Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are five you can’t miss:
Friday: J.P. McDermott and his honky-tonk band, Western Bop, have been fixtures on the D.C. music scene for more than a decade, whether hosting the Saturday night rockabilly raveups at Quarry House Tavern, organizing annual Buddy Holly tributes on “the day the music died” or performing originals from the group’s CD “Last Fool Here.” But now McDermott has taken a job in California, and there are only a handful of Western Bop shows left. This free performance in Hill Country’s basement Boot Bar is the final one in D.C. proper, so show up early for a drink and get ready to dance to classic tunes and revved-up originals.
Friday-Saturday: Over the course of its two-year existence, local label Windian Records has consistently churned out the finest in brawny, brash punk and garage rock. And it’s not only current bands that Windian is pressing to wax (and only wax). The label also excels at giving second life to bands that have fallen through the cracks, reissuing overlooked obscurities from decades ago. Two of those yesteryear bands, the Penetrators and the Bizarros, headline the first night of Windian’s anniversary party at Montserrat House, hoping to prove that punk rock only gets better with age. Saturday’s headliners include straight-ahead San Diego punks Spider Fever and local standouts the Shirks.
Saturday: Why spend Saturday afternoon running errands or puttering around the house when you could be out grooving to good music, socializing and sipping martinis ... and still make it home in time for dinner? That’s the idea behind the first Saturday Social Mixer at Arlington’s new Melody Tavern restaurant and lounge. The lineup includes the Secret Society, an old-school party band whose repertoire includes smooth ‘70s soul, upbeat ‘80s funk and some Quiet Storm ballads. Add DJs spinning jazz, R&B and hip-hop, afternoon happy-hour specials ($3 glasses of wine and half-price appetizers until 4 p.m.) and free gift bags, and you’ve got a Saturday afternoon that should feel like a Saturday night.
Monday: Pop savant for hire - that’s not a bad way to describe Van Dyke Parks’s career. He’s best known for his collaboration with Brian Wilson on the Beach Boys’ legendary, acid-fueled ‘60s experiment, “Smile,” but has also worked on albums by everyone from Bonnie Raitt to Rufus Wainwright to Laurie Anderson. His debut solo album, 1967’s “Song Cycle,” stands among the best relics of the psych-folk movement of the ‘60s and the man is basically a living history of the pleasant fringes of pop music. Best of all, he’s performing for free on the Millennium Stage.
Monday: Another key part of the U Street corridor’s history gets new life this week as the Howard Theatre reopens its doors. This is a venue that once hosted Sarah Vaughn, Sammy Davis Jr. and Lena Horne, so booking Wale , D.C.’s flagship commercial rap star, to kick off its rebirth could be seen as a simultaneous homage to D.C. roots as well as an embrace of the current generation. Wale’s known for inserting the city’s slang, style and bits of its sound into the hip-hop mainstream. His performance caps a community day that allows folks to get a peek at the new theater and enjoy some free entertainment.
You’ll find 10 more ideas, ranging from soca DJs to drum’n’bass, after the jump.
Tuesday, April 3
Now that spring is here, Washington’s Gordon Biersch brewpub will tap its hoppy, golden Maibock beer . After the ceremonial wooden keg of beer is opened, fill your glass in exchange for a donation to the Red Cross. There will be some free appetizers in the bar area, and the Red Cross is sponsoring a trivia quiz and a silent auction. Doors open at 6, and specials run until 8:30.
A new recurring event for your Google calendar: Irish Whiskey Public House is starting a “Whiskey of the Month” happy hour with free tastings and flights led by a distillery representative on the first Tuesday of each month. The series begins this week with Concannon Irish Whiskey, a collaboration between Ireland’s Cooley Distillery and California’s Concannon Winery. Arrive between 7 and 10 p.m. for your free samples.
Ben’s Next Door, a consistent incubator of new emerging urban artists, welcomes left-of-soul vocalist Candice Anitra. You could file her in a playlist that includes Res and Dionne Farris’s first albums, rounded out with a bit of Malene Younglao and VV Brown.
Wednesday, April 4
Imagine the dude at your local open mike night who takes the stage in a costume he clearly spent too much time planning. You’re looking at him awkwardly, but then you hear his twisted country songs and realize they’re much better than the stuff everyone else is peddling. You think, he’s not just some freak — he’s a full character. That’s Jonny Corndawg , and he’s playing at the Hamilton.
Thursday, April 5
The Budos Band is part of the venerable Daptones Records, the retro-sheened label that has cultivated the careers of Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and Antibalas. Like its labelmates, the Budos Band makes old things sound new: Its Afro-soul sound mixes retro psychedelia with East African arrangements. The group shares the 9:30 Club stage with Charles Bradley, the “Screaming Eagle of Soul.”
For reggae and funk, Montserrat House is the only place to be this Thursday. New York’s Super Hi-Fi is bringing its deep dub bass and dual-trombone attack down I-95 for the night. The group will share the stage with locals Nappy Riddem, who meld dub with hip-hop breakbeats, superbad ‘70s keyboards and bubbling bass lines.
Dieselboy is a seasoned veteran of the electronic music scene. The drum-n-bass DJ was unloading sick bass drops at Capitol Ballroom before most new-generation electronic dance music fans were born. He spins along with fellow ‘90s survivor Photek at U Street Music Hall.
Saturday, April 7
Here’s a eye-opening thought: We’re closer to the 2012 D.C. Caribbean Carnival (held June 23-24) than we are to January 1. Where does the time go? Oh well. Let’s just start looking forward to summer weather, jerk chicken and colorful costumes parading down Georgia Avenue. The Glorious Saturday Fete is set to launch Carnival season at the Crossroads. DJs Super Slice, Sprang Intl., Spyda the DJ and Shiloh Intl. represent the cream of the local soca and island sounds, and they’ll spin hits from 9 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Sunday, April 8
Take some power-trio rock, a bit of grunge sludge and a healthy dose of scorching guitar solos and you’ve got the formula that makes Screaming Females one of the most reliably awesome groups around. Watch frontwoman Maria Paternoster shred at the Black Cat.