Nightlife Agenda: Christmas beers, a fish fry and the return of U.S. Royalty

July 9, 2013

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


U.S. Royalty previews its upcoming album "Blue Sunshine" at a special show at the Industry Gallery on Saturday night. (Photo by Ryan Wakeman)

Tuesday, July 9
It was only three years ago that Great Lakes beers arrived in Washington, with a line of Midwestern ex-pats waiting for a pint spilling out of the doors of the Big Hunt and stretching all the way to Dupont Circle. (That's not an exaggeration.) But the Cleveland brewery has a much longer history, getting its start in 1988. Celebrate a quarter-century of award-winning brews at ChurchKey with some special Great Lakes anniversary beers, including a smoked imperial porter made with fellow 25-year-olds Deschutes and the brand-new Silver and Gold Imperial Smoked Lager. There will be three casks, including dry-hopped Burning River Pale Ale and a version of Commodore Perry IPA aged with grapefruit peel. (The full draft list is on ChurchKey's Facebook page.) It's going to be packed, so get there early.

Wednesday, July 10
Most of your favorite progressive hip-hop and soul stars of the past decade have rocked over a beat created by J Dilla: Busta Rhymes, Janet Jackson and Erykah Badu are just a few. And since Dilla's 2006 death from complications of lupus, the DC Loves Dilla benefit concert series has featured a number of them, including Pharcyde and Slum Village. So how do you top that? This year's show at the Howard Theatre features De La Soul and Roots vocalist Black Thought as well as Miguel Atwood-Ferguson, the classical composer behind the "Suite for Ma Dukes," an orchestral project based on Dilla's works. As usual, all proceeds benefit the J Dilla Foundation and the Lupus Foundation of Greater Washington D.C.

One for baseball fans: Award-winning sportswriter Thom Loverro, the host of ESPN 980's lunchtime "The Sports Fix," is hosting a special Nationals game-watching party at Shelly's Back Room called "Light Up With Loverro." Loverro will be taking questions from fans before the Nats and the Phillies take the field and also between innings. Discounted New Belgium, Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada beers will be available, beginning at 7 p.m. (Reminder: Shelly's is one of the few bars in D.C. where you can still smoke indoors, so if you don’t dig cigar smoke, you might want to give it a pass.)

Thursday, July 11
Already a fan of She & Him? You're in luck: Zooey Deschanel (She) and M. Ward (Him) don't move the goalposts on their third collaboration, "Volume 3." It's a breezy, perky amalgamation of '60s pop, girl groups, Britpop and a dead-on cover of Blondie's "Sunday Girl." The duo is paired with tuneful Scottish retro-pop group Camera Obscura for a night of summer sing-alongs under the stars at Wolf Trap.

Congress has returned from its July 4 recess – yeah, we hadn't noticed either – and Capitol Hill lifestyle site Cloture Club is celebrating with a Thursday night "Welcome Back, Congress" party at George. (The official House calendar is empty Friday, so if someone ducks out early, it's safe to assume they're on the Senate side.) Doors open at 8, with $4 Bud Light tallboys and $6 Bacardi drinks until 10. Crushes, frozen RBVs and SoCo and Lime shots are $5 all night. Because George is a guest-list-only bar, you have to RSVP on the Facebook event page if you want to attend.

The Words, Beats & Life hip-hop mentorship group is once again assembling some of the area's best DJs to blend and cut their way through a couple of heavyweight hip-hop catalogs. Previous editions of the Philanthrobeat fundraiser have highlighted Wu-Tang as well as the Soulquarians. This time around, the featured battle is Outkast and the Dungeon Family vs. Kanye West and G.O.O.D. Music. DJs RBI, 2-Tone Jones, Jav, Oso Fresh and Heat will be running round-robin sets on the decks at Liv.

Friday, July 12
When temperatures begin falling, we look forward to seasonal Christmas ales - the rich, spicy beers that pack enough alcohol to get you through a snowy evening around a fire. But in July? Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Evolution Winter Migration and Mikkeller's Santa's Little Helper may be delicious, but they would be the last thing we'd crave. Unless, that is, it was time for the Black Squirrel's Ho Ho Hot party, a Christmas in July where guests can snack on free Christmas cookies while sipping eight very non-summery brews. Arrive before 7 p.m. for the free snacks; the beers - on tap and in bottles - will flow while supplies last.

The Specials introduced an entire generation of mods and rude boys to ska in the '70s and '80s. The English group is again touring with original lead singer Terry Hall after more than 25 years apart, making this a must-see show at the Fillmore.

Saturday, July 13
U.S. Royalty became a sure bet for D.C.'s Next Big Thing in 2010 after attention-grabbing performances at the SXSW and CMJ festivals. (The fashion-conscious group bolstered its cred even further after Esquire named it the "best dressed" band in New York.) But then its debut album, "Mirrors," a rootsy, swaggering collection of tunes that recalled Fleetwood Mac and Band of Horses, quietly went nowhere, and U.S. Royalty fell out of the limelight. The band is hoping to recapture the buzz with a new album, "Blue Sunshine," in the fall. Get an early listen at a special show at the Industry Gallery, where local artists will set the scene with installations and screen printing. (Psst: Here's a quick Vimeo preview of "Blue Sunshine.")

Get a taste of the local blues scene - and a tasty fish sandwich - at the D.C. Blues Society's annual Hotter Than July Fish Fry and Show. Ten bands, including Eddie and the Blues Drivers and Cooking With Gas, will play half-hour sets from 4 to 10:30 p.m. at Silver Spring's American Legion Hall. The $15 cover includes a hot fish sandwich; bring a potluck dish to share, and you'll receive a copy of the D.C. Blues Society cookbook.

Bastille Day, the celebration of the beginning of the French Revolution, falls on a Sunday this year, so two annual parties will be taking place a day early. L'Enfant is bringing its Bastille Day Block Party back to Adams Morgan, closing Vernon Street for its French Maid Relay Race, can-can and burlesque dancers, beer and wine stands, and an after-dark masquerade ball.

The Alliance Francaise cultural group will be hosting its Bastille Day Celebration at the bar atop the Beacon Hotel, with jazz from Hot Club of DC, video projections, art and dancing.

Falls Church has quite a happening beer scene. Between the award-winning house-brewed ales at Mad Fox, the 20 constantly changing drafts at Spacebar and the popular tapping parties and beer dinners at Dogfish Head, there's always something new to try. Mad Fox marks its third anniversary in town with a day-long party that includes tappings of three rare beers, including the divine Orange Whip IPA, a special barbecue menu and music from singer-songwriter Justin Trawick and his band. The beer starts flowing at noon, tunes begin at 1 p.m. and everyone gets a slice of free birthday cake at 5 p.m.

Sunday, July 14
Ahoy, yacht rockers: Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs -- two of the smoothest singers of the '70s -- are docking at Wolf Trap for one night only.

Stop by Wisdom bar on Capitol Hill this Sunday and you'll be among a community of vinyl hounds sharing their favorite finds. Throw your own record on the decks to share with everyone from 5 to 6 p.m. After that, DJ Jimmy Phingaz rocks an all-vinyl set. Wisdom has absinthe cocktails, plus mocktails for those keeping it dry.

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Maura Judkis · July 8, 2013