Nightlife Agenda: Eden's new Green Room and Karaoke Championships
Eden continues its overhaul by introducing a new Green Room, Matthew Dear finally makes it to D.C., Fatback celebrates three years and U.S. Royalty releases its highly-anticipated debut album.
Wednesday, Jan. 19
H Street NE is home to two of the city's finest karaoke nights: the rockin' Sticky Rice karaoke, which recently moved from Tuesdays to Thursdays, and the wacky Kostume Karaoke at Little Miss Whiskey's, where singers don capes and wigs and manhandle props while performing '80s classics and pop tunes every other Wednesday. Every year, the two join forces to find the best karaoke kings and queens in D.C. and put them onstage at the Rock & Roll Hotel for one big sing-off. The catch: You can't just show up for the H Street Karaoke Championship on Jan. 27 -- you qualify by wowing judges at Sticky Rice and Little Miss Whiskey's this week. That should mean two frenetic nights -- Wednesday at Little Miss Whisky's, Thursday at Sticky Rice -- of singing and performing, because in this contest, dancing and props are just as important as your actual voice.
Sleeping States are the kind of British band we've long liked around these parts. The group plays sleepy, wistful, smart songs that are unhurried and plenty lovely in their understated way. Opening for them at Velvet Lounge is Black Telephone, locals who play a similar style of music but not quite as downtrodden. The band just released a demo cassette, so you know they hearken back to indie pop's good ol' days.
Thursday, Jan. 20
Georgia is staking its claim as metal capital of the country, and this month's Black Cat schedule bears that out. Last week Jucifer brought its sludgy thunder to the club's backstage, and on Thursday fellow peach stater Kylesa threaten to shake the walls down with its massive sound. The Savannah quartet is actually a bit quieter than such neighbors as Mastodon and Baronness, favoring rhythmically complex songs that still pack plenty of wallop. The band also employs three vocalists,which brings plenty of variety. Zoroaster and Fight Amp open.
The sounds of the tropics are permeating dance music right now and the results are intriguing in the right hands. Empresarios touch on everything from dub reggae and modern Brazilian beats to cumbia and trippy downtempo rhythms. This new group on Washington's Fort Knox recordings is a combination of DJs, producers and instrumentalists with deep roots in D.C. club culture. Javier Miranda, Sonny Cheebah, John Bowen, Sammy K and Paul Chaconas bring together turntables, electronics, drums and bass to re-create in the live setting the global rhythmic tour that is their debut album "Sabor Tropical."
Friday, Jan. 21
When Eden opened its rooftop deck last summer, the "Garden of Eden" was an immediate hit -- not surprising, since abundant greenery, lounge seating and a top-quality sound system made it an oasis in the middle of downtown. That was just the first step in the rebirth of the old Eyebar space; the next will be unveiled this weekend. The first-floor Green Room keeps the outdoor feel, thanks to bamboo plants and a waterfall that stretches behind the bar. Seats resemble park benches, and the tables are basically bundles of logs with a clear glass top. But what will garner the most interest are the enormous interactive video screens that dominate one wall and the top of the bar. If you walk by when it's showing a field of grass and flowers, an infrared machine detects your movement and cause the plants to rustle in a breeze. If the screens imbedded in the bartop are showing a koi pond, setting your glass down causes CGI fish to scatter. Very cool and kitschy and an easy conversation starter. But if you think the place is all bells and whistles, the presence of a solid lineup of house DJs (including Carlos Melange and Trayze on Friday and Jose and Vicious on Saturday) should ease any fears. Expect the dance tracks to be accompanied by the sounds of live percussion.
Saturday, Jan. 22
Saturday is a day that's been a long time coming for those who pay attention to the local rock scene. That's when U.S. Royalty will celebrate the release of its debut album, "Mirrors." Ever since the band emerged seemingly fully formed a few years ago, the quartet immediately attained status as D.C.'s act most likely to become Next Big Thing, thanks to its polished sound and fashionable looks. The latter part of that equation has become the band's calling card of late, even earning the band a Best Dressed nod from Esquire at October's CMJ music festival in New York. But now the focus can be turned back to the music, a distinctly American brand of rock-and-roll -- rollicking rhythms, hearty harmonies -- with serious crossover potential.
There is no shortage of hip concerts Saturday night, from the U.S. Royalty release show to Swedish electro-soul-pop band Little Dragon at Black Cat to the very sold-out Dismemberment Plan show at the 9:30 Club. But dig a little deeper and you may find the coolest event of them all. Khan Jamal is a vibraphonist who was a member of the Black Arts Movement in the 1960s and continues to be a leading voice in progressive and avant-garde jazz. Tonight's performance at the Red Door Jazz Loft will feature two sets: one solo and one with percussionist Scott Verrastro, whom local fans of experimental music will know from his band Kohoutek and also for being responsible for booking almost all the most experimental music to come through D.C. from 2003 to 2008.
The eight DJs behind the wildly popular Fatback DJ night have spent a lot of time getting ready for the party's third anniversary, which takes place this Saturday. On fatbackdc.com, they've been counting down their top 30 songs of all time, a mix of soul and disco funk that takes in Mary J. Blige, the J.B.'s, the Tempations and Spanky Wilson's jaw-dropping cover on "Sunshine of Your Love." OG DJ Pete Welsch made a downloadable mixtape to get you in the mood, courtesy of Rufas Thomas, Fela Kuti and a crankin' B-52s remix. But what really matters is what's going to happen when the crowd packs Liv (as it always does) and dances for five straight hours, working up a sweat on the dancefloor and throwing hands in the air. Even the most hardened wallflower will find it hard not to crack a smile and join the throngs at Liv.
Tuesday, Jan. 25
We were bummed when Matthew Dear's October show at DC9 was one that ended up being outright canceled as the venue's schedule was shaken up after that month's tragic events. But the electronic music mastermind who expertly mixes experimental ideas with danceable beats is coming back to town, and this time he gets to play at a club that will best showcase his array of sounds. We're talking about U Street Music Hall. Obviously. With a full band in tow, this shapes up as a can't-miss show.
Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
| January 18, 2011; 6:20 PM ET
Categories: Bars and Clubs, Music
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