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Posted at 6:07 PM ET, 02/ 8/2011

Nightlife Agenda: World-Class DJs, Nerd Nite and slow jams

By Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz

DJ Cosmo Baker, who built his reputation by mixing up hip-hop hits, New Jack Swing party jams and deep house hits at events in Philadelphia and New York, spins for free at Little Miss Whiskey's this weekend. (Courtesy of Cosmo Baker)

This week find three world-class DJs in D.C.: Rich Medina, Cosmo Baker and Ewan Pearson should all please the pickiest fans of dance music. Four bands you'll want to say you saw "way back when" fill the Rock and Roll Hotel this weekend, including Braids and Baths. Don't miss Hip-Hop Karaoke or some real hip-hop from up-and-coming Detroit wordsmith Black Milk. And finally, because you-know-what is Monday, we have some fun Valentine's Day ideas, ranging from shredding parties to slow jams. (Check the GOG Blog for even more romantic ideas.)

Wednesday | Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Monday

Wednesday, Feb. 9
Ewan Pearson's career is hard to pigeonhole: The banging, echo-laden take on the Rapture's "I Need Your Love"? The driving, bleepy remix of Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence"? The spacey, bass-heavy extended mix of the Chemical Brothers' "The Golden Path"? All by the same guy, who also produced M83's shoegazing, '80s-influenced "Saturdays = Youth" and the dance floor-friendly new record by Everything But the Girl singer Tracey Thorn. We can't predict what he'll spin at U Street Music Hall, but whatever it is, it's going to be rad.

Did you ooh and aww over the Puppy Bowl on Sunday? Help some homeless pets closer to home during the Blue Banana's Pints for Pups, a good reason to check out the new Petworth sports bar. Three bartenders will donate all their tips to help Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, which helps arrange foster homes for dogs awaiting adoption, and $2 from special "barktail" drinks will also go to the organization. Draft beer discounts run from 6 to 10.

Thursday, Feb. 10
Rich Medina has held hugely popular residencies in New York City at spots such as Santos Party House and was the driving force behind the Fela Kuti revival with his traveling Jump N Funk afrobeat party. He's an accomplished spoken-word artist and record producer and logs thousands of frequent flier miles bringing deep soul, Latin, house and rare funk to audiences around the world. Though Medina usually plays at D.C.'s bigger venues - such as U Street Music Hall - he's being true to his Philadelphia underground party rocker roots this week and coming to town for a cozy situation at Bourbon, which might be the best approximation of his legendary run in the basement of New York's APT.

For those karaoke lovers thwarted by friends who want to do "Twist and Shout" yet again, or by karaoke books where the hip-hop offerings begin and end with Tone Loc, Hip-Hop Karaoke is the answer. If you can trade couplets like Run-D.M.C. or mimic every Wu Tang Clan member's distinct delivery, this is your night. There are no bouncing balls on screen, but the DJ comes equipped with instrumentals and even a hypeman to join you on stage. It goes down at Liv.

Friday, Feb. 11
If you're one of those types that enjoys seeing bands before they hit it big, spend this weekend at Rock & Roll Hotel. Of the five bands performing, there's a good chance at least one will quickly outgrow the venue. Friday features the newer names: one-man electronic band wizard Baths and dreamy indie-rock quartet Braids. Baths (baby-face Los Angeles resident Will Wiesenfeld) uses a laptop and various electronic gizmos to create densely packed songs that you can dance to. Braids uses a traditional rock set up to play compositions that are cinematic, slowly unfolding mini-epics. Saturday's co-headliners, Abe Vigoda and Wild Nothing, find inspiration in sounds from the '80s. The former plays sharp, keyboard-driven songs while the latter draws on the slinky sounds of vintage Cure. And don't forget opener Deleted Scenes, a consistently excellent local rock outfit set to make an impact with its upcoming second album.

The Black Squirrel throws some pretty cool beer-themed evenings with Michigan brews. This Friday, the Squirrel is turning its taps over to beers from New Holland Brewing: Night Ripper Imperial Stout, the thick, rich Dragon's Milk stout aged in old oak barrels, and, for something completely different, the light, crisp Full Circle Kolsch. Also on the menu: New Holland's latest signature spirit, Hatter Royale Hopquila. Despite the name, it has nothing to do with tequila, and it contains no agave. It is, however, infused with Centennial hops, a key ingredient in some of Holland's hits.

If you're heading out to H Street NE this weekend -- maybe to check out a band (see above) or a DJ (see below) -- make sure you get to the block early enough to stop by the Pug. The loveably scruffy dive bar is celebrating its fourth anniversary Friday through Sunday by donating 10 percent of all sales to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research. Drop in, do a shot of Irish Whiskey, drink a Natty Boh, play a few rounds of Trivial Pursuit, and help fight cancer while you do it.

Saturday, Feb. 12
When we talk about world-famous DJs coming to D.C., they're usually booking spots at U Street Music Hall, Glow or the Warehouse Loft. Not this time. Try, instead, the wonderfully low-key Little Miss Whiskey's Golden Dollar - a great place to check out New York-based hip-hop DJ Cosmo Baker. His resume is fat with underground cred: Spinning alongside King Britt at the Back 2 Basics party in Philadelphia, starting the weekly The Remedy hip-hop jam with his friend Rich Medina back in the late '90s, then joining New York DJs Ayres and Eleven to form the Rub, Voltron-style, where hip-hop classics meld into New Jack Swing party jams which morph into funkified disco grooves. His kitchen-sink turntable style has been an influence on Diplo and a whole new school of spinners. This will be one of the sickest nights of the weekend, and it's all going down for free upstairs at Miss Whiskey's. Resident DJ Sharkey opens.

Oh Nerd Nite, it's so good to have you back at DC9, where you belong. The best, geekiest bar night -- where you watch Powerpoint presentations in a bar on a Saturday -- returns this weekend. Science magazine reporter Sam Kean talks about the hippest parts of the periodic table of the elements, including why cadmium missles were used to fight Godzilla and why miners dug up the streets of Western Australia to find tellurium. Also on the agenda: Marshall Kaiser discusses the great geniuses and strategies of chess and basic winning techniques, and motorcycle racing champion Sam Fielding explains the physics and geometry behind the latest crop of high-powered "superbikes." Tape on your glasses isn't required, but an open mind is. Doors open at 6:30, the program starts at 7.

The best way to get over your ex? A shredder. Destroy those nauseating love letters. Obliterate your photos of the vacation you took together. Trash that stupid holiday card that you never liked anyway. You're never going to move on while they're around. So round up all your "mementos" and bring them to the Bottom Line's annual "Shred Your Ex, Meet Your Next" party, where you can throw all of your memories into a shredder, then celebrate with $2.50 Miller Lites and $3 shooters from 8 p.m. to close.

Sunday, Feb. 13
It could be the harsh winters or the balance of urban ills and a rich, soulful musical heritage, but there's something about Detroit that makes its hip-hop beats uniquely hard and funky. The current king of Detroit has to be Black Milk. Emerging in 2004 with a style mixing dirty drums and raw soul samples, the young beatsmith crafted bangers for Slum Village and Pharoahe Monch before pouring his energies into his stunning solo releases. Similar to Detroit's Dilla, Black Milk is as much a beast on the microphone as he is on the drum machine, flipping clever rhyme patterns to match his increasingly complex compositions. He celebrates his new album with a performance at U Street Music Hall.

Monday, Feb. 14
Whether you're honeyed up on Valentine's Day or just out to have a good time with some friends, we have two very different ideas of how to spend your night. Couples who are looking to set the mood should head for Tender Loin at Metropolitain, the champagne bar in the basement of Adams Morgan's Napoleon, where the Fatback DJs will be spinning slow jams by Teddy Pendergrass, Marvin Gaye and, uh, R. Kelly all night long. Buy your date a glass of champagne and settle in for a night of dancing real close. Over at the Black Cat, bartender Chad America is hosting his 12th annual Valentine's Day Rock & Roll Dance Party, which features a team of DJs playing old '50s and '60s doowop, rockabilly and R&B. It's fun, goofy and always draws plenty of singles who are looking for something besides candlelight and flowers.

L.A. teenage rap phenoms Odd Future make you want to choose sides. The group's either beyond vulgar or they push the boundaries of artistic freedom. Either truly DIY/underground or hipster-commodified blog celebrities. Either the Next Big Thing or a flash in the pan. But as is usually the case, the answer to all these questions is somewhere in between. If there was nothing to the songs besides violent imagery (and be warned, the lyrics are graphic) critics wouldn't stay interested as long as they have. At such a young age, the crew already has a distinctive and forward-thinking sound, pairing beats and lyrics that are equally warped and twisted. One night after the group performs at U Street Music Hall, leader Tyler, the Creator will appear on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon." This is the most anti-Valentine's Day concert ever.

By Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz  | February 8, 2011; 6:07 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Events, Music, Valentine's Day 2011  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Valentine's Day and fondue: A cheesy way to say 'I love you'
Next: Today in Food: Love is in the air -- and in the kitchen

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