There's something for every taste this week: A mix of rising indie-rock groups (Title Tracks, Casper Bangs) and scene veterans (Tommy Lepson, Eric Brace and Last Train Home) play tribute to the artists of the British Invasion at Strathmore over two nights. '80s hitmaker Jellybean Benitez -- producer of Madonna's early hits, remixer of Whitney Houston, Huey Lewis and the "Flashdance" theme -- takes the decks at U Street Music Hall. Trombone Shorty brings the sounds of Treme to D.C. Plus the Crystal Method pays Fur a visit, Public Enemy's DJ hosts a free after-party, a new club opens its doors and local clubs are swamped by garage rock.
Wednesday, Aug. 11
If there's one concert the 20-somethings and their parents can agree on this week, it's the two-night Tribute to the British Invasion at Strathmore. The younger crowd can look forward to some of the area's hottest indie rock bands paying homage to the hits of the '60s, including Title Tracks covering the Who and Casper Bangs performing as the Kinks. Their parents can explain the origins of the phrase "Merseybeat" after listening to Eric Brace and Last Train Home strum the songs of Gerry and the Pacemakers. (Other musical guests, who may be taking on anyone from the Moody Blues to the Beatles, include Patty Reese, Tommy Lepson, Billy Coulter and the Hall Monitors.) And starting at 5:30 p.m., hit the tiki bar on the outdoor patio.
Ty Segall has only been releasing music for a few years but it's already pretty much impossible to own all of his work. He's appeared on so many random, limited-edition 7" records cassettes and compilations that a guaranteed-to-be-excellent rarities collection could already be made. But his latest album, "Melted," is a fine primer and his best work yet - 30 minutes of barnstorming, reverb-drenched, hook-filled garage-punk, which is exactly what you can expect him to deliver at DC9. Like the late Jay Reatard, Segall is known to make his point then make his exit at live shows. He's a bit less confrontational, though. Call it the California effect. Royal Baths and Tennis System open.
Thursday, Aug. 12
Is U Street Music Hall about to get some competition? The DJ-owned-and-operated nightspot has been getting many plaudits for its amazing sound and back-to-basics focus on the music. Big name DJs have been packing the booth since it opened. Opening tonight with a similar game plan is the Sweet Spot, owned by Palash Ahmed, of the globetrotting D.C. DJ duo Saeed and Palash, and his brother Shumon. The focus is on the sound, courtesy of a high-end Fulcrum soundsystem usually found in multi-million dollar Vegas clubs. Get a sneak peak at the 200-person club and its industrial decor at the soft opening of the weekly Sweet Spot Thursdays, hosted by DJs Chris Burns and Sami Y. There's a Facebook guest list already. Make sure you get in now, so when your friends start talking about seeing a big-name DJ there next month, you can say, "Oh, that place? I was there weeks ago." And hey, the first party is free.
Before Moneytown and Big Bad City started bringing raw funk and soul to D.C., Soul Club 51 was the monthly source for Motown hits and sweet Northern Soul. While the party's no longer being held at Chief Ike's, founder Mikhail Z. is taking his show on the road to U Street's Velvet Lounge, where TNT! mixes Northern Soul, '60s rocksteady and ska, and old-school R&B into a dancefloor-friendly party. Teddy Garcia is also in the DJ booth. The party starts at 9, and there's no cover.
Friday, Aug. 13
Jellybean Benitez is spinning at U Street Music Hall. Jellybean Benitez: resident DJ at Studio 54 and the Funhouse. Producer of Madonna's early hits "Borderline," "Holiday" and "Lucky Star." Genius remixer of "Like a Virgin," "Flashdance," "Always Something There to Remind Me" and hundreds of other '80s pop tunes, from Pat Benetar to Huey Lewis and the News to Shalamar and even Gang of Four. If you love to dance and you pass this up, you are wrong in the head.
Start with The Meters, add some Robert Randolph and throw in a rollicking second line and that's just a swipe at breaking down Trombone Shorty's formula for letting the good times roll. He got his name as a tyke, toting a piece of brass that was as long as he was tall. He's since mastered the 'bone as well as all of its family members and now takes the classic New Orleans jazz of his roots through rock, soul and funk paces to ecstatic effect. Washington's Will Rast and his Funk Ark open for Shorty before he drops his bombs at the 9:30 Club .
Dreamy music is hip in a major way these days. There are plenty of bands making chill waves with mellow jams, but part of the appeal is that there's an entire package that goes with the tunes. Specifically the band names - Washed Out, Beach House, Wild Nothing, Teen Daze, which all evoke a relaxing, somewhat retro vision of simple, sedate times. They say nothing, but there's nothing really to say. Add Memoryhouse and Twin Sister to that list. Both bands keep things plenty fluffy and floaty, and there's no agenda except to shimmer, occasionally shake and keep things pulsing along ever so gently. If only Iota could be filled with rocking chairs for an evening.
Have a beer and help an injured firefighter at Duffy's during the D.C. Fire Department's Burn Foundation Fundraiser. Pay $10 at the door and you'll get $3 Guinness, $2 Miller Lite and $3 rail drinks from 7 until close. Your $10 donation goes directly to the Burn Foundation, which provides support for firefighters injured in the line of duty as well as their families.
Who says Friday the 13th isn't lucky? Galaxy Hut is tapping a firkin of Blue Mountain's Full Nelson Pale Ale, a malty brew from Afton, Va., that's made with local hops. In cask-conditioned form, the taste should be even sweeter and smoother. The first pint is poured at 6 p.m., and it'll be gone before the end of the night.
Saturday, Aug. 14
The Crystal Method may have a lower profile now than they did in the early '90s, when "Vegas" stuck them in the vanguard of the burgeoning "electronica" explosion, but they're definitely survivors. "Drive By Night," the most recent album by the L.A. duo, features the trademark distorted breakbeats and darkly atmospheric grooves. It's not exactly breaking new ground, but it's a solid collection of songs. However, seeing the Crystal Method live is much different than listening to their albums, as they twist and remix other people's songs. Listen to a set from earlier this summer and you'll get snatches of Deadmau5, Jay-Z freestyling over Justice and deftly twisted Moby. There's a $20 cover (in advance) for this DJ set, and if you're looking to party, it's worth the price.
Don't let Flavor Flav's antics fool you -- Public Enemy still crushes stages. After you get fired up at the 9:30 Club courtesy of one of the most important groups in hip-hop history, you can rock with original Bomb Squad member and Public Enemy turntablist Johnny "Juice" Rosado at Little Miss Whiskey's. It's free.
The Sonic Circuits festival of experimental music doesn't hit town until next month, but consider Saturday's show at Comet Ping Pong a primer - two performers creating ambitious, experimental sounds all on their own. Noveller is guitarist Sarah Lipstate, and she can do shimmering and spectral as well as harsh and noisy. unFact is David Wm. Sims of sludge-rock godheads Jesus Lizard, turning the volume down for this solo project. He manages to keep his group's sinister feel without any screaming or even too much chaos. There's a more subtle darkness in his manufactured sounds.
The nomadic Mixtape dance party has finally found a home at EFN Lounge and its upstairs Motley Bar, and will be there every month for the rest of 2010 -- except for its two-year anniversary in September. True to its name, Mixtape throws together old classics (New Order, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Soho's "Hippychick") with more recent hits from Robyn, Kylie, Uffie and Kelis, all of which are eaten up by the gyrating men on the dance floor. The party goes from 10 to $2:30, and there's a $5 cover.
Sunday, Aug. 15
There's a good chance that the awesomeness that Wednesday's Ty Segall show will leave you in the mood for more thrashy West Coast garage rock. Good thing the Moonhearts will be performing at Quarry House Tavern on Sunday afternoon. The California trio will indeed be playing some dates in other cities with Segall but in Silver Spring will be sharing the bill with Pujol, a Nashville-based garage-pop act that plays songs overflowing with hooks and a touch of T-Rex glaminess. Local newcomers the Lolitas also perform.
The liner notes of Zo's album "Sunstorm" feature a sepia-toned photograph of an afro'ed infant gleefully clutching old soul records. Fast-forward a few years and the tot is a school kid practicing his piano lessons with adult-like focus, the afro still connecting him to the stars on the covers of those beloved records. Multi-instrumentalist and producer Zo has birthed a strain of modern R&B with hip-hop in its DNA, but he never lets you forget that his musical architecture builds on a structure erected by old masters. On "Sunstorm," everything from a Midwest-style stepper anthem, quiet-storm ballads and a soaring jazz-fusion flight bear the imprint of a student well-schooled in both modern beats and the work of Quincy Jones and the Mizell Brothers. The album features contributions from a who's who of modern soul, including Jesse Boykins III, Eric Roberson and Darien Brockington. The release party, tonight at U Street Music Hall, should be a celebration.
Monday, Aug. 16
Just in time for the end of the summer, there's another rooftop pool party for your lounging pleasure. Drift Mondays takes place atop the ever-popular (and always-exclusive) Donovan House hotel on Thomas Circle, but the early-in-the-week timing means that it's less likely to be overrun with revelers than the Thursday and Friday soirees. That's not to say that Drift is any less cool: The classic hip-hop and R&B tunes are spun by DJ Doc Rok (of the Rock and Roll Hotel's Beat Market party), and there are $5 drink specials all night, enjoyed by a well-dressed crowd. Admission is free, though an RSVP on Facebook is recommended (search for Drift Mondays).
Tuesday, Aug. 17
Fergus & Geronimo is a band to keep an eye on. Coming from Denton, Tex., and armed with a well-informed, effortless indie-pop sound, the group recently signed to Hardly Art, after a handful of releases on labels such as Tic Tac Totally, Transparent and Woodsist. It's an impressive run for a band that's only been around for a couple years and started out as a side project. The group has more than a few moves in its arsenal, so don't always expect one song to sound like the next - maybe a little mod-pop followed by doo-wop-soul - but expect it to easily keep your attention. Fergus & Geronimo open for Archivists at the Velvet Lounge.
-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
| August 10, 2010; 4:25 PM ET
Categories: Bars and Clubs, Events, Music
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