Nightlife Agenda: Focus on locals edition

April 2, 2013

Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.


Meshell Ndegeocello hosts a tribute to Fats Waller at the Kennedy Center on Friday. (Josh Sisk/For The Washington Post)

Tuesday, April 2
Every April 2, the 14th Street NW restaurant Marvin remembers Marvin Gaye, one of the most important musicians to come out of Washington, with a birthday party in the upstairs lounge. This year features a performance by members of the Marquees, which was Gaye's first band. Gaye's longtime bandleader, Gordon "Guitar" Banks, leads a jam session with a cast of local R&B artists, including Wes Felton, Tamara Wellons and Nea Posey, taking on Gaye hits. Filmmaker Damian Bailey will screen his new short film, "Music: A Marvin Gaye Story." DJ John Morales follows the music with a set of rare and unreleased Gaye tunes. Admission is free, and all proceeds from food and drink sales during the event go to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

Wednesday, April 3
Remember Jenny McCarthy's old MTV dating show, "Singled Out"? The one that was like "The Dating Game" but with 50 potential dates and physical challenges? Promoter District Games is re-creating "Singled Out" -- well, a version of it -- at Penn Social tonight, and anyone in the audience could win a dinner date with one of six strangers (three bachelors and three bachelorettes). Sign-up for the game begins at 7, and the action begins at 8.

Thursday, April 4
Big things have been expected of Washington native Alice Smith since 2006, when her debut “For Lovers, Dreamers & Me” was hailed for Smith’s huge, soaring vocals as much as the musical mashup of funky R&B and indie-pop. She received a Grammy nod the following year. And then …nothing. Currently without a label, Smith turned to crowdsourcing to fund her latest album “She,” which was released in late March. Bursting with soul and an eclectic selection of indelible grooves, it shows she hasn’t missed a step. Hear for yourself at the 9:30 Club.

Friday, April 5
Meshell Ndegeocello has absorbed it all over her long, rich career. The D.C. native started with go-go before breaking into the mainstream with funk, rock and pop. She also has explored hip-hop, electronica and jazz. This diversity is why every fan will be curious to see what she does with Fats Waller's songbook, as the Kennedy Center's Supersized Jazz Club presents a free night of modern takes on his ragtime and stride tradition. Ndegeocello will be the vocalist for an ensemble led by Jason Moran, the Kennedy Center's artistic adviser for jazz. Before the performance, at 8:30 p.m., take an hour-long "Soul of Jazz" dance class led by Maija Garcia, creative director and assistant choreographer for the musical "Fela." Free tickets will be distributed at 8 p.m. in the Nations Gallery.

Slumberland Records, which was based in Silver Spring in the 1990s, continues to be a worldwide arbiter of indie-rock cool. This showcase at Comet Ping-Pong pairs D.C. post-rock stalwarts Lorelei (who recorded on Slumberland in the '90s) with jangly lo-fi California quintet Sea Lions and Glasgow’s Golden Grrrls, who mesh spiky power-pop and three-part harmonies.

The Corcoran's "Pump Me Up" exhibit closes this week, just in time for the arrival of a companion exhibit that explores the work of artists engaged in Washington’s go-go, punk, graffiti and graphic design scenes. "Mumbo Sauce" opens at the Contemporary Wing gallery with a reception, tunes from DJ Stereo Faith and an art sale.

For nine years, We Fought the Big One has been channeling the late John Peel, providing Marx Cafe guests with classic indie rock, obscure post-punk, noisy guitar pop and odd, unclassifiable gems that DJs Brandon Grover and Rick Taylor really, really think you need to listen to. We Fought the Big One celebrates its anniversary with a special DJ set by Jowe Head, the bassist for British bands Swell Maps and Television Personalities, and the release of a free mix CD.

The family of promoters, bartenders, DJs and dedicated patrons behind 1920dc and its wildly popular Hip-Hop Bar Crawl and Hip-Hop Trivia Night are coming together in the wake of 1920dc's closing and the shooting outside the Ninth Street club. Those who miss the friendly atmosphere and top-notch DJ sets can help get 1920dc back on its feet and send a message that grown hip-hop heads chill in peace by partying at Tabaq with the 1920dc crew.

Saturday, April 6
Local scene-making site Brightest Young Things recently found itself at the center of a plagiarism storm - its managing editor resigned after being accused of copying material from other Web sites - but the site's promoters are still organizing hip events that few competitors can match. Its D.C. Emerging Artists Super Sampler brings a dozen buzz-worthy locals to the Hamilton on the same night. It's not all hipster fodder; the show will also feature engaging female rapper Ra the MC, tuneful garage rockers Shark Week, glossy Balearic electropop group Black Hills, atmospheric post-rock band Drop Electric and synth-driven hip-hop duo Beyond Modern.

DC9 co-owner Bill Spieler wrapped up his long-running, guitar-focused Liberation Dance Party earlier this year, promising to replace it with something completely different. Well, it's here: London Disco Brigade is a "updated disco-house" night. It's free and kicks off at DC9 at 10:30 p.m., after the Iron Cross/Wisdom in Chains hardcore show. (Don't think there will be much overlap with those crowds.)

Monday, April 8
DC Brau, the Brewers Art and Devils Backbone are among the top craft beer breweries in the mid-Atlantic, so when their brewers talk about beer, you should listen. The three breweries kick off the Bier Baron's new Brewers' Seminar Beer Tasting Series this week at a Q&A session moderated by veteran Brickskeller host (and brewer) Bob Tupper. Whether you're a homebrewer or just want to know more about the Belgian-style ale in your glass, this should be a worthwhile evening. The $39 ticket includes tastes of three beers from each brewery.

Fritz Hahn has written about bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. A product of Prince George's County public schools, Fritz majored in journalism at the University of Maryland and lives in the District.
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Fritz Hahn · April 1, 2013