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Posted at 07:00 AM ET, 01/17/2012

Nightlife Agenda: Fatback, strong drinks and high school punks


Fatback — and its furry pink mascot — celebrate five years of funk and soul on U Street by taking over all three levels of Bohemian Caverns on Saturday night. (Evy Mages for The Washington Post)
Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are our top five events for this four-day week:

Thursday: Every act on D.C.’s Fort Knox Recordings label brings the body rock. From Fort Knox Five’s hybrid electro-funk to See-I’s dub styles to the Empresarios’ Latin club jams, it’s an eclectic catalog designed to get crowds moving. Liftoff ’s debut album, “Sunday Morning Airplay,” fits right in, despite its gentler sound. The title really is truth in advertising: This is a collection of downtempo songs with indie and psychedelic ingredients, perfect for a lazy morning after partying hard with any of the other Fort Knox acts Saturday night. Catch Liftoff’s debut peformance on the Black Cat’s backstage to coincide with the album’s release, with labelmates Fort Knox Five and Thunderball completing the evening’s roster.

Friday: The headliner at Comet Ping Pong on Friday night is K-Holes , a band that plays murky, sinister and swirling rock-and-roll. You won’t find much info about opening act the Gumbas, because Friday will be the band’s first show. The members of the band also are members of a much more famous group - the Mariinsky Ballet Company, in town for a week of performances at the Kennedy Center. Three of the dancers have formed the Gumbas as a one-time band to perform before K-Holes delivers a set of terrifying garage rock. Who knows what to expect, but it should be worth seeing.

Friday: Have you become jaded by rock-and-roll? Then head to St. Stephen’s Church on Friday night, where a handful of high school kids in punk rock bands will take the stage for a night of pretension-free music. The lineup includes Foozle, Guilty, Coxey Brown, Dactly, Belegost and the Black Sparks. Even the names have you smiling already, admit it.

Saturday: Over the past four years, Fatback has morphed from a ridiculously fun funk-and-soul dance party to a full-on phenomenon. The monthly throwdowns at Liv find seven DJs spinning disco, ‘60s funk and ‘70s R&B for capacity crowds that refuse to quit dancing at last call. The guys also have taken their show on the road from the Hirshhorn After Hours to parties at the Swedish Embassy without losing a step. For Fatback’s fifth anniversary, they’re taking over all three floors of Liv and Bohemian Caverns, bringing in guest DJs, giving away free tambourines - it’s going to be magical. And sweaty, in a good way. One thing to note: For the first time ever, Fatback is charging a cover.

Monday: The first thing you notice when Brooklyn’s Ava Luna takes the stage is that there are a lot of them -- seven -- but not a lot of instruments. Three of the group’s members are backup singers, which would usually suggest throwback neo-soul. But Ava Luna sounds more futuristic than retro, as songs from upcoming album “Ice Level” surge with blasts of synths and sharp turns that give the group few aesthetic peers. The interaction between lead singer Carlos Hernandez and the female backup singers is the key dynamic, though, and never feels gimmicky. The up-and-coming band is opening for Twin Sister at the Rock and Roll Hotel this time around, but expect top billing in the near future.

Need more ideas? We have an extra eight after the jump.

Tuesday, Jan. 17

Lucky Dub wants you to take some time to look up from your laptop and engage the space around you at Tryst. Tuesday Night Jams is like a piano bar transported to a coffeehouse: The trio performs acoustic versions of its tunes, cover songs and requests. You can still get your work done, and you might even strike up a conversation with the cute stranger next to you.

Thursday, Jan. 19

Be warned: You may be extra tipsy at the end of Pizzeria Paradiso’s next beer dinner, even if you finish all six food courses (including two pizzas). The half-dozen beers on the menu at the High Alcohol Beer Dinner range from 11.3 percent to 18 percent alcohol by volume, as opposed to your usual 5 percent Budweiser. Still, for a chance to pair Dogfish Head’s legendary 120 Minute IPA with a pizza pie topped with lamb merguez, cauliflower and olives, we’ll take the chance — and remember to drink plenty of water. Tickets are $65 in advance, including tax and tip.

Saturday, Jan. 21

Following on the heels of the high school punk rock show (see above), it’s another good night to be at St. Stephen’s, as local electronic supergroup Volta Bureau performs a rare live show as a benefit for Collective Action Safe Spaces. Dance-rock party starters Ra Ra Rasputin also perform.

We’ve been effusive with praise for the Black Cat’s Kicks! dance party in the past, since DJs Kim and Sara do such a great job mixing up the Ramones, David Bowie, the Stones, the Clash, New Order, random garage rock and ’60s girl groups. Apparently we’re not the only ones who dig it: Kicks celebrates its fourth anniversary with a no-cover party on the back stage.

Speaking of anniversaries, Town Tavern is marking three years in Adams Morgan with “ The Hangover Part Three ”: Pay $10 for unlimited drinks from 8 to 10 p.m., then get $2 Jello shots, $3 tallboy beers and $5 mixed drinks and Mind Erasers for the rest of the night.

Sunday, Jan. 22

Sunday is your last chance to head to Artisphere and experience Beauty Pill’s “The Immersive Ideal,” the public sharing of a new album the local band recorded in public at the Arlington space over the summer. The results are lush and gorgeous and best experienced in surround sound at the Black Box Theatre.

The popular voice of hip-hop in America embraces consumption and excess, but it’s still a force to motivate people to action around the rest of the world. “The Furious Force of Rhymes” is a documentary that explores hip-hop as protest music across four continents. After the screening at Busboys and Poets, stick around for a panel discussion about maintaining organic musical movements.

Tuesday, Jan. 24

Just a heads up: Belga Cafe’s monthly beer dinner features seven beers from Trappist breweries — that’s beer made by or under the control of Catholic monks — paired with three courses of food. Chimay is probably the best-known Trappist beer among casual drinkers, but it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Tickets are $59 in advance, and the Barracks Row restaurant expects them to sell out.

By  |  07:00 AM ET, 01/17/2012

Categories:  Bars and Clubs, Music

 
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