Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are our top five events on the horizon:
Wednesday:We know that 2012 is only a couple of days old, but we’re ready to make the prediction that the Garland of Hours /Gordon Withers show at the Black Cat will be the cello rock concert of the year. Garland of Hours is the cello-centric project of Amy Domingues, who has added her talents to albums by the likes of Ted Leo and Fugazi but takes center stage to celebrate the release of her band’s new album, “Lucidia.” If music at Renaissance fairs sounded like this, we’d be there (okay, probably not). Withers, who plays cello for D.C./Baltimore rock band Office of Future Plans, opens.
Wednesday: Lady Alma is a product of the influence of a couple of generations of divas -- Chaka Khan, Loleatta Holloway, Jocelyn Brown -- but she has carved out a lane for herself that is all her own. She brings gospel and blues to dance music as well as a sophisticated jazz style to modern soul. Whether belting out a club-smashing house banger or seductively cooing over sparse, skittish downtempo tracks, Lady Alma stamps her singular imprint on every song she touches while enhancing the producer’s original intent. King Britt, 4hero and Mark de Clive-Lowe have all delivered classic records with Alma at the microphone. Then there’s her live show, which embodies the ideal of leaving it all onstage. Blues Alley may not be able to contain her.
Saturday: We’ve seen some pretty bizarre Elvis-themed parties, but it’s hard to top the Elvis’ Birthday Fight Club . Last year featured Elvis impersonators, Elvis trivia, tassel-twirling burlesque dancers, ‘50s-themed skits and highly choreographed “fights” between Colonel Sanders and a giant chicken, Sarah Palin and a drag queen, and Abraham Lincoln and a guy dressed as the Washington Monument. We have no idea what to expect at the Warehouse Theatre this time around, although the preview video on the Fight Club Web site includes a talking toilet, and burlesque queen Lil’ Dutch always pulls together a solid lineup of dancers. And we strongly suggest going to the late show. Just a hunch.
Sunday: Musical worlds collide at BloomBars this weekend as a National Symphony Orchestra string quartet teams up with hip-hop vocalist Asheru and jazz singer Tamika Love Jones for a free performance in honor of the Chevalier de Saint-Georges, an 18th-century violinist. Born in Guadeloupe in 1745, the composer found fame in Paris and is often called “the Black Mozart.” The concert is part of the National Symphony’s “NSO in Your Neighborhood Program.”
Tuesday, Jan. 10: Bell’s beers should be familiar to most bargoers: The award-winning Michigan brewery’s hoppy Two Hearted and summery Oberon are on draft across the area. But the Bell’s Beer Dinner at R.F.D. on Jan. 10 will feature five rare brews that almost never make their way to Washington, including Black Note, a blend of Expedition Stout and Double Cream Stout that’s aged in bourbon barrels, and Hopsoulution, a double IPA made with hops from Germany and the Pacific Northwest. All five beers will be paired with food, including a manchego mac and cheese made with Hopsoulution, but the star of the night will be what’s in your glass. Tickets are $60, including tax and gratuity; get them before they sell out.
Need more ideas? There are 10 after the jump.
Tuesday, Jan. 3
Whether you resolved to get active, be more social or learn to dance in 2012, the Jam Cellar ’s got you covered. The District’s hippest swing dance venue is holding one of its periodic New Blood Nights, which means free admission for those who’ve never been before and free admission for anyone who has been to Jam Cellar but brings along a friend who hasn’t. There are free beginner dance lessons at 8, 8:30 and 9, and a DJ spinning classing big band and swing tunes from 9 to 11:30. Just remember to change partners frequently and wear comfortable shoes.
Thursday, Jan. 5
Heads up, reggae fans: You can pay $3, walk right into a U Street spot, cop a patty and rock steady to a live band featuring members of the original Wailers. Sometimes you have to marinate on how cool that is. Rebel Vybz plays live roots reggae at Patty Boom Boom every Thursday
On the eve of Elvis Presley’s Birthday, there’s Rockabilly Revelry afoot at the Red Palace. J.P. McDermott and Western Bop specialize in the rootsy, honky tonkin’ rockabilly that Elvis played in his early career. The night also features burlesque dancers and an Elvis costume contest with prizes.
Do you have a friend who dons earbuds and proceeds to loudly garble his favorite rap lyrics, oblivious to everyone staring quizzically at him? Bring said friend to Hip-Hop Karaoke at Liv to polish his chops. You get your own hype man and a DJ with a gang of hip-hop instrumentals, from old school classics to current hits. Practice your rap hands, breath control and stage stalking in the mirror first.
Friday, Jan. 6
Before there was cowpunk or alt-country, there was Jason and the Scorchers . Emerging from Nashville in the early ‘80s, the band combined the raw energy of punk with hometown traditions and landed on a sound that needed a some new genres to describe it. The band comes to Iota on its 30th anniversary tour with a live show that still packs a punch.
Akron/Family is a schizophrenic band in the best way. The group’s material shifts from folky front-porch songs to heavy psych rock and hits lots of other sounds in between. Hear them veer around at Rock & Roll Hotel.
Saturday, Jan. 7
DJ Klever started out as a pure turntablist, but he’s turned into a crowd-pleasing big-room mixer, blending Dirty South hip-hop beats with electro, new wave and bass music. (Hey, he is from Atlanta.) Klever joins forces with hometown heavy hitter Tittsworth at U Street Music Hall.
Sunday, Jan. 8
A new monthly DJ night to put on your radar -- Redemption at L’Enfant. Sasha Lord, who books the garage-rock-centric shows at Comet Ping Pong picks the music, so expect lots of hip-shakers.
Monday, Jan. 9
Bowl season is down to one final game: A rematch of November’s Alabama-LSU snoozefest. (Let’s hope someone scores a touchdown this time!) Hundreds of ‘Bama fans will be watching the national championship at the Old Dominion Brewhouse at the Convention Center, while LSU fans will be spread out across the area. The official gatherings are at the 18th Amendment on Capitol Hill ($4 Abita drafts and $12 pitchers!) and Arlington Rooftop Bar and Grill, though you can also find crowds at Tru Orleans, Bayou and the Cajun Experience. Looking for neutral ground? Mason Inn feels like an SEC young alumni mixer, with folks in team colors drinking cheap beer and talking football.