Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are five you can’t miss this week:
Tuesday: Van Hunt seemed ticketed to stardom a decade ago, but now he has embraced the role of critical favorite who combines soul and rock with a showman’s flourish. He throws a lot of other sounds in there, too, and is one of those rare songwriters who can combine sounds into something lucid and engaging, not just a jumble of genres. “What Were You Hoping For?” is his first album in six years, with much of the delay a result of problems with his (former) record label. Now independent, you can hear his roar of freedom throughout the new material, which he’ll perform at the basement-level club at the Hamilton.
Wednesday: Champagne, canapes and crooning - that’s the recipe for the Morrison House Hotel’s fundraiser for the local charity Dress for Success . It’s really a team effort: Emily Wines, who is the master sommelier for Kimpton hotels across the country, will teach attendees how to make champagne cocktails and then serve bubbly drinks. Morrison House chef Brian McPherson will whip up caviar and blini snacks, and pianist Pat Rohrer and singer Krista McClellan - regular performers at Morrison House’s piano bar - will entertain. The $25 tickets, which include food and drink, benefit Dress for Success, which provides career development and office-appropriate attire to disadvantaged women. (Guests are welcome to bring gently used purses, jewelry or new hosiery to donate.)
Wednesday: Rap groups are an endangered species. Go ahead and try to come up with one dope rap group now — we’ll wait. (And no, Young Money doesn’t count.) You probably stopped at Odd Future and drew a blank. That’s okay, because this is about awareness. In an age where the profit margins are low, the scene is ridiculously crowded and attention spans are precious resources, rappers can’t be bothered with teaming up. Everything’s a solo mission, which is why Slaughterhouse is so awesome. With a Wu-Tang-style ethos, four unique and highly skilled veteran spitters combine forces like Voltron. Royce da 5’9”, Joell Ortiz, Joe Budden and Crooked I rock the stage at the 9:30 Club.
Wednesday: The Internet loves nothing more than a good feud or controversy. So can you imagine what Twitter would have been like if it were around during the heyday of Oasis? The biggest U.K. rock band of the ‘90s made headlines with its anthemic music and its endless bickering (among the band members and with other bands), insults (same) and fights (mostly between brothers Liam and Noel Gallagher). Noel was the architect of the classic Brit-pop sound, and his first solo album recalls the band’s moments if not exactly matching them. He performs at the Warner Theatre with new backing band the High Flying Birds , so you won’t see any brother-on-brother fistfights, but you will get a nice ‘90s flashback.
Saturday: After a hiatus of several months, Saturday marks the return of Recess , the night when adults can flash back to elementary school and spend the night playing Twister, Uno, Pictionary, Jenga or Apples to Apples while sipping cocktails and dancing to a DJ’s tunes. The vibe is friendly - it’s easy to ask someone whether you can get in on the next game of Wii Bowling - and the party is lively, especially now that it’s back at the Aloft Hotel in National Harbor. (Recess has been held at several venues, but Aloft’s spacious, modern lounge seems a natural fit.) Be warned: Tickets will not be sold at the door, so buy them in advance. And, hey, if you don’t feel like driving home, $99 hotel rooms are available.
Looking for more? There are 11 ideas waiting for you after the jump.
Tuesday, March 27
Saturday’s annual Artini cocktail party at the Corcoran has sold out, but if you want to sample some of the drinks that talented local bartenders have created just for the event, there are two chances this week, both from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. On Tuesday, the Passenger’s Alexandra Bookless unveils her “artini” at the Shaw bar, and on Thursday, Joe Ambrose of the W Hotel’s P.O.V. rooftop bar takes his turn. There’s no cover charge for either event.
Wednesday, March 28
Women’s History Month is the perfect time for the debut of Sugar and Spice , a DJ night whose motto is “All ladies, all the time.” DJs-about-town Andi Supreme, Jennder and Sally-Go-Round spin only female artists and female-powered bands — from ’60s girl group harmonies to Riot Grrrl anthems to indie-rock rave-ups. Starting this week, the no-cover party takes place the last Wednesday of the month in the Rock and Roll Hotel’s upstairs bar.
We haven’t written about Spirits in Black for a while, but American Ice Company’s heavy-metal-fueled cocktail night returns with drinks shaken by Owen Thomson — the mixologist behind the drinks for Jose Andres’ restaurants, including America Eats Tavern and Jaleo — and DJ Stereofaith on the 1s and 2s. Admission is free; cocktails are $10.
Few DJs blend hip-hop rhythms and electro’s energy as well as the English breakbeat DJ Krafty Kuts . The Future Sound of Breaks night at U Street Music Hall finds him joined by Fort Knox Five, Proxxy and Lantern for serious party beats.
Thursday, March 29
As a teen, Georgia Anne Muldrow possessed a voice and musical sense far beyond her years, infusing the sparse underground hip-hop styles of the early aughts with blues and free jazz. Her creative output has burst forth in torrents since then, with the two consistent elements being her elastic, emotive voice and her thirst for new stylistic territories. She has done bouncy West Coast beats, enigmatic lo-fi jazz explorations and spare, atmospheric ballads. At any moment she’s conjuring J Dilla and Sun Ra, or P-Funk and G-Funk. Her newest record is with California mad scientist Madlib. Get your ears around it at Liv.
Looking for some irresistibly funky grooves? Afrobeat for Ya Soul celebrates its third anniversary at Bossa, and the two-floor party features DJ Underdog dropping sizzling Afrobeat and Afrofunk for a face-painted crowd upstairs and Mali-born griot Cheick Hamala performing with his band on the ground floor.
Sing your heart out to raise money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. Sounds like a no brainer, right? Head for George — usually a members-and-guests-only Georgetown bar behind Cafe Milano — for Karaoke for Kids , a night of karaoke where retro tunes should rule and money talks: You have to drop a $1 donation for every song you want to sing, and an extra $5 donation will move your name to the top of the list. (If other crowded karaoke nights in D.C. are anything to go by, the skip-the-line donations should bring in a lot of cash.) The first tune is sung at 9 p.m., and the party goes until midnight.
Alcest plays a sort of metal-tinged shoegaze that you can call “RPG music,” since it should be the soundtrack to a video game mission that takes place in a medieval fantasy land. Catch the French act at DC9.
Friday, March 30
Strathmore’s Friday Night Eclectic series gets funky with local Afro-pop collective Elikeh turning the stately mansion into a rhythmic dance party.
Saturday, March 31
DJ Sun is an overlooked jewel outside of his hometown of Houston, despite entering his second decade in the game. But those who know his work definitely know what’s up. He’s part of that class of DJs and producers — along with such peers as J Boogie and Nickodemus — who blew apart the catch-all genre of downtempo by grafting it to everything they could conceive of in the funk and dance realms. Sun returns to D.C. for his regular Eighteenth Street Lounge residency.
Local rock blog Fuzzy Logic celebrates its one-year anniversary in the proper manner — hosting a local(-ish) rock show. Mercies, Bad Liquor Pond (from Baltimore) and the Snowy Owls (from Richmond) play at Comet Ping Pong.