Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are five we think you shouldn’t miss:
Tuesday: Meklit Hadero ’s distinctive delivery and deft melding of jazz, pop and folk helped to establish her in the always-crowded field of singer-songwriters. As she charmed her San Francisco-area home base, she also won fans internationally, eventually connecting with her Ethiopian roots and spreading her sound there. At the same time, a modern blues and soul singer named Quinn was making a name for himself in the Bay Area. When the two met, there was an instant creative synergy that led to a collaborative album of originals and classic soul covers. “Meklit & Quinn” is a record with a few cheeky twists, as they reshape an indie rock hit by MGMT as well as a Sam Cooke classic. The pair has launched a national tour to support the album’s Sept. 18 release, including this evening’s show at the Fifth & K Busboys and Poets.
Wednesday: Improving reading and spelling are central to the goals of the local literacy charity We the Readers, so it’s only obvious that the group’s fundraising happy hour at BlackFinn would be centered around an adults-only spelling bee . To wit: Participants will be given a beer and a shot before the first round, and then have a drink in their hands throughout the entire bee while trying to remember how to spell “pogonotomy” or “chitarrone.” (Oh, come on - both of those words are from the first round of the Scripps National Spelling Bee.) The first 25 people to sign up at the bar will be entered into the competition; the rest can enjoy happy-hour specials, including $3 Miller Lite, $4 rum punch and $5 mixed drinks, until 9 p.m. and a raffle. But the point, of course, is the subjugation of the other contestants (Subjugation. S-u-b-j-u-g-a-t-i-o-n. Subjugation.) while helping D.C. students.
Thursday: Nadastrom , the prolific and popular DJ duo of D.C.’s own Dave Nada and Matt Nordstrom, is celebrating its fifth birthday with a special set at the 9:30 Club’s Backbar. Whether pushing the boundaries of moombahton — the bass-heavy genre invented by Nada — cranking riotous club tunes or crafting dubby electro remixes of Christina Aguilera, the two are among the most entertaining DJs around.
Saturday: Veteran local electronic music jetsetters Thievery Corporation have long been a staple on the summer festival circuit. This year, though, the band’s schedule has been a good deal lighter. Saturday’s show at the Fairgrounds is one of the few current dates on the calendar for the band whose worldly down-tempo style has made it one of Washington’s most popular musical exports the past 20 years. This weekend’s show is also a mini-festival, of sorts, with Thievery-approved opening acts - self-proclaimed gypsy punk rabblerousers Gogol Bordello and politically minded reggae/hip-hop act Michael Franti’s Spearhead. Adding to the local flavor and adding more funk are the Archives and Funk Ark. There also will be a variety of local food trucks to keep concertgoers from going hungry during the day.
Monday: Starting Monday, the Howard Theatre will host a semi-regular series that pays tribute to the late godfather of go-go, Chuck Brown. The nearly-dozen-member Chuck Brown Band will be the hosts for each Wind Me Up, Chuck! Mondays event, performing a set of Brown’s classics and also welcoming a guest performer for each edition. The first guest is someone who has his own storied history with D.C.: George Clinton. The Parliament-Funkadelic legend coined the term “Chocolate City,” which has been one of D.C.’s unofficial nicknames, and his legendary stage prop, the Mothership, is likely buried in the Maryland wilderness somewhere. Funk and go-go will rarely be so well represented on one stage.
Looking for more ideas? You’ll find 10 after the jump.
Tuesday, Sept. 11
India Pale Ales from Boston’s Harpoon Brewery are staples at big-time beer bars and neighborhood pubs from New England to the mid-Atlantic. The hoppy signature IPA has been a favorite since the 1980s, while beer geeks drool over the limited-edition 100 Barrel Series and the experimental Leviathan beers. Harpoon co-founder Rich Doyle is visiting ChurchKey this week for a special happy-hour meet-and-greet , which will naturally include a few of his beers on tap. Look out for the 100 Barrel White IPA and the heavyweight Baltic Porter as well as Octoberfest, UFO and the signature IPA.
Wednesday, Sept. 12
Brooklyn’s Sixpoint Brewery is marking its first year in Washington with a special happy hour at Birreria Paradiso. Eight beers will be on tap, including a Spice of Life IPA with Riwaka hops and Mad Scientist #11, a Mexican-inspired lager. All beers will be half price from 5 to 7 p.m., and from 5 to 10 p.m., you can grab any Sixpoint beer with a slice of New York-style pizza for $10.
If you’ve been to bourbon-friendly bars lately, you may have seen bottles of Fillibuster Whiskey . This new quasi-local product is distilled in Kentucky, which is why the labels say “Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey,” but the unfinished product is aged in American white oak barrels and French oak wine barrels in Washington (Fillibuster’s owners plan to eventually distill their whiskey in D.C., but that’s at least four years away). Get a taste of Fillibuster at its official launch party at the Passenger between 3 and 6 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 13
Avant-garde jazz icon Pharoah Sanders has been an inspiration to multiple generations of forward-thinking performers, and not just in the jazz realm. He performs Thursday through Saturday at Bohemian Caverns.
Friday, Sept. 14
If you’re missing out on Springsteen at Nationals Park, don’t worry, another seminal act hailing from Jersey is in town. The Feelies were darlings of ’80s college radio, and the band’s 2011 reunion album, “Here Before,” was a stellar addition to its catalog. See them at the 9:30 Club.
The American Art Museum’s Luce Unplugged series continues with a diverse bill that features three excellent local acts: rapper-producer Kokayi, thoughtful indie-rock group the Caribbean and smirky singer-songwriter Alex Minoff. The Washington City Paper presents the free show.
Saturday, Sept. 15
Just in time for back-to-school days, the Solomonic Soundsystem will grant free entry to their roots, culture, dancehall and reggae night at Patty Boom Boom if you bring new or gently used backpacks or unused school supplies, such as pens, notebooks or calculators. (All supplies will be donated to D.C. public school students; a full list of needed donations can be found on Facebook.) Solomonic Sound is one of Philly’s best exports in reggae sound system culture — these cats know their dubplates.
The summer rooftop season isn’t quite over, and it can be particularly enjoyable when that first hint of autumn crispness begins creeping in. Get to the roof of Mova for a no-cover-charge evening of fly selections from DJ Quartermaine.
Sunday, Sept. 16
Wisdom’s new Sunday night “ Rock on the Rocks ” series pairs movies about music with specialty cocktails. This week, the big screens will be showing “Beats, Rhymes and Life,” Michael Rapaport’s acclaimed 1996 documentary about A Tribe Called Quest, while bartenders shake up the Sky Pager, an original cocktail that includes Hendrick’s gin, Chambord and cranberry juice. Admission is free, and the film rolls at 7 p.m.