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Posted at 7:09 PM ET, 09/14/2010

Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn

Gwenno Saunders of British inide girl group the Pipettes trades the stage for the DJ booth at Mousetrap this Saturday. (2007 AP Photo)

The Congressional Black Caucus returns to town for its annual conference, which meants happy hours, DJ parties and John Legend. Also on tap: Oktoberfest beer, righteous hip-hop from Dead Prez, a swinging night out with Doc Scantlin, BBC DJ Annie Mac, a religious experience dancing to Timmy Regisford, the final Maison pool party of the year and a big celebration for Mixtape's second anniversary.

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday

Wednesday, Sept. 15
On Saturday, the mayor of Munich will tap the first keg of Oktoberfest beer with the cry "O'zapft is!" ("It's tapped!") Local bars and beer halls are gearing up for the weeks-long celebration. Gordon Biersch gets the party started a little early with tonight's tapping of its Oktoberfest beer. The annual affair features the ceremonial tapping of a wooden keg of beer, an oompah band, free appetizers and, of course, giant liter mugs known in Germany as a Mass, each of which holds a whopping 33 ounces of beer. The party runs from 6 to 9, and there's no cover charge, though beers cost about $12.

The Congressional Black Caucus' 40th Legislative Conference begins Wednesday, and as always, there are many bars and clubs trying to take advantage of the crowds of attendees by offering unofficial happy hours, concerts and events. At Ozio, for example, the Rendezvous party is offering free sweet tea vodka from 7 to 8:30, half-price appetizers and drink specials until 9, and '80s and '90s music provided by DJs Top Choice and Cuzzin B.

Though the floods of Pakistan have receded from world headlines, the situation is still dire: millions of people without homes, food and day-to-day necessities. Relief4Pakistan, run by the international aid organization Mercy Corps, is trying to help. There's a fundraising happy hour at Science Club from 6 to 8. Donate $10 at the door, and you'll get a free drink of your choice as a thank you, plus happy hour specials all night.

So the good folks at Brightest Young Things have cooked up a D.C. food truck cook-off party next month, and they're going to get the hype rolling -- something BYT excels at -- by hosting a happy hour with the Chinatown Coffee Company. The plan involves $3 beers from 6 to 8 and the chance to buy snacks from a couple of food trucks.

We love the Whale, the monthly cosmic disco night hosted by local DJ duo Beautiful Swimmers. We love it even more when they bring in guest DJs who help create a spacey and funky vibe. But we love it most when a live act takes the stage between some of the DJ sets, and that's what we have this week. Steve Summers will deliver a set of crisp, hard-hitting techno between retro-future funk at U Street Music Hall.

Thursday, Sept. 16
One of the times Fritz is most thankful for the Internet: Fridays at 2 p.m. That's when the Annie Mac show broadcasts on BBC Radio 1 in the United Kingdom and online at Irish DJ Annie Mac is a champion of fresh, forward-thinking dance music, whether a grooving electro tune by the Swedish House Mafia, bass-rattling dubstep with vocals by Dizzee Rascal or the latest remixes of Jay-Z or Chromeo. Studio guests, including Tiga and Cee-Lo, only add to the fun with special mini-mixes. But the real reason to keep coming back is because she constantly plays tracks that other DJs haven't discovered. That's why it is such a surprise - and a rare treat - to see Annie Mac spinning stateside. She's appearing at U Street Music Hall to kick off a six-date U.S. tour alongside Baltimore's Scottie B. and Cullen Stalin.

A lot of you will be flitting about town rubbing shoulders with legislators and celebrities then dropping by various bottle service lounges in your business attire due to CBC week. That's cool. But if you're down by the Convention Center, you might as well try something a bit different this week, especially if you're entertaining out-of-towners and want to stand out among the sea of power suits. Stop by the Cre8 Space gallery for drinks, desserts and sounds by DJ Cam Jus and DJ Saucee at the opening party for the Politique pop up shop. Thursday through Saturday, the gallery will be transformed into a temporary fashion boutique featuring local and independent clothing and jewelry designers.

More CBC madness: R&B star John Legend hosts the Taste of D.C. -- not a foodie event -- at the Park at 14th from 5 to 10. RSVP to for free admission, an open bar from 5 to 7, and more mixing and mingling than you can shake your tailfeathers at.

Dead Prez's emergence 10 years ago seemed to come at an odd time, as the duo's hyper-left political stance and back-to-basics musical style landed it somewhere between N.W.A. and Public Enemy - a good eight years after conscious, Afro-centric rap crested. But while many a rapper donned red, black and green liberation colors and rode the coattails of such landmark acts as X-Clan and Brand Nubian, Dead Prez wasn't flirting with revolution as trend. It was actually quite sincere. The rawness of "Let's Get Free" appealed to fans of Mobb Deep and 2Pac, while songs referencing the police state, healthy eating and the failures of the educational system endeared the duo to politically minded hip-hop fans adrift in an era of thugs and shiny suits. Dead Prez's anthem "Hip-Hop" appealed to all the partisan corners of the rap-fan populace. A decade later, the hip-hop landscape is again drastically different, but Dead Prez has remained doggedly consistent over six subsequent releases, only one of which was on a major label. They're performing at Liv.

The career of Joe "Joe the Bartender" Scialom sounds like rich material for a 1960s novel: A man who speaks eight languages fluently and works in famed hotels around the world, including Paris's Ritz, New York's Four Seasons and Cairo's Shepheard's Hotel, invents that tiki-bar staple the Suffering Bastard and numerous other cocktails, and is frequently suspected of espionage because his regular customers include diplomats and journalists. Learn more about this continental man of mystery at a special seminar at the Occidental organized by the Museum of the American Cocktail. Tiki guru Jeff "Beachbum" Berry, who wrote a book about Scialom, will talk about Joe the Bartender's life and offer samples of some of his most famous concoctions, paired with food from the Occidental. The event starts at 7. Tickets are $45 in advance or $50 at the door.

Friday, Sept. 17
Timmy Regisford playing at U Street Music Hall is the house music equivalent of the Pope leaving the Vatican to celebrate Mass at FedEx Field. This isn't a sacrilegious analogy, as Regisford's followers at the legendary Shelter nightclub in New York have elevated their dance rituals to the level of sacrament. Shelter heads have a dedication and reverence to the way Regisford blends his selections that extends an evening under the Maestro's control well into the brunch hour the following day. Timmy Regisford sets are spiritual experiences that people cross multiple state lines to experience, sometimes on a weekly basis.

We often hear from readers who are looking for a fun night out but think that the crowd at most nightclubs skews a little young. That's when we're happy to recommend the Carlyle Club, an Alexandria supper club whose curved booths and elaborate sconces recall the nightspots of the '30s and '40s. Featured performers have ranged from Rat Pack impersonators to Motown star Martha Reeves, but it's always nice to see our own Doc Scantlin and His Imperial Palms Orchestra on the bill. It's pure entertainment out of the days of radio: Doc, clad in a tuxedo with tails, jives like Cab Calloway while his 18-piece band performs hits by Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman and George Gershwin. Wife Chou-Chou's breathy croon recalls Betty Boop, or possibly Marilyn Monroe. And between sets, there are dancing cigarette girls. This is a night that's really like nothing else in the area. Note that the cover charge is the same whether you have dinner reservations or want to hang out at the bar. (You'll probably spend half the night on the dance floor.)

A rare phenomenon will be on display when Superchunk plays at the 9:30 Club on Friday night. No, not the sight of a band onstage that was most successful in the '90s. That's a regular occurrence these days. But that one of those '90s bands will be playing brand new material that makes for the highlights of the evening? That's a rarity. "Majesty Shredding," the first album in nine years from Superchunk, is a career highlight, filled with the same brand of tuneful, fist-pumping anthems that first made the group indie-rock icons. During its recording hiatus the band's infrequent live shows continued to stir up a pogo-inducing mania, and that should continue to be the case with a new batch of hits at its disposal.

If you prefer bands in the midst of their prime instead of experiencing their second prime, it's hard to find a better option than No Age at the Black Cat. The L.A. group has smoothed out its rough edges a bit on its upcoming album, "Everything In Between," trading in some shards of noise for more upfront hooks. It's the group's best collection of songs to date and cements its status as one of indie rock's best acts.

Every week seems to bring the end of another favorite summer event. This time, it's Maison, the monthly dose of French house and electro music that turned the Donovan House hotel's rooftop into a raging pool party. The event won't be ending after tonight -- just moving back into the basement of Napoleon for the fall and winter. That means you have one more chance to throw on some Saint Tropez-worthy beachwear and spend the night dancing and flirting at one of the city's top gay parties. It's free and starts at 8, so don't be late -- we've seen lines going out through the lobby doors over the past few months.

Saturday, Sept. 18
Nightlife insider secret: the best parties don't only happen once the sun has gone down. The Forward Vision Group's outstanding Day Parties bring a nightclub vibe to broad daylight. They are back at kstreet Lounge for a Congressional Black Caucus-related party. Doors open at 3 p.m. for cocktails and dancing to music spun by DJ Kaos and DJ Cuzzin B. Dress to impress, even though it's the middle of the afternoon, and get there early -- these events fill up fast. The fun lasts until 8 p.m., when it's time to pack up and have dinner before heading to the next event of the night.

The Pipettes, the British trio whose neo-girl group harmonies and matching polka-dotted outfits created an Internet sensation back in 2006, has a new album out in the U.K. Here's the catch: None of the three singers involved in the original project appear on the album, because they've all left the group. And in the four years since their debut CD "We Are the Pipettes" was released, two of the replacements (who joined after the album was recorded) have been replaced themselves. All very confusing. The lone voice that remains from the debut is Gwenno Saunders, a former Welsh TV host and soap opera actress. She's DJing at this month's Mousetrap Britpop night at the Black Cat. We have no idea what she'll be spinning -- the Pipettes' new singles sound more '80s pop than indie Phil Spector. Whatever it is, it should go down well with DJ Mark Zimin's usual blend of Oasis, the Stone Roses, Belle and Sebastin and the Smiths.

The popular Mixtape dance party is celebrating its second anniversary by taking over the entire Rock & Roll Hotel. Instead of DJs Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer trading off '80s hits, indie rock, club remixes and alternative grooves on the decks, this party finds Bailer spinning on the main floor while Van Horn works the upstairs lounge. (Take a listen to a preview.) Since it's a festive occasion, there are drink specials all night, including $3 PBR drafts and $5 citrus vodka-and-Red Bull cocktails. Doors open at 10 with free admission until 11. You'll pay $5 after that.

Fatback returns to Liv this month for another hyper-sweaty, hyper-fun dance party. By now you should know the drill: no cover, no dress code, no end to the relentlessly funky mix of soul, R&B and disco hits. Doors open at 10.

Sunday, Sept. 19
Want a taste of U Street Music Hall in Arlington? Outputmessage performing at Galaxy Hut is about as close as you'll get. One of the most underrated local electronic acts is capable of getting the U Street spot moving on a busy weekend -- as with last Saturday's slot opening for Miami Horror. But he can also tone things down -- less Red Bull and vodka, more imperial stout. Micah Vellain -- another U-Hall regular -- is also on the bill at the Hut.

-- Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz

By Fritz Hahn  | September 14, 2010; 7:09 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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The GOG listing for Dead Prez has them performing Thursday night at both Liv and Sonar in Baltimore at 8pm, and neither the Bohemian Caverns website nor the Liv website have any info -- how can I go see them??

Posted by: amber_c | September 15, 2010 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Amber, Dead Prez is at Liv on Thursday and Sonar on Saturday. It's all confirmed on the Dead Prez Web site (if you're in the office, it plays music):

Posted by: Fritz Hahn | September 15, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Ah, it's been a few years since I've seen Doc Scatlin and HIPO. He showed frequently at Glen Echo for their many (and still available) swing nights many years ago. Nice that he has good digs to do his show now although Glen Echo was the real thing in the 30s and 40s.

Yes, this is saying I need to get together and see him one more time. Or maybe more than that. He's been a terrific act, and a local treasure.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | September 15, 2010 6:15 PM | Report abuse

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