Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are the six things you can’t miss in the days ahead.
Wednesday: This week, Scotophiles around the world will don kilts and raise glasses in memory of Robert Burns, the 18th-century writer regarded as Scotland’s national poet. And, of course, they eat haggis - the traditional dish of a sheep’s organs prepared with oatmeal, onions and spices, and cooked in the sheep’s stomach - while listening to a reading of Burns’s famous “Address to a Haggis.” At Mad Fox Brewing Company’s five-course Burns Night supper , the haggis will be served with the usual “tatties and neeps” -- turnips and potatoes -- and brewer Bill Madden’s 80 Shilling Scottish Ale, a rich, malty beer that should be perfect with offal. (If you’re queasy about haggis, there’s also grilled leg of lamb and Scottish salmon paired with special brews, including Madden’s award-winning Wee Heavy Scottish Ale.) A bagpiper and poetry readings complete the festive atmosphere.
Thursday: “Fela!,” the high-energy musical about pioneering Afrobeat musician Fela Anikulapo Kuti, returns to Washington this weekend for a four-night run at the Warner Theatre. Luckily for us, this means another late-night Afrobeat dance party at Montserrat House featuring a performance by the “Fela!” cast and musicians, including star Sahr Ngaujah. The lively, irrepressible beats will get even the shyest wallflowers onto the floor, where shirtless men and women with painted faces whirl and groove. DJ Jahsonic warms up the room beginning at 10 p.m.; the musicians arrive after their theater performance, so expect them to take the stage after midnight.
Friday: DJ Jonathan Toubin is a semi-regular visitor to Comet Ping Pong, where his funk and soul-filled New York Night Train parties turn the restaurant’s back-room performance space into sweaty, limbs-flailing madness. He was recently the victim of a truly bizarre accident: While he was staying at a hotel in Portland, Ore., a taxi crashed into his ground-floor room, pinning him against the wall and sending him to the ICU. Toubin made a speedy recovery but racked up quite a big medical bill. There have been benefits across the country, and D.C. gets in the act with performances by local favorites Chain and the Gang, Deathfix, Cane & the Sticks and DJs Kid Congo Powers and Baby Alcatraz.
Friday: Two competing Friday night events pose a conundrum for seekers of deep house beats this week. Which to choose? It really comes down to how your temperament and tastes shake out. Feeling soulful and craving some classics? D.C.’s Louis P. is linking up with Chicago house god Ron Trent and New York’s Danny Krivit, one of the architects of dance-music culture, at the Warehouse Loft. If you’re looking for big-room bangers and sophisticated harder sounds, head to U Street Music Hall’s Red Fridays for Philadelphia’s King Britt , Ken Lazee and Sleepy & Boo.
Saturday: The best thing about the annual Sockets Records showcase at the Black Cat is that you don’t always know what to expect. Most record labels have a clearly defined aesthetic; Sockets is not one of them. Hyper-political rap group Cornel West Theory and explosive punk-prog quartet Hume headlined the last two blowouts; this year it’s space-disco duo Protect-U. Also performing - and celebrating an album release - is local trio Imperial China, which plays jittery, jumpy post-punk. Throw in free-flowing instrumental rock from Buildings and the gentle, basement pop of Cigarette, and it’s a properly diverse Sockets lineup.
Still need more? There are an extra 10 ideas after the jump.
Tuesday, Jan. 24
The latest storytelling night to debut in D.C. is a New York import. “ Bare!: True Stories of Sex, Desire and Romance ” got its start in Brooklyn (of course), but the first D.C. showcase has a local feel, with veterans of Speakeasy DC and the Story League telling tales with a theme of “Firsts” on the Black Cat’s back stage. New York singer-songwriter Kimi Lundie performs.
What really grinds your gears? What real or perceived slights turn you into an unhinged Peter Griffin, aggressively ranting at home or the company of sympathetic friends? It’s time embrace those pet peeves among those who will support you: blogger Leon Scott of ListenToLeon.net and a room full of the similarly aggrieved at Cafe Saint-Ex. Sign-up for delivering your gripe starts at 8 p.m., and rants starts at 9 p.m. In between, partake of adult beverages and listen to beats spun by DJ Roz.
Wednesday, Jan. 25
When Reuben Wu isn’t touring the world with electro-pop stars Ladytron -- the band he co-founded more than a decade ago -- the Liverpool-born keyboardist tours the world as a DJ. His latest jaunt brings him to U Street Music Hall, where DJs Shea Van Horn and Cale open, and admission is free all night for everyone 21 and older.
Thursday, Jan. 26
Monique Bingham’s alto has caressed some of the most deliciously salacious house anthems as well as some of the most uplifting — and sometimes all in the same song. Whether she’s crafting the life-affirming verses of Blue Six’s “Pure” or laying bare the realities of romantic committment on “Kissing Strangers,” Bingham brings strong songwriting skills along with her soul-stirring vocal performances. The diva performs at Liv with DJs Sam “The Man” Burns and Tee Alford.
Friday, Jan. 27
NPR’s beloved Tiny Desk Concerts series started with singer-songwriter Laura Gibson . She was so quiet, and the crowd at Iota was so chatty that Bob Boilen invited her to come play in the office so he could actually enjoy her music. It was a happy accident that led to a great Web series, but the lesson remains -- don’t talk through a show. She’s back at Iota for round two.
Saturday, Jan. 28
If only all concerts came with explanatory titles such as Saturday’s show at Artisphere. Git Up and Git Down: World Music Grooves from Africa to Brazil features performances by local Afrofunk group Elikeh, Baltimore’s old-school soul group the Bellevederes and Alma Tropicalia, the local band that pays tribute to Brazil’s psychedelic sounds of the ‘60s.
A below-the-radar rock show on a busy night -- Sun Wolf and Suns of Guns, two of the city’s most no-nonsense, all-business bands share a bill at Montserrat House.
Monday, Jan. 30
Another Scottish-themed beer dinner to watch for: ChurchKey welcomes Bruce Williams, a founder of Scotland’s extraordinary Williams Brothers Brewing Company. A five-course Scottish feast is paired with nine rare Williams Brothers beers, including some aged in Scottish whisky casks. Tickets are $73, excluding tax and tip.
Speaking of beer aged in whiskey barrels, there’s a local take being unveiled at Boundary Stone: two rare kegs of
DC Brau’s Penn Quarter Porter
aged for six months in barrels that once held Catoctin Creek
bourbon whiskey. Get there early -- the tapping will be between 6 and 7 -- and it’s going to go fast.
In September of last year, Texas suffered devastating wildfires. In the city of Bastrop alone, more than 1,500 homes were destroyed. To help the city recover, local favorites Ruthie and the Wranglers, Charlottesville’s Sons of Bill and Saskatchewan’s the Deep Dark Woods are joining forces at Hill Country to raise money for the local United Way and the Bastrop City Council. All of the proceeds from the $20 tickets benefit charity, as will a silent auction. Hill Country will kick in 20 percent of all food and drink sales. Doors open at 7 p.m.; advance ticket purchase is recommended.