Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are our picks for upcoming can’t-miss events:
Tuesday-Friday: Bars across the country are celebrating American Craft Beer Week with tapping parties and happy hours, including a good number in the Washington area. Smith Commons doesn’t have as many taps or rare brews as some other spots, but it’s hosting a series of parties that should be among the most fun in town. Every night will feature three or four special beers from a different brewer along with an appearance by top area DJs, performance art, fashion by local designers and a menu of $5 snacks, such as veggie samosas and sliders. On Tuesday, Dogfish Head brews are paired with hip-hop beats by DJ Dirty Hands; Wednesday brings bomber bottles of Brewery Ommegang while Champion Superior Soundsystem drops deep reggae tunes; and on Thursday, DJ Jerome Baker III of the Rock Creek Social Club provides the rhythms for a night of D.C. Brau beers. Everything wraps up Friday with DJ Cuzzin B, a founder of the golden-age hip-hop night Tru Skool, and Flying Dog beers.
Friday: Katy Goodman is best known as bassist for noisy indie-rock trio Vivian Girls. That band has slowed down the past couple of years while Goodman has stayed busy with La Sera, which is quickly becoming more than just a side project. Goodman sticks to providing melodic bass lines and vocal harmonies for Vivian Girls, but her songwriting talents are on display with La Sera. Her recent second album, “Sees the Light,” is filled with breezy-yet-sturdy pop confections. Her sweet voice brings a dreamlike quality to the material, but there are enough hooks and substance to make sure the songs don’t simply float away. Listen for yourself Friday at the Red Palace.
Saturday: Kid Congo Powers is a local music treasure, an artist with a storied history (he played in the Cramps and with Nick Cave in the Bad Seeds) who continues to make great music (check the happily deranged garage rock of last year’s “Gorilla Rose”) and has adopted Washington as his home. His concerts regularly turn into wild dance parties resembling a scene from some psychedelic 1960s movie. That’s guaranteed to be the case Friday at Comet Ping Pong when he leads a band of D.C.’s finest through a set of garage-rock classics from the ‘60s and ‘70s. The set list isn’t being divulged - maybe some “96 Tears,” maybe “I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)”? - but this is the type of music that courses through Congo’s veins and makes for a memorable evening.
Saturday: Memorial Day weekend may be the unofficial kickoff to summer, bathing-suit season and outdoor-party season, but you can get a jump on all that Saturday at the District’s newest (and only food-truck-centric) pool party. A collaboration of the Rock & Roll Hotel, Sticky Rice and Dangerously Delicious Pies, Mother Trucker will be held at the Capitol Skyline Hotel twice a month, with 20 food trucks, multiple DJs, poolside bars and entertainers (think fire-eaters and a “human car wash”). The formula sounds similar to the weekly parties that Brightest Young Things threw at the hotel two years ago, but either way, we’re glad someone is giving us an excuse to drink beer in the sun and dance in the pool, even if our beach bodies aren’t quite ready.
Monday: Reggie Watts is among the most recognizably hirsute performers in comedy these days, and his journey to prominence began way before the Funny or Die clips, producing the theme music for Louis CK’s television show or the Conan O’Brien co-sign. His improvised comedic and musical hybrid work is the intersection of multiple creative paths pursued over the years. Standing on stage with a microphone, an electronic looping device and no prepared material, Watts draws from jazz training, years fronting alternative, funk and hip-hop bands in the Pacific Northwest and immersion in the New York comedy and improv scenes. His shows often sell out, so cop 9:30 Club tickets quickly.
Need more ideas? You’ll find 10 after the jump.
Tuesday, May 15
Off nights at U Street Music Hall are great for non-dance-music acts that can slip into town and take advantage of the most booming sound system in Washington. Southern hip-hop fans can catch the D.C. leg of Memphis rapper Yo Gotti ’s “Rags to Riches” tour on U Street this week.
Not much is known about R. Ring , except that it’s a duo — and half of that duo is Kelley Deal of the Breeders, which is enough for us to give it an endorsement. Find out the rest of the story at DC9.
Wednesday, May 16
Lee “Scratch” Perry is 76 years old and still as unpredictable as ever, which is something to be thankful for. Few people have put their stamp on the sound of a genre more than Perry has, so pay respect to a certified reggae legend at the State Theatre.
Thursday, May 17
Indulj is the thumping heart of small-room live music on U Street, melding go-go, jazz and R&B. That’s why it’s the ideal place for Green Tea to celebrate the release of her new album. One of many talents born of D.C.’s indie soul scene, her sound can be compared to Jazmine Sullivan or Jennifer Hudson.
Friday, May 18
U.K. chanteuse Beth Orton made a name for herself in the ’90s with an indie-electronic music hybrid and has maintained a devoted fan base ever since, with her album “Trailer Park” achieving cult-favorite status over the last decade. Orton performs at U Street Music Hall.
Now that the weather’s getting warmer, it’s time to think about some of our favorite summer activities, like dancing outdoors. The Glen Echo Park’s open-air Bumper Car Pavilion welcomes Blue Sky 5 , who perform classic Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman small-group jazz mixed with well-crafted originals. A beginner dance lesson is included in the $15 cover.
Saturday, May 19
The Preakness will never get the love that the Kentucky Derby does. Here’s why: fancy hats vs. tank tops; Millionaires Row vs. a raucous infield party; mint juleps vs. the Black Eyed Susan (sour mix, whiskey, vodka); Peggy Pegasus vs. Kegasus. But you can still watch I’ll Have Another try to take the second leg of the Triple Crown without going to Baltimore: Jack Rose is showing the race on its rooftop deck, with two beverage options: a boozy Black Eyed Susan-flavored snow cone or a beer from Maryland’s own Flying Dog Brewery. The snow cone is part of Jack Rose’s new summer lineup. The beers come via a Flying Dog-sponsored happy hour that runs from 2 to 7:30: Cans of the new Atlantic Lager are $4, while five Flying Dogs on tap will run you $5. Across town, Smith Commons is hosting a Saturday party beginning at 5 p.m. — after a homebrewer’s happy hour — and serving Black Eyed Susans for $8 a pop.
The last big soccer match of the European season is being held in Munich today: Germany’s Bayern Munich takes on England’s Chelsea in the Champions League Final. And since it’s being held in Germany, where else would you watch it if not Biergarten Haus? Doors open at 11, kickoff is at 2:45 and brunch will be served until 3. Huge mugs of German beer, though, will be served all day.
If you’ve never tasted the delicacy known as a Rocky Mountain oyster, the Montana State Society’s annual Testy Fest is the perfect time to try one, assuming you’re an adventurous eater. A $25 ticket ($30 at the door) gets you unlimited fried bull testicles, beer and Crown Royal whiskey, plus dancing to great country tunes performed by the Wil Gravatt Band at the Arlington American Legion Hall.
Monday, May 21
One of Velvet Lounge’s best booking weeks in a while features the (sort-of) return of orchestral pop favorites Cardinal on Tuesday, local quirky-pop faves Pree on Friday, and a stacked triple bill on Monday: The freeform drum compositions of Man Forever, with excellent local openers Alex (smart-aleck/sensitive guy pop in the vein of Jonathan Richman) and Collin Crowe (performing minimal synth jams).