Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are five we think you can’t miss.
Tuesday: Northern Irish indie rockers Two Door Cinema Club have become hits on both side of the Atlantic, mixing bloc party-style guitar attacks with the ear for melody that has served the Kooks and the Maccabees so well in recent years. Two Door Cinema Club sold out a pair of shows at the 9:30 Club this week, but fans without tickets - and those going to the concert who fancy a late night out - can head to U Street Music Hall for an official after-party Tuesday night. Members of the band will take over DJ duties once they’ve finished at the 9:30 Club. Get to U Hall early for sets by Cut Copy bassist Ben Browning, whose solo records mix retro synths and funky bass-forward dance grooves, and local party rocking DJ Stereo Faith.
Tuesday: Kenny Allen (formerly K’Alyn) was one of the architects of the U Street urban arts scene in the early 2000s. His collaborative projects with Wes Felton and Raheem Devaughn defined the nu-soul sound of that era and the folk-influenced singer-songwriter projects that he released on his own have aged very well. Some years ago, he went to Addis Ababa for a short performance residency and never came back. Ethiopia appealed to him so much that he put down roots there and is now well-known in East Africa. He recently completed a cross-continental project with musician Dre King - under the name of Dre Kay - and is back in D.C. to perform. Welcome him back at Ben’s Next Door tonight. As always, there’s no cover.
Wednesday: The first debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney is this week, and it wouldn’t be Washington if bars didn’t treat it like The Next Best Thing to Watching the Super Bowl. We’ve covered many of your options in this list of debate viewing parties , but if you want to drink for cheap while watching, consider Ventnor’s debate bingo game (free shots for every bingo) and the al fresco viewing party at Lou’s City Bar, where beers are half-price all night.
Wednesday: A few years ago, pumpkin beers were generally seen as a novelty - something that tasted about as pleasant as bright-orange canned pumpkin pie filling. But craft breweries continue to experiment with the style, making rich, spicy and even hoppy ales that appeal to every palette. Try 10 different pumpkin ales side-by-side at Jack Rose’s Return of the Living Gourd , including Flying Dog’s the Fear, Evolution’s Jaques au Lantern, Sam Adams Fat Jack Imperial Pumpkin Ale and the DC Brau/Epic collaboration Fermentation With Representation Imperial Pumpkin Ale. The real star? A version of the Fear served from a bourbon barrel, which should make it even smoother. The party will take place on Jack Rose’s rooftop deck rain or shine; arrive early to sign up for a Flying Dog-sponsored pumpkin pie-eating contest.
Friday: Fifty years ago this week, MGM Studios released “Dr. No,” the first James Bond film. From the opening credit sequence to Sean Connery’s “Bond, James Bond” introduction to Ursula Andress as “Bond Girl” Honey Ryder, it set the template for the 21 movies that followed. Bar Dupont is celebrating Bond’s golden jubilee with an all-night James Bond-themed anniversary party . Bartenders will shake up cocktails from the films, including the Vesper, an Old Fashioned and, if you really must, a vodka martini. Songs from film soundtracks will feature on the playlist, and a special photo wall will be covered with Bond-related images. White dinner jackets aren’t required, and neither are reservations, though you might want to dress up to walk the event’s red carpet.
After the jump: Oktoberfests, Armin van Buuren and hip-hop by way of Ghana.
Wednesday, Oct. 3
Blitz the Ambassador takes the best of classic hip-hop and the musical traditions of his native Ghana and mashes them into a funky, horn-driven, polyrhythmic experience, like a classic high-life band sitting in with the Roots. He’s performing at National Geographic and will make an appearance at Patty Boom Boom’s Sonic Diaspora African music party, which is the official Blitz after-party.
Thursday, Oct. 4
Glow has a pretty aggressive schedule of events for its new Echostage, a 6,000-person megaclub at the old DC Star nightclub on Queen’s Chapel Road NE. This week: Dutch trance legend Armin van Buuren, a four-time winner of DJ Magazine’s annual best DJ poll, and the creator of the weekly radio show “A State of Trance.” Expect a lengthy set with a mix of new tunes and old favorites. Jochen Miller and Roberto Gonzalez open the 18-and-older party.
Friday, Oct. 5
DJ D-Skillz is keeping the classic dance party lane flowing on H Street NE with Fever First Fridays at Fever Bar & Lounge. This Friday, he’s holding it down for Ronnie, Bobbie, Ricky, Mike, Ralph and Johnny with a New Edition tribute. DJ Celo, one of D.C.’s most accomplished veteran hip-hop turntablists, also sits in on the decks.
D.C.’s best night of funk and soul is the monthly Moneytown at Little Miss Whiskey’s. This time around, DJ Nitekrawler is joined by DJ Coolhands (a.k.a. Dave Haffner), who owns Friends of Sound Records in Austin, Texas, and hosts his own parties in the People’s Republic of Austin.
Saturday, Oct. 6
Cuba Libre’s high-energy Bailamos Saturdays party turns 1 this weekend, which means the usual lines down the block may be even longer. DJ Bomba and special guests spin salsa, merengue and Latin Top 40, and specials will be offered on cocktails and bottle service. E-mail rsvpDC@CubaLibreRestaurant.com to get on the list or pay $15 at the door.
It’s a big weekend for Oktoberfest celebrations . Sample beers from 50 breweries at Capitol City Brewing Company’s Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest, which fills the streets of Shirlington with food, drink and German dancing. In Columbia Heights, Meridian Pint’s first Oktoberfest celebration will close 11th Street to make room for a German-style beer garden, grilling, music and carnival-style games.
Sunday, Oct. 7
Over the past five years, local cocktail blog Scofflaw’s Den has moved from writing about favorite spirits and bars to running classes at Last Exit and even creating its own bitters. The Scofflaw’s Den anniversary party at the Passenger will feature an audience-judged cocktail contest and special drinks created for the occasion and also raise money for charity: From 4 to 8 p.m., 10 percent of all proceeds will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Museum of the American Cocktail.