Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are four essential events for the week ahead, with six more after the jump.
Wednesday: This city doesn’t bat an eye when big-name techno DJs visit Glow or underground house selectors stop by U Street Music Hall, but it’s hard not to be impressed by the potential of Red Bull’s Thre3Style competition. Eight of D.C.’s party-rocking DJs deliver a 15-minute set that must hopscotch between three genres, a rule that means musical knowledge is as important as brute turntable skills. Contestants battling for a trip to the competition’s Miami finals include DJ Alizay (the Park at 14th), DJ Philpz (Shadow Room, Eden), KC (Fatback) and Geometrix (Ultrabar, Beat Refinery). And, after all is said and done, Mayer Hawthorne — a.k.a. DJ Haircut — delivers the headlining set at Howard Theatre.
Friday: Dr. John has long been the musical embodiment of New Orleans, having created his own brand of voodoo music out of the city’s native gumbo of jazz, R&B, rock and other swampy sounds. A late-career renaissance, which continues in full with new album “Locked Down,” finds his grab bag of sounds just as broad, sharp and funky as ever. It’s music to move to, and — surprise! — the Birchmere is an ideal spot. This will be one of the first shows in the club’s new Flex Stage, a remodeled version of the standing-room Bandstand that will let concertgoers dance to the good doctor’s funky sounds.
Friday/Saturday: Beginning Friday, the DC Jazz Festival will be the musical focus of the nation’s capital, with more than 100 acts at dozens of venues. There will be good music coming from all corners of the city, but for some of the most innovative takes on the genre, skip the big clubs and hit the DIY venues. That’s where CapitalBop.com will present a pair of shows as part of its DC Jazz Loft series (plus another June 9) that continue its mission of proving that the genre is continuing to move forward and isn’t simply for the history books. The Todd Marcus Jazz Ensemble and Christie Dashiell Quartet perform Friday at the Dunes, while Tarbaby, Kris Funn and Corner Store perform at the Fridge on Saturday.
Sunday: Fact: Karaoke is inherently dorky. It doesn’t matter whether you’re belting out Journey in a dive bar or wearing a goofy wig while singing ’80s anthems at Kostume Karaoke. It’s fun, but it’s not really cool. Except try telling that to the people at Chicago’s Punk Rock Karaoke. The folks taking the stage and performing favorite songs by Black Flag, the Dead Kennedys, Slater-Kinney and the Misfits are basically the anti-“Glee” crowd, and every event benefits a different community nonprofit group. The Punk Rock Karaoke crew is bringing the show to the Black Cat, so expect a rush to sign up for the Fugazi, Minor Threat and Bikini Kill songs in the book. Proceeds benefit the D.C. Zine Fest.
Blues Alley continues to diversify its programming to the point that straight ahead jazz can be rare some months. But vocalist Sandra St. Victor and trombonist Jeff Bradshaw are great bridges between the jazz and modern soul worlds, consistently blending the two in their work. As labelmates, the duo billed as the Hidden Beach All Stars will share the Blues Alley stage.
Afrojack is the world-famous Dutch house music DJ who has an extra bit of claim to fame in the D.C. area. It was his remix of the song “Moombah” that served as the inspiration for moombahton, the D.C.-born genre of dance music. But that’s just side trivia for what should be a plenty sweaty Afrojack show at Fillmore Silver Spring.
Ian Svenonius isn’t one to rest, on laurels or otherwise. Fresh off the London reunion show of the Make-Up, Svenonius is right back at it with his current band, Chain and the Gang. Expect to hear songs from the band’s excellent upcoming album, “In Cool Blood,” at Comet Ping Pong.
Feted earlier this year in the Corcoran’s 30 Americans exhibition, Iona Rozeal Brown comes back to DC to anchor this month’s Asia After Dark at the Sackler Gallery. She’ll be choreographing a Japanese and hip-hop dance piece that is similar to the blending she creates in her visual work.
The Hamilton is a DC Jazz Fest hot spot all week, but Monday’s performance by bassist extraordinaire (and local native) Ben Williams should on your shortlist.
All we know is what the listing says — Pop Zeus (Guided By Voices tribute). The band is named after one of the best 150 or so songs by the indie-rock legends (that puts it in the top 5 percent or so) and if the band is a true tribute to GBV, then Galaxy Hut’s bartender working on Monday is going to be very, very busy.