Nightlife Agenda: Paul Oakenfold, Michael Mayer and outdoor parties
This week, take your nightlife outdoors with pool parties and DJs spinning on patios, or stay inside to catch sets by world-class trance master Paul Oakenfold, influential techno DJ Michael Mayer or house maestro Derrick Carter. Rock out with Medications or Veronica Falls, hear hip-hop from Devin the Dude or K-OS, Lindy Hop at a tribute to Artie Shaw, or meet "RuPaul's Drag Race" star Pandora Boxx.
Wednesday, May 19
Ocean City and Rehoboth may not start drawing big crowds until next weekend, but the impressive indie-pop lineup at the Velvet Lounge on Wednesday has a definite beach theme. The best songs by Veronica Falls ("Beachy Head") and Weed Hounds ("Beach Bummed") both call out the location by name and have the bright and carefree sound - fuzzy guitars, slightly off-key vocals - that would seem to go well with frolicking in the sand and on the boardwalk. Headliner Neverever has a similar sound but with a bit more bite, equally rooted in girl-group sounds of the '60s and New York punk of the '70s.
If you miss the expertly spun dance tunes and light debauchery of Hipster Overkill's monthly Fringe parties at Steve's Bar Room, DJ Tru is kicking off a new weekly with DJ Stylus Chris called Kick Back Wednesdays. Tru and Chris are both veterans in the nightlife game and know their way around classic hip-hop, house and various permutations of funk, but the important concept here is Current's outdoor deck. Your alfresco imbibing and partying plans for summer should include this in the rotation.
We're really excited about the newest of U Street Music Hall's monthly parties, The Whale, hosted by the adventurous Future Times collective. And we're not the only ones. David's highlight of last Thursday's happy hour at the Big Hunt (it certainly wasn't his success at pinball) was when he struck up a conversation with a GOG reader who asked if he was familiar with Future Times and if he'd be at Wednesday's event. The local crew specializes in digging up (and creating their own) head-spinning disco and funk that has one foot in the past and another in the future. Last month's debut featured New York cult favorite Lovefingers as a guest DJ and there will be more national and international talent coming in future months. But for this edition the guest is local and live. Protect-U use their array of synths and samplers and other electronics to create some seriously deep grooves. They'll perform around 10 p.m. and after that Beautiful Swimmers DJs will bring the body music until 1 a.m.
We had to check out of keeping up with Trey Songz after that whole "I Invented Sex" thing but like him or leave him, his recent record sales are quite an achievement these days since artists often struggle to ship four or five figures. If you're a fan of the R&B youngling who's fitting himself for the R. Kelly crown, you can celebrate the forthcoming platinum record status of his latest CD "Ready" at Josephine, with Mr. Songz himself engaging in the lucrative side gig of "party hosting." (Just be warned that the event's "Platinum Party" status is something of a misnomer: According to the Recording Industry Association of America, which awards gold and platinum albums, "Ready" is still only at the gold level, not yet platinum.) Doors open at 10 p.m.
Ladies, if you've ever looked up at the sucker in the DJ booth and thought, "I can do that," then you should check out DJs K La Rock and Junebullet's "Ladies Salon" at Dodge City, which features a beginning DJ workshop and panel discussion on the role of women (as both MCs and DJs) in the world of hip-hop. The duo, who also run women-only DJ classes at the Black Cat, will be joined by Seattle MCs CanarySing, who are performing later in the night at Busboys and Poets. No RSVP is necessary for the class, which runs from 6:30 to 8, though there is a $5 cover.
The monthly Pink Sock parties at Wonderland continue to impress with the scale of their themes. This month's Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves party, inspired by late '70s rocker Stevie Nicks, features ribbon-bedecked tambourines, a Wicca-and-flowers decorating theme and many more surprises in the usual over-the-top Pink Sock style. (Gypsy shawls, "Moon Goddess ensembles" and other costumes are encouraged.) DJ Matt Bailer of the Peach Pit and Mixtape dance parties joins residents RAD and Bradley Portnoy in the DJ booth. .As always, there's no cover.
Thursday, May 20
Paul Oakenfold is one of the most famous names in the world of electronic dance music, and Washington audiences are used to dancing to his mesmerizing trance grooves at appropriately large venues; Recent visits to D.C. have seen him spinning at Fur, Ibiza and even the 9:30 Club. So we were a little shocked to see that on this trip, Oakey is appearing in the relatively cozy Lima, where the capacity is only a few hundred. The lucky few who get in might hear tracks from Oakenfold's upcoming "Pop Life" album, which includes guest spots by Cee-Lo and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, among others. We can't stress this enough: Get tickets in advance and get there early.
When local group Medications recently released the excellent "Completely Removed" it caught some listeners off guard. The band was previously known for crushing brutality and angular precision. Those aspects of its sound aren't completely gone but they've been tempered for a pop sensibility. The result is an impressive evolution, if not quite re-invention, and we expect the live performance to be just as hard-hitting, only this time with more hooks. Imperial China opens at the Black Cat.
We won't give this one too much space. But on the same day that the HFStival officially announced its return (Sept. 18 at Merriweather) with a rumored lineup including Third Eye Blind, Marcy Playground, Fuel and Better Than Ezra, how could we not mention that Wheatus -- of temporary "Teenage Dirtbag" fame -- will be at the Velvet Lounge Thursday. If you are between the ages of 25 and 35 then you likely heard this song multiple times per hour on WHFS and DC101. "I've got two tickets to Iron Maiden baby..." There. Now it's stuck in your head for at least an hour. Probably a day. Sorry/you're welcome.
Get ready for all your "Lost" questions to be answered on Sunday when the show ends its sixth and final series with a double episode on Sunday night. But first, there are conspiracy theories to be discussed, hypotheses to be put forward and favorite moments to be rehashed. Join Washington Post "Lost" bloggers Jen Chaney and Liz Kelly at the Reef for a "Lost" happy hour with drink specials, a "Lost" costume contest, door prizes and other fun. Island libations start flowing at 6, and the party will run until "at least 9 or so."
Talk about a care package: DJ Neville Chamberlain received "over 40 new records in the mail from Sao Paulo last week," just in time for the latest installment of Brazilian Rhythms at Saint-Ex, which remains one of the sweatiest, groovingest, most exhilarating dance parties around. Sip caipirinhas and shake your booty to samba, batucada, baile funk and other Brazilian hits from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m.
Friday, May 21
Though Derrick Carter eschews the limelight, he's one of the dons of Chicago house music, creating sensual, soulful electronic dance music with sparse arrangements but thumping four-on-the-floor beats. Since releasing his first records in the 1980s, Carter has found strong support on both sides of the Atlantic, thanks to live sets that mix jazz, disco and other sounds into his own blend of house. Bring your own baby powder for a night of dancing at U Street Music Hall. Locals Joe L. and Juan Zapata open. (Hint: Grab tickets in advance and save $5 off the $15 door price.)
If you were a fan of season two of "RuPaul's Drag Race," then you're most likely a fan of Pandora Boxx, the comedic drag queen remembered for her turn impersonating Kathy Griffin, donning a fabulous Carol Channing wig, and basically becoming the breakout star of the series, despite an early elimination from the show. Express your condolences tonight at EFN Lounge, where Pandora hosts the Summer Launch party, a multifaceted event that takes in a Universal Gear swimsuit fashion show, drag performances by Pandora and Summer Camp of the Crack variety show, and pop music spun by DJ Shea Van Horn of Mixtape. Admission is $5 for everyone 21 and over, or $10 for those between 18 and 20.
As we count down to the release of "Sex and the City 2" -- and we mean the royal we, not Fritz, Rhome and David -- there are plenty of parties and events that are meant to stoke excitement for the new film. At the Shadow Room tonight, the Sex and the City preview party features $5 Cosmos and glasses of champagne from 10 to midnight. Hello Cupcake has even crafted a representative cupcake for each of the four main characters, which we expect will involve such exquisite flavors as Botox and desperation. Vote for your favorite and win passes to an advance screening of the film. Get on the guest list at absoluteaddiction.com.
Every time David has been to a show at the Cherch - simply a row house at 1616 New Jersey Ave. NW - it's been a great time. One of those shows inspired this blog post and other gatherings have been similarly low-key and exciting because of the talent involved and the general laidback atmosphere that can only be achieved at a house show. Fridays' show features Hume, the highlight of that exciting February show, who ended a recent Black Cat set with a 16-minute epic that somehow never felt redundant or boring. Instrumental rockers Buildings, hazy Philadelphia psych-folk group Creepoids and all-attitude rhythmic punks Noon:30 will also play.
Saturday, May 22
Ever since Fritz attended the Recess games night last year, he has been pushing it as one of the most fun, social events for adults in the D.C. area. Imagine hundreds of folks in their 20s and older gathered in a large bar and lounge playing Pictionary, Taboo, Twister, Connect Four and other games from childhood (plus Wii bowling) while a DJ spins hip-hop and dance tunes and mixologists whip up cocktails. It's such an easy way to meet people; just walk up and ask, "Can I play?" Recess celebrates its first anniversary this weekend by taking the party to a whole new level: the rooftop pool and deck of the Liaison hotel downtown. In addition to the games, expect an afternoon of sunbathing (BYO suits and towels) and noshing on burgers and other treats from the grill. And ice cream is free while it lasts. Just heed this advice: Most Recess events have sold out in advance. Don't be left out.
He has the hook-singing prowess of Nate Dogg, a Southern drawl perfect for slowly cruising the strip with the top down and a talent for drawing humor from pharmacological, scatological and copulative raps. Devin the Dude is Houston's best-kept secret, although he spent 15 years on the same Rap-a-Lot label that gave the world Geto Boys and Scarface. Although not a hitmaker like other Southern acts, Devin has enjoyed a robust cult following and respect in the hip-hop world that has led to collaborations with such diverse artists as De La Soul and Snoop Dogg. Like a modern-day Blowfly - the sexually explicit singer-rapper from the '70s - Devin continually finds new comedic takes on the timeworn topics of weed, women and wine while occasionally dropping introspection between the X-rated tales.
From "Begin the Beguine" and "Back Bay Shuffle" to "Frenesi" and "Traffic Jam," Artie Shaw created some of the most memorable songs of the Swing Era. His desire to keep changing his band and his sound -- and his disdain for having to play the same hits every night -- didn't make him the most popular band leader of the day, but it resulted in one of the most dynamic bodies of work of any group of the '30s and '40s. Shaw, who died in 2004, would have been 100 on Sunday, and in his honor, the Tom Cunningham Orchestra performs an evening of his music at the Glen Echo Spanish Ballroom. A free dance lesson is offered from 8 to 9, and then the orchestra swings until midnight.
Sunday, May 23
Top local bands and top local restaurants team up for charity? Sign us up. On Sunday the 9:30 club will be both music venue and restaurant as it hosts tastings by more than 20 restaurants -- including Masa 14, Indique, Jaleo and many more -- and many Nightlife Agenda regulars providing the tunes during SoundBites. DJs include stalwart party-starter Will Eastman, the reliably-funky Fatback crew and the previously mentioned disco devils of Beautiful Swimmers. Taking the stage will be more of D.C.'s top names - well-oiled rock machine U.S. Royalty, ascendant psych-rock outfit Midnight Kids and electro-pop duo Bluebrain. You'll want to take advantage of all the food, but don't get so full that you won't be able to dance. Proceeds from the event go to the D.C. Central Kitchen.
Day parties are trending hard right now, but not everyone understands the proper formula. Some folks just shift bottle service culture up the clock a few hours and leave it at that, so you're sitting inside at a table with expensive liquor except all the lights are on. Sunday School isn't one of those parties. This chill session at Little Miss Whiskey's makes great use of its patio, which isn't always available during peak nights because the crowds are too large. They've got a chef on the grill serving up reasonably priced plates as well as the vintage hip-hop and R&B sounds of DJ Saucee. She provides a lazy afternoon soundtrack until folks move inside to dance later in the evening.
So it's time to say goodbye to "Lost." If you need to watch it at a bar instead of on your couch, several places are showing the episode with full sound and specials. Probably the biggest event is at the Arlington Cinema and Drafthouse, which will have the show on its full-sized movie screen. Admission is free, and doors open at 6:30 if you want to grab the best seats. In Columbia Heights, Social is hosting a party in its Cellar bar, with specials like the Lost Platter: five fish tacos, ahi tuna poke, and guacamole to share for $17.
We love guys-only poker nights. But why should we get to have all the fun? The annual Chicks With Chips Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournament is a females-only poker night at Whitlow's on Wilson to benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This is clearly a girls' night out, from the unlimited beers, cocktails and snacks down to the "Chippendales-outfitted University of Maryland students" serving as dealers. (Funny, none of us has ever seen the equivalent at any of our poker games.) Beginners can learn strategy at a free poker refresher course, while the winners take home dining gift certificates (a $400 value), gift cards, poker sets and, wouldn't you know it, passes to see "Sex and the City 2." A seat at the table costs $60, which goes to charity; register on the Whitlows Web site.
Tuesday, May 25
As one of the founders of Cologne's Kompakt record label, Michael Mayer has been a prominent guiding hand in electronic dance music over the past decade. Kompakt flies the flag for avant-garde and minimal techno, tech house and other microgenres. (This isn't the thumping big-beat techno loved in stadiums and TV ads, but an intelligent, more minimal style; the beat is stripped down, though the dubby bass still maintains a dance floor-friendly edge.) Mayer's essential intro to the genre, his 2002 mix "Immer," was named the top DJ mix of the past decade by the influential Resident Advisor Web site. The latest in the Immer series, "Immer 3," is set for release in June, and it's another tour-de-force overview of a wildly diverse scene, from Kraftwerk-influenced synths of Smith N Hack to Superpitcher's gorgeously minimal reworking of Charlotte Gainsbourg's "The Operation." Get a sneak peek when Mayer makes his first visit to D.C. to spin at U Street Music Hall, joined by locals Brian Billion and Outputmessage.
Here's an interesting idea that could yield some nice results. Olivia Mancini, who plays/has played in approximately 291 local bands, will perform at Asylum tonight. It'll just be her and an acoustic guitar, but just for a couple of songs. Then another member of the local music scene - perhaps someone from Laughing Man or Stripmall Ballads or World's Fair will pick up the guitar and strum and sing a couple of songs. And so on. It's called Pass the Guitar and it should be kind of neat.
K-OS's 2009 release, "Yes," might prompt cursory comparisons to the Kid Cudis or B.o.B.s of today, but K-OS's career as a hip-hop style chameleon predates them all. From the boogie woogie of "Crabbuckit" to his frenetic rework of a classic club jam on "Superstarr Pt. Zero," K-OS fluidly incorporates a variety of influences in a way that might have come across as dilettantism in less-capable hands. His 21st-century b-boy music has earned him two platinum albums in his native Canada. Taking that track record into account, his current forays into dance-pop make sense, and their lyrical heft makes them stand out from a group like the Black Eyed Peas, which followed a similar path to fame.
-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
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