Nightlife Agenda: Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, hockey and hangover cures
New Year's Eve is obviously the biggest event of the week, but it's not the only thing going on -- dance your hangover away with local DJ showcases at U Street Music Hall and Science Club, reminisce over the glory days of hip-hop with Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth, cheer on the Washington Capitals at Winter Classic viewing parties, get funky with Trombone Shorty or drop into the Black Cat to watch cult movies while sipping discounted cocktails.
Wednesday, Dec. 29
We've sung the praises of The Whale plenty of times in this column, so you know we recommend checking out the final 2010 edition Wednesday at U Street Music Hall. It's a great chance to enjoy some cosmic funk from resident DJs Beautiful Swimmers and enjoy the club when there is a bit of breathing room to dance.
Thursday, Dec. 30
Going out on New Year's Eve is always a hassle -- lines, crowds, the impossibility of hailing a cab. The Washington Film Institute has come up with a way to celebrate without these inconveniences: The Eve of the Eve Dance Party at the Warehouse Theatre. It has all the trappings of a New Year's Eve party -- a DJ and light show, cocktails, and a cocktail-attire-requested dress code -- but it's on Thursday night. Proceeds from the $25 tickets go to help WFI programs in 2011, and when you buy a ticket in advance, you'll be asked what dance tunes you'd like to hear the DJ spin at the party.
The east coast was still enamored with James Brown samples and the west coast was still mining P-Funk records when Pete Rock emerged to put his stamp on hip-hop with his unique production talents. He blended the fast tempos and big drums of early '90s New York hip-hop with filtered and warped jazz sounds and echoing horns, creating classic remixes for other artists before uniting with C.L. Smooth to form one of the best producer/rapper duos in history. C.L.'s complex wordplay and smooth voice seemed tailor-made for Rock's layered compositions, and the formula was brilliant over the course of three projects. Like many golden age acts, the duo has patched up the differences that ended their work together in order to meet massive fan demand. The Chocolate Boy Wonder and the Mecca Don reunite at the Black Cat for a trip through timeless hip-hop classics like "T.R.O.Y.", "I Got A Love" and "The Creator."
Saturday, Jan. 1
With all the hype around New Year's Eve, it's easy to forget that in 2011, New Year's Day also falls on a weekend. After raging the night before, you'll probably want to take things easy - and also not do too much damage to your hurting wallet. So check this out: DJs from a couple of D.C.'s top dance parties are joining forces for something they call Buddies at Science Club. No cover, no dress code, and the lineup includes Gavin Holland and Nacey (Nouveau Riche at U Street Music Hall), Meistro and Deep Sang (Dirty Bombs at Wonderland) and Stereofaith (Sorted and the Mousetrap at the Black Cat), who will be trading off hip-hop, funk and electro beats all night long.
If you treat New Year's Day as a day of recovery and relaxation, then catching Trombone Shorty at 9:30 Club probably isn't how you want to spend the first night of 2011. The 24-year-old New Orleans native is a party unto himself, with enough charisma and showmanship to become a breakout star even though his jazz-funk romps are far from mainstream fare. He wins people one night at a time with a musical tour of his hometown, with his six-piece backing band adding plenty of oomph. On 2011's first night, the bar will be set very high for party of the year.
U Street Music Hall is the consensus choice for The Best Thing to Happen to D.C. Nightlife in 2010, and the popular DJ bar is rewarding the masses with a free New Year's Day party that showcases 14 local DJs. The Hangover Cure's lineup is a diverse mix of the familiar and up-and-coming: Dimitris George of Hipster Overkill, punk-loving DJ Denman, Jackie O of Kids and $weat$shop, drum'n'bass and dubstep specialist Harry Ransom -- we could go on. What you need to know: Great music, free admission if you're 21 and over ($10 if not), and everyone gets a free pho dog and bloody mary on arrival. You really can't beat that.
If you can't make the trip up to Pittsburgh to cheer on the Capitals in the Winter Classic - the outdoor hockey game against the hated Penguins - you can gather with other fans to show your support for Ovie and the team. The best views will be at Arlington Cinema 'N Drafthouse, which is showing the game on its movie screen for free. The Capitals are sponsoring a party at Union Jack's in Ballston Common, which is just downstairs from their Kettler practice rink. Slapshot, the team's mascot, will be in the building, and the bar is raffling off a hockey stick signed by all the Capitals players. Doors open at 11 a.m., and food and drink special will be available during the game.
YahZarah imagines herself as the metaphorical offspring of Tina Turner and Grace Jones, but when she's inhabiting her sassy and sensual Purple St. James persona, it's not a stretch to imagine her on the same stage with the original Purple One. At Blues Alley, the Duke Ellington grad will summon a number of surprise musical guests for two sets paying tribute to Prince's songbook.
DC9 found itself in the news for all the wrong reasons in 2010, a shame considering how many great shows the club held in 2010. The venue reopened earlier this month, and a special "Hangover Edition" of the Liberation Dance Party features free admission (instead of the usual $7 cover) and an open bar on rail drinks from 9 to 10, plus DJs spinning a mix of indie rock, electro, dubstep and other hot genres. Doors open at 9.
With the Mousetrap taking its final bow last weekend, the Black Cat's quarterly Razzmatazz night now finds itself one of the city's last (and most high-profile) guitar-centric dance parties. It offers that fix of Pulp, Blur, New Order, David Bowie and the Rolling Stones, plus a heap of up-and-coming bands from England and Brooklyn that you should have read about a few weeks ago. Tickets are $5 at the door.
Sunday, Jan. 2
The period right after New Year's Eve is traditionally the slowest time of year for live music. But that doesn't mean there's nothing going on. The Black Cat kicks off its annual Drink and a Movie series: Four nights of free double features and themed drink specials on the back stage. The series kicks off with "Best Worst Movies" on Sunday night -- think "Showgirls" and "Troll II" paired with $3 "Shots of Shame." Kung-Fu flicks and $3 grasshopper cocktails follow on Monday, the ever-popular John Hughes films and $5 mimosas featured on Tuesday, and everything wraps up with 1930s black-and-white "Keep it Classy" films and $5 Tanqueray and tonics on Wednesday. Doors open at 8:30 nightly; check out the recently redesigned Black Cat Web site for trailers and more information.
Monday, Jan. 3
Only a few years ago, the Baltimore music scene was best known for churning out bands that played spastic, art-damaged punk. There are still plenty of those types floating around in the underground but bands such as Beach House and Wye Oak have made the city also a hub for delicate dream-pop. Lower Dens specializes in this sound, with Jana Hunter's hushed, haunting vocals and the quartet's slightly psychedelic excursions making debut album "Twin-Hand Movement" a popular pick on "Most Overlooked in 2010" lists. Make sure not to overlook them, especially since Monday's performance at the Kennedy Center is free.
Drink and a Movie at the Black Cat (see Sunday listing)
Tuesday, Jan. 4
Drink and a Movie at the Black Cat (see Sunday listing)
Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
| December 28, 2010; 2:08 PM ET
Categories: Bars and Clubs, Events, Music
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