Nightlife Agenda: Fireworks, seersucker and swing dancing

July 2, 2013

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

Editor's note: This week is all about July 4 – and, by extension, concerts and bar crawls on July 3. We've got a long and growing list of rooftop parties, pool parties and other events elsewhere on the blog, but we'll stick a few highlights in here as well.


Want to join the cool kids on the Seersucker Ride and Social? You have to buy a ticket before you can find out where it starts -- and goes. (2012 photo by Kellie Armstead for The Washington Post)

Tuesday, July 2
Meridian Pint, which celebrates its third anniversary this week, is one of the city's finest beer bars. It's also just a great neighborhood bar, welcoming those who just want to watch a football game or take the kids out for dinner. Tonight, the bar is thanking its family customers by offering free food, straight from the grill, to all children. (Parents and folks who don't have kids: You get a dozen different local beers for $3 each between 3 and 7 p.m.)

Wednesday, July 3
Go hard on a holiday weeknight with one of the originators of electronic music and DJ culture. Afrika Bambaataa will take the decks at U Street Music Hall, preceded by some of his D.C. breakbeat followers: the Fort Knox Five (DJing on four turntables), Nappy Riddem, Pumpkin and Proxxy & Lantern.

Thursday, July 4
Independence Day is a day for cookouts, beer and alfresco parties. Our calendar is full with the Brightest Young Things pool party, Hill Country's pairing of barbecue and Americana music, and the open-bar party at Kastles Stadium.

If you're looking for the best views of the fireworks, consider the rooftop parties at the Brixton, H Street Country Club, 1905 or the W Hotel's P.O.V. Lounge. as a bonus, the Brixton and H St Country Club parties are free and do not require tickets.

Friday, July 5
For five years, DJ Nitekrawler has been an analog devotee in a digital world. He frequently employs only 7-inch vinyl records in his monthly sets at Little Miss Whiskey's Golden Dollar, as Moneytown is devoted to the deepest soul selections uncovered by the finest crate-diggers. Moneytown's guest DJs have been stellar over the past five years, from Prince Paul to DJ Cash Money, and for the anniversary party, Nitekrawler will be joined by Mikhail Z. of D.C.'s TNT dance party. Since it's a birthday party, there will be favors: Guests will be able to take home free 45-rpm records distributed from the bar. Just don't let your wax lust make you too greedy - try not to take more than five.

If you've ever listened to hip-hop, you've heard echoes of Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mel and the Furious 5, the New York crew who set the template for a generation of rappers and DJs with "The Message," "White Lines (Don’t Do It)" and "It’s Nasty." Expect an endless stream of old-school hits when the Furious 5 -- minus Grandmaster Flash -- takes the stage at at the Howard Theatre.

Saturday, July 6
Two of the country's finest big bands will be locked in battle at Glen Echo Park's 80-year-old Spanish Ballroom this weekend - and it's a contest where the dancers are the real winners. From New York City, George Gee brings his fantastic orchestra, which swings smoothly and sweetly in the style of Count Basie's famous 1950s and '60s ensembles. From Los Angeles, Dean Mora brings Mora's Modern Rhythmists, who specialize in authentic '20s and '30s arrangements of songs by the Casa Loma Orchestra, Artie Shaw and Duke Ellington. This event is part of the Groovie Movie Weekend, which honors 1940s swing dancer Jean Veloz and includes multiple days of dance lessons.

You may remember the Polyphonic Spree from the early days of the new millennium: A 20-member band and chorus wearing white robes and performing extended orchestral pop songs as if they were time travelers from a 1960s commune. The Spree will release an album of new material in August -- its first since 2007 -- but new single "You Don’t Know Me" is a surging slice of pop-rock that has little in common with the 5th Dimension. Few settings could be as fitting as the stage under the dome at Sixth and I.

Sunday, July 7
The annual Seersucker Social sounds like a hipster cliche: Hundreds of 20- and 30-somethings dressed in their most fashionable summer outfits cycle through Washington on their way to a garden party, where they play croquet and listen to live jazz. The thing is, it can be a lot of fun to pretend you're in an F. Scott Fitzgerald novel for an afternoon. As always, the start of the 10-mile ride and the location of the party are secret, given only to those who buy tickets. But we can tell you that riders will receive a boxed lunch and drinks when they get to the final destination, where lawn games will be featured along with music by Dandy Wellington and His Band. Tickets are $45 and must be purchased in advance. Just remember not to take yourself too seriously.

Monday, July 8
Tropicalia's weekly bookings are a survey course of roots music from all over the world. This week's class, a huge highlight on an already stella record, features the Garifuna Collective. The Caribbean coast of Central America is home to the Garifuna people, descendants of indigenous and African populations that intermarried during the 17th and 18th centuries. As a result, their music is a rich pastiche of Amerindian sounds. The Garifuna Collective helped expose this music to the world, and five years after the untimely death of founder Andy Palacio, the Collective triumphantly returned with a follow-up album to keep their tradition going. They will be joined on the Tropicalia stage by Trinidad's Kobo Town.

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