This week, you can celebrate Artisphere’s anniversary with some cutting-edge music, wander through a U Street music festival, dance to one of the greatest DJs of all time, sample rare beers from exotic Wisconsin or party with boxing great Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Thursday, Oct. 6
Meridian Pint beertender Tim Prendergast recently took a trip to the Midwest, where he inspired some envy with his tweets about drinking tasty brews that don’t make their way to this area. Perhaps he felt bad for us, because he brought back a truckload full of rare-for-D.C. beers from Wisconsin’s award-winning New Glarus brewery, and Meridian Pint’s serving them up on Thursday starting at 5 p.m. Sample four drafts, including Staghorn Oktoberfest, and 10 bottles while they last. I’m looking forward to the Raspberry Tart framboise, which took a gold medal at this year’s Great American Beer Festival.
During the run of the play “ Fela! ” at the Shakespeare Theatre, the show’s band and cast have popped up around town, rubbing elbows and getting down on dance floors with Washington’s party people. The band will be playing again at the Rock & Roll Hotel with Funk Ark, The California Honeydrops and Swift Technique for a “Fela!” afterparty.
Friday, Oct. 7
There once was a time when DJs from Philadelphia controlled the evolution of turntable techniques. Ideas they invented have become cornerstone skills in the art of DJing. In the 1980s, the big names included DJ Miz, DJ Too Tuff, a guy named DJ Jazzy Jeff that some of you may have heard of, and DJ Cash Money. In his day, Cash Money dominated DJ battles, rocked stages with his MC partner Marvelous and was the first inductee in the DJ Hall of Fame. He eventually became a record producer, but to this day he still gets busy on turntables. This legend will rock a set of funk and soul, all on original 45-rpm vinyl, at the Moneytown party at Little Miss Whiskey’s. This is a bucket-list event.
If you love ‘90s alt-rock then you have a tough choice on Friday night. Two bands will be performing their most-loved albums in their entirety. (It’s the gimmick that just won’t go away.) At the Black Cat you’ve got that lovable mess Evan Dando resurrecting the Lemonheads to run through “It’s a Shame About Ray,” his standout collection of pop nuggets, from the tender title track to the zippy “Rudderless.” The big question, of course: Will this full album performance include the elusive “Mrs. Robinson,” the cover of the Simon & Garfunkel classic that was a bonus track to the original version of the album and ended up becoming the band’s biggest hit?
Over at 9:30 Club, Trans Am tackles “Futureworld,” its 1999 album that still feels like it doesn’t belong to any time in particular. A career-long affiliation with Thrill Jockey meant the trio never really fit into the D.C. punk scene, yet the band didn’t exactly belong with their label’s post-rock crew, either. “Futureworld” may not be the most “classic” album to get the “performed in its entirety” treatment but thanks to its lack of date-specific reference points, it may be one of the most successful. Les Savy Fav and Psychic Paramount make it a solid top-to-bottom bill at 9:30 Club.
Saturday, Oct. 8
It has been one year since Artisphere opened in Arlington, exponentially increasing Rosslyn’s hipness quotient. The 1 Party is Artisphere’s birthday present to itself - a multimedia event featuring visual arts and music. Local artist and cinematographer Brian Stansfield is creating a site-specific video work that will include the lighting of Artisphere’s dome. Music features DJ sets by local standouts Alvin Risk and Hays Holladay of the always-eclectic Bluebrain. Also on tap is the live debut of Volta Bureau, a new local supergroup featuring U Street Music Hall regulars Will Eastman, Outputmessage and Micah Vellian. Here’s the catch - none of the music will be amplified. Attendees will be able to download the sets by each of the musical contributors before Saturday night, then queue them up with Stansfield’s video projection. Yes, we’re a little confused, too. But many bonus points for innovation.
Two years on, Nerd Nite is still the most reliably dorky and informative night of entertainment in Washington. How can you not love the idea of going to a bar on a Saturday night and listening to a statistician deliver a PowerPoint presentation on “Accordions and Stigma,” complete with a demonstration of the instrument that only polka fans and Weird Al could love? (Okay, the beer might have something to do with it.) Aside from accordions, this month’s talks at DC9 include a government security specialist discussing cryptography from Julius Caesar to World War II codebreakers to the world of WiFi, and Yahoo News editor Chris Lehmann (author of “Rich People Things”) on the history of meritocracy in America. Between lectures, there’s music from the Charm Offensive, beer and a rooftop deck to enjoy.
You probably haven’t heard of a single band that’s playing -- you probably haven’t heard even of some of the venues -- but there’s a music festival happening in Washington this weekend. And it’s massive. Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie Fest is the sequel to the Memorial Day version and once again features a staggering 100-plus bands performing for free all day at venues in the U Street area. This is true “indie” - unknown bands playing for free at under-the-radar spots. Saturday afternoon’s showcase at the Islander features Baltimore shoegazers Thrushes and Washington ragged garage-pop bands Mercies and Teen Mom, but this is a festival made for wandering in and wandering out at your leisure.
No DJ curates a tribute party better than DJ Spinna. This is the man who brought thousands to Prospect Park in the rain to dance for Michael Jackson. His Wonder-FULL party in tribute to Stevie Wonder tours the world, sometimes with cameo appearances from Mr. Steveland Morris himself. Spinna’s Stevie Wonder sets are a loving trip through a vast catalog of beautiful music with impeccable DJ skills and some surprise covers and remixes sprinkled throughout. The ecstatic experience returns to Liv for its third Washington engagement.
Sunday, Oct. 9
We’ve never been in a room with the greatest boxer in the world, but that’s about to change. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is hosting the Park at 14th’s Columbus Day weekend party. The undefeated fighter, who won the World Welterweight Title in a bout with Victor Ortiz, is the big draw, but the Park’s deals have a lot to offer, including a free buffet and drink specials from 5 to 7, and free admission with a pass from the Park’s site. The Secret Society -- a local ensemble that performs everything from ‘60s jazz to ‘80s funk -- provides the entertainment, and Monday is a federal holiday.
Monday, Oct. 10
Chicago duo Redgrave plays murky, sinister songs. Most begin with simple snare hits, and then Angie Mead’s swampy guitar and snarling vocals enter the mix, resulting in a swirl of noise that many bands twice their size can’t create. Labelmates Regents, who also perform at Galaxy Hut, are not one of those bands, though. The quartet, featuring members from a who’s-who of old hardcore favorites, plays visceral and blistering punk rock.