This week, pump your fist and "Beat Dat Beat" with DJ Pauly D, celebrate ?uestlove's 40th birthday with a DJ set by the man himself, dance to the global grooves of Si*Se, experience the blissful-but-loud guitar melodies of The Radio Dept. or Best Coast, toast Australia Day with a special cocktail and whip your hair back and forth at a night of guilty pleasures at the Rock and Roll Hotel.
Wednesday, Jan. 26
?uestlove clearly never sleeps. The famed drummer leads the Roots nightly on Jimmy Fallon's show, he keeps a busy road schedule with the band and he also maintains a side career as a DJ. The way he rocks parties with a musicologist's blend of the well-known and the obscure borders shows he's a bit obsessed. The musical workaholic and visionary is celebrating his 40th birthday with a string of DJ gigs, and fortunately, D.C. landed one of them. The iconically Afro-ed one takes the decks at Liv.
January 26 is Australia Day down under, and though it's not widely commemorated in D.C., Room 11 chef (and Brisbane native) Ben Gilligan is bringing the spirit to his Columbia Heights bar and lounge. He's whipping up special Aussie burgers and Lamington cakes in the kitchen, and bartenders will be pouring Dark and Stormy cocktails mixed with Bundaberg, an Aussie ginger beer. They'll also debut a drink called the Buderim Fizz, named for a ginger-producing region of Australia and made with Australian Puppeteer sparkling chardonnay, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur and a cube of crystallized ginger soaked in house-made clementine bitters. Doors open at 5 p.m., and a portion of all proceeds will go to flood relief funds in Queensland.
Thursday, Jan. 27
We told you about qualifying for the H Street Karaoke Championship last week, and now the moment of truth is finally here. Congrats to the 25 winners, who will take the stage at the Rock and Roll Hotel and battle in a competition where props and performance style points are just as important to the judges as hitting every note. Curious? There's no cover charge, and doors open at 8 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 28
It seems almost cruel for a band with the name Alma Tropicalia to play during this season of 10-degree wind chills and winter storm watches. But this is when we need the band's warm sounds the most. At Comet Ping Pong, you'll hear songs that pay loving tribute to the psychedelic tropicalia music of Brazil in the '60s and '70s.
Frequent D.C. visitor Mark Farina brings his West Coast smooth house grooves to a tiny space with big sound. He joins with DJ Double o7 for a soulful, organic dance party at Sweet Spot.
Becky, the night of guilty pleasures helmed by DJs Stereofaith and Trevor Martin, returns to the Rock and Roll Hotel so the hipsters and cool kids can "ironically" let their hair down and whip it back and forth while dancing to the hits of Beyonce, Lil' John, Rihanna, Drake and 50 Cent. Then, the next day, they can honestly tell their friends "Oh, you know, I went out dancing on H Street last night." Unlike most other dance parties, these DJs actually want you to make requests -- and Stereofaith will be randomly giving away Starbucks gift cards to the folks who do. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. and there's never a cover.
Saturday, Jan. 29
The most unlikely sports anthem of 2010? It would be hard to beat "Beat Dat Beat," a club track by "Jersey Shore" DJ Pauly D. Most of the song, as it were, consists of Pauly D boasting "it takes me 25 minutes to do my hair" or "I'm so fresh I got a tanning bed in my house" over a thumping Euro-house beat. Then the fist-pumping/mind-numbing chorus of "BEAT DAT BEAT UP!" became the Washington Capitals' post-game victory song, as Dan Steinberg chronicled over on the Sports Bog. When Pauly D stopped by the Shadow Room to DJ last year, the vibe was VIP tables, champagne bottles topped with sparklers, gelled hair and cameraphones trying to capture the self-proclaimed guido's mix of house and hip-hop remixes. When Pauly D visits Fur this weekend, with a much larger room and much larger crowd, expect the vibe to be more Seaside Heights nightclub than downtown velvet rope lounge. The 18-and-over crowd won't hurt, either.
Out of New York's melting pot of international club styles comes Si*Se, a band that has been able to supply DJs with party
rocking jams as well as sonic dreamscapes and treat clubgoers to a fiesta of a live show for the last ten years. Pushed to
wider awareness by David Byrne and his Luaka Bop world music label, the band's three releases cover trip-hop, dub, house and
Latin-tinged electronica via Carol C's bilingual English and Spanish vocals. The ensemble tends to take their time between
projects, so their current EP, introduced with the sensual first single "Buscare" has fans falling in love all over again. Hear why at the Black Cat.
If the current cold spell has you feeling like you've been cooped up inside for far too long, you need to pay a visit to Shift's
Winter Ball at Cobalt, where you can shake off the winter blues with a night of sparkly tiaras and crowns, free magic wands
and indie and electro dance floor anthems courtesy of DJ MAJR and special guests vAnniety Kills and Shea Van Horn. Blue outfits
are encouraged, but not required. (Keeping with the color scheme: $3 16-ounce cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon all night.) Get a preview
of the tunes with DJ MAJR's new mix on www.shiftdc.net and show up early.
In the hands of DJ and remix whiz Sammy Bananas, DJ Webstar's "Dancing on Me" transforms into an uptempo electropop tune with synth horns and wobbly dubstep bass flourishes, and "Pop Champagne" picks up speed to become a funky, slightly gritty house track. (You can listen to both tracks here.) The New Yorker is more than a one-trick pony, though; his remixes for Chromeo and Passion Pit are slices of dance-floor sunshine. He makes his D.C. debut alongside local stalwart Gavin Holland at the freshly reopened DC9.
The Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit that works to improve beaches and water quality, also throws some pretty wicked parties. This weekend, for example, the group is taking over Eastern Market's North Hall for a "Beers for Our Boarders" party with free wine and beer, rock from local group Lethal Peanut, screenings of classic surf movies and even a chance to try your hand at surfing video games. (Our favorite? The surfing level of the original "California Games.") All you have to do is make a $10 donation to Surfrider; the group also asks you to RSVP on its Facebook page.
Monday, Jan. 31
Jam bands and rappers aren't the only musicians that make marijuana a major part of their brand. But Best Coast and Wavves are trail blazers -- emphasis on the blazers -- in the land of indie rock. The California bands, fronted by lovers Bethany Cosentino and Nathan Williams, respectively, have become blog and Twitter celebs thanks to their stoned tweets and LOLcats pictures as much as their fuzzy, lovelorn indie rock. So don't go to the 9:30 Club expecting to hear the most intelligent or coherent between-song banter. Just enjoy the memorable three-minute pop songs and goofy giggles.
If you're adrift in the rap wastelands wondering where the true spitters are, you probably aren't rocking any Joell Ortiz in your earbuds or car. The rugged Nuyorican MC is part of the modern school of underground lyricists, but he could have easily fit into a classic D.I.T.C. lineup with Big L and Fat Joe. As Slaughterhouse, his collaborative recordings with Crooked I and Royce da 5'9" are considered the work of an underground rap supergroup, and he's held his own with everyone from Kool G. Rap to Pharoahe Monch. Ortiz rocks the mike at Liv.
Tuesday, Feb. 1
Is Sweden basically like Brooklyn if Brooklyn were an entire country? We ask only because the hip-bands-per-capita number is seriously off the charts. The Radio Dept. is one of those legions of bands, a trio that has been playing sparkling indie pop for the past decade while recording for the country's premier label, Labrador Records. The band's songs are nifty little concoctions, with fuzzy guitars and gauzy keyboards that create a vibe that's nostalgic without being overly-saccharine. Openers Young Prisms from San Francisco play dreamy shoegaze that's heavy on the reverb and distortion. It will be a blissful but also very loud night at the Rock and Roll Hotel.
Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
| January 25, 2011; 4:10 PM ET
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