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Posted at 5:54 PM ET, 08/ 3/2010

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

Six D.C. and Baltimore DJs join forces at U Street Music Hall to raise money for DJ Stereo Faith (above), who is facing brain surgery. (Photo by Fitsum Belay/iLLIMETER)

One of our favorite summer traditions returns this week: D.C. rockers form one-off cover bands at the Black Cat to raise money for charity. The Nightlife Agenda also features go-go legends Junkyward Band celebrating the group's 30th anniversary with a special concert, DJs Scottie B., Will Eastman and Tittsworth raising money for a fellow turntablist, a summer-themed party that benefits the families of wounded soldiers, an '80s-style prom, Jeru the Damaja, new beers, the Ohio Players -- yes, those Ohio Players -- and DJs Cosmo Baker, Wolfgang Gartner and Seba. Oh, and Gucci Mane.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Wednesday, Aug. 4
DJ Stereo Faith has been a mainstay on D.C.'s alternative DJ scene for years. His parties - including Sorted, Feedback and Sneakers in the Club - have gotten crowds moving to indie rock, electro bangers, punk and Britpop at the Black Cat, Wonderland and DC9. So when word got out that Stereo Faith (a.k.a. Steve McPherson) had to have brain surgery, fellow DJs organized a fundraiser called Keeping the Faith at U Street Music Hall to help pay his medical bills. The lineup is as diverse as Stereo Faith's record collection: Baltimore Club maven Scottie B is on tap for house and disco; Will Eastman of Bliss will be dropping indie rock and post-punk; rising local rapper Tabi Bonney is set to spin hip-hop; Tittsworth will head back to his roots with an all-drum 'n' bass set; and Dave Nada will carry the torch for Baltimore Club. There is no set cover charge, but guests are asked to donate at least $5. All the money collected and a percentage of food and drink sales will be donated to Stereo Faith.

When that demented marimba loop and DJ Premier's giant drums kick in on Jeru the Damaja's "Come Clean," necks snap to their limits. Jeru isn't cowed by the power of the backing track of his 1993 hit, as he fills the song with timelessly quotable lines. As a core member of the Gang Starr Foundation, Jeru contributed two classic albums to the hip-hop canon. He's the centerpiece of Beat Grinder at Liv. This long-running hip-hop showcase highlights craftsmen of beats, and the lineup of D.C. producers this evening includes Jon Laine, Kokayi, Nick tha 1da, Eurok and Surock.

Thursday, Aug. 5
Much like his contemporary Robert Glasper, Jose James is well versed in the long arc of jazz while approaching his craft with the hip-hop perspective of his generation. Where Glasper specializes in all things keyboard, James is a vocalist who styles songs in ways that fans of Jon Lucien or John Coltrane would appreciate. His balladry is classic, his improv well honed and he can ride a beat like an emcee or a soul singer. James returns to Bohemian Caverns for another widely anticipated visit.

In summer, few beers refresh like a saison, the traditional cloudy, lightly spicy summer ale from Belgium. (After all, it was first brewed to be served to workers in the fields at harvest time.) Stillwater and Brasserie Dupont make great Saisons, and closer to home, Fordham Brewing Company is unveiling its own at the Rams Head taverns in Annapolis and Savage tonight. We wish we could tell you what we thought of the beer, but this is the first time the brewery is selling it. Here's the deal: Your first pint, which comes in a commemorative glass, is $4 between 4 and 6 p.m. Refills are $1 each after that. And the usual Rams Head happy-hour deals apply: $2.50 house beers from 4 to 7 p.m. and free food from 5 to 7 p.m. No cover charge or minimum.

Wolfgang Gartner's hard, scuzzy electro bangers (and Teutonic name) might have you thinking he's the latest hot DJ/producer to emerge from a Berlin nightclub. In truth, he's Joey Youngman from Austin, but his beats are legit -- check the dance floor-friendly remixes he has done for MSTRKRFT and Britney Spears or the techy tunes he has released on his own Kindergarten label. (They're all on his MySpace page.) Gartner is in town to spin at Lima, and it should be a fantastic night. Tickets are $20 in advance from clubglow.com; doors open at 10.

Friday, Aug. 6
When U Street Music Hall set out elevate the level of dance clubs in Washington, one of the first ideas was a homage to the beloved underground house club Red. Since then, Red Fridays have followed the same formula as their namesake, a spectrum of deep and soulful house sounds delivered by veteran locals and big stars to feed the appetites of serious dancers. This week's pairing of must-see spinners is Philly's doctor of records Cosmo Baker and D.C. house grandfather Sam "The Man" Burns. Baker is one of the best open-format DJs in the game, who mastered rocking a vast variety of genres on vinyl before digital DJing made it much easier. There's really no genre of music he can't play convincingly and none he hasn't studied extensively. Booking a vibe chameleon like Baker for a house night is an intriguing choice that will lead the dance floor in unexpected directions, as a skilled musicologist can connect house to elements of funk, disco and jazz.

Don't worry if you can't make it to the beach this weekend, because Luke's Wings is bringing the beach party to you. The local charity, which raises money to help families of wounded soldiers visit their loved ones, is hosting a tropical fiesta at Georgetown's exclusive L2 Lounge. Try your hand at a mechanical surf board, jump into the limbo contest or play Twister. The dress code is something to consider: Do you go Hawaiian shirt and cut-offs as a "beach bum" or glam it up with "San Tropez attire"? Either way, admission is $20 in advance or $30 at the door, but since capacity is limited, you might want to buy them now. Get yours -- and read more about the charity -- at lukeswings.org.

It's been quite a year for Gucci Mane. The Atlanta rapper's laid-back drawl and trademark "burr!" have been inescapable as he has appeared on hundreds of tracks spread out over a handful of mixtapes, albums and guest spots. If the constant stream of releases wasn't enough to keep him in the headlines, his trip to -- and release from -- prison did the trick. He has become a bit of a divisive figure in the rap world (even in the Nightlife Agenda authors' world) but it's hard to deny that not since Weezy ascended to his throne has another rapper been the center of such a whirlwind of attention. Gucci is scheduled to perform at DC Star tonight; we don't know exactly when or for how long, but it may very well be worth the hassle.

It's going to be a busy night at the Black Cat. The first Friday of the month means a return of the woman-centric Think of England happy hour, this time featuring the Pinstriped Rebel (of Marx Cafe's indie Taking the Piss night) playing songs by female artists. DJ Roulette opens the party in the Red Room. Besides the music, you get bartender Lili Montoya whipping up special cocktails for the occasion; last month's selection was a delightful punch made with fresh watermelon. Happy hour runs from 7 to 9 p.m., followed by the always-a-good-time Kicks! dance party on the backstage, where the Ramones rub shoulders with the Rolling Stones and Johnny Thunders follows the Vivian Girls.

Meanwhile, upstairs is the return of DJ Lil' E's '80s Prom. This time around, the theme is "Love Will Tear Us Apart" -- the first clue that the usual Madonna/Michael Jackson '80s night lovefest isn't in store. Instead, Lil' E's tastes are more solidly in the vein of New Order, the Human League, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and Erasure, though you'll get singalongs by the Violent Femmes, Modern English and the Smiths, too. As you might expect, there will be a prom picture booth, a costume contest (so wear your best '80s prom attire) and the crowning of a king and queen at 12:30. The cover charge is $10.

Moneytown at Little Miss Whiskey's remains your best bet for dancing to (and listening to) the funkiest rare soul tunes, and this month's soiree should be extra special. Joining DJ Nitekrawler on the decks for an encore performance is Dante Carfagna, the Chicago author/DJ/record collector/Memphix Records head whose knowledge of rare vinyl is off the charts. The only way you'll stop dancing is by choice.

Saturday, Aug. 7
One of the annual highlights of the Black Cat's summer calendar is Run for Cover, an evening when local musicians form one-time cover bands to raise money for charity. (This year's funds go to the summer concert series at Fort Reno.) You may not see much musical virtuosity, but the campy entertainment value is always off the charts. Half the fun is guessing which bands get the cover treatment based on the names of the acts. Dr. Feelgreat - Motley Crue? Tron Petty - synth-pop takes on Tom Petty songs? And we can only hope, no, pray that We Got Da Butt is a group that plays go-go versions of Go-Go's songs.

D.C., we have one word for you: "sardines." If the response, "Hey! And pork and beans!" didn't immediately jump into your head, then you can move on to the next item. But if you're now humming the Junkyard Band's seminal 1986 go-go hit "Sardines," keep reading. JYB has come a long way since the early '80s, when the group members were banging on buckets and bottles because they couldn't afford real instruments. After years of practice (and upgrading equipment), the group became hugely popular in the Washington area, appearing in the movies "D.C. Cab" and "Good to Go-Go" and playing before packed clubs. A stint on Def Jam Records yielded the hit single "Sardines" but not much else, but that's okay - D.C. still loves Junkyard, as evidenced by the live recordings that fly out of P.A. Palace and other shops hawking go-go discs. JYB is celebrating three decades in the business with a gala party at the Capitol Skyline Hotel - all the hits, a free buffet and promised guest stars. You must be 25 and wearing proper attire to attend - just another sign of how far Junkyard has come.

We're not going to try to sell this one too hard because there's really no need. Fort DuPont, D.C. summer, Ohio Players, "Love Rollercoaster," free. There it is.

Swedish drum'n'bass DJ Seba loves him some bass. Growling, rumbling, speaker-quaking low end sounds, with skittering snare and spooky synth washes riding the beats. (Listen to a mix here.) His work for the landmark Metalheadz, Good Looking and Hospital labels has always delivered the breakbeats that d'n'b heads love. He's making a rare appearance in D.C. tonight at the Warehouse Loft, with help from MC Robert Manos (a fellow veteran of Hospital and Metalheadz releases) and DJ Stress of D.C.'s own 2Tuff crew.

Sunday, Aug. 8
Here We Go Magic is one of those bands that you can't help but use lots of hyphens when explaining its sound. Electro-folk, psych-noise, world-pop ... basically just take a handful of descriptors, mash 'em together and it may work. What's surprising is that the group's songs maintain a clarity and cohesiveness despite the different influences. It's sometimes sweeping and sometimes low-key and will keep you on your toes. The seasonally appropriate Beach Fossils open at the Black Cat.

Happy anniversary to the D.C. Jazz Jam, which is celebrating its first anniversary at Dahlak this weekend. The weekly jam -- free for both musicians and jazz-lovers -- runs from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and draws enthusiastic amateurs as well as pros. If you want to play, all you have to do is bring an instrument.

-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz

By Fritz Hahn  | August 3, 2010; 5:54 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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