Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here are four we think you can’t miss:
Tuesday: Though it may seem as if modern R&B has been relegated to hybrid indie-electronic music or young singers jumping on Euro dance tracks to stay in the pop world, there are still active artists who practice classic songcraft, performance and sound. Martin Luther is one of those singers, drawing on gospel and rock roots while adding a bit of P-Funk and classic soul. At Blues Alley, he’ll be paired with Maimouna Youssef, herself a master of multiple disciplines. She can belt out Billie Holiday or Erykah Badu, drop some jazz vocalese or slip into MC mode and spit bars between her sung verses.
Wednesday: It’s time for one of our favorite cocktail odysseys: the buildup to the Corcoran Gallery of Art‘s Artini gala. Every year, mixologists create a mixed drink inspired by a piece of art in the gallery’s collection and then show it off at a special happy hour before the main event. This year’s series of “Artini Feature Nights” kicks off Wednesday at the museum’s Corcoran Uncorked event with Daikaya’s Eddie Kim and continues Friday at the Gibson with manager Frank Jones. (Jones is a Corcoran College of Art and Design alumni, which might make his creation even more artistic.) There’s no cover charge for any Artini happy hour, though free reservations are required for Wednesday’s party at the Corcoran. A portion of all drink sales benefit the NOW at the Corcoran series.
Saturday: Before Texas was a state, it was an independent republic, and March 2 is celebrated annually in the Lone Star State as Texas Independence Day to mark the day Texas seceded from Mexico in 1836. The D.C. Texas Exes – the local alumni club of the University of Texas – celebrates the holiday with a party at Old Ebbitt Grill, where there will be a dramatic reading of William Travis’s famous “Victory or Death” letter from the Alamo. Meanwhile, the Texas-inspired barbecue joint Hill Country offers country music by Scott Kurt, a special menu of Texas grub and $3 Shiner Bocks all night.
Saturday: U Street Music Hall co-owner Jesse Tittsworth may have moved to Los Angeles, but the globe-trotting DJ’s heart remains in D.C. He is back in town this weekend to celebrate his birthday at his home base, and DJs Des McMahon, Reed Rothchild and 814OfCourse will join in a night of high-energy moombahton, trap and club bangers. The birthday boy’s gift to you: free admission before 11 p.m. and free bacon all night (seriously).
Keep reading for more ideas, including freshly hopped beers, French Montana and new locations for Daylight and the Brau Ramble.
Tuesday, Feb. 26
Dry-hopping a beer — adding fresh hops to a keg or cask of beer and letting the aroma and bitterness infuse the whole container — can be a delicious science experiment. Tonight at ChurchKey, the bar will offer four versions of already hoppy Troegs’ Nugget Nectar on cask, each infused with a different hop: Nugget, Simcoe, Palisade and Warrior. (The regular Nugget Nectar will be on tap as the control.) Do yourself a favor and order the four-ounce samplers of each, then compare and contrast.
Wednesday, Feb. 27
The self-proclaimed hottest rapper in the game with no album out is touring with the promise of an album dropping in May. That’s actually not a bad move for French Montana, as he can wring even more mileage out of his ubiquitous single “Pop That” and his “Freaks” collaboration with Nicki Minaj. The Excuse My French Tour, stopping at the Rock & Roll Hotel, also features Chinx Drugs, Cheyne and Dj Mathias.
Thursday, Feb. 28
The initial Brau Ramble at the Pinch was packed last month, so crowded that anyone toward the back of the tiny room couldn’t hear a local bluegrass band plucking away onstage. That’s why the monthly party has moved to Solly’s, starting this week. It’s still free to enter, and it’s still sponsored by DC Brau, so beers are $5 all night. Grand Ole’ Ditch and Porchgrass Americana perform this time around, beginning at 8 p.m.
Danish group Efterklang straddles the line between electronic pop and more ambient lounge music on its recent “Piramida,” an album recorded in a decaying Russian ghost town inside the Arctic Circle. It’s wonderful winter music, atmospheric and emotionally weary. Let’s hope it translates at the Rock & Roll Hotel.
Saturday, March 2
Few hip-hop icons with as many years under their belt as Yasiin Bey, formerly Mos Def, have evolved so effortlessly into fully realized artists. His forays into theater and film stand on proper acting training in his youth, not just the opportunism of fame. And even as his music has grown to encompass rock and jazz, he still spits out some of the rawest bars. A true hip-hop renaissance man, Yasiin Bey returns to the 9:30 Club stage.
Sunday, March 3
The long-running Daylight dance party is leaving U Street. Starting this week, you’ll have to head up to Petworth’s Safari DC for your fix of ’70s funk and R&B, early house and ’80s soul and hip-hop expertly spun by Bill Source and Divine. Wondering where the name comes from? Doors open at 5 p.m. so you can end your weekend with one last party before heading to work Monday.