Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. A quick note before we get to the can’t-miss events: If you’re looking for Halloween costume contests, dog-friendly “Howloween” events or pumpkin carving at bars, check out this growing list of the best Halloween nightlife.
Tuesday: For lovers of Belgian beer, few brews are as precious as Orval , a light, spicy saison made at the Abbaye Notre-Dame d’Orval. Because the beer is brewed inside the monastery, production capacity is limited, and Orval’s increasing popularity has made it harder to find. Well, it’s going to be at ChurchKey this week. Orval brewmaster Francois de Harenne is visiting the 14th Street beer bar for a special meet-and-greet event, which will feature four- and 10-ounce pours of Orval, while it lasts, beginning at 6 p.m.
Wednesday: Over the past few years, it felt as if Washington couldn’t go more than three or four months without a gig by perennial buzz band Titus Andronicus . (In 2011, the band opened 9:30 Club shows for the Pogues and Okkervil River as well as headlining at the Black Cat.) Maybe Titus fatigue explains why this week’s gig at the Rock & Roll Hotel hasn’t sold out yet, or maybe it’s because most people haven’t heard the band’s new album, “Local Business.” Not to worry: The 10 songs are packed with urgent, fist-pumping, shout-along indie-punk that descends from the Buzzcocks, the Replacements and the Stooges. But that’s just the album: Titus Andronicus puts on one of the best live shows around. Don’t wait to get tickets at the door and don’t miss openers Ceremony and True Head.
Thursday: Woodrow Wilson may have been president when the 18th Amendment passed, but he wasn’t in favor of Prohibition. In 1919, he vetoed the Volstead Act, which outlawed all alcoholic beverages stronger than one-half of 1 percent. (His veto was overridden.) We like to think that somewhere, our 28th president will be smiling on Thursday night, when his post-White House residence opens its doors for a Speakeasy Bash . Gin cocktails will flow - courtesy of D.C.’s New Columbia Distillers - while guests dance to ‘20s music and tour the house, including Wilson’s private wine cellar. Flapper costumes are encouraged, and there will be prizes for the best 1920s outfits.
Thursday: The craft of disco composition in the 1970s was serious business. String arrangements that required sizeable ensembles are the legacy of MFSB, Love Unlimited Orchestra and Washington’s own Van McCoy, to name a few. This musical tradition is being carried on by Escort , a 17-piece disco orchestra from Brooklyn, where many older styles are being re-imagined these days. New York has been buzzing about Escort for a few years, and the group is finally making its way to Washington, where it takes the stage at the Hamilton.
There are more picks after the jump, including a Native Tongues hip-hop night, a techno pioneer and a Wild West pub quiz.
Wednesday, Oct. 24
The National Portrait Gallery’s latest After Five happy hour and Pop Quiz trivia night is dedicated to Buffalo Bill Cody, Jesse James, Geronimo and other larger-than-life figures of the Old West. DJ Michah Vellian starts spinning in the Kogod Courtyard at 5 p.m., and wine and beer are available from the cafe. Trivia begins at 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 25
It’s hard to think of Dinosaur Jr . and Saint Etienne as retro acts when they continue to release new albums, but both bands will forever be remembered for their commercially successful work in the 1990s. Dinosaur Jr. was grunge before it was cool, with distorted guitar and bass wallowing in crashing waves of feedback. Saint Etienne fused dubby house tracks, synth-pop and vintage soul samples to create a uniquely British sound that appealed to fans of indie rock as well as the burgeoning electronica scene. They couldn’t be more different, but they’re both near the U Street Metro station tonight: Dinosaur Jr. headlines the Black Cat, and Saint Etienne performs with Volta Bureau at U Street Music Hall.
Friday, Oct. 26
The beatniks of the golden age, the roots of “alternative hip-hop” — there are many ways to describe the Native Tongues and what they contributed to rap music. The movement centered around De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Queen Latifah, the Jungle Brothers and their compatriots was really about young, creative rappers who cultivated their own non-traditional path. DJ Oso Fresh will spin a guided tour through the Native Tongues universe at 1920dc.
Carl Craig is one of the founding fathers of techno, infusing the gritty sound of the Detroit underground with samples from jazz and soul, swinging his sound from smooth house to rough-edged drum’n’bass. This Friday, he’ll be spinning for six solid hours at U Street Music Hall. That sounds like a journey worth taking.
Saturday, Oct. 27
Bettye LaVette ’s story is one of rediscovery and triumph. Possessor of one of the finest sets of pipes in the history of R&B, she recorded her first single, “My Man – He’s a Lovin’ Man,” 50 years ago, and she’s responsible for some of the finest of the 1960s, including the undisputed classic “Let Me Down Easy.” The following decades featured records recorded but not released, the occasional hit single and a stint on Broadway, until European soul collectors brought her back to the public eye. LaVette marks five decades in the music business with the release of her autobiography, “A Woman Like Me,” the new album “Thankful N’ Thoughtful” and a world tour, which brings her to the Howard Theatre this weekend.
Sunday, Oct. 28
Tropicalia is funneling some of the best world music acts through its doors below the Subway shop at 14th and U streets. Raya Brass Band is a colorful romp through the music of the Balkans and Northern Greece. DJ Thomas Gobena of Gogol Bordello provides dancefloor support for Raya’s set.