Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are five essential events for your long weekend, with 10 more after the jump.
Saturday: There’s nothing in the world quite like the Eurovision Contest , a continent-wide competition to see which country can produce the perfect pop act. (As you’d expect, over-the-top costumes and over-theatrical stage shows have become as important as slickly produced songs.) Eurovision is in Baku, Azerbaijan, this weekend, and while it will be watched by hundreds of millions around the world, it’s not on American television - unless you go to the Austrian Embassy, where the European Union has arranged to show it on an 18-foot screen with Dolby surround sound. You can enjoy the whole show larger than life, including Russian entry Buranovskiye Babushki , a group of eight grandmothers whose repertoire includes a cover of “Hotel California” in a regional dialect. Tickets are $10 and include one free drink.
Saturday: Artomatic is the once-every-few-years free-for-all at which you will see plenty of unique, interesting art and perhaps a lot of art you’ll wish you could unsee. The anything-goes aspect also goes for the festival’s musical offerings: Artomatic’s stage basically doubles as the area’s most diverse open-mike night for the next month. Saturday night is less of an unknown, though. One of the best shows of the weekend will feature a trio of local bands that execute swirling, noisy, shoegazey rock with the best of them. Headlining is Lorelei, which was one of the best purveyors of this sound during its initial run during the early 1990s and has honed it even more since reuniting in 2006. Screen Vinyl Image and Silo Halo round out the earplugs-advised bill.
Saturday: Here’s one for the old-timers among us: Local ska godfathers the Pietasters are headlining a retro oi and punk show at the Rock and Roll Hotel to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project. (Memorial Day weekend is the perfect time, no?) The lineup for Impact is Imminent includes a reunion of Spitfires United, plus the Unabombers, the Screws and the Incited — bands that have been around for the better part of two decades. There will be raffles for tattoo shops, bar tabs, etc., and 100 percent of the proceeds go to Wounded Warriors.
Saturday: D.C. rapper Fat Trel continues his climb from Next Big Thing to simply Big Thing, and fans who want to see him before he truly blows up should take advantage while they can. Saturday’s show should be a good opportunity to see him away from the D.C. club scene, way out in Springfield at the newly renamed, not-quite-as-heavy-metal club Empire (formerly Jaxx). Trel has the D part of the DMV equation on lockdown; tonight gives him a chance to get the V firmly behind him. His blunt, straightforward style should play in any state.
Sunday: There was the Godfather of Soul (James Brown) as well as the Godfather of Go-Go (Chuck Brown). Afrika Bambaataa, the Godfather of Hip-Hop, drew inspiration from both men and many more sources in sowing the seeds of hip-hop, electro-funk and modern DJ culture. Now in the fourth decade of his career, Bambaataa sticks to the ethos that started his whole story: the search for the perfect beat. And that search is non-denominational, as his selections run the gamut of tempos, styles and origin, which was the approach of DJs before hip-hop went from a live to a recorded experience. Joining Bambaataa for another Funk 4 Peace show at U Street Music Hall will be All Good Funk Alliance, Fort Knox Five and Nappy Riddem.
Keep reading for pool parties, a soiree at the French Embassy and Daylight’s anniversary jam.
Tuesday, May 22
The 15th installment of Dave Nada and Matt Nordstrom’s Moombahton Massive is not noteworthy for another appearance by Nadastrom and DJ Sabo at U Street Music Hall but as the launch party for D.C. DJ Steve Starks’s new “The Burma EP,” which you can preview on Soundcloud. It’s the first release on Nadastrom’s new label, Diabluma Sound.
Thursday, May 24
The annual Art After Dark party at the Art Museum of the Americas doesn’t get the hype that similar events at the Hirshhorn or Corcoran do, but it’s a similar mix of art, music and drinks. While 10 performance and video artists display their work, there’s music from New York’s Banda Magda — a sunny mix of Latin rhythms and French vocals — and dance beats spun by MTV Latin America’s DJ Mauricio Parra. Tickets are $40 and include five drink tickets; food trucks will be on site for when you get hungry. But buy them now: No tickets will be sold at the door.
It’s going to be fuzzy guitar overload at Comet Ping Pong. Locals Teen Liver play simple, head-bopping songs via the Ramones, wrapped in a thin layer of distortion, while headliners the Ketamines (all the way from Calgary, Alberta) indulge in psych-rock freakouts.
Unfortunately, visa issues will keep German DJ Michael Mayer from appearing at U Street Music Hall tonight, but if you show up right after work, you can rock out to the always abrasive and intriguing New York noise experimentalists Black Dice .
After a hiatus, the beers of the Flemish Duvel brewery and its sister ales — Duvel, De Koninck, Maredsous and Liefman’s — are all available in the United States again. They’ll be celebrated at Bourbon in Adams Morgan, along with beers from Duvel’s American partner, Ommegang. Ten drafts will begin flowing at 5 p.m., including De Koninck Tripel d’Anvers, Chouffe Biere du Soleil, Maredsous Tripel and Gnomeagang. They’ll cost $7 each, and prizes will be raffled off at 8 and 11 p.m.
Friday, May 25
There’s no opening act when Chuck Prophet and the Mission Express play at Iota on Friday, and that’s a good thing. That means the San Francisco-based songwriter and his band will have plenty of time to rip through the songs on his excellent new album, “Temple Beautiful,” and still have time to tackle plenty of others from his back catalogue that’s overflowing with roots-rock gems.
Saturday, May 26
If you embrace the whiff of brie cheese surrounding the Brightest Young Things party at the French Embassy’s La Maison Francaise (it’s called Zou Bisou Bisou after the song Megan Draper sang on the season premiere of “Mad Men”), it could be the event of the weekend. You’ve got a full slate of DJs, including Adrian Loving of the Axel F parties and TMY, who runs the French pop party Maison, plus a variety show that includes comedy, burlesque and a ukulele. Also, there’s live music in the garden. So brush up on your high school French and get tickets in advance, because this will surely sell out, n’est-ce pas?
Try stepping away from Saturday night madness in Adams Morgan and get your dancing fix in Mount Pleasant for TNT! at Haydee’s with Mikhail Z, Dos Dedos and Mad Squirrel. There’s no cover all night to sweat it out to funk, soul and Caribbean and Latin sounds.
Sunday, May 27
For six years, Daylight has been a bright spot on D.C.’s nightlife scene: a laid-back party where DJs Bill Source and Devine spin the best disco, house, old R&B and rare grooves for an older crowd that tucks into the lavish buffet — think fried fish, mac and cheese, jambalaya, barbecue baked beans — and stays late to dance. It’s one of the friendliest spots you’ll find, and the music always hits the spot. Daylight celebrates its anniversary at Liv, and you can expect tributes to the late Chuck Brown and Donna Summer during the evening.
Monday’s a holiday, so spend Sunday afternoon sipping drinks next to a pool. Two parties make their debut this afternoon: Adult Swim at the Capitol Skyline Hotel and the rooftop pool party at the Bethesda Double Tree .
Named for the South African fly guys who bond over fashion competitions, Swenka is an event launched by DJ Brian Senyo to expose D.C. party people to popular African dance music, from lusophone Kuduro, Ghanaian Hip-Life, South African Kwaito and more. DJs Munch and Mothershiester will also join in for this holiday weekend set at Wonderland.