Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are five you can’t miss.
Tuesday-Thursday: Dogfish Head Alehouse celebrates its third year of bringing Delaware’s most famous beers to Fairfax with three nights of special events. At the five-course beer dinner Tuesday, options include an asparagus and lobster salad alongside the honey-kissed Midas Touch, and pork belly in a maple demi-glace with oak-aged Burton Baton. At Wednesday’s Pint Night, get free Dogfish Head glassware with each beer. Thursday is one for the big fans: Beers going on tap include the cult 120 Minute IPA - known for its potent hopiness - and the 2009 Immort Ale, a sweet-and-strong English ale. The latter keg comes from Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione’s “personal stash.” Reservations are required for Tuesday’s dinner, which costs $65; other events are first-come, first-served.
Wednesday: Wednesday is another one of those nights when all your nightlife needs will be met by one magical subterranean club on U Street. The early attraction at U Street Music Hall is the farewell show for destructive rockers the State Department . In its three-year existence, the local combo has developed a reputation for crashing through a set of aggressive, no-frills rock-and-roll and leaving the stage in shambles. With no tomorrow to play for, who knows how crazy things will get this time? The nightcap is Moombahton Massive XVII , the monthly celebration of the slow and sweaty electronic genre. It’s one of the few events that can surely match a State Department farewell in terms of sweat and debauchery, especially with genre bigshot Nadastrom on the bill. But how can you stay in the club all night without getting hungry? That’s where Mamas Empanadas comes in. The delicious delicacies baked by Moombahton main man Dave Nada’s mom will be available at the club while supplies last.
Saturday: Chuck Brown Day has been cancelled due to “contractual issues,” reports the City Paper.
The late Chuck Brown’s annual birthday concerts at the 9:30 Club were epic. The hours-long shows featured Brown, of course, but also a cavalcade of go-go stars performing to pay homage to the Godfather. This Saturday’s Chuck Brown Day concert should blow the roof off the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in a similar fashion. In addition to Brown’s longtime backing band, the Original Soul Searchers, the bill includes a who’s who of go-go groups: Trouble Funk, Hot Cold Sweat, E.U., Backyard Band, Junkyard Bard and Suttle Thoughts. Brown’s daughter KK is among the hosts.
Saturday: Austin trio Deep Time has an expert understanding of the dynamics of space within a song. The group doesn’t stuff its songs with dense arrangements or distracting layers of noise. There’s no security blanket present on its self-titled album from this year, and that vulnerability is what makes it work so well. You can hear the influences of post-punk cult favorites of decades ago such as the Raincoats and Young Marble Giants, but mostly you hear a group that’s interested in deconstructing a tune and then building it into something that’s minimal and forceful. It’s a neat trick that not many bands pull off so well. Hear it for yourself at Comet Ping Pong.
Saturday: Fort Reno and Jazz in the Sculpture Garden get all the buzz but if you haven’t experienced the summer concert action at Fort Dupont Park, you’re doing D.C. all wrong. It’s a great stage with a massive expanse of lawn suitable for blankets and folding chairs. Over the decades, it has become a tradition for Washingtonians, who bring multiple generations of family on outings to enjoy the music. Saturday’s lineup is an inspired pairing of performers: All-female band Be’la Dona will set the stage with go-go-ized pop covers and rocking originals, and the headliner is Klymaxx, the original sexy bad girls of the ‘80s.
Still looking for more ideas? There are nine after the jump.
Tuesday, Aug. 14
Hot on the heels of Saturday’s Trillectro festival, Rock Creek Social Club celebrates two years of the Good Life Tuesdays party at Recess. If you’ve been to it, you know how much fun these events can be, as DJs shift from old-school joints to underground hip-hop to imported electro tracks. Just make sure you arrive early or you’ll be stuck waiting outside. DJs Jerome Baker III, Spinser Tracy and Spicoli handle the tunes.
Wednesday, Aug. 15
Think of the D.C. Variety Open Mike as “America’s Got Talent” for people who hammer nails up their noses or perform provocative burlesque routines. Organized by Mab, Just Mab and Swami YoMahmi of the Cheeky Monkey Sideshow, this is a night for anyone who has ever wanted to perform on the Red Palace’s stage. It’s open to musicians and comedians as well as dancers and human pincushions – but you have to sign up in advance. If you just want to watch, it’s $8.
Thursday, Aug. 16
When Nellie’s Sports Bar was brand new at the corner of Ninth and U, we heard from plenty of people who wondered whether a gay sports bar could make it on U Street. Five years later, Nellie’s is a neighborhood fixture, as known for its weekend football-viewing parties as for its drag brunches and the DJs who spin on the crowded rooftop on weekends. For its fifth anniversary, the bar is “celebrating five years of being Nellie” with $5 burgers and $5 Absolut vodka drinks all night, in addition to the usual beat-the-clock happy hour.
Federico Aubele is an Argentine troubadour and Thievery Corporation cohort who combines flickering acoustic guitars and heavy dub rhythms into a lounge-ready sound. Catch him at an intimate gig at Montserrat House.
Jazz trumpeter Chrisian Scott is as likely as anyone to become the new face of the genre. He’s talented and charismatic enough to make non-jazz fans take notice, and he has enough respect from other jazz artists to reach its upper echelons. He performs at Bohemian Caverns Thursday through Sunday.
Saturday, Aug. 18
Love has bounced from gimmick to gimmick since its nightlife glory days, occasionally hosting some worthwhile nights in between the 18-and-over college gatherings. If any group can exploit the massive space effectively, it’s the One Love Massive crew. Partnering with Dubtro, its turning the mega-club into an EDM free-for-all with four floors of music ranging from dubstep to drum’n’bass, deep house and classic party jams. The talent list extends into the double digits and includes Dirtbox Radio, DJ Double o7 and Ed the Metaphysical.
Trinidad & Tobago marks its golden jubilee on August 31, and lots of Washington’s Trini and Tobagonian expats get an early start at the celebrations this weekend at Yards Park. The free marathon Jammin in the Park fete features DJs, performers and steel bands, as well as island-themed food and drink.
Monday, Aug. 20
Every Monday night, the Passenger welcomes a different charity to its bar. The charity gets to spread the word about its mission and takes home 10 percent of all food and drink sales between 5 and 8 p.m. This week’s beneficiary is the Ray of Hope Walk, which seeks to raise awareness about violence against women.