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Posted at 4:40 PM ET, 02/ 1/2011

Nightlife Agenda: Chromeo, Monotonix and parties for charity

By Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz

Ah, the good ole days: the crowd gettin' down at a 2009 Kids party at DC9. (Photo by Ellen Lovelidge)

Wait, it's February already? Make the most of the shortest month with funky DJs, including DJ Spun and Chromeo, the wildly unpredictable Israeli garage-clues band Monotonix, a Chinese New Year DJ fete, the return of the '90s hip-hop party Kids at DC9 (with free malt liquor!) and a slew of charity events, including cocktails for homeless animals, swing dancing for underprivileged kids and a happy hour with drink specials and "heart-friendly" snacks that benefits the American Heart Association.

Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Tuesday

Thursday, Feb. 3
There is a generation of people - maybe those who can still remember the '70s - for whom disco will always be about big polyester collars and plenty of hair gel. But a newer, younger crowd, led by New York DJs Holy Ghost and L.A. funkmeister Dam Funk, have embraced a form of disco that embraces the deep basslines, soulful vocals and dance floor-friendly grooves while shedding the inherent "Saturday Night Fever" cheesiness. One of the leading proponents is DJ Spun, a New York City jock who finds himself in demand at parties on both coasts. (Take a listen to "Straight to the Bar" and you'll see why.) Spun is spinning at Bar 7's Bigfeet night alongside fellow NYC DJ Brennan Green, who blends all sorts of house, disco and electrofunk into his eclectic sets. Locals Solomon Sanchez, Ian Brundage and Dave Bloom are in control from 5 to 11, with the headliners going until 2 a.m.

Excellent top-to-bottom all-local bills such as the one at Iota on Thursday night make us happy. Greenland will play its romantic and melodic '90s throwback indie rock, Laughing Man will play its jittery blues-folk-jazz-rock concoctions (as heard on debut album "The Lovings ('63-'69)) and Black Telephone will play understated drumpadcore indie pop.

Ever since Zanzibar closed last year, we've been missing announcements for soca and Caribbean dance parties in D.C. DJ Superslice, who helmed many memorable events on the Southwest waterfront, is one of the hosts of the weekly Soca in the City, which debuts tonight in the lounge above Indulj on U Street. Women get in free from 10 to 11; otherwise, admission is $10.

The Washington Humane Society's annual Fashion for Paws fundraiser is the kind of event that falls into one of two categories: Either you love the idea of Washington socialites, bloggers and media celebrities modeling clothes as they strut down a catwalk with their pets at some fancy embassy, or the whole idea makes you roll your eyes. But whether or not you find the idea of modeling amusing, you can head for the Fashion for Paws fundraising kickoff tonight at Teatro Goldoni. Svedka vodka will have a number of special canine-themed cocktails for $5 each, such as the German Shepard Shirley Temple, with cherry vodka, ginger and grenadine, and the Bubbly Bulldog, made from clementine/orange vodka, Sprite and champagne. Throw in a free photo booth and freebies from Georgetown Cupcake and Vitaminwater, and you have the making of a nice little party. A $20 donation to the Humane Society is suggested and RSVPs are requested via the organization's Web site.

Friday, Feb. 4
Anyone who's been to a Monotonix concert has a story about it. Probably a few. When the Israeli garage-blues trio plays, it's a no-barriers, in-your-face-experience. Like, literally in your face and not in a pleasant way. Yes, we are talking about finding yourself eye-to-butt with the hirstute, sweaty rear end of gangly lead "singer" Ami Shalev. Maybe it will be something more innocuous, such as Shalev grabbing a beer out of your hands and pouring it down the front of his pants. Or perhaps Shalev will simply get the trash can out of the venue's restroom and dump all of its contents on the band's poor drummer. Somehow guitarist Yonatan Gat keeps his cool during it all to reel off stinging riffs to make sure the soundtrack to the mayhem is sturdy. But this is pure spectacle. And there is no "safe spot" at Comet Ping Ping. You've been warned.

Hearts and flowers are on many people's minds in February, but at BlackFinn tonight, the focus is on the thing beating inside your chest: The Bethesda bar is hosting Go Red, a happy hour benefit for the American Heart Association. Enjoy free "heart-healthy" appetizers, chocolate-covered strawberries and enter to win prizes, including a Paloma Picasso "Loving Heart" necklace from Tiffany, plus drink specials. Admission is a $10 donation to the Heart Association, but only $5 if you're wearing red. The party runs from 6 to 9.

Saturday, Feb. 5
Back when swing dancing was the biggest thing on the Washington nightlife scene, the annual Black and White Ball gala charity event sponsored by the Junior Women's Club of Chevy Chase was circled in red on many Lindy Hoppers' calendars - a chance to dress to the nines in vintage clothing and hit the floor to the sounds of one of the area's best bands, all to help the less fortunate. Swing's popularity has waned a bit since the early 2000s, but the Black and White Ball is still going strong. This year's event again features the music of Blue Sky Five, a group in the mold of Artie Shaw's Gramercy Five small ensemble, who combines tunes by Count Basie, Shaw and Slim and Slam with originals that fit the period so beautifully you'd think they were long-lost Tommy Dorsey or Nat "King" Cole tunes. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door, and include three hours of dancing, an introductory swing dance lesson from local fixtures Tom and Debra, and a performance by the Eight Week Wonders dance team. All proceeds benefit the National Center for Children and Families.

In "Pulp Fiction" when Marsellus Wallace told Zed that he was going to "get medieval" on his, uh, rear end (it's a theme for this week's post, sorry) it was meant as a terrifying threat. When we say that Fern Knight will get medieval on you, it should not be met with the same horror. The Philadelphia-via-Arlington band plays gorgeous dirges that were made for an era of castles and moats, but they maintain a feel of modern psychedelia. Hopefully the mess from the previous night's Monotonix show will be cleaned up in time for this one at Comet Ping Pong.

DC9 is up and running again, though it's not quite business as usual. Still, some of the club's long-running nights are starting to make their way back onto the lineup. This weekend marks the return of Kids, the epic '90s-only hip-hop party that gained some fame (and/or notoriety) for giving free admission and free Olde English malt liquor to early arrivals. (Somewhere, Chuck D is muttering about "1 Million Bottlebags.") DJs Jackie O, Nacey and Steve Starks are in the building, and there's a special guest appearance by founding DJ Lil' Elle, who left D.C. for San Francisco last year. Expect plenty of Biggie, 'Pac, Wu and Tru, and arrive between 9 and 10 for the free booze and entry.

When D.C.'s best spinners get busy at Jimmy Valentine's Lonely Hearts Club, it's like an oddball den in your home transforming organically into a dance party. The combination of neighborhood locals, Jimmy V.'s regulars and newbies tend to mingle easily and with a space so intimate, it's pretty easy to crank up a vibe. Expect deep house and bit of debauchery from DJs Double o7 and Dan Soda.

Back in the run-up to New Year's Eve, we were looking forward to Soul Monkey, the annual party at Sticky Rice thrown by some of the area's finest, funkiest DJs: the All-Good Funk Alliance and Juan Zapata and Joe L. of Everybody Loves Music. But D.C. police temporarily shut down the restaurant after someone got stabbed in an unrelated event, and all events were canceled, including the New Year's Eve party. Now the guys have regrouped and they're hosting a Chinese New Year's Eve party. It's $5, it runs from 10:30 to 2:30 and you're going love it.

Sunday, Feb. 6
This is the story of two lifelong French Canadian buddies -- one of whom is a PhD student at Columbia University - who began producing underground hip-hop in the late '90s and then discovered a formula for success. As Chromeo, Dave 1 and P-Thugg take their influences seriously (techno-flavored disco and early '80s electro) but not themselves. It's cheeky, infectiously fun dance music plucked out of the jheri-curl funk era and served to a youthful audience grown accustomed to hearing drum machines and retro synths merged into their indie pop. Don't miss this show at 7 p.m. at the 9:30 Club.

Patty Boom Boom helps celebrate Bob Marley's birthday with the Early Warm. A screening of the 1982 Jamaican movie "Countryman" starts at 6 p.m., followed by live reggae from the I-ternals and then I&I Vibration vs. Version Sound on the decks.

Tuesday, Feb. 8
Thao is a star, at least on a certain level. She has packed the Black Cat performing with her band, the Get Down Stay Down, and she's playing this year's Coachella mega-festival out in California. She used to call Virginia home, so even though she lives in San Francisco now we still get the benefit of a kind-of-rare solo show at Iota. Without her band in tow, expect stripped-down versions of her herky-jerky hoedowns: the best way to enjoy Thao's enchanting hiccup of a voice.

By Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz  | February 1, 2011; 4:40 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music  
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