, private concerts (including Black 47 acoustic) and those all-important VIP bathrooms.
After the concert, Roots drummer/bandleader Ahmir "?uestlove" Thompson brings his deep collection of rare grooves, funk, hip-hop and '80s classics to the DJ booth at Liv for one of his wildly popular dance parties. Advance tickets are strongly recommended.
Suggested local/former local double-dip of the evening: Begin at the Black Cat for the monthly Second Saturdays show on the backstage featuring Midnight Kids and Casper Bangs. You liked the bands those people used to be in -- Apes and the Hard Tomorrows -- so you'll like their new bands. Both are being very generous with their music, too. Casper Bangs' excellent debut EP, which contains five jangly, wistful indie-pop is available for a "name your price" download over at Bandcamp. Meanwhile, Midnight Kids are offering their debut EP, "Basement Dreams," for free for a limited time at the same site. It's an appropriate title given the alternately murky and dreamy sound the band achieves. Then head on over to the Velvet Lounge, where our old local faves, current Philly faves (The Sounds of) Kaleidoscope will be getting all heavy and psychedelic, along with Kohoutek and Gondola. There's probably even enough time to catch some Dam-Funk after that.
This recent bout of 60-something temperatures has all the Gurus dreaming of spring, and we're not the only ones. Host-DC -- the group that created the Recess bar-game social night -- is sponsoring a Spring Fever mixer at Cabanas on the Georgetown waterfront. Drink specials! Salsa lessons! DJs spinning hip-hop, reggae and party tunes! Free admission with RSVP to email@example.com! Spring can't get here soon enough. Doors open at 9:30.
Here's something strange: this month's Nerd Nite isn't sold out yet. So if you haven't been to D.C.'s smartest meeting of the minds at DC9, this is your chance. The March edition of PowerPoint presentations in a bar includes a Smithsonian entomologist talking about why flies are cool, misunderstood and necessary; a college professor discussing the lack of genetic proof for racial stereotypes; and in what should be the night's most popular presentation, a Maryland doctoral student sharing research about how, in some species, brainier males and females get the choicest mates, despite their looks. In between talks, rock out to Poor But Sexy (listen), an indie band featuring former members of Dismemberment Plan and the Travis Morrison Hellfighters. The cover is $10 in advance; given the Nerd Nite turnout in recent months, we recommend buying tickets ahead of time.
If the hip-hop boys club is tough on female rappers, it's even more trying for ladies who want to master the turntables. So when the name DJ Chela pops up in co-signs from major rap talents like Saigon and Dead Prez, the props are well-earned. In the flooded mixtape market, Chela branded herself as creative and original. Emerging from the underground and the college radio scene, she diversified her resume to battling, party rocking and performing with Immortal Technique. She'll bring her arsenal of hip-hop, old school, dancehall and Latin sounds to Little Miss Whiskey's.
Kstreet Lounge goes green this weekend for its annual St. Patrick's Day party with green beads, drink specials, top 40 dance music and giveaways that include 9:30 club tickets. Tickets are $10 in advance. (If you're hoping to meet that special lad or lassie this weekend, there's a special (and optional) two-hour speed dating event before the party. It costs an extra $10.)
Sunday, March 14
For more on Free Energy (and Dam-Funk, for that matter) check out Friday's Weekend section, where the band is one of four featured in the cover story. For now, here are the basic details: huge riffs, long hair, synchronized solos, cowbell, handclaps, Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy. The band will be opening for Foreign Born, who play a more rollicking brand of carefree rock, at DC9.
The Very Best is an international collaboration between Malawi singer Esau Mwamwaya and a British DJ duo with a name that we don't think we'll print. At a November show at DC9, only one of the DJs was there, so instead we got two bare-midriffed dancers on the stage. The music was all pre-programmed, but that didn't stop the dancing: DC9 turned into a bit of a sweatlodge. It's no surprise that the band is now headlining at Rock and Roll Hotel, and tickets might very well sell out before the night of the show, so act soon if you're interested. The band will have to be at the top of its game to match the energy of opening acts Ninjasonik, a wildly hyperactive trio that mixes hip-hop, dance and punk into a single, sweaty mix. Local hip-hop favorite Tabi Bonney also performs.
Monday, March 15
The last time Yacht played in D.C., the band consisted solely of Jona Bechtolt and a bunch of synthesizers, samplers and Weezer jokes. To say Monday's show will be an upgrade is a bit of an understatement. Having a full band in tow this time should make Yacht's unique brand of off-kilter, leftfield electro-pop come to life better, and vocalist Claire L. Evans is now a full-fledged member of the group. Her disaffected speak-sing vocals provided many of the highlights on last year's album "See Mystery Lights." "Psychic City (Voodoo City)" from that album was David's favorite song of the year, in fact. Bobby Birdman opens at Rock and Roll Hotel.
Update: This show is sold out.
Janelle Monae has been bopping across the musical landscape and daring the rest of the industry to catch up. She refuses to make music that fits in a category, she wrecks every stage she graces and so far, she's been able to remain independent despite hitching her wagon to a major label. Fans can't get enough of the tiny bouffant-coiffed jitterbug with the big smile and even bigger voice. To witness Janelle Monae is to see not a star in the making but one who is fully formed and rocketing across the sky on her own fuel. Her otherwordly combo of jazz, Broadway, roots rock and funk touches down at the Black Cat along with the 54.
A Danish band that plays swirling psychedelic pop that's catchy enough to be used in an iTouch commercial, soulful enough to score opening dates for Amy Winehouse (remember her? She used to play music) and funky enough to use a full horn section at live shows? Sounds pretty appealing, doesn't it? Asteroids Galaxy Tour makes the intercontinental journey to perform at DC9.
-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
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