Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are some we think you can’t miss.
Thursday: There are few concert experiences that can compare to seeing Sunn O))). The band members arrive onstage in near-total darkness, cloaked in black robes, looking like a cross between monks and villains from your mystical Sunday night television program of choice. The music itself is very ritualistic. Songs trudge on for 10, 20, even 30 minutes and are heavy, but not in the way most bands are heavy. Instead of making music that blows your hair back or overwhelms with pure volume, Sunn O))) creates songs that seem like they’re creeping up from under the Earth to slowly drag you beneath the surface. It’s a rare example of terrifying, meditative bliss. Experience it at the Black Cat.
Friday: House-music trends shift every few years, but Dennis Ferrer always manages to snag the wave of what’s current and drop a banging anthem that defines each trend. He started out doing techno and has exceled in tribal productions as well as deep soulful house and minimal tracks. His underground touch even crossed over into the mainstream with 2009’s monster hit, “Hey Hey.” With his Objektivity label, Ferrer has an outlet for his broad range of styles and a place to nurture such new talents as the Martinez Brothers, who took the house world by storm when they were still in high school. Ferrer is one of those names who sends out waves of excitement throughout the dance community when booked at U Street Music Hall. If deep, thumping house is your thing, don’t miss it.
Saturday: Nerd Nite is returning from its summer vacation with a bang. The monthly gathering is known for informative-yet-funny PowerPoint presentations on delightfully dorky topics — everything from the sex lives of bugs to championship Scrabble techniques — for a barroom full of self-described nerds. This month, though, features a talk by bestselling author Sam Kean, whose books “The Disappearing Spoon” and “The Violinist’s Thumb” are quirky, highly approachable reads about the Periodic Table and the human genome that even non-scientists find engrossing. Add a University of Maryland psychology professor discussing “What’s the point of music?” and South African author and programmer Roy Feinson explaining his theories about the evolutionary basis of human and animal behavior, and you’re guaranteed to come away from DC9 smarter than when you entered.
Sunday: The Boomerang Party Yacht’s Potomac River cruises are usually packed with bachelorettes drinking frozen margaritas, doing the limbo and dancing to LMFAO. We’re guessing that won’t be the case on this Sunday sunset cruise hosted by the Deep Secrets crew. DJs Chris Burns and Benoit Benoit are known for dropping deep, soulful house at underground parties at the Warehouse Loft and U Street Music Hall, and now they’re taking these smooth dance beats to the high seas with special guest DJ Raffi. The boat, which has a full bar, departs the Georgetown waterfront at 5:30 p.m. and returns about 9 p.m. Get tickets in advance, because capacity is limited.
Sunday: There’s no real way to successfully argue that the latest Jesus & Mary Chain reunion has anything to do with artistic fulfillment. Since brothers Jim and William Reid got back together in 2007, there have been tour dates, reissues of each of the band’s albums and hardly any new material. But if this reunion means D.C.-area fans get to hear songs from the band’s indisputably classic early albums in concert for the first time in nearly 20 years, so be it. The band’s 1985 debut, “Psychocandy,” remains one of the most influential rock albums of its time, serving as inspiration to basically every band that combines sweet and sinister elements, pop songwriting with squeals of feedback and distortion. The band performs at 9:30 Club.
Still need more ideas? There are 10 after the jump.
There are many reasons to shed a tear for the end of summer. One of them is that we have to say goodbye to concerts at Wolf Trap’s Filene Center, truly one of the most gorgeous places to enjoy music. Versatile singer-songwriter Ben Harper will be one of the last to take the venue’s stage this season.
DC9 hosts an odd combination of bands, the result of two shows being merged. Headliner Hacienda is a Texas band with a Black Keys co-sign that gets to the heart of rock-and-roll. Holograms was set to headline its own show at Red Palace, but now the spiky Swedish punk band will offer an intriguing contrast as opening act.
Spend long enough in D.C. and you’ll hear stories about a network of tunnels under Dupont Circle. The tales are true: The abandoned space was once a storage area for trolleys, a fallout shelter and then a short-lived food court. Now local creative types want to turn it into an ambitious arts space. As you can imagine, that won’t be cheap, so organizers are hosting a Dupont Underground: Aboveground fundraiser at Eastern Market. Check out music from Justin Jones, Margot MacDonald and Alex Minoff, watch music videos and learn more about the project. Tickets ($30 in advance, $40 at the door) include snacks and two drinks, including beer from Starr Hill and wine from Veritas Vineyards.
Little Miss Whiskey’s patrons may have noticed the No Requests signs posted by the DJ booth. The spot is trying to emphasize what it was when it opened, a space for DJs to be truly creative, which was before H Street blew up in popularity. If you’re looking for DJs getting funky with the original tools of the craft, check out Nitekrawler and guests rocking original soul 45s all night.
Get a crash course in the best of the local electronic music scene (live performance division) at the Black Cat with Volta Bureau and Protect-U.
If you were a fan of “Our Band Could Be Your Life,” an essential book that told the stories of 13 of the best American punk bands of the ’80s, Saturday offers a Sophie’s choice of concert-going. At the 9:30 Club is Bob Mould, singer-guitarist for beyond-hardcore legends Husker Du, who will perform his mammoth new album, “Silver Age,” in addition to “Copper Blue,” a classic from his post-Husker band, Sugar. A few blocks away at the Black Cat will be fellow “OBCBYL” stars Mission of Burma, who are still riding high on their second career with the release of yet another strong new album, “Unsound.”
The Mixtape DJs play whatever it takes to get people dancing: Destiny’s Child, Neneh Cherry’s “Buffalo Stance,” Lady Gaga, Prince — even Carly Rae Jepsen. Their tours through ’80s and ’90s hits and brand-new remixes draw crowds wherever DJs Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer host their vagabond monthly party, whether it’s Town or the Rock & Roll Hotel. The duo celebrates Mixtape’s fourth anniversary this month with their debut at the Howard Theatre.
The Art Under Pressure skate and art shop works in concert with Ras Hall in Petworth to keep the raw urban arts alive. The Power Moves hip-hop show tonight will be a benefit for Cuba Skate Mission, a program to equip Cuban kids for the sport. Diamond District luminary emcee Uptown X.O. headlines.
The sartorially splendid shirtmakers Hugh and Crye are celebrating post-Labor Day fashions — and launching new shirts and sport coats — during a special happy hour at the Occidental. Admission to this chance to “dress well and drink well” is $10 in advance from bit.ly/hughandcrye and includes hors d’oeuvres and two cocktails. The dress code is . . . well, if you have to ask.
The Black Cat’s 19th anniversary should be treated like the milestone that it is: How many of the restaurants and bars on 14th Street will even make it half that long? Celebrate the auspicious birthday with bands and DJs on the club’s back stage.