This week, we say farewell to the Fort Reno summer concert series, celebrate Jamaica’s Indepdendence Day with a reggae festival at the Crossroads, look forward to seeing singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins perform at one of D.C. finest record stores, get funky at Black Cat bartender Chad America’s annual birthday party, raise a cold beer to International IPA Day, head to the Park to see Eric Roberson perform for free and toast Wonderland’s seventh anniversary.
Thursday, Aug. 4
It’s one of those dates we never look forward to: the end of the Fort Reno season . It means summer is fading fast, but it also means we get to enjoy a rare appearance by the Evens. Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina play punky folk songs that we wish we could hear more than once or twice a year. They sure makes a great soundtrack for an August evening. Make sure to show up early to catch Laughing Man, a trio that plays brittle and swaggering indie rock.
We always look forward to Black Cat bartender Chad America’s birthday party . Every year, he books a few bands, throws open the doors and invites everyone to hang out at the club for the night. This year, though, the party is moving to the nearby Dodge City bar, and instead of bands, Chad has corralled three of D.C.’s best old-school soul and funk DJs: Soul Call Paul of Big Bad City, Baby Alcatraz and Mad Squirrel of the Black Cat’s girl-group-heavy Party Lights. As always, it’s free, and Dodge City has one big advantage over the Black Cat: a two-level back deck, perfect for when the dance floor gets too sweaty.
If you see a bunch of fashionable kids walking around Washington on Thursday sporting leather jackets in the 90-degree heat, it’s probably Cold Cave. The synth-pop/darkwave revivalists made headlines (or at least trending topics on Twitter) when they performed a few weekends ago on a sweltering afternoon at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival decked out in their finest black leather. Give the band credit for full commitment to aesthetic, as that color and material is certainly the proper combination for the aggressive, goth-tinged anthems on its recent album “Cherish the Light Years.” You’ll get punk attitude, impossibly loud keyboards and some nice fashion, to boot.
Aug. 4 is known by many names around the world: Coast Guard Day in the U.S., Revolution Day in Burkina Faso, the feast day of the Catholic Saint Sithney, the patron saint of mad dogs. And if some brewers and beer writers gets their way, we may know it as International IPA Day . Locally, you can lift your glass to celebrate at the Big Hunt, where the special draft lineup includes 15 IPAs, mixing big names Southern Tier’s 2XIPA and Founders’ Devil Dancer with a strong set of regional beers from Delaware’s Evolution Brewing and Alexandria’s Port City.
Friday, Aug. 5
After a summer hopscotching around some of Europe’s biggest music festivals, Berlin’s Boys Noize is bringing his pile-driving mix of electro, techno and house to Ibiza. Not the famed Spanish party island -- he was there last month -- but the northeast D.C. nightclub, where the DJ/producer will headline Hard , a multi-room, multi-genre extravaganza with two dozen DJs spinning everything from rave to moombahton. While we’re most excited about Boys Noize and San Francisco drum’n’dubstep turntable duo Faust and Shortee, there’s a solid local lineup, too, including the Nouveau Riche team on the rooftop deck. Tickets for the 18-and-over party -- which runs from 9 p.m. until 4 a.m. -- are $20 in advance.
D.C. loves Eric Roberson and Erro loves this city right back, having filmed his live concert DVD here, making sure he rocks here multiple times a year and regularly recording with D.C. artists. It doesn’t hurt that the classic soul and hip-hop-influenced crooner has a huge Howard alumni base of adoration. So if you consistently keep up with Erro’s visits to D.C., why would a set at the Park be important? Because it’s free. And since it’s part of the Park’s Unplugged series, it will be stripped down and intimate. For a showman like Erro, that inspires him improvise on the spot.
Handing over the U Street Music Hall DJ booth to Timmy Regisford is like inviting one of the best drivers in the world to put an elite race car through its paces. As the main resident of Club Shelter in New York, Regisford came to house music after already making his mark in the R&B world as a producer and talent scout. Since then, his devotion to underground dance music has had a global impact through original productions, remixes and epic extended DJ sets that obliterate the concept of “after hours.”
In-store fun, part 1: M.O.T.O. was playing bratty, slightly tasteless pop-punk thrashers when the members of Blink-182 were actual brats. For 30 years, frontman Paul Caporino has led a rotating cast of characters through turbo-charged two-minute ragers. Baltimore’s Hollywood and locals Highway Cross will also perform at Smash!
Saturday, Aug. 6
With an open bar, free food and funky tunes spun by Fatback DJ Steven Swann, the Midsummer Night for Dreams sounds like a fun Saturday night out. It only gets better when you know it’s a benefit for Dreams for Kids, a national nonprofit that helps at-risk and disabled teenagers. The event takes place at the classy Stroga yoga studio and event space in Adams Morgan from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. All-inclusive tickets are $50; they will not be sold at the door, so buy them now.
Sunday, Aug. 7
Saturday is Independence Day in Jamaica, and on Sunday, Crossroads is bringing a little bit of Kingston to Bladensburg with its Love Within the Music festival . The indoor/outdoor concert will show off different sides of the island’s music: Beres Hammond is known for his soulful vocals on lovers rock and dancehall hits of the ‘80s and ‘90s; Wayne Wonder fuses reggae and R&B on such hits as “No Letting Go” and “For My Love”; and Sharon Tucker’s rich, sweet voice appeared on reggae songs by Dennis Brown and Bunny Wailer before she went solo. The show begins at 6 p.m., but gates open at 3 so attendees can browse food, drink and merchandise vendors.
In-store fun, part 2: This one is technically not in store, because Nicole Atkins will be setting up on the sidewalk right outside Som Records. The singer-songwriter, who’s in town to open two shows for Fountains of Wayne at the Birchmere, will provide a welcome soundtrack to shoppers as they walk down 14th Street during the Dog Days of August Sidewalk Sale. She certainly has a strong enough voice to rise above the din.
There’s a familiar voice throughout “CPR: The Blend Tape,” the latest effort from local hip-hop group Gods’illa. And it belongs to Erykah Badu, the patron saint of all things sublimely soulful and funky. She serves as the “host” of the 21-track album, which is great for bringing the group publicity, but unnecessary at the same time - “CPR” stands on its own as one of the year’s best local hip-hop releases. It manages to fit cameos by many local staples (Kingpen Slim, XO and Lyriciss, among others) into a flowing set of tracks and serves as a solid “State of DMV Hip-Hop” document.
Has it really been seven years since the Wonderland Ballroom opened? The first genuinely cool arrival amid Columbia Heights’ redevelopment, the two-level bar and dance club gave all the neighborhood’s hipsters and recent college grads a place they could call their own instead of schlepping down to the Black Cat or Saint-Ex. Development has followed, ranging from Target and IHOP to $800,000 condos, but the gritty Wonderland, with its devilishly hard trivia night, DJs spinning trendy electro and/or old-school hip-hop, and just-the-basics “beer garden,” remains a bedrock of the rapidly developing 11th Street strip of bars and restaurants. Sunday’s anniversary party promises dancing, an outdoor crab feast, drink specials and the traditional champagne-of-beers toast. Wonderland has earned it.