Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Before we get to the five events you can’t miss, we wanted to make sure you’ve seen our guides to romantic Valentine’s Day activities and anti-Valentine’s Day events.
Tuesday: If you’re looking for ideas for a romantic Valentine’s Day with your sweetie, well, you should have made plans a few weeks ago. But if you’re looking for a place that won’t be packed with lovebirds and sappy romantic music, we’ve got two booze-centric ideas for the bitter among you. Bar Pilar, which reopened Feb. 3 after more than two months of renovations to its upstairs dining room, is hosting a Bitter Valentine’s Day . Every cocktail on the menu features house-made bitters as flavoring. Take the Tuff Love, which pairs Bulleit Rye Whiskey, peach bitters and fresh lemonade. Even the desserts are sharply flavored: The terrine is made with bittersweet chocolate and burnt orange. Meanwhile, ChurchKey’s “The Bitter Truth” party features a dozen rare beers made with pungent and spicy hops, such as Cigar City’s Jai Alai IPA, Maine Beer Company’s Peeper, and Evil Twin’s aggressively hoppy Freudian Slip barleywine. (Pro tip: Order the IPAs in four-ounce pours so you can sample more of ‘em.)
Friday: It has been a while since we’ve been able to write about a show at the Warehouse Theater, but Friday’s is worth the long wait. Man Forever features Kid Millions of Brooklyn’s favorite psychedelic sons, Oneida. This project is all about drums. Lots of people banging on them in long-form ensemble compositions. It’s sort of like a drum circle, but much more punk rock than hippie-dippie. Opening the show is Heavy Breathing, a local trio that does songs best performed only in very dark rooms very late at night. This should fit that bill.
Saturday: “Punk rock girl / Give me a chance / Punk rock girl / Let’s go slam dance.” One of the most romantic lines in the history of music, right? Okay, maybe not, but that chorus from the Dead Milkmen ’s biggest hit is still one for the ages. The song it comes from, “Punk Rock Girl,” was the Philadelphia band’s biggest hit, but the group’s legacy is that of cult favorites who injected humor into punk rock and set the stage for bands such as Blink-182 to make that a platinum formula. When the band, which reunited in 2008 after 13 years off, plays the U Street Music Hall, you can expect lots of laughs and maybe even some slam dancing.
Sunday: It’s hard to think of a local dance party that encapsulates the “Soul Train” spirit as well as Daylight . DJs Divine and Bill Source mine the cream of ‘70s and ‘80s funk, disco and R&B, working in Con Funk Shun, Shalamar and Afrika Bambaataa. The smiling dancers look as if they couldn’t stop grooving if they wanted to, and the dance floor occasionally breaks out in good-natured jam circles where everyone shows off their best moves, a la a “Soul Train” line. That’s why Daylight seems like the perfect place to celebrate the life of “Soul Train” host Don Cornelius, who died this month, and, after last Saturday, Whitney Houston. Since most people don’t have to be up early on Monday, we’re expecting Liv to be lively.
Monday: Yasiin Bey has always been in a constant state of evolution, so despite fans’ chagrin, it shouldn’t be surprising that he has shed the Mos Def moniker that has accompanied him throughout an expansive career of acting, singing and conceptual projects. Expert rhyme slinging is still his calling card, and recent recordings with Talib Kweli have renewed excitement for a revival of their Black Star collaboration, which first electrified progressive hip-hop in 1999. He’s also keeping it classic by flipping current hits in tried-and-true mixtape fashion as part of his Top 40 Underdog project. So really, it’s not that Yasiin Bey is no longer Mos Def but that he’s just a better version of his old persona. Check him out at the 9:30 Club.
Ten more ideas — romantic or not — are waiting after the jump.
Tuesday, Feb. 14
Zombified hearts rotted by romantic disappointment and then reanimated to take revenge on those still happily living and loving need affection, too, or maybe just a place to drink, dance and rage. The Valentines Zombie Massacre takes place at the Bloody Banana — sorry, the Blue Banana — in Petworth. Ed the Metaphysical spins nu disco and other pumping tracks while horror movies take over the sporting events usually playing on the bar’s nine screens. Zombie costumes are suggested but not required.
Here’s something as far from Valentine’s Day as you can get: The Pug is celebrating its fifth anniversary this week with different specials every day. Tonight’s deal: two-for-one Natty Boh cans. (Our second favorite: Friday’s “liberally poured whiskey shots”). As always with the Pug, a portion of the week’s proceeds will be donated to the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research.
The long-running Flashback ’70s/’80s/early ’90s dance party is making its return to Cobalt tonight with cheap drinks and DJ Jason Royce. It was one of the city’s best retro nights, so let’s hope it picks up where it left off.
Wednesday, Feb. 15
One day we’re going to look back at 2011 and 2012 and say, “Wow, there was a Moombahton Massive every month at U Street Music Hall!” This month’s edition features another monster lineup of Nadastrom, Sabo, Heartbreak, Munchi and Jen Lasher.
Thursday, Feb. 16
Friday, Feb. 17
No shade thrown at dance music’s bass movement or the aggressive tech styles that dominate the pop scene, but soul is still a powerful tool on today’s dance floor. And when it comes to moving bodies with deep music, DJ Spinna is among the best. Where so many DJs specialize, Spinna is a classic master of varied styles, so even when playing house you’ll hear soul, jazz, Latin and more. He caught the holy ghost the last time he played Red Fridays at U Street Music Hall, so this return trip is eagerly anticipated.
Here’s some culture shock: Miami-based house and techno DJ Robbie Rivera , known for his pumping Juicy Beach parties on the sands of Nikki Beach, is heading up to frigid Washington to spin at Josephine. Tickets are $20, or you can skip the line — and save $5 — with a pass from clubglow.com.
Sunday, Feb. 19
A week after the Grammys, it’s time for the Wammies . At the State Theatre, the best in local music will be honored, and Afro Blue, Bad Influence Band, Carolyn Malachi and Dead Men’s Hollow are among the acts taking the stage.
Monday, Feb. 20
If you don’t have to work Monday, you might as well drink some extra-potent beers Sunday, right? Pizzeria Paradiso’s Presidents’ Day Weekend Barleywine Bash features 25 barleywines — a style of beer that’s high in alcohol and laced with plenty of hops. Rarities on draft and cask include the Mikkeller and Three Floyds collaboration Boogoop, Schlafly Oak Aged Barley Wine, Pretty Things’ Our Finest Regards and Anderson Valley Horn of the Beer. Note that different beers will be offered on different days, so check the Paradiso Web site before heading to Dupont Circle.
Ben Lee is 33 and has been in the spotlight for 20 years. He’s transitioned from fuzzed-out teen punk to introspective singer-songwriter, and performs at Rams Head Tavern in support of last year’s “Deeper Into Dream.”