Are you ready for winter? The Rock and Roll Hotel is hosting a New Year's Eve party (complete with DJs, free food and an open bar) and the Rams Head Tavern is gearing up to serve egg nog and dark seasonal beers at Christmas in July. Other highlights of this week in nightlife: U Street Music Hall plays host to a can't-miss night of local music, "Caddyshack" screens at a special themed pool party, the Hip-Hop Happy Hour returns to Lounge of Three, Title Tracks performs at a special matinee at the Quarry House Tavern and Brasserie Beck marks Belgium's independence day with all-you-can-drink Belgian beer.
Wednesday, July 21
July 14 found the French celebrating Bastille Day, the anniversary of the country's revolution. This Wednesday, Belgium marks 179 years of independence. And instead of drinking wine and dancing to St. Germain, the Belgians celebrate with their country's greatest export: Belgian beer. To honor the date, Brasserie Beck offers an all-you-can-eat-and-drink deal between 5 and 9. The $45 ticket includes a selection of Belgian draft beers and a buffet of entrees and snacks. (With beers alone usually selling around $8 to $12 each, this is a really good deal.) Tickets will only be sold at the door, so arrive early or get stuck in line.
If you want to hear Nas album cuts or break out into a Boogie Down Productions rap-along among those who can relate, head to the hip-hop version of Cheers, which has returned in the form of Lounge of Three's resurgent Hip-Hop Happy Hour. Deals abound across their food, mixed drink and beer menus, and DJ Nick tha 1da is in charge of the beats.
Thursday, July 22
There are plenty of outdoor movies around the Washington area, but if we had to choose a favorite, we'd toss Screen on the Green in favor of the Dive-In Movies at the Capitol Skyline Hotel's spacious pool and deck. The Sixth and I Historic Synagogue, which sponsors the annual events, has the formula for these parties down: Films on a big screen that you can see from lounge chairs or while relaxing in the water, drink specials, and themed contests and games before the show begins. Tonight's feature is the immortal "Caddyshack," so come dressed as your favorite character to win prizes (we'd give bonus points for a gopher costume), and arrive early for trivia and an in-pool golfing contest. Just watch out for Baby Ruth bars. Tickets are $12 (or $10 in advance from sixthandi.org) and include one free drink.
The freewheeling, latin funk sounds of Pimps of Joytime are like a sonic bodega, composed of the aural equivalents of plantain, Cuban rum and sazón. This Brooklyn outfit brings to mind War and Ozomatli. Washington's compliment is the afro-pop fusion of Elikeh, who will take the first slot for a joyous evening of dance music at DC9. DJ Christine Moritz will keep it moving between band sets.
Thursday's show of three bands at U Street Music Hall is the closest thing to a can't-miss, all-local bill you'll see this summer. Hume's punchy brand of prog-punk has managed to become both sharper and more expansive the past year, featuring songs that stop on a dime before veering into a new direction, always maintaining plenty of momentum. Deleted Scenes' upcoming album is one the most anticipated local releases; the quartet's debut established it as one of the city's most thoughtful bands. Its tunes are sneakily catchy and fully formed, memorable for lyrics, melodies and well-placed crescendos. The headliner, Medications, made a welcome return with this year's "Completely Removed," which finds the band trading some of its slashing ferocity for the most directly catchy pop songs in the group's catalogue. In a live setting, the intensity is as strong as ever.
Friday, July 23
Ever wish that New Year's Eve came more than once a year? The Rock & Roll Hotel feels your pain. That's why the club is re-creating its annual Dec. 31 throw-down on a random Friday in July. The Summer's Eve Party has everything you would expect from a New Year's Eve bash, including DJs on two levels (hot electro act Yes Giantess, locals Autorock, Audio Ammo, Chris Burns, Metaphysical and more), free food and an all-night open bar (tickets are $50 for free booze from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m., $25 if you want drinks only until 11 and $15 if you would rather drink a la carte).
Five band Friday night punk show at a church! If that sounds like the perfect way to start your weekend, then St. Stephen's Church is where you'll want to be. Reliably rocking hardcore vets Cloak/Dagger and louder/faster punks Red Dons are on the bill but the highlight for this show is Jeff the Brotherhood, a Nashville guitar and drums duo that plays efficient and exceptional songs that are a bit garage, a bit psychedelic and plenty noisy. Teenage Hate and D.O.C. also perform.
No Control is the odd one out of the Black Cat's DJ party lineup. You've got your Britpop nights, Depeche Mode and Cure tributes, your Prince-vs-Mechagodzilla, but No Control is the only one that's not designed with booty shaking in mind. Instead, it's a "dance party" that's all about old-school punk rock and hardcore, played as loud as possible, while the crowd vigorously pogos and moshes. (Still no stage diving allowed, though.) It's not the scene that some other nights can be, and wah-hey, it's free. Double win.
Where we once heard about this bottle service lounge and that DJ-driven nightclub, things have been kind of quiet on K Street lately. Is it the economy? People suffering from bottle service fatigue? Whatever the case, Tattoo is trying to get some buzz back by booking well-known DJ Dirty Hands -- most recently of Fly Fridays -- to anchor its new "Cheers at Tattoo Bar" night. This includes free Grey Goose cocktails for all between 9 and 10 and free shots for the whole bar at 2. You can do bottle service if you want -- $369 for a bottle of Grey Goose, a bottle of the frankly awful Sex vodka and cans of Red Bull -- but you'd be better off using the free drinks as a good start to the evening.
Saturday, July 24
A weekend of events dubbed "Howl In the City," celebrating the most famous poem by Allen Ginsberg and presented in conjunction with "Beat Memories," the current National Gallery exhibition of his photos, concludes with a free concert by Kyp Malone, a musician who is clearly influenced by Ginsberg, and not just creatively. Both men are best known for their art, but also easily identified by their thick, lustrous beards. The name Kyp Malone may get some quizzical stares but say "the dude with the huge beard from TV on the Radio" and people will know exactly who you are talking about. Malone plays guitar for those art rock faves and also performs as a solo artist, favoring quieter, more experimental fare. That's going to be what he plays at tonight's free show, which will be opened by local violinist Matthew Hemerlein.
"Grown and sexy" has been cheapened to describe graceless party behavior dressed up in nice clothing. Sure, a little bacchanalian activity consisting of popping bottles and getting your grind on is occasionally acceptable, but it's decidedly neither grown nor sexy, even if you're wearing a suit. If you want to step up your grown-up game, bring a companion down to the Carlyle Club for A Tribute to the Music of Chaka Khan, Anita Baker, and Gladys Knight curated by the Brencore All-Star Band.
We get lots of questions asking where to bachelorette the night away with '80s tunes. Here's the latest answer: The Totally '80s promoters, who've run the killer '80s -themed parties at Tattoo as well as the annual Voodoo Valentine's gathering, are hosting an "I Love the '80s" party at Funxion with DJs playing sing-along songs all night. RSVP on dc80s.com for a premium open bar from 10 to 11 and free admission all night. Just that easy.
Two cities of artists come together at the Warehouse Loft for underground party people who get it in until sunrise. Besides bringing together talent from D.C. and New York, this evening -- dubbed DCxNY -- also bridges the hip-hop and dance worlds. Verbal wizard Homeboy Sandman has been wowing critics, experimental rap fans and staunch hip-hop traditionalists. For DCxNY, he'll be paired with drawling, in the pocket hometown star Tabi Bonney. DJ talent includes beat scientist Melo-X and the deep disco grooves of Glenn Echo as well as visuals courtesy of the Albus Cavus Collective.
Sunday, July 25
You may know Eric Hilton as one of the DJs from the wildly popular Thievery Corporation and as the owner-investor behind a number of D.C. hot spots, including the Eighteenth Street Lounge, Marvin and the Gibson. Now Hilton is about to add another title to his résumé: filmmaker. Hilton's independent movie "Babylon Central," set for release Tuesday, tells the story of a bike messenger and aspiring DJ who finds himself mixed up in Middle Eastern intrigue. Get a sneak preview of the film - and hear selections from its star-studded soundtrack - at Eighteenth Street Lounge's film release party. As "Babylon Central" screens, Hilton, Ocote Soul Sounds and John Bowen of local VJs Video Killers will provide tunes to set the mood. There's no cover charge, and the first 25 people through the door will receive a copy of the film and the latest issue of the hip-hop journal Wax Poetics. RSVP to email@example.com for priority admission, and arrive early: The past few times Hilton has graced the DJ booth at ESL, the line has stretched down the block.
Weekend matinee shows at Silver Spring's Quarry House Tavern have become one of the area's best-kept secrets. The beer is cheap, the burgers are good and the rock-and-roll is plentiful. Shows usually tend to be more on the punk/garage side of things, but on Sunday it's more toe-tapping than thrashy as local indie-pop faves Title Tracks bring their precise and peppy tunes to the basement bar. Also performing are North Carolina's Hammer No More the Fingers, who sound exactly like an indie rock band from North Carolina should sound - fractured songs, weird melodies, sort of like Archers of Loaf. Demon Beat fills the venue's garage rock quotient for the afternoon.
Summer is really getting to a lot of people -- you've got that New Year's Eve party on Friday at the Rock and Roll Hotel, and now the Rams Head Tavern is hosting "Christmas in July." Think festive decorations, spiked eggnog and special kegs of Fordham's seasonal Dopplebock, a dark lager that's usually not available in warm months. Taps open at 10 a.m., and there's no cover charge. If you're good, you may win a special gift from Santa: Two tickets to see Kix at the Rams Head in December.
Tanya Morgan distinguishes themselves in multiple ways. The name might imply a singer-songwriter or R&B vocalist, but Tanya Morgan is actually a trio of MCs. Just by virtue of being a well-balanced group they stand out on a hip-hop landscape that focuses more on solo rappers. And they're thriving on an old tried and true formula of exceptional devotion to beats and rhymes. No gimmick of the week electro tracks, no off-key emo rap singing, just spitting bars with healthy doses of wit and humor. The Kickdrums join Tanya Morgan at DC9.
Tuesday, July 27
Starting his journey as a voice of Rio de Janeiro's impoverished favelas, Seu Jorge is now a cultural ambassador, thespian and international music star. A self-taught vocalist and guitarist, Jorge emerged with a new spin on the sounds of samba in the early '90s as part of the band Farofa Carioca. His palette has continued to expand, with forays into folk, pop and even an album of David Bowie covers in Portuguese that was one of the milestones of his career thanks to its use in the movie "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou." Jorge's acting turn as Knockout Ned in "City of God" garnered him more acclaim. Jorge's current project is Almaz, a collaboration with drummer Pupillo, guitarist Lucio Maia, bassist Antonio Pinto and a reunion with producer Mario Caldato Jr., who sculpted Jorge's first solo album. Timed for release with the group's first American tour, which stops tonight at the 9:30 Club, the Seu Jorge and Almaz project includes a diverse collection of covers, from Jorge Ben to Roy Ayers and even Kraftwerk, as well as more fresh takes on samba-soul.
Soul Parlour is back on at Funxion tonight. This happy hour and networking event allows budding selectors to show up with their portable music players of choice, plug in and share short sets in between mixes from DJ Jahsonic. The tastes tend to run towards the soul side of things but the only requirement is to be creative. As hot as the beats are on the album, if you drop some of that new Rick Ross, you might get funny looks.
-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
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