Nightlife Agenda: French DJs, half-price beer and U Street Music Hall’s anniversary

March 12, 2013

Every Tuesday, the Going Out Guide picks the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Here the ones we think you can't miss:

Goldie
Drum'n'bass DJ Goldie headlines U Street Music Hall's third anniversary on Sunday. (Photo by Jimmy Mould)

Tuesday-Thursday: The basement bar at Georgetown's Pizzeria Paradiso -- better known as Birreria Paradiso -- just received a facelift that added more tables and expanded the standing room next to the bar. The space is much more comfortable and less cramped - even on a Friday night. To celebrate the new look, the basement beer bar is offering three nights of grand reopening specials. Tuesday features a dozen Italian craft beers on tap, including Baladin, Del Borgo, Loverbeer and Del Ducato. (The beers will be on all night, but make sure to go between 5 and 7 p.m. when they're half off.) Wednesday brings a dozen smoked ales and lagers - again, half-price at happy hour - with $2 antipasti plates. Thursday is Dollar Night: Your first draft beer is $1, no matter what it is. Same goes for your first order from the new bar snacks menu. That's a deal you can't pass up.

Wednesday-Sunday: Most of Washington's rock clubs are slow or dead this week because of the South by Southwest music festival, but U Street Music Hall is chock full of must-see shows to celebrate its third anniversary. Tomorrow, Dave Nada, who invented the slowed-down dance genre known as moombahton, and partner-in-crime Matt Nordstrom headline the 24th edition of their Moombahton Massive dance party with guests Sabo and Munchi. German DJ Michael Mayer, the founder of the influential tech-house and electro label Kompakt, is in charge on Thursday.

Things get deep on Friday, when Chicago house legend Derrick Carter and New York's Kenny Dope - one-half of Masters at Work - join D.C.'s own soulful house king Sam "The Man" Burns for a dance party until the wee hours. Scuba, the English dubstep DJ and founder of Hotflush Recordings, and South London Ordinance test the limits of U Hall's famous bass system with heavy wobblers on Saturday. And everything wraps up with a Sunday appearance by Goldie, the pioneering drum 'n' bass DJ who founded the Metalheadz label and recorded some classic jungle tracks, including "Kemistry" and "Inner City Life," when he wasn't acting in James Bond films or "Snatch." It's a fantastic way to celebrate the city's most dynamic dance club.

Saturday: The annual Francophonie Festival features plenty of theater, movies and world music, but it also dives into French DJ culture. Isaac Delusion comes from Paris to Georgetown this weekend, bringing bubbling electronic and breezy '70s-influenced Balearic indie-pop to Malmaison. Recommended for fans of Phoenix, Metronomy or Telepopmusik, but get tickets in advance.

MondayHiatus Kaiyote jumped out of Melbourne, Australia, in 2011 and hit the ground running hard. It has earned breathless praise from multiple, seemingly incongruous points of the musical compass. Its future soul and jazz leanings have Gilles Peterson, Questlove and Erykah Badu on swoon mode. But the group's flirtations with electronic beatcraft as well as indie-pop make its music as difficult to explain as its name. And with a name like Nai Palm, and vocals that are alternately operatic, warbling and cooing, its lead vocalist makes you focus on the band's deliciously confounding approach to making truly unique music. Hiatus Kaiyote is one of those bands you'll be telling folks you saw at the cusp of much bigger things to come. You'll get that chance at Liv, where the group performs on its first U.S. tour.

Keep reading for more ideas, including a Western swing rave-up at an American Legion hall, an outdoor St. Patrick's Day Eve festival and a celebration of Ghana's independence day.

Tuesday, March 12
Dominican reggae vocalist Desi Hyson wasn't an original member of the Original Wailers or Culture, but he's worked with those Jamaican giants for the last two decades. Hyson brings a wealth of experience to the Brixton's free Tuesday night One Love Jam Down, where he'll sit in with the house band the Arkives.

Wednesday, March 13
Celebrate Ghana’s independence day (a week later, but who’s counting) with the dance craze that has electrified the whole African diaspora. Go to YouTube and search for “Azonto”. It’s way better than the Harlem Shake. Practice your moves and get down to Tropicalia for OkayAfrica’s Azonto Fiesta featuring DJs Underdog, Senyo and Drew Cool.

Friday, March 15
Legendary hip-hop MCs Slick Rick and Rakim are performing together at the Howard Theatre. This is the hip-hop equivalent of that Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle tour that keeps electrifying the rumor mill. Actually, this is more like Eddie Murphy touring with Richard Pryor. Or when you use the Madden legendary pack to put Bo Jackson and Walter Payton on the same team. Anyway, it’s a really big deal.

A live performance by Tortured Soul somehow manages to sound like the rhythm section of a classic acid jazz or disco-house record, despite there only being three men playing keyboards, bass and drums. As drummer John-Christian Urich sends his falsetto soaring, Justin Timberlake-style, above deliciously thick grooves, the dance floor at Tropicalia will become one of the funkiest – and most fun – places in town.

The Average White Band is anything but. The Scottish band bridged the gap between blue-eyed soul, yacht rock and smooth funk in the '70s, with such hits as the instrumental "Pick Up the Pieces" and "Let's Go Round Again." They're at the Birchmere this weekend, but only tickets for Friday night are left. You'd be smart to pick them up.

Saturday, March 16
As we write this, Saturday forecasts are all over the map: The Weather Channel says 64 degrees with sun, and our own Capital Weather Gang says "cooler than average conditions" with highs in the 40s. The hosts of the inaugural Blarney Bash at the Kastles Stadium will be hoping it's the former. They're planning on recreating the vibe of the July 4 "Red, White and Boom" party, with a mix of live music (headlined by jam band Dale and the ZDubs), DJs, bocce and corn hole games, food trucks and five-and-a-half hours of open bar. Tickets are $70 and include after-parties at the Mason Inn and George.

Sunday, March 17
Dance parties at American Legion halls really are the best: No pretense, good roots music and cheap beer. If you're trying to escape the usual March 17 blarney, head to College Park's American Legion Post 217, where the Oklahoma Twisters will be playing their usual brand of Western swing, Texas two-steps and old-fashioned waltzes, full of pedal steel guitar and singing fiddles. There's no cover charge.

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Lavanya Ramanathan | March 11, 2013