Every week, the Going Out Gurus run down the week’s best concerts, DJ nights and dance parties. Here are five we think you shouldn’t miss:
Thursday: Tributes to Chuck Brown will surely be popping up all over the city this summer. The Howard Theatre hosts one Thursday night that promises to set the bar pretty high, with local go-go favorites Rare Essence and hip-hop pioneer Slick Rick sharing a bill in honor of the late Godfather of Go-Go. More than 35 years into its career, Rare Essence remains one of the titans of the homegrown genre and reliably turns every performance into an extended, sweaty romp. Slick Rick also has been at it for decades and was one of hip-hop’s first great storytellers. For this performance, he’ll be backed by the Soul Rebels, an eight-piece brass ensemble that will bring his stories to vibrant life.
Thursday: Oddisee has grown immensely since emerging from Washington’s underground hip-hop scene a decade ago. He has become highly prolific, touring the world repeatedly and, and most importantly, pushing his sound in increasingly ambitious directions. He has licensed his music to ESPN, worked with Jazzy Jeff and Talib Kweli and been featured in Spin. At the same time, he still faces assumptions because of his independent career and refusal to bend to trends — hence the title of his new album, “People Hear What They See.” Ever the road warrior, he’ll earn a raft of new stamps in his passport later this year while supporting his most recent effort. But first, he’ll perform at Montserrat House, both to celebrate the album’s release in the city that launched him and to test drive the band that will take it on the road. The show is free and DJ Jerome Baker III provides party rocking support.
Friday: The Half Street Fairgrounds is trying to prove that it’s more than just a big outdoor beer garden to visit before a Nats game. Its monthly Truckeroo food truck festival brings about two dozen mobile purveyors to its large lot. Now there’s South on South Capitol Street , a free monthly showcase of country and southern rock, complete with a mechanical bull. The Highballers - whose members perform an engaging alt-country mix of the Blasters, Southern Culture on the Skids and Waylon Jennings covers - are the headliners. They’re joined by Andrew Leahey & the Homestead and Mama’s Love. In addition to live music, food trucks and the Bullpen bar, the night features cornhole games and those free mechanical bull rides.
Friday through Sunday: Although the Caribbean Carnival is moving to Baltimore because of funding issues, the D.C. area will still get its share of related events and parties, which kick off with a full weekend of events at the Crossroads. Friday night features Benjai , who finished third in Trinidad’s prestigious Groovy Soca Monarch competition with “True Story,” and Tallpree, whose infectious “Wicked Jab” is a tribute to the painted and costumed Jab Jab crews of Granada’s Carnival. A long slate of DJs, including Super Slice and Shiloh, entertains indoors and out. On Saturday, it’s the annual Pan Jam , with performances by local steel pan bands and a judging of Carnival parade costumes. Then on Sunday, there’s a party headlined by lovers rock legend Beres Hammond , whose soulful voice has been delighting fans in Jamaica and around the world for more than three decades.
Monday: For anyone bemoaning the lack of rock in indie rock, make it your duty to head to the Black Cat on Monday night. In another era (namely the ‘70s), Philadelphia’s Purling Hiss and Austin’s the Young wouldn’t need that indie qualifier - they’d probably be recording for major labels and playing stoned, riffy songs in smoky college gymnasiums. The Young’s new album, “Dub Egg,” is filled with hazy songs and appealingly meandering guitar lines. It’s great for head-nodding, but the quartet never gets too complacent, throwing in some crunching power chords to shake off the cobwebs.
Looking for even more ideas? There are 10 after the jump.
Tuesday, June 19
Whiskey has a masculine reputation, but it’s a spirit that anyone can — and should — enjoy. The Bourbon Women’s Assocation hosts women-only tastings and tours to show off Kentucky’s finest spirit, including one at Jack Rose Dining Saloon. The evening starts with cocktails prepared by Jack Rose mixologist Rachel Sergi, and includes a formal bourbon tasting, appetizers and a gift bag. Tickets are $50 (you can pick them up on the Bourbon Women’s Association site) and there are only 50 spaces available.
Thursday, June 21
Greet the sunset on the roof of the Beacon Hotel with Art Soiree’s All That Jazz showcase. Yvette Rivers croons standards with her band then DJ John Jazz takes over as the evening’s selector.
Bring lots and lots of water to Fort Reno to combat the nearly-100-degree heat that’s in the forecast and find a shady spot to enjoy Edie Sedgwick, Art Sorority for Girls and Brenda.
Friday, June 22
Most of those “artist-vs-artist” DJ nights focus on ‘80s material. But Soul Call Paul is jumping in the wayback machine for his latest Sandwich of Soul party at the Black Cat, spinning nothing but raw and funky James Brown, Tina Turner and Stevie Wonder records -- yes, records -- all night long.
In France, the longest day of the year is celebrated with Fête de la Musique, a day of free concerts in squares and parks across the country. Here in Washington, the Alliance Francaise sponsors a local version, which takes over the Malmaison pop-up art space in Georgetown. The event features five hours of performers, including singer-songwriters Austin Ellis and Jill Warren and DJs Obeyah and Ragz of the Beat Refinery.
[Update: We’re so excited about the D.C. Soundclash 10 year anniversary that we got a little ahead of ourselves. The old-school ska/reggae/rocksteady/dub party is on the last Friday of the month, as always, which makes it the 29th. Sorry.]
Saturday, June 23
It’s a homecoming celebration at the Black Cat for Laura Burhenn, a former D.C. resident who has released two albums with her new band, the Mynabirds , since relocating to Nebraska. Her new one, “Generals,” is both a powerhouse, both in terms of its political messages and the dazzling pop landscape within.
Sunday, June 24
Few bands have seen their hipness quotient skyrocket more in recent years than Fleetwood Mac. “Tusk” and “Rumours” -- not just for boomers anymore. Anthony Fiacco, Luke Brindley, Todd Wright, and Michael Pearsal pay tribute to the band in a show at Jammin’ Java.
Monday, June 25
DJ 2-Tone Jones’ Shaolin Jazz project continues to evolve. First, it was a mixtape that blended jazz samples with vocals from the Wu-Tang Clan canon. Now, it’s a fully live experience backed by the Sound of the City band. They bring Shaolin Jazz to life at Blues Alley.