This is the weekend to unofficially say goodbye to summer, with several outdoor events shutting up shop for the season. But you can also say hello to the remade Ireland’s Four Courts, Reminisce over classic hip-hop with DJ Cuzzin B at Liv, see Unspoken Heard reunite at U Street Music Hall, rock with Capstan Shafts and the War on Drugs, check out 30 years of rad photos and art from Thrasher Magazine or pretend you’re at the beach during a bar’s surfboard competition for charity.
Wednesday, Aug. 31
Back in the days of foam parties at Nation, dubstep didn’t yet exist, so bass and frothy debauchery haven’t likely collided with much force. For the Face-Off dubstep foam party, Figure, Grime Syndicate and Throdown will be pushing the low-end sonic capacity at District with all the wobbling bass lines they can pull out. Extra wobbling may be assisted by the $3 PBR tallboys and $6 Jamesons.
Four months after the kitchen of Ireland’s Four Courts was ravaged by fire, the Arlington pub is ready to show off its new face, which includes a new menu, draft beer system, bar counter, hardwood floors and back deck. The grand reopening party includes a chance to check out all of the pub’s daily specials at the same time -- ranging from 50-cent wings to $9 fish and chips -- while toasting with $4.50 pints of Guinness. (That’s how much a pint cost when the pub first opened in 1996.) Irish singer Willem Dickey performs from 7 p.m. on. There’s no cover charge.
Thursday, Sept. 1
Not everyone can get to the beach this week, so if you’re staying in Washington, get a jumpstart on your long weekend at the exclusive L2 Lounge in Georgetown, which is hosting the Endless Summer Beach Bash on Thursday night. Test your skills on a mechanical surfboard, see how low you can go in a limbo contest, dance to music spun by DJ Neekola, sip tropical cocktails and snack on hors d’oeuvres. The best part is that proceeds from tickets ($25 in advance; $30 at the door) go to Luke’s Wings, a local charity that helps wounded soldiers by purchasing plane tickets and making sure their families can be near them during recovery. The dress code is “Saint-Tropez chic.”
It’s never too late to jump on the after-hours art party train, and the Art Museum of the Americas is returning with its second installment Thursday. Art After Dark offers a nice diversity of musical options — classically trained, indie-leaning violinist Matthew Hemerlein, reliable party starter DJ Smudge and notoriously noisy shoegaze-goth dark wavers Screen Vinyl Image. The work of seven local artists will be on display, including a site-specific installation by Kristina Bilonick. And you can’t have a trendy event without the trendiest of all trends — food trucks. There will be a small handful onsite in case you want a late-night snack.
Friday, Sept. 2
It seems like new nightspots open around 14th and U streets every few months, so let’s take a moment to honor the Black Cat, which has been on the block of 14th between S and T for 18 years -- back when many people knew U Street as a place where shootings happened, not a place to party. The club’s 18th anniversary party tonight isn’t full of big name stars -- the all-local bill includes the Max Levine Ensemble’s stripped-down punk, the edgy keyboard-driven alt-rock of Oh So Peligroso and Garland of Hours’ hauntingly atmospheric folk-rock, highlighted by Amy Domingues’ cello. For a club that’s been a launching pad for so many D.C. acts, it seems a fitting tribute. Admission is only $5, so you’ll have pocket money for a Red Room beer, a game of pool and a couple of songs on one of D.C.’s finest jukeboxes.
Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs is an excellent live band. In concert, Adam Granduciel’s rustic songs get a heavy, drone-rock makeover. But the best way to enjoy the band’s music is behind the wheel on a dark interstate. Like its predecessor, “Wagonwheel Blues,” new album “Slave Ambient” belongs on your roadtrip playlist -- particularly if it includes some overnight driving over the flat Midwest. It’s Americana flecked with electronic zigs and zags, an ideal soundtrack for staring at the stars on the horizon. But it should still sound excellent at the Red Palace.
If you grew up perusing the awesome action photos in Thrasher Magazine, you need to head to the Fridge tonight for a one-night-only show called Love and Guts, which features 30 years of Thrasher photography and art, including drawings by illustrator Pushead. (You may have seen his art on vintage Metallica T-shirts.) Doors open at 6 p.m. Skateboards welcome.
Saturday, Sept. 3
If we took a survey, “Family Feud”-style, asking people to name the last day of summer, we’re pretty sure the top answer on the board would be Labor Day. (Sorry, Autumnal Equinox, you’re not the most popular answer.) While we may technically have two more weeks of summer left, this weekend means the end of several popular summer events, including pool parties at the Capitol Skyline Hotel. The Brightest Young Things crew is going out with a bang: The Back-to-School Summer Camp features veteran party-rocker DJ Dredd (of the Prince vs., Michael Jackson and Close 2 the Edge fame) providing the Saturday afternoon soundtrack, a performance by electro band Exactly, a ping-pong tournament, water balloon fights -- or you could just spend the afternoon lounging in the pool on an inflatable raft. Up to you. The $15 cover includes a burger from the grill. BYO swimsuits and towels.
DJ Cuzzin B steps up for Reminisce at Liv, a holiday-weekend blend of all your favorite “Yo! MTV Raps” and “Video Soul” jams. If you bought it on a cassingle while rocking a Carhartt vest, or if you couldn’t wait to hear it performed live at the end of an episode of “In Living Color,” that jam will likely be spun at Reminisce.
Sunday, Sept. 4
It has become a bit of a tradition for Fort Knox Recordings to take over U Street Music Hall on the Sunday night of a long weekend, which is appropriate since that combination of label and club is a recipe for well-after-midnight fun. This Sunday’s show is a throwback to the pre-“DMV” days of local hip-hop, featuring a reunion of Unspoken Heard (the duo of Asheru and Blue Black). The occasion is the 10th anniversary of the group’s first album, “Soon Come,” which is one of D.C.’s lost classics and surely would have made a serious impact in the current blog buzz era. Sunday’s event is also the album release show for Nappy Riddem (the duo of Mustafa Akbar and Rex Riddem), whose “One World Sovereignty” debut is a rhythmic, global-flavored collection of positive-minded songs.
If you haven’t made it to Donovan House’s rooftop pool deck on a lazy Sunday afternoon over the past few months, you’ve missed great party vibes, deceptively potent frozen drinks and tunes spun by a squad of top jocks, including Jerome Baker III (Good Life Tuesdays), Stereo Faith (Becky) and Gavin Holland (Nouveau Riche). But you have exactly one more chance; all the summer magic comes to an end on Labor Day. For the last hurrah, however, Happy Sundays is extending its hours — 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. — and offering beer and cocktail specials, plus the chance to take a refreshing dip in the pool. All you need to do is RSVP to bit.ly/happysundays. (Seriously, RSVP; don’t just show up or you won’t get in. And that would be a shame.)
Another pool party closing for the 2011 season: Adult Swim at the Capitol Skyline. With DJ Moh Ducis (Current, Shadow Room) on the decks, it’s more upscale and clubby than this weekend’s other events. There’s a $20 cover charge, but it’s free between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. if you RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. The party itself runs until 8.
Partiers, tastemakers and remixers continue to go moombah-nuts over D.C.’s contribution to dance music, but parallel movements of mixing local ethnic music with electronic production have been taking root all over the globe. From Mexico to Colombia to Portugal, there are as many emerging ways to move behinds on a dance floor as there are languages in which to express them. Tropixxx with Cam Jus and Billy the Gent mixes together the hottest and newest tracks from all of those scenes to turn the Velvet Lounge into a heaving tropical house party.
Speaking of Moombahton… The Moombacon Massive at the Rock and Roll Hotel has no connection to moombahton. What it does have, however, is a eight-headed Baltimore/D.C. DJ team that knows a thing or two about setting off parties. Your guides include Baltimore club pioneer Scottie B and his frequent cohort King Tutt, D.C. house/disco/rave selector Keenan and banging electro-house DJ Reed Rothchild, and they’ll be mixing up everything from dubstep to rave. Since it’s Rothchild’s birthday, there’s free bacon and free fried chicken for early arrivals. The party is free all night.
It’s a double-local-punk release show at the Black Cat. The Fordists have a distinctly D.C. sound -- the band’s new album “Watch You” is all pointy edges, throaty barks and sudden rhythmic shifts. Openers Regents are marking the release of a new 7-inch that’s a much more visceral assault: Even when the music isn’t speedy, it’s sludgy and shouty.
Tuesday, Sept. 6
If you want to hear lots of songs with lots of hooks in short time, then DC9 is the place to be on Tuesday. Capstan Shafts have a catalogue of hundreds of mini-anthems, each one fuzzier and catchier than the next, almost always clocking in at under two mintues. “Kind Empires” is the group’s latest collection of Guided By Voices-inspired pop savantism. Opener Dot Dash features half of the too-short-lived indie-pop group Julie Ocean. Happily, the group continues the tradition of zippy, short-and-sweet mod-pop in which a catchy chorus is always lurking just around the corner.