Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are four we think you can’t miss.
Wednesday and Saturday: On Dec. 5, 1933, Utah passed the 21st Amendment, ending Prohibition. Seventy-nine years later, the anniversary is still a good excuse for a party. The D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild throws the Repeal Day Ball , an annual black-tie gala that attracts a who’s-who of local mixologists and special guests from New York to San Francisco, all of whom take turns whipping up their favorite cocktails. Tickets ($100) include an open bar, hors d’oeuvres and dancing to the swing-era sounds of the Red Hot Rhythm Chiefs. Looking for something more affordable? Jack Rose’s Wednesday night $20 “Friends of the Saloon” Repeal Day event includes a two-level party with burlesque performances, bottomless glasses of champagne, prohibition-priced cocktails, a special whiskey menu and even cigar pairings. (There are even more Repeal Day events on the GOG Blog.)
Wednesday: Camp Lo ’s “Luchini” is a mainstay in any throwback rap set. It’s also one of the strongest tunes to drop on a crowd at midnight at the end of a New Year’s Eve countdown. The New York duo’s debut album “Uptown Saturday Night” was such a strong record, it’s only right that the pair is on tour to celebrate the 15th anniversary release. With Jay-Z’s original beatsmith Ski behind the boards, it’s a record that still sounds fresh, and they’ll be performing the tracks at Liv.
Saturday: After six decades of touring and recording, iconic bluegrass banjo picker J.D. Crowe is retiring to his native Kentucky. His band the New South, which counts Ricky Skaggs and Jerry Douglas among its alumni, is making its final D.C.-area appearance at the Birchmere.
Monday: Holiday beers are big, bold ales that are spiced for the season and far more boozy than your average brew. If you find yourself craving a nice winter warmer, there’s no better place to be than ChurchKey this Monday. The Holiday Tap Takeover means that each of the bar’s 50 taps will be turned over to a seasonal beer, and because this is ChurchKey, it’s the kind of thing beer geeks dream of: Eight selections from England’s Ridgeway brewery (including the whole Bad Elf/Very Bad Elf/Criminally Bad Elf series), four vintages of Belgium’s Gouden Carolus Noel, rarities from Jolly Pumpkin, Mikkeller, de Struise and Hoppin Frog, plus a couple of local ales. Bring a designated driver. And bring canned goods to donate to local charity Martha’s Table: Your donation is worth 10 percent off your total bill at the end of the night.
There’s even more after the jump, including live Brazilian bands with free samba dance classes, Simian Mobile Disco, Os Mutantes and the return of the House of Secrets.
Thursday, Dec. 6
There are a lot of expat Midwesterners in D.C. How else to explain the huge crowds at Great Lakes Beer events, or all the Cleveland Indians caps therein? Of course, it could just be that the East Coast has discovered how good Ohio beer can be. The in-demand Great Lakes Christmas Ale is going on tap at Scion, along with 10 other regular and seasonal Great Lakes beers. All of them are $4 from 5 p.m. on, which is a steal. Christmas Ale is fine, but you should also head straight for the limited Blackout Stout and the Engine 20 smoked pale ale, which is usually only available at the Cleveland brewpub. (Sister restaurant Crios will also have a few Great Lakes taps, including Christmas Ale, but the larger and most interesting selection is at Scion.)
Os Mutantes emerged from Brazil’s 1960s Tropicalia movement and its mixture of traditional sounds and psychadelic rock wound up influencing some of the biggest names in pop and rock, ranging from the Talking Heads to Beck. After splitting for almost three decades, the group reunited in 2006 and recorded a new album, “Haih Or Amortecedor,” in 2009. Check out the band’s new direction and sound at the Hamilton.
Friday, Dec. 7
Husband-and-wife organ-and-drums duo Mates of State is back on the road and, interestingly, the duo has been asking fans to help choose the setlist by submitting favorite songs through Facebook. This could mean it’s an all greatest hits show, or you could wind up hearing deep cuts from “Team Boo” and that split single Mates of State did with the Shins back in 2001. Either way, sounds like a win at Rock and Roll Hotel.
Saturday, Dec. 8
If you’ve been around D.C. long enough, you may have heard references to the mysterious (and slightly sketchy) after-hours venue called the House of Secrets. Though it has been officially closed for years, this LeDroit-Park-house-turned-club is back and legal, at least for one night. The reason for this is an appearance by Berlin’s Till Van Sein , who specializes in the kind of warm, deep house beats that keep people on the dance floor for hours. (Locals Chris Burns and Sarah Myers, who travel the same path, open the night.) Look for separate rooms featuring DJs from D.C.’s Future Times label and, for early arrivals, Kid Congo Powers of the Cramps and the Gun Club rocking the decks during an open bar. (9 to 10:30 p.m.) Tickets are $18 in advance and more at the door.
Five years after wowing the club scene with their electro-fied debut singles “It’s the Beat” and “Hustler,” the UK’s Simian Mobile Disco is touring in support of its fourth album, “Unpatterns.” The new collection features taut, hard-edged techno with enough big-beat hooks to keep crowds dancing all night at the Rock and Roll Hotel.
Sunday, Dec. 9
The sounds of Brazil are a wonderful escape from the Washington winter. Every Sunday night, Tropicalia offers Carioca , a free show with a live band and DJ beginning at 8 p.m. Arrive at 7 for a free samba dance lesson; stick around for $5 caipirinhas all night.
There are only a handful of artists who perform like Mark de Clive-Lowe . Combining jazz, soul, electronic music and DJing, MdCL, as he is known, improvises a whole show with keyboards, a sequencer, effects units and a drum machine, weaving in special guest vocalists to walk the improv tightrope with him. The first set is usually more traditional, then the second set goes off into experimental territory. Dubbed “Church,” this show makes its first D.C. appearance at Liv.