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.
Friday: In one short year, Maracuyeah has carved out a blossoming niche in the D.C. party scene, curating bass-heavy tropical sounds that infuse dance music with a new energy and blur the lines between electronic, organic, classic and cutting-edge. Even better, Maracuyeah events follow a DIY approach, skipping the nightclub circuit for community based spaces and small bars where different classes and cultures can blend comfortably on the dancefloor. DJs Rat, Mafe and Bent welcome NYC Dutty Artz crew DJ Chief Boima for their anniversary party at Judy’s Restaurant, along with live cumbia from Tribaldis Band.
Saturday: How many hardcore bands over the past 25 years have gritted their teeth in disappointment that the band name Scream was already taken? It was certainly a fitting moniker for the local group, one of the mightiest members of an explosive D.C. punk scene in the ‘80s, but it also slightly undersold the band’s musical dexterity. Besides a hearty punk blast, the band also included reggae and blues-rock in its driving sound. The band’s original lineup reunited in late 2009 and has played a handful of shows with its powerful sound still intact. This latest show at St. Stephen’s Church is a benefit for DC Jobs with Justice and also features Beasts With No Nation, the Mobius Strip and Outlook.
Saturday: There were probably many people who missed seeing up-and-coming Icelandic group Of Monsters and Men at the Black Cat last week. All tickets were scooped up in the few days right after they went on sale, and since then, the band’s precious, heartfelt songs - think the midpoint between Mumford & Sons and Arcade Fire - have found their way on to even more iTunes playlists. Thanks to this week’s Taste of Iceland Festival in D.C., locals get another chance to see the band. And even better, it’s free. Go to the Fillmore’s Web site to print out free tickets, but be warned that admission is still first-come, first-served and a ticket does not guarantee entry.
Sunday: Has it really only been a year since the city got its first taste of DC Brau? In that time, the spunky startup brewery - the first in Washington in half a century - has gone from a cult to near ubiquity, with its draft and canned beers available at about 300 establishments in D.C. and Virginia. Weekend tours at the upper Northeast brewery are packed, with lines out the door. There’s a lot to celebrate on this first birthday, and DC Brau is returning to Meridian Pint, the scene of its first tapping party, for a birthday blowout . Twenty DC Brau beers will be available on cask and draft for $5 each, including IPAs and Belgian ales aged in barrels from Virginia’s Catoctin Creek and Copper Fox distilleries and kegs of DC Brau’s collaborations with Epic, Stillwater and Oliver Ales. (The full lineup is available on Facebook.) Word of warning: At the last DC Brau event at Meridian Pint, the line for admission ran down the block. Arrive on the early side or you’ll miss out on some great brews.
Please note: Meridian Pint will close at 3 p.m. on Sunday and reopen at 4 for the DC Brau party. Everyone inside at 3 p.m. will have to leave the bar, go outside and wait in line.
Sunday: Too many “organized” bar crawls follow a familiar path: Randomly bounce between a dozen bars over the course of a few hours in search of cheap drinks. No schedule, and very little to make one destination stand out from another. That’s not the case at the annual Old-School Hip-Hop Bar Crawl , a trip to six watering holes that reminds us that U Street remains the main street for the local hip-hop scene. The afternoon kicks off at Tabaq from 2 to 4 p.m., where DJ Kayo spins the best of the West Coast (think Dre, ‘Pac, Cube) while bartenders serve $4 beers and $6 wine and martinis. Then everyone gets crawling, with a new destination and DJ beginning at the top of the hour. First up is DJ Jimmy Phingaz with a set of Southern classics from Outkast and the Dungeon Family at Touchdown sports bar. At 5 p.m., the crowd moves on to Ulah for DJ Que’s set of ‘80s and ‘90s New York artists. DJ Oso Fresh is at the Islander at 6 p.m., where he’s dropping hip-hop cuts laced with jazz.. Bro DJ gets the spotlight at Tap and Parlour from 7 to 8 p.m. for a Wu-Tang vs. Def Squad set, before the crowd descends on Queen Makeda for DJ RBI’s “grand finale” that runs until 2:30 a.m. Each bar has its own specials lined up - everything from $3 beers to $4 rum punch to 25 percent off food - but you need to purchase a wristband for $5 if you want to partake.
Looking for more ideas? Find 10 additional picks, from ‘80s pop stars to legendary hip-hop MCs, after the jump.
Tuesday, April 10
The new hotness for D.C. retro nights: Bring in iconic ‘80s and ‘90s singers to perform the hits that DJs usually spin. Our latest example: Tiffany -- the ‘80s pop queen known for her cover of “I Think We’re Alone Now” and the ballad “Could’ve Been” -- is visiting Cobalt’s Flashback ‘80s night . There’s no cover, and Tiffany’s expected to hit the stage around 10:30.
Wednesday, April 11
New York duo Tanlines has made one of 2011’s best albums to date, overflowing with buoyant pop songs made by people who have studied all the great things keyboards can do and, just as importantly, all the harm they can inflict. Hear the expertly-crafted creations at DC9.
Thursday, April 12
Raekwon may very well be the most underrated member of Wu-Tang Clan. Method Man is the crowd favorite, RZA is the architect, Ghostface the best storyteller. But Raekwon is just a great rapper, and his two “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx” albums (the 1995 original and 2009 sequel) are among the best in the Wu catalogue. Catch “The Chef” at the State Theatre.
“Ratchet” is the au courant term for anything lacking couth, gentility and propriety. For those that like slackness in their dancehall, the grimiest rap, and pretty much anything else that you wouldn’t admit enjoying in polite company (or when you’re sober), DJ Afro Boy serves up Ratchet Thursdays at Zeba Bar.
Friday, April 13
During cherry blossom season, Each of Washington D.C.’s State Societies picks a young woman to represent her state as a ceremonial Cherry Blossom Princess. Once the Cherry Blossom Queen has been chosen at the “Grand Ball,” there’s a big After Party in the Renaissance Hotel’s grand ballroom with free sake and beer, a special cherry blossom cocktail, free late-night snacks, a DJ spinning Top 40 and dance hits. And there will be actual princesses at the party. How often can you say that? Tickets are $40; dress is “cocktail” or “spring smart,” so leave the jeans at home.
The Howard Theatre’s rebirth is grand, but a gradual arts renaissance happening east of the river is also worth celebrating. TheARC is great community resource and top flight concert hall in Ward 8. Young DC jazz luminary Akua Allrich headlines on Friday, and the next day Anacostia is illuminated all day for the LUMEN8Anacostia Festival, where 30 arts temporiums along the historic Anacostia corridor open to display the talents of visual and performing artists.
Saturday, April 14
There are only a handful of D.C. DJs with name recognition around the world, and Eric Hilton is one of them. The co-founder of Thievery Corporation and Eighteenth Street Lounge makes one of his rare forays behind the decks at ESL to celebrate the launch of the online radio station ESLRadioLive.com. Thomas Blondet opens; Farid and Will Eastman (of Bliss and Volta Bureau) battle in the Gold Room. Doors open at 9.
Volta Bureau and Big/Bright, two crowd-pleasing local electro-rock acts will perform at the Lumen8Anacostia opening night, turning the former Metropolitan Police Department evidence warehouse into a nightlife hotspot.
Feeling like your golf skills are more John Daly than Bubba Watson? Check out the annual Cap City Bar Golf competition, which puts actual mini-golf putting greens in eight downtown bars on Saturday afternoon, including Public Bar and Buffalo Billiards. You and your friends head out, drink cheap beer ($2 Coors Light, $3 Blue Moon) and try to rack up the lowest score. Admission is $11 per golfer or $33 per foursome. Register at Mackey’s between 2 and 6; the awards are handed out at Rumors after 8 p.m.
Sunday, April 15