Take advantage of the break in the heat with an outdoor bar crawl in Arlington, Scotch tasting and grilling on the patio at Little Miss Whiskey’s, happy hour on the roof of Ozio and a Going Out Guide-sponsored concert at Carter Barron, or keep cool indoors with a self-guided beer tasting at ChurchKey, hometown girl Meshell Ndegeocello’s tribute to Prince, the grand finale of the Vitaminwater Uncapped Live art and music space, funky New Orleans brass at Bayou or the gentle ‘70s-inspired pop of Alela Diane.
Wednesday, June 15
Even beer novices know right away whether a beer is “hoppy.” But once you get more into beer, you learn that hops add more than bitterness -- they can be responsible for those piney notes, citrusy flavors or sweet caramel aromas. But how do you know which hop strains create the flavors you like? Every year, cult Danish brewery Mikkeller creates its single hop series: a range of beers that are brewed identically, except that a different type of hops is used in each one. Last year, ChurchKey tapped all 10 simultaneously on the same night, meaning you could try Tomahawk hops next to Challenger hops next to East Kent Golding hops and immediately grasp the effect each had on the beer’s taste. The expanded 2011 Mikkeller series was tapped at ChurchKey this week: 19 IPAs that are each bittered, flavored and dry-hopped with the same type of hops. The best way to approach this event is by purchasing a couple of four-ounce tasters ($3.50 each) and running your own side-by-side taste test. (Word to the wise: Citra, Sorachi and Willamette are a good place to start.) If you find one you can’t live without, a 10-ounce glass is $7. Just move quickly: ChurchKey has only a five-gallon keg of each beer, and they’re not going to make it to the weekend.
You probably don’t equate “bar crawl” with “Wednesday.” Yet. But five Arlington bars have teamed up to offer outdoor specials every Hump Day, and they’re all a short walk or Metro ride from each other. During the “Arlington Boardwalk” happy hour, swing into Whitlow’s for $3 draft beers, wines and rail drinks from 4 to 7, the Clarendon Ballroom for $1.50 Miller Lite bottles until 9 p.m., and Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill, the Front Page and Velocity Five for discounted beers all night. Look out for games and giveaways every week, including drawings for Nationals tickets. Check out the Blue Hour Twitter page for updates and more info.
The monthly whisky tastings at Little Miss Whiskey’s Golden Dollar are a budding Scotophile’s dream. Sample four or five different drams -- led by an expert Scotch taster or distillery rep -- for free, and then tuck into some great grub that’s cooked up on the grill on the back patio. This time around, introduce your tastebuds to Glen Grant 10 and 16 year old (both from Speyside), Bowmore 12 year (Islay) and Auchentoshan Triple Wood (Lowland). Unlike most liquor store tastings, there’s no hard sell here -- you don’t feel pressured to pick up a bottle of your favorite. And once you’re done, there are pulled pork sandwiches and brisket platters for sale. The tasting begins at 7:30, and there’s no need to RSVP.
Before down-South rap crossed the Mason-Dixon Line and eventually took over New York, it was a curious and sometimes frustrating movement that those of us not raised around car culture, slowly drawled syllables and hot Southern nights couldn’t relate to. But Outkast, UGK and many more couldn’t be denied, and now heirs like Big K.R.I.T. are keeping the movement going. In honor of rap’s southern family, DJ Cuzzin B spins Southern Hospitality at Pure Lounge, rocking every flavor of the third coast from Miami bass to crunk.
Thursday, June 16
Although she continually stretches her expression into hip-hop, electronic and jazz territories, Meshell Ndegeocello is steeped in the fonque. (That’s like funk with an extra layer of sophistication.) She can ride a thumping bassline in the pocket, and her work is also known for smoldering sensuality. So for her to spend an entire evening covering Prince’s catalog should send shivers of excitement through any music fan. Ndegeocello dons his Purple Majesty’s cape at the State Theatre.
Black Alley is a hard-working party band that can rock out, cover the newest rap, pop and R&B hits and also crank a go-go socket. Hang out at Bar 7’s weekly Thursday happy hour, which begins at 5. Have a few post-work drinks, and stick around. Black Alley plays at 8 p.m., and there’s no cover.
We’ve been blessed with a lot of good music from New Orleans in these parts recently. But the most unusual visitors from the Crescent City? That would probably be Bonerama, a brass-fueled funk band that’s best known for its unconventional takes on songs by Led Zepplin, Black Sabbath, the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. Ever wondered what it would be like to hear a row of trombones blasting out the riff to Led Zep’s “Ocean” or Sabbath’s “War Pigs”? You’re about to find out. Bonerama sold out a Friday night show at Bayou so quickly that there’s now a second show on Thursday night. Get your tickets in advance or get left outside.
The newest rooftop venue in D.C. is Ozio Lounge, which is trying to move beyond its cigars-and-martinis reputation in order to gain broader appeal. If you haven’t checked out the new outdoor terrace yet, our friends at the Express are co-hosting a happy hour with Lindy Promotions between 5 and 11 p.m. There’s no cover, and the specials include half-price appetizers, $2 Coors Light, $3 Blue Moon and $4 Absolut drinks.
Friday, June 17
We’re excited about the start of our annual Going Out Guide Weekend concerts at Carter Barron. As always, the concerts are free, they present some of the most exciting local talent and the first headliner of the series is someone we’re so psyched about that we’re having her back for a second straight year. Maimouna Youssef sang the seductive hook on the Roots’ 2006 track “Don’t Feel Right” (which garnered a best rap song Grammy nomination) and her debut EP, “Black Magic Woman,” shows off a sound that expertly draws on funk/jazz/soul/R&B/hip-hop and more.
For the past few weeks, the area’s hippest cultural space has been Vitaminwater Uncapped Live in the former Cable Vision building at 14th and V streets NW. The unwieldy name hides a hip pedigree: two floors of paintings, sculptures and skateboard art curated by the awesome Art Whino gallery, and two levels of DJs and bands booked by scenesters-about-town Brightest Young Things, plus a cool lounge filled with couches, Ping-Pong, pinball and coolers full of free vitaminwater drinks. Friday is your last chance to explore the building, but what a night. The cavernous main room will feature the Nouveau Riche DJs (who tore it up at U Street Music Hall last Saturday night) and funky house electropop music from local band Big/Bright and DJ Autorock. The raw lower level -- an underground parking garage with speakers, art and a bar -- features banging Baltimore club music from DJ Pierre (Baltimore City Paper’s “Best DJ” in 2009) and the DJs from Club Hippo’s Deep in the Game monthly (Baltimore City Paper’s reigning “Best Dance Party”). Meanwhile, DJs Cam Jus and TMY hold it down in the lounge. You pay nothing to party all night, and did we mention that vitaminwater is free? (Cocktails and beer are not, but they’re cheap.)
Strange Boys play a ragged and weary brand of garage rock. No thrashing, no stomping, no over-the-top histrionics. If the garage rock prom needed a band to pen the slow dance song, Strange Boys would probably be the pick. The band perpetually sounds like it was woken up a few minutes early from a nap that was a few hours overdue. Opening acts at Comet Ping Pong include leftfield garage-pop band White Fence and the debut of Heavy Breathing, a local group featuring former members of longtime local staples the Apes.
Twenty-five years ago, Jeff Krulik and John Heyn brought a movie camera to Capital Centre in Landover, where Judas Priest and Dokken were performing on Priest’s “Turbo” tour. But Krulik and Heyn weren’t filming the bands -- they were capturing the scene in the parking lots outside, where mulleted, denim-clad dudes and hairsprayed, spandexed women were drinking and rocking out next to their T-birds and conversion vans. The result was the legendary short film “Heavy Metal Parking Lot.” To celebrate its quarter century, the filmmakers -- and some of the fans captured on film -- are getting together at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre. The 17-minute film will be followed by a screening of “Heavy Metal Picnic,” about a 1985 metal music festival that took place on a farm in Potomac. Black T-shirts are encouraged.
Saturday, June 18
“Is it too late to do it again? / Or should we wait another 10?” is the lyric that opens the Feelies ’ new album, “Here Before.” It’s a winking nod to the band’s two-decade break between albums and kicks off what is undoubtedly one of the best “reboot” albums ever released. It helps that the New Jersey quartet has a sound that lends itself well to the passing of time. Although best known for the twitchy energy of its 1980 debut, “Crazy Rhythms,” the band eventually settled into a sound that favored pleasant drones and casual speak-sing -- think later Velvet Underground -- elements that aren’t exactly youth-dependent. The band is set to play two sets at the 9:30 Club, so there will be plenty of time to enjoy the college radio classics as well as new favorites.
Sunday, June 19
At this point, Alela Diane is more bandleader than singer-songwriter. After mostly going it alone on her first two albums, her folk songs are now bolstered by Wild Divine, a backing band that adds a bit of muscle and texture that complement Diane’s alluring voice and nature-themed lyrics. Songs from “Alela Diane & Wild Divine” now have a gentle gallop and inviting twang. For those who can’t get enough of the ‘70s sounds of Joni Mitchell and Fleetwood Mac, Diane provides a nice flashback without recycling old ideas. She performs at Iota.
Sunday is your last chance to see Bodycop, an imposing and ferocious group that made the local underground rock scene more exciting during its brief lifespan. The band’s music is vicious stuff. Guitars are squeaky and sludgy, the female vocals are mostly blood-curdling yelps and the songs lurch violently. Say goodbye at the Black Cat.
Tuesday, June 21
How you gonna be like that, Tuesday? Three excellent shows for people who like messy indie rock all on the same night? It’s not right, just not right. Your options: the always-fun girl-punk revelry of Atlanta’s the Coathangers at Red Palace. The slashing, sinister post-punk blast of TV Ghost at the Black Cat (opening for garage favorites the Spits ). Or the promising combo of Austin’s musically adventurous White Denim and indie-rock classicists Mazes at Rock & Roll Hotel. Every answer is a correct answer.