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Posted at 5:09 PM ET, 07/ 6/2010

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

Beloved Arlington indie-pop trio Unrest -- shown here in an early '90s promo photo -- reunites for a rare show at the Black Cat on Saturday. (Erin Smith - 4AD Records)

This week's Nightlife Agenda features a couple of rooftop parties, including the Going Out Guide's monthly happy hour and World Cup viewing at the Beacon Hotel. Talib Kweli honors the late J. Dilla, '90s indie-pop band Unrest reunites for a Teenbeat Records anniversary show, the Adult Swim party is reborn at a new pool and Nerd Nite geeks out over viruses and astrophysics as well as rock and beer. Oh, and the creator of one of our favorite blogs, "Look at This [Expletive] Hipster," brings his stand-up comedy act to the Velvet Lounge.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Wednesday, July 7
A couple weeks ago in this space we wrote about singer-songwriter Damien Jurado, a troubadour with an impressive, consistent body of work going back more than a decade. A few weeks later David Dondero comes to town and it's not hard to see some similarities between the two. Both favor tales of the down and out, songs that are stories and flannel shirts. Jurado's gruff voice is a far cry from Dondero's shaky wail. It's not too different from that of Conor Oberst, who just happens to be one of Dondero's biggest fans and signed him to his Team Love label. Catch him at the Black Cat, on the backstage.

Prince. Radiohead. Kelis. J Dilla. Vanity 6. Throw all those in a blender and you'll still be left grasping for the right adjectives to describe electro-pop duo J*DaVeY. "Punk funk" stands out as the most clever summation of Jack Davey's kittenish vocals and Brooke D'Leau's synth tableaus. Davey embraces the sexpot role with aplomb, penning cheeky lyrics that ride the line between sleaze and titillation while visually presenting herself as a runway-ready rock star. D'Leau's earlier work for the group found him grounded in Beat generation sounds; he now backs Davey's voice with 21st-century new wave. Underground and critical darlings over the course of multiple online indie projects, they're gearing up for a major label release. Joining them at Liv for another stop in D.C. is young, powerful soul vocalist Maimounah Yousef.

Thursday, July 8
We're not above a little self-promotion, and we think that this month's Going Out Guide happy hour should be pretty awesome. We're taking over the expansive roof deck at Nellie's, on the corner of Ninth and U streets NW, and inviting everyone to join us for cheap drinks ($2 vodka drinks and Miller Lite) and free snacks, including hot dogs, tzatziki and hummus. But the raffle is outstanding: We'll be giving away tickets to see the Dave Matthews Band at Nationals Park, the Tony-winning "Avenue Q" at the Lansburgh Theatre, Asia After Dark with DJ Rekha at the Freer and $50 gift certificates to Nellie's. As always, all you have to do is show up and say "hi."

Yeah, it's going to be oppressively hot on Thursday. So if you are susceptible to heatstroke then maybe you don't want to spend the twilight hours at Fort Reno. But there's a surprising amount of shade at the park and Thursday's lineup is one of this year's specialties - three bands with completely different sounds that make for a very nice bill. Start with the minimalist, experimental clanging and () of Authorization, move on to the two-minute old-school punk power of Police & Thieves and conclude with the jubilant and jagged indie pop of Tereu Tereu. There's something for everyone.

Friday, July 9
Joe Mande was named Time Out New York's best new comic of 2009, he pops up on "Best Week Ever," he does shows at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. But to us, Mande will always be known as the founder of the popular Tumblr blog "Look at This [blankity-blank] Hipster," which posts photos of 20-something Williamsburg residents with tight pants, too-big plastic glasses, "ironic" mustaches and really awful Flock of Seagulls-inspired haircuts, accompanied by suitably snarky commentary. (It's so popular that the blog begat a book of its greatest hits.) Anyway, Mande's coming down to D.C. to do stand up at the 3 Chord Comedy Night at the Velvet Lounge, which is frequently full of Natty Boh-swilling hipsters. Eli Sairs, Jimmy Meritt, Jake Young and Tyler Sonnichsen are also on the bill.

On the fourth anniversary of the death of hip-hop producer and icon J. Dilla, the D.C. crew of rappers, musicians and vocalists who have faithfully put together four previous stellar tributes will be joined by Talib Kweli to do it bigger and better this time around. Kweli is one of the lucky artists whose releases were graced by Dilla's golden touch on the beats, as well as other famous names like Busta Rhymes, De La Soul and Janet Jackson. Alison Carney, Diamond District, Wes Felton, Roddy Rod, and J Sands are among the performers delivering their unique takes on Dilla classics at the Black Cat.

We don't know much about Procedure Club except for the fact that the band's debut album is out on Slumberland Records. And really, that's enough for us. The New Haven, Conn., group takes the noise half of its noise-pop label very seriously - each of its songs is caked in some serious fuzz, as if they heard the first Jesus & Mary Chain album and thought, "We can be noisier than that." What lurks beneath that noise? Sometimes it's hard to tell but there are melodies hiding in there somewhere. Troll Tax and Ravenous also perform at Velvet Lounge.

K'naan and Shakira got some serious run during this World Cup with their theme songs, but their are many more rhythms of the world you can immerse yourself in to celebrate the global groove of the nations that competed in South Africa. All the football fun ends this weekend, so if you want one last chance to don your favorite colors and kits, blow your vuvuzela or show off your Ghana Black Stars dance, join DJ i-Wah and DJ Cortega for their World Cup Party at Funxion.

July 14 marks the 221st anniversary of the storming of the Parisian prison known as the Bastille, the first act of the French Revolution. While most big D.C. Bastille Day parties will rage next Wednesday -- make those Bistrot du Coin reservations now, people -- the Alliance Francaise prefers its parties to take place on weekends. Get an early start celebrating "liberté, égalité, fraternité" in Kalorama with a live band, DJs spinning French tunes, a display of historic Citroen cars, and the usual spread of champagne, French cheese and crepes. The party runs from 7 to 9, and no tickets will be sold at the door. You must RSVP by Thursday night to attend, either by calling the Alliance or visiting

Saturday, July 10
When Arlington-rooted TeenBeat Records celebrated its 20th anniversary with a two-day shindig at the Black Cat in early 2005, it was the first chance in a decade - and likely last chance ever - to catch the label's flagship band, Unrest. The oddball indie-pop trio was always one of the city's most beloved and best bands, and the reunion didn't disappoint. Its hyper-strummed, hyper-melodic songs were played with passion and precision; you'd never guess it was their first time playing them in many years. That bodes well for Saturday, when Unrest headlines another TeenBeat anniversary show. An added bonus for the 2010 version is another reunion, for garage-pop troublemakers the Rondelles, who were a guaranteed good show in the late '90s when all members still sported Xs on their hands.

What a shame that U.K. post-punk act Wetdog is in town the same night as the TeenBeat celebration at the Black Cat. The band's songs are all sharp edges - brief, pointy shards of post-punk in the vein of Pylon and the Raincoats. It's confrontational in the sense that nothing comes easy but there's nothing too difficult about them, and they're all short enough that another blast of weirdness will follow shortly. It's a free show at Comet Ping Pong with Sweet Bulbs.

Nerd Nite, the delightfully dorky happy hour where nerds geek out over off-the-wall Powerpoint presentations, is still going strong every month at DC9, and July's lineup looks more solid than usual. A post-doctoral researcher from the University of Maryland will cover "The Good, the Bad, and the Pus-sy" aspects of viruses -- yes, they can make you bleed from your eyeballs, but they're also an essential for scientists fighting diseases. The Chief Naturalist of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority is set to discuss the Gaia Theory, which holds that Earth's biosphere and atmosphere are connected, basically working together in balance. And finally, Marcos Huerta, who holds a Ph.D in astrophysics, will defend the planet Pluto, discuss how scientists locate planet-like objects orbiting stars in faraway galaxies, and then go into a scientific discussion of astrology. In between all this, you get the sharp indie-rock stylings of Casper Bangs. Doors open at 6 and presentations start at 6:30. Get there early, because this event regularly sells out.

The weekly Adult Swim pool party, which made its debut on the Liaison Hotel's rooftop deck last summer, was an attempt to bring the exclusive nightclub atmosphere outdoors for the season. Take the DJs and bottle service you'd find at Lima or Fly, but with D&G swimsuits instead of party dresses, and sunlight instead of strobe lights. But $500 minimums to be able to sit down next to a pool? Washingtonians weren't buying it, and the hotel canceled Adult Swim last month. So when Skyline Saturdays - basically Adult Swim 2.0 - makes its debut at the Capitol Skyline Hotel's pool this weekend, there won't be VIP areas or minimums for tables, and admission will be free from noon to 2 p.m., and $20 after that. Expect more people working on their tans than splashing around in the huge pool. DJs from Midtown, Mate and other hotspots spin "sexy summer anthems" while live musicians play along. Consider this the pre-party for your Saturday night on the town.

Sunday, July 11
On World Cup Final day, the biggest disappointment (for us) is that the organizers of Soccer in the Circle weren't able to bring back the outdoor carnival/viewing party that swamped Dupont Circle on the tournament's opening weekend. If you're trying to get some of the same vibe, check out the rooftop of the Beacon Hotel, where the usual Coolout DJ party is being superseded by Disco Soccer. Early arrivals enjoy free drinks and food specials based around the two competing countries, and the game will be show with full sound on six large flatscreen TVs located inside and outside on the penthouse level. Once the buzz of the last vuvuzela has died away, get ready to groove to D.C. disco flagbearers Beautiful Swimmers, who are about to embark on a European tour, and the hot Brooklyn disco-house duo Runaway, whose dubby remixes always seem like they'd be perfect soundtrack for a tropical beach party -- or, barring that, any type of summer gathering. There's no cover; Doors open at 1, the game starts at 2:30, and the music and good vibes last until 10.

-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz

By Fritz Hahn  | July 6, 2010; 5:09 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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