Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are five we think you can’t miss.
Tuesday and Saturday: When making a list of American songwriting titans of the past century, Woody Guthrie has to be near the top. His legacy as an outspoken champion of the country’s working class is unparalleled, and how many songs are as iconic as “This Land Is Your Land”? July 14 would have been Guthrie’s 100th birthday, and there are a pair of local celebrations in his honor. At Hill Country on Tuesday, Guthrie’s granddaughter Sarah Lee Guthrie and her husband and collaborator, Johnny Irion, who have established themselves as a formidable country-rock duo of their own, will pay tribute. And on Saturday, local folk-rocker Joe Uehlein & the U-Liners head up a tribute show at the Takoma Park Community Center.
Friday: Urbana , the upscale little lounge and restaurant under Hotel Palomar, doesn’t have the buzz of its sister Kimpton hotel bars, such as the patio at Poste or the rooftop above Donovan House. But Urbana, which marks six years on P Street NW this month, remains a reliable place for a glass of wine - there are about three dozen by the glass or 8-ounce quartino - or happy hour. A week of celebrations kicks off Friday with a beer-and-oyster happy hour sponsored by Virginia’s War Shore Oyster Company and Port City Brewing. From 4 to 7 p.m., freshly shucked oysters on the half shell will cost 50 cents each, and pints of Port City’s Revival Oyster Stout, which uses bushels of oysters in every brew to add a smooth, slightly briny flavor, will cost $4. This is a happy hour that helps the environment, too: Oyster shells will be saved and recycled by the Chesapeake Bay’s Oyster Recovery Program to encourage the development of oyster beds, and 5 percent of all sales of Revival Oyster Stout will be donated to the same group.
Saturday: Washington’s Francophone and Francophile communities party hard on Bastille Day, whether with live music and gastronomic delights at the French Embassy or dancing on the bar in the wee hours at Bistrot du Coin. One of the most spirited events is the annual party at L’Enfant Cafe in Adams Morgan, which manages to shut down a block of Vernon Street for an afternoon of insanity. (Thankfully, no one loses his or her head.) There’s a French maid race, which requires competitors to don a black-and-white dress and race to fill a glass with spoonfuls of champagne; can-can dancers perform; airlines give away tickets to Paris; and beer and food trucks offer refreshments while “Marie Antoinette” and “Louis XIV” look on. DJs provide party tunes all day, but this year’s star attraction is an appearance by Deee-Lite’s Lady Miss Kier.
Saturday: “Raise a glass to St. Joe Strummer,” goes a lyric on Hold Steady’s 2008 song “Constructive Summer.” The cultural ascension to sainthood by the singer-guitarist of rock legend the Clash happened almost immediately after his death nearly 10 years ago, and why not? He was a punk rock hero, a man of great morals and an all-around admirable dude, which makes the new documentary “ The Rise and Fall of the Clash ” all the more interesting. Danny Garcia’s film explores the final days of “The Only Band That Mattered,” when Strummer was, by many accounts, the bad guy. Garcia will be on hand for a Q&A session after the D.C. premiere at St. Stephen’s Church, which also serves as a benefit for Positive Force.
Saturday: For the past six years, a community of D.C. hip-hop lovers has been celebrating the legacy of James “J Dilla” Yancey, the groundbreaking hip-hop and soul producer who died in 2006. The Players, a band lead by drummer Jon Laine, has staged exceptional concerts, featuring classic Dilla compositions with a massive ensemble of musicians, rappers and vocalists. Last year, the Pharcyde was the featured artist at a rocking 9:30 Club Dilla celebration, performing classics such as “Runnin’” from its largely Dilla-produced album “Labcabincalifornia.” This year won’t disappoint, as the usual cast of D.C. luminaries will perform at the Fillmore alongside lauded Dilla contemporaries Slum Village, Frank Nitti and Guilty Simpson.
Need more ideas? There are 10 after the jump.
Tuesday, July 10
Fresh off of the Shaolin Jazz project’s debut at Blues Alley, the Sound of the City Band and DJ 2-Tone Jones are back at their Tuesday night Liv residency, backing up local rap stars and aspiring artists as part of the Up and Up Open Microphone. The featured artist this week is Killa Cal of Rare Essence. If you don’t know, that’s D.C. royalty .
Wednesday, July 11
Whiskey fans won’t want to miss out on a special night at Smith Commons that finds Tom Bulleit, the man behind the spicy, delicious Bulleit bourbon and rye, leading a tasting and discussion alongside certified master of whiskey Ewan Morgan. The free event features samples of whiskey and whiskey cocktails and light snacks. A full menu of cocktails and paired food will be available. Important note: While there’s no cover charge, RSVPs are required.
Moombahton Massive alert! Summer is the best time for moombahtoning, so this month’s massive (we’re up to 16) is one to check out if you’ve skipped some recently. Nadastrom, Sabo, Jen Lasher and Cousin Culo hit the decks at U Street Music Hall.
Thursday, July 12
Gigamesh has his finger on the retro-’80s-pulsing-bass-synth-melody sound that so many electro producers are mining these days, but his new EP, “All My Life,” dropping soon on the trendsetting French Kitsune label, has an extra spark to it. He joins Kitsune labelmates Punks Jump Up (a London duo that has remixed Tiga, Chromeo, Robyn, etc.), Mr. Little Jeans and Foxes at an 18-and-older show at U Street Music Hall.
Friday, July 13
The parade of luminaries continues at the Howard Theatre on Friday with a genius of standup comedy, racial satire and cultural commentary. Paul Mooney’s relentlessly aggressive and painfully honest takes on race in America assisted Richard Pryor’s career and made it possible for Chris Rock’s and Dave Chappelle’s work to exist.
Saturday, July 14
Nashville will always be synonymous with country, but there’s a pretty robust garage rock scene down in Music City. The Paperhead plays a twisted, psychedelic brand, while D. Watusi favors straight-ahead romps. Montserrat House doubles as a hip Nashville basement for one night.
A little bit of Cuba comes to Columbia Pike this weekend as the Salsa Room welcomes the Timba Street Band, which combines traditional Afro-Cuban, son and rumba rhythms. The night includes performances by the DC Casineros and Dance in Time dance troupes, DJs and a free casino rueda salsa lesson for the $20 cover. All-white attire is requested.
D.C. bands Buildings and Hume often share bills, which makes perfect sense. Their styles complement each other — long, winding, precise and with lots of electric guitar fireworks. Baltimore’s Other Colors can hold its own with the two local favorites, so be sure to see all three at Comet Ping Pong.
Sunday, July 15
Sunday at the Rock & Roll Hotel is a chance to get acquainted with two of the best rap albums of the year. El-P ’s “Cancer for Cure” and Killer Mike’s “R.A.P. Music” are the kind of well-constructed, thoughtful and smart albums that you can throw in the face of anyone who says the genre is lacking those kinds of albums these days. Both MCs also are known for their fiery performances.
As much as we love going to sample tiki cocktails at such bars as the Passenger and the Majestic, there are times when it’s easier to just whip them up at home. But where to begin? Learn the basics at Last Exit in Mount Pleasant, where the boys behind the Scofflaw’s Den cocktail site will go over the history and how-to of famous tiki recipes, complete with samples. All-inclusive tickets are $50, and space is limited.
Monday, July 16
Another for the Every Band Reunites file: Swedish punk destroyers the Refused are back on the road after calling it quits in 1998. The band’s album from that year, “The Shape of Punk to Come,” remains a cult favorite. See whether the songs maintain their old power at the Fillmore Silver Spring.