Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are five we think you shouldn’t miss.
Tuesday, July 17: The Blue Mountain Brewery is only about three hours southwest of Washington, in scenic Afton, Va., but we don’t see nearly enough of its award-winning beers in our neck of the woods. In fact, they’re not available at all in D.C. or Maryland. But that’s changing, thanks to a new certified-organic brewery that will increase the amount of beers heading this way. Blue Mountain founders Taylor and Mandi Smack will be at the Ballston branch of Rustico this week to talk about their new brewery and show off 14 draft ales and lagers from both the regular and “Barrel House” reserve lines, including two casks. (The Dark Hollow Imperial Stout, aged in bourbon barrels, and the Full Nelson Pale Ale, which is made with hops grown at the brewery, are two you shouldn’t miss.) The taps start pouring at 6; arrive early for free Blue Mountain glassware.
Tuesday, July 17: For about 40 years, Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Contou burnished its credentials as one of Africa’s premier musical acts, a nonstop funk force, but one whose music was hard to come by for U.S. fans. Of course, the best way to experience the band’s music is in person, which finally became possible without the need for intercontinental travel when the band played its first American shows two summers ago. There’s no stopping the 10-piece band when it launches into its propulsive rhythmic explorations. These performances are pretty rare, so you just might want to stick around for both shows at the Hamilton.
Wednesday, July 18: The Fool’s Gold Records showcase at U Street Music Hall will prove that drum machines have soul. Tonight’s headliner (and the label’s newest signee) is Onra, a Parisian sound shaper who has been bubbling up for the past six years. Onra’s path found him riding the wave of the newest crop of soulful electronica producers with increasingly creative releases that meld ’80s synth R&B, future funk and sexy cyber sounds. Rounding out the bill is Washington native Pursuit Grooves, one of the rare women in the boys’ club of beats and a talent who has found green pastures since departing the diamond district.
Thursday, July 19: Saturday is the 113th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s birth, falling just two days after National Daiquiri Day . (Hemingway was a huge proponent of daiquiris; he lent his name to his favorite version, the Hemingway Daiquiri or Papa Doble, which adds maraschino liqueur and grapefruit juice to the basic rum drink.) Cuba Libre is appropriately honoring both momentous events with a special happy hour. On Thursday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., the bar will be pouring $5 Papa Dobles and $5 Floridita cocktails, a classic named after Hemingway’s favorite Havana bar. Cuba Libre’s usual happy hour, with $4 cocktails, beers and small plates, also will be in effect, but the daiquiris are the reason to go lift a glass to Papa.
Saturday, July 21: In these nostalgia-needy times, the easy move for Brandon Butler would be to reunite either of his cult-favorite bands of yesteryear (midwestern emo rockers Boy’s Life or local alt-country space jammers Canyon), but his solo career is plenty rewarding as is. Saturday is the date of the release show for his third album, “HENO” at the Black Cat, a world-weary collection that balances back-porch twang with stomping rock-and-roll. As always, Butler remains a gifted lyricist: His songs are full-bodied creations complete with characters whose actions result in epiphanies and consequences. It’s one of the best local offerings of the year.
Looking for more ideas? We’ve got 11 right after the jump.
Wednesday, July 18
Another week, another whiskey tasting. This time, Jameson Irish Whiskey is visiting Little Miss Whiskey’s and bringing along plenty of free samples, including the Jameson Gold Reserve and the Jameson 12-Year Special Reserve. There also will be Jameson-infused cupcakes from CrunkCakes and a selection of meats and veggies grilling on the back patio. Doors open at 7:30, and while admission is free and no reservations are required, capacity is limited.
Beats on Repeat is a DJ night specializing in dance punk and disco funk — Liquid Liquid, LCD Soundsystem, the Rapture and ESG. While the DJs can stray into the realm of the cool but unknown, this month’s event at the Velvet Lounge is a “Shut Up and Play the Hits” event, so expect to get down to all of your favorite tracks. Admission is free; a shot of whiskey and a Natty Boh will set you back $6.
Thursday, July 19
The members of Deathfix have played in many high-profile Fort Reno shows over the years with such bands as Fugazi, Medications and Faraquet. The group will add to its collective Tenleytown tally when it performs a free show with Hey Arbore and Hen of the Woods.
Fisher House, which provides low-cost housing for families of wounded service members, is the beneficiary of a special evening of jazz and champagne at Current’s outdoor Rosebar. The $30 ticket for Cocktails for a Cause includes music by Johnny Graham and the Groove, drinks, light appetizers and cupcakes from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., plus a silent auction featuring concert tickets and staycations.
A favorite quiet place for Wi-Fi hunters and avid readers becomes a post-work happy-hour music space with the Take Five jazz series at the National Portrait Gallery’s Kogod Courtyard. Enjoy the sounds of the Freddie Redd-Butch Warren Quintet for free starting at 5 p.m.
Friday, July 20
Cocktails and Crayons sounds like a family happy hour, but it’s actually a happy-hour fundraiser for Project Create, a program that offers art classes for at-risk D.C. students. Drop by the Blue Banana between 6 and 9 p.m. and donate art supplies (acrylic paint, chalk, markers, etc.) or $10 and you’ll get free appetizers and $4 beers and mixed drinks. (As an added incentive, the bar will also donate 20 percent of all sales to charity.)
Peter Hadar is the alt-R&B artist you may have missed while Frank Ocean is sucking all of the oxygen out of the room. Get familiar with Hadar as well as such D.C. artists as Meche Korrect, Redline Graffiti and more at the Dunes.
The non-air-conditioned, limited airflow auditorium of St. Stephens Church is not exactly the most pleasant place to spend a hot summer evening. But sweating is the natural response when funked-up, call-and-response locals Chain & the Gang and the hard-hitting psychedelic also-locals Heavy Breathing perform. Outspoken local hip-hop group Cornel West Theory is also a part of the nicely diverse bill.
It’s the show of the summer — the summer of 1999, that is. Reunited emo kingpins the Promise Ring , longtime champions of the most emo band name title, will make sure it gets very verklempt at the 9:30 Club.
“Young People’s Church of the Air” — an album so nice they released it twice. One of last year’s best local records, by Deleted Scenes, was recently reissued by national label Park the Van Records, and tonight is the re-release show at Red Palace. Spinto Band and Pree open.
Saturday, July 21
Here’s a Phantasmagoria flashback for anyone who saw ska shows at the long-closed Wheaton club in the late ’90s: Reliable rocksteady-ska greats the Slackers team with local stalwarts Eastern Standard Time for a show at the Hamilton.