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, with even more picks after the jump.
Wednesday: While fans of Cut Copy - and they are legion - await the Australian electronic group’s next album and tour, there’s a new EP from bassist Ben Browning to fill the gap. Although it doesn’t exactly blaze trails, there’s much to like in the funky bass lines and jittery guitar chords (though the glossy, echo-laden synths occasionally take “Lover Motion” further into ‘70s pop territory). Browning visits U Street Music Hall for a solo DJ slot, and if the sunny, new-wavey single “I Can’t Stay” (and its remix by Cut Copy tour DJ Knightlife) is any indication, it will be a night of delightfully retro grooves. Besides, there’s nothing to lose: Admission is free for those 21 and older with an RSVP. Volta Bureau’s Will Eastman and DJ Remote Ctrl open.
Thursday: Saint-Ex still deserves its rep as a zoo on weekends, but as we often advise, the weeknight character of many popular spots is quite different. This Thursday, you can check out hip-hop, R&B and funk selections from DJ Wondermike for his monthly Like This ‘n Like That set, and you won’t be trapped in a bar stampede.
Friday: For the past six weeks, one of the best nightlife spots in the District has been the grounds of the Hirshhorn, where Doug Aitken’s “Song 1” film has been screening on the museum’s exterior each evening. While the impressive public art installation continues until May 20, Friday is the real party. That’s when the film’s soundtrack (the doo-wop hit “I Only Have Eyes for You”) is replaced by live performances by noisy art-punks No Age, minimalist composer Nicolas Jaar, sound collagist Oneohtrix Point Never and beat-heavy duo High Places. If Song 1: A Happening sounds like a small-scale Pitchfork Music Festival, you’re not mistaken. The influential music Web site has teamed with Wired and the Hirshhorn to present the after-hours event.
Saturday: Sonny Vincent has been bashing out fast and loud punk anthems since the mid-’70s. He has never made it beyond cult favorite, but his career has maintained momentum, with continuous releases of new material while newer generations familiarize themselves with his earliest output with primitive punk bashers the Testors. Vincent is on his first U.S. tour in nearly 10 years, but he plays regularly in Europe, so don’t expect any rust when he performs at Quarry House Tavern. Do expect a blast of primal punk energy. As a bonus, the show is free.
Saturday: The Usual Suspectz have been hosting parties and happy hours for urban professionals as long as we can remember, and they’ve launched an afternoon party just in time for the warm weather. Day Trip is held on Ozio’s well-appointed roof deck bar from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday afternoons, with DJ Heat providing fresh beats. Food and drink specials are offered from 2 to 5 p.m. and include $5 Ciroc and Bacardi drinks. Send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the list for free admission.
Need more ideas? We have nine on the other side of the jump.
Tuesday, May 8
Outlaws , one of the area’s few classic country DJ nights, celebrates its first anniversary at Marx Cafe this week. The first hour (10 to 11 p.m.) will be dedicated to the outlaw country of the 1970s — Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash — before the evening segues into the best of Dolly Parton, Dwight Yokum, George Jones, Loretta Lynn and even Garth Brooks. In the spirit of the outlaws, there’s a $5 beer-and-a-whiskey-shot special all night.
Wednesday, May 9
Drink discounted wine and help fund early-education programs for low-income kids in Washington? Sounds like a no-brainer. Vinoteca already has a pretty great happy hour — 20 wines by the glass for $5 between 5 and 7 p.m. — but when you donate $10 to Jumpstart DC tonight, the 11th Street wine bar will extend the specials until 9 p.m.
Thursday, May 10
The world’s best DJs are the focus at Eighteenth Street Lounge, but there’s a consistent live music presence that sometimes gets overlooked. Here’s a reminder to check out the bossa nova sounds of Soul Brazil at their weekly Thursday residency in ESL’s Gold Room. Sean Haney of Funk DC keeps the dance floor moving in the main room.
Friday, May 11
We know the DC Shorts “ Pasties and Popcorn ” party at the Atlas Theatre won’t be for everyone, but the combination of “titillating” adults-only short films, live burlesque dancers and sideshow performers from the Tilted Torch troupe sounds like a fun Saturday-night group outing, especially when there’s a midnight show.
Saturday, May 12
It’s a shame that Gentleman Jesse and His Men are at the Black Cat the same night as the aforementioned Sonny Vincent show. For the Maryland averse, this show will provide the same solid dose of punky-pop energy.
It’s a night of all-local sonic mayhem at the Rock & Roll Hotel as Black Clouds, Tone and Imperial China share a bill.
Monday, May 14
Looking for a new summer beverage of choice? You might just discover one at Bourbon Steak’s South of the Border cocktail seminar . The Four Seasons’ star mixologists — Duane Sylvester, Jamie MacBain and J.P. Caceres — will discuss and demonstrate the making of “cocktails from warmer climes.” The $45 ticket includes drinks and appetizers.