Nightlife Agenda: Yeezus, bourbon and $2 beers

June 18, 2013

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


Puerto Rico's Noche de San Juan holiday will be celebrated with salsa music and drink specials at Cuba Libre on Friday night. (2011 photo by Evy Mages for The Washington Post)

Tuesday, June 18
We're not really surprised that "Yeezus" leaked. The Kanye West album, which everyone is either hailing as a trainwreck or a transcendent, visionary work, is blowing up all digital communication networks and sending critics scrambling to put it in context after a few rushed listens. Let's all take a pause. Hold those "classic" proclamations, and take off the earbuds, step away from the keyboard and get immersed in the album with other real life humans. The record will be played end to end twice in a row on U Street Music Hall's sonic temple of a sound system during a Tuesday-night listening party, and then DJ Baronhawk will spin his way through other highlights from the Kanye catalog.

Lounge of Three, the spot that brought a friendly, hip-hop-focused space vibe back to U Street, is celebrating its fourth anniversary this week. All the bartenders that got you bent while serving you wings and all the DJs who got the party crunk until the wee hours will be making special appearances all week. From Tuesday through Sunday, stop in between 6 and 7 p.m. for a free buffet. Music and drink specials keep the party going.

The Postal Service released only one record, but “Give Up” is a certified landmark of 2000s electro-pop. (Not bad for a Death Cab for Cutie side project.) Singalong harmonies rise among every bleep and bloop and fuzzy synth riff, from the haunted longing of “The District Sleeps Alone” to the soaring “Such Great Heights,” a song that truly lives up to its title. Ten years after the band's debut, Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello are back on a triumphal reunion tour, which stops at Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Wednesday, June 19
The Low Country-flavored Acre 121 is marking two years in Columbia Heights with three days of celebrations. The big hook: Select beers cost $2 from opening on Wednesday until last call Friday night. There are extra deals at happy hour, which runs from 5 to 8 p.m. each night: half-price wines on Wednesday, $5 sangria on Thursday, and $4 Abitas and free hush puppies and peel-and-eat shrimp on Friday. Stick around for live music each night, too.

Friday, June 21
Noche de San Juan is one of Puerto Rico's biggest festivals. (After all, Saint John is the patron saint of the island and the namesake of its capital.) In Washington, it's a time for Puerto Ricans - and fans of Puerto Rican music - to come together and celebrate. At Cuba Libre, DJs from Puerto Rico will join the SalBomPle Band for a night of dancing. Arrive early to beat the lines, save $5 on the cover charge and take advantage of drink specials. Beers and cocktails are discounted before midnight.

This pick is a shoutout to every guy who has ever held the object of their affection close at a teen dance and crooned Jodeci's "Forever My Lady" into her ear, trying to get those digits. Or you've played dominoes and swigged a cold brew at a cookout while "Get on Up" was playing. Or maybe you put "Come and Talk to Me" on a mixtape for someone. Those who speak fluent Jodeci are nodding their heads and already planning to see what K-Ci & JoJo sound like these days when they visit the Howard Theatre.

For the past year, guitar-wielding troubadour Luke Brindley has been posting a new song on his blog every Monday. He has used the experience to push himself as a songwriter, and now has two albums – "Our Year I" and "Our Year II" -- out of the project. Brindley, one of the brothers who own Jammin' Java, takes the stage at his Vienna club for an album release party.

Capitol Hill continues to rally around the staff of Frager's Hardware and neighboring businesses. This week, there's a special outdoor dance party under the farmers market roof outside Eastern Market. Little Red and the Renegades play zydeco from 6 to 8 p.m., while Market food vendors and local restaurants sell snacks (two for $6) at a mini Taste of Capitol Hill.

Dwight Yoakam had most of his hits in the mid-’80s, but last year’s “3 Pears” showed he’s no nostalgia act, with guitar rave-ups, tear-in-my-beer ballads and chugging alt-country tunes that can stand with his career best. He's making a rare appearance at the 9:30 Club.

Saturday, June 22
Last Friday was one of our favorite holidays: National Bourbon Day. If you missed the chance to celebrate America's native spirit, make sure you have this Saturday circled in red on your calendar. The D.C. Bourbon Bash is a whiskey-flavored crawl around Dupont Circle, with eight bars pouring eight bourbons. Science Club will be offering Eagle Rare 10-Year Single Barrel, for example, while at the Front Page, it will be Four Roses Small Batch. Tastes of eight bourbons are included with admission, but don't need to try every one - there's no excuse for heading to Madhatter for Maker's Mark if you haven't sampled the 1792 Ridgemont Reserve at the Board Room. The $55 ticket includes food and drink specials at each location, though you start at either Buffalo Billiards or James Hoban's. Proceeds benefit the Lead the Way Fund, which benefits wounded Army Rangers and their families. (Note: No tickets will be sold at the door, so buy them in advance.)

In France, the summer solstice arrives with a national celebration of music and the arts. The Fete de la Musique finds amateur and professional musicians filling town squares, museums and public spaces - anywhere they can find room to play. The Alliance Francaise is continuing the tradition on this side of the Atlantic, taking over the new Malmaison - a sister restaurant of Adams Morgan's Napoleon and Georgetown's Cafe Bonaparte - for a 13-hour party on the banks of the Potomac. A dozen jazz, pop, funk and folk bands will perform for free from 2 to 11 p.m. After that, DJs will spin into the wee hours of Sunday morning. (Bring the kids to a special drum workshop, which runs from 2 to 3 p.m.)

There's nothing like a cold beer on a hot summer day, and the Northern Virginia Summer Brewfest offers the chance to sample something you've never tried. At least 60 breweries from across the country will set up shop at Morven Park, including first timers Somerville Brewing (Somerville, Mass.) and Three Brothers Brewing (Harrisonburg, Va.). Live music, vendors and food stands run by local restaurants round out the day. If you can't find a designated driver, the festival sells a limited number of tickets that include a round-trip ride from the Vienna Metro station.

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Fritz Hahn | June 17, 2013