Every Wednesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.
This week's top five nightlife events:
You've done karaoke in dive bars, piano lounges, even those Korean-style karaoke spots with private rooms so no else has to hear you butcher "Like a Prayer." But have you ever belted out Britney while sipping a top-shelf cocktail and checking out bird's-eye views of the Mall? Now you can: The W Hotel is kicking off karaoke in its all-weather rooftop lounge on Thursday night. Fresh 94.7 DJ Tommy McFly is the host of the party, where the musical focus is Top 40 tunes. Get up your courage with $10 cocktails, and who knows, the top vocalists will take home prizes. And while getting up to the W's rooftop can sometimes be a gamut of velvet ropes and clipboards, this night doesn't require reservations. Just show up any time after 6:30 p.m. to warm up; singing runs from 7 to 10.
New York producer Drop the Lime (a.k.a. Luca Venezia) has branched out beyond creating dance music that fuses electro, dubstep and Baltimore club; remixing the likes of Robyn and Moby; or releasing tunes by AC Slater and Dexplicit on his own Trouble & Bass label. Now he's fronting a band - seriously, a band - that builds three-minute songs around rockabilly's taught guitar riffs and honking horns, then punches them up with electro's pumping bass and banging drums. It's insanely catchy, just the kind of thing even your parents might like if you turn it on in the car when you're visiting for Thanksgiving. (You can watch the videos for "Hot as Hell" and "Shake Baby Shake" on YouTube for a taste.) Drop the Lime brings the whole band - backup dancers and all - to U Street Music Hall for a Thursday night show with in-demand Irish DJs Japanese Popstars and D.C.'s own Stereo Faith.
Even with the sad news of the imminent divorce of Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore, there remains no real shortage of alt-rock couples. One such couple will be on display Saturday at the Black Cat. Unlike Sonic Youth, Dee Dee (just Dee Dee) and Brandon Welchez don't share a band. She fronts retro-pop powerhouse Dum Dum Girls ; he sings for noisy shoegazers Crocodiles. Both bands have a serious strut, exuding supreme confidence onstage. On new album "Only in Dreams," Dum Dum Girls channel the effortless cool of the Pretenders, their indie-pop confections given a sturdy base. Debut album "I Will Be" was a nice genre exercise, but this is the album that ensures they will be around for a while.
Because he is (by far) the most successful rapper to emerge from D.C., Wale attracts an inordinate amount of scrutiny. To date, his career can be quickly summarized as such: promising synergy of rap and go-go, impressive string of smart and funny mixtapes, massive letdown of a proper debut album, tiresome Twitter beefs, intriguing reinvention as part of Rick Ross's Maybach Music stable. There's no doubt that Wale is a gifted lyricist with an effortless flow; it has just been hard to decipher his viewpoint. This Saturday at the Fillmore, he'll be previewing songs from his new album, "Ambition," out Nov. 1, and we remain optimistic. And we're also hoping for exciting guest spots since this show falls on Howard homecoming weekend, when Washington is inundated with rap stars.
Only Mobb Deep can take credit for turning a cut-throat, haunting anthem for thieves and killers into a timeless club banger that gets women in stilettos denouncing halfway crooks. “Shook Ones Pt. II” is the crown jewel of a 20-year catalog of monotone threat music that started when Havoc and Prodigy were still in their teens. Mobb Deep is one of the best duos in hip-hop history and they’ll doing a Howard Homecoming show Saturday night at Liv.
See 10 more great picks after the jump. And don't forget to check out our list of all the Howard homecoming events you need to know about.
Wednesday, Oct. 19
Baltimore punk trio Double Dagger was one of the most reliably loud, entertaining and independent bands of the past decade. Every show was a sweaty, full-contact affair, and there was never any room to hide. The band is calling it quits after this weekend; experience them one last time at the Black Cat.
Move over, ChurchKey: With the addition of eight new taps at its main bar, the Black Squirrel now boasts 57 draft beer lines over three floors -- the most in all of Washington. To celebrate, the bar is offering $2 off any pint between 5 and 8 on Wednesday, and it’s adding some great new selections for the occasion, including Southern Tier's Pumking, BrewDog's Hardcore IPA, Avery Kaiser and Epic Smoked & Oaked Dark Ale.
It will be part concert and part science experiment when Mark Fell and Richard Chartier perform at Artisphere. The sound installation artists don’t play songs, but they explore the fringes of frequencies and rhythms. This performance will incorporate Chartier’s field recordings from a recent trip to Iceland.
Thursday, Oct. 20
D.C. is undergoing a beer revolution: Three D.C. breweries have made their debuts this year, new beer bars seem to open every month and existing neighborhood hangouts are trading Miller Lite for craft brews. Where do we go from here? Join a panel of local bar managers, brewers, writers and homebrewers at the Bier Baron for State of the Brewnion, a discussion moderated by City Paper columnist Tammy Tuck. The conversation runs from 6:30 to 8:30. Free beers and appetizers will be served.
Whether Steve Starks spins solo or with his Nouveau Riche crew, you can count on a large amount of original productions mixed in with the party bedlam tracks in which he specializes. He’ll be teaming up with tropical electro specialist Cam Jus to bash Wonderland for the Sham Lifestyle party.
Friday, Oct. 21
Saturday, Oct. 22
Last chance for Oktoberfest: Bethesda's Redwood restaurant is organizing an afternoon of bratwurst and beer along Bethesda Row to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The $32 admission includes tickets for food, beers from Flying Dog and New Belgium and live music. (Let the kids play at the fun fair while you hit the beer garden.) The fun begins at 1; last call is at 7.
Three years after officially splitting up, award-winning trance DJs Gabriel and Dresden are making up for lost time. They're visiting D.C. for the second time in 2011, this time on the heels of the genre-blurring "Mixed for Feet" compilation. Techno, trance, house and club all find their way into the uplifting mix, which bodes well for an appearance at Fur's Glow party.
Monday, Oct. 24
The Red Bull company boosts underground cultures the way its beverage claims to boost energy, and now it’s giving MC battles the Red Bull touch. The Red Bull EmSee is an invitation-only rap battle coming to the end of an eight-city tour with Bun B as host, and Big K.R.I.T, Joe Budden and Devin the Dude judging and performing. Aspirational emcees will be going extra hard at the Fillmore to win recording time with the best hip-hop producers in the business.
Tuesday, Oct. 25
Star Slinger is the alias of Darren Williams, one of the rising stars in the increasingly overlapping worlds of electronic music and hip-hop. The young U.K. producer visits U Street Music Hall on his first U.S. tour, riding a wave of buzz thanks to his remixes for Broken Social Scene and Foster the People.