Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.
This week’s top five events:
Tuesday: Music festival season is more of a summer thing, but those who are fiending to see a diverse batch of bands in one setting would do well to check out the 9:30 Club on Tuesday. The only common thread that runs through the five bands taking the stage seems to be that they have traveled a long way to get here, but that often makes for a more enjoyable concertgoing experience than a homogeneous lineup. Headliners Tinariwen from Mali play epic, guitar-driven desert rock while Australia’s Architecture in Helsinki opts for bouncy, orchestral indie pop. Throw in Swiss singer-songwriter Sophie Hunger, buzzed-about psych-pop band Dom and Swedish electro-pop band Lo-Fi Fnk and there should be something for everyone.
Tuesday: Meshell Ndegeocello ’s unfettered muse leads her down creative paths unburdened by the constraints of categorization or marketability. When her tastes have coincided with what is widely accepted, she’ll jump into pop consciousness for a bit, as she did with her “Wild Night” duet with John Mellancamp. But Ndegeocello prefers to follow her own route, allowing eager followers to come along as they see fit, whether for the semi-rapping style that she has frequently flirted with, left-field jaunts into fusion jazz, deeply personal songs about heartbreak or bedroom lullabies. This Birchmere show is a tour stop for her stripped-down and intimate “Weather” album.
Tuesday: You don’t need to go to the Corcoran Gallery of Art to see works by up-and-coming artists from the Corcoran College of Art and Design. Just head for the Renaissance Dupont Circle Hotel, where student works decorate the lobby and the M Bar lounge as part of the ongoing “ Put a CORC in It !” collaboration between the school and the hotel. A new collection of paintings, photographs, sculpture and digital works will be unveiled this week at a happy-hour reception featuring complimentary wine and cheese, hors d’oeuvres and a chance to talk to the artists. The works will be on display through mid-March.
Thursday: The award for this week’s wonkiest happy hour and trivia event goes to the Economist Pub Quiz , a trivia night at the Pour House sponsored by the news magazine. Questions will cover current events, history and pop culture, putting them right in the wheelhouse of most Capitol Hill workers. (It’s also worth noting that the organizer of an Economist pub quiz in Brooklyn referred to it “highbrow trivia.”) There’s no charge to enter, and there will be plenty of giveaways, including Economist T-shirts for participants. It is strongly recommended that you sign up in advance, since the number of spots is limited; e-mail email@example.com to register. The game begins at 7 p.m. sharp, so show up early to sign in and grab happy-hour drafts and mixed drinks.
Monday: As warped house and disco sounds continue to ooze out of the experimental underground, it sure is nice to have a curator as trustworthy as 100% Silk . In its first year, the upstart Los Angeles label has become one of the best sources for music that’s fit for dance floors, as long as those dance floors are surrounded by plenty of psychedelic images. Washington is one of six lucky cities that will host a label showcase, with the arty new spot the Dunes as an appropriate venue. All five acts are worth catching, but pay close attention to disorienting beats from LA Vampires, the sharp techno-thump of Ital and the cosmic disco grooves of Innergaze.
You’ll find 10 more recommended events after the jump, and don’t forget to check out our list of beaujolais nouveau celebrations — especially if you like free French wine.
Tuesday, Nov. 15
Dale Watson plays a rootsy style of honky-tonk that’s as authentic as his hard-living ways. If you have a fondness for Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard, don’t miss this Austin alt-country outsider at the Clarendon Ballroom, where he headlines the Texas State Society’s annual Terlingua Two-Step party. (Buying tickets in advance is strongly recommended.)
When he played as R&B/soul-flavored King Khan and the Shrines and primal duo King Khan and BBQ Show, King Khan always made each of his shows a spectacle. Expect no different when the garage rock madman teams with Bloodshot Bill as Tandoori Knights , at the Black Cat.
Wednesday, Nov. 16
With all the flashy West Coast beers showing up in D.C. recently, it’s easy to overlook longtime mid-Atlantic favorites, such as Pennsylvania’s Victory Brewing Company. A special Victory Pint Night at Scion will feature such familiar beers as Hop Devil and Golden Monkey, but you can sample some harder-to-find treats, including Zeltbier, an Oktoberfest-style lager that’s almost never seen outside the Downingtown brewpub. Even better: All beers are $4 all night.
Thursday, Nov. 17
Buoyed by a set of breathy, ethereal cover songs that place tunes ranging from Mos Def to Bob Marley in alternate contexts, young Bay Area singer Mara Hruby has caught a lot of ears. You’d never know she started performing shows only a year ago. Her first East Coast tour stops at Liv along with Philadelphia singer-songwriter Jessi Teich.
Friday, Nov. 18
One of the more unusual locations you’ll find for a comedy show: the United States Navy Memorial’s Naval Heritage Center. But it’s proving to be a popular spot for the Urban Comedy Flavorz standup series. Chicago’s Damon Williams has checked off all the comedy boxes: opening act for the Kings of Comedy tour and multiple appearances on “Showtime at the Apollo,” BET’s “Comic View” and the Tom Joyner Morning Show. Opening for Williams are D.C. vet Tony Woods and Baltimore police-officer-turned-comic Timmy Hall. Tickets for both the 7:30 and 9:30 shows are available at dccomedy.eventbrite.com.
Part of the idea behind Josephine’s recent makeover: to bring top-notch electronic DJs to an intimate club setting. It seems to be working. After Sunnery James and Ryan Marciano perform before a sold-out crowd of 10,000 at the D.C. Armory’s Super Glow night, they’ll be spinning their mix of soulful and underground house at Josephine. Tickets are $20; buying in advance is the only way to guarantee you’ll get in.
Saturday, Nov. 19
U Street Music Hall is often the most likely spot for best party of the weekend, but by hosting Switch (half of Major Lazer) and Baltimore club royalty Scottie B on Saturday, we’re ready to hand them the title on Monday night.
Asian American and Pacific Islander art showcase Sulu DC celebrates its second anniversary at Artisphere with an awards show and concert. Spoken word star Regie Cabico hosts, and featured entertainment ranges from a film screening of work by deaf filmmaker and playwright Sabina England to J Pharaoh’s live hip-hop and rock band the Manhattan Project. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door, so get them now.
Monday, Nov. 21
The rappers on the Smoker’s Club Tour have unnecessarily pigeonholed themselves by giving their tour a marijuana-friendly name. It’s no surprise that Wu-Tang de facto centerpiece Method Man and New Orleans drawler Curren$y enjoy getting lifted, but there’s no need to cheapen their skills. Big K.R.I.T., one of 2011’s breakout rap stars, is also on the bill at the 9:30 Club.