Nightlife Agenda: An all-night party, pumpkin beers and Pete Tong

September 24, 2013

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

Eric Felten
Big band crooner Eric Felten pays tribute to Nat "King" Cole at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club on Friday night. (Photo courtesy of Eric Felten)

Tuesday, September 24
Alejandro Escovedo and Shelby Lynne are two of the most compelling singer-songwriters in the alt-country field, and the pair is joining forces for what should be a compelling "night of stories and songs" on the Birchmere's stage.

Thursday, September 26
Michael J. Fox returns to television this week on "The Michael J. Fox Show," in which he plays a newsman who returns to television after taking years off to battle Parkinson's disease. It may not be 100 percent autobiographical, but it's close. (We should also admit at this point that we haven't seen it.) The young professionals chapter of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research is hosting a viewing party of the first two episodes at Living Social's 918 F Street building, with all proceeds going to the foundation. A $25 ticket ($30 at the door) includes food from Luke's Lobster, Shake Shack and other local restaurants, one adult beverage and a $20 credit for an Uber cab home. The $50 VIP ticket adds an extra drink ticket and a private area for socializing.

Friday, September 27
Echostage is getting ready for one of its biggest weekends yet. Saturday night's party with Armin Van Buuren sold out weeks ago. Friday, though, has a bit of intergenerational appeal as Sebastian Ingrosso of Swedish House Mafia shares the stage with the legendary Pete Tong. Tong has been a fixture on the BBC for more than two decades, introducing audiences to the latest house, trance and dubstep tracks through weekly radio shows and dozens of mix CDs. (He also has a movie named after him, "It's All Gone Pete Tong.") Ingrosso, meanwhile, had success as a solo progressive house producer before becoming a member of the Swedish supergroup. Ingrosso hasn't been to Washington since 2011, so expect a big reaction for singles such as "Reload" and "Calling."

Nat "King" Cole is best known today for his romantic ballads – "Mona Lisa," "When I Fall in Love" and, of course, "Unforgettable" – but he was one of the more dynamic performers of the '40s and '50s. Just listen to the easy, graceful swing of "Straighten Up and Fly Right," "The Late, Late Show" or "When Your Lover Has Gone" and how easily they pull you onto the dance floor. Talented local big band crooner Eric Felten and his orchestra pay tribute to Cole tonight at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club. They'll play the hits, of course, but also unearth some gems you might not be as familiar with.

Now that fall is here, it's finally – finally! – okay to drink pumpkin beer. This weekend, the Black Squirrel's Smashing Pumpkins Beer Festival turns 15 of the bar's 57 taps over to pumpkin beers, including perennial favorites from Elysian (Night Owl and Dark of the Moon), Shipyard, Weyerbacher and Schlafly. Owner Amy Bowman says they've also got D.C.'s only keg of Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale from North Carolina's well-regarded Foothills Brewery, so show up early if you want a taste. A special pumpkin menu includes roasted pumpkin soup, pumpkin pie and pumpkin cookies. Taps open at 5 p.m.

Saturday, September 28
When Rams Head Tavern opened in Annapolis in 1989, it didn't have an excellent concert hall, a full brewpub or a wonderful wisteria-covered garden. The Annapolis staple has come a long way over 24 years, and it's celebrating its birthday by flashing back to the decade of its birth. The no-cover '80s retro party features music by '80s cover band the New Romance from 7 to 10:30 p.m., an '80s costume contest and retro arcade games, but the throwback beer specials also are worth a look: Select drafts cost $1 from 4 to 5 p.m. and $2 from 5 to 6. Domestic cans - sold in an '80s-themed koozie - will be $3 from 6 to 7. Grills will serve $5 burgers, hot dogs and brats. Arrive early to get the best seats: The bar is tenting the back parking lot to make room for crowds.

Washingtonians passing through LeDroit Park and Shaw back in the day may remember the delicious aroma that wafted all over the neighborhood thanks to the Wonder Bread factory. After years of sitting vacant, the factory has been the site of art events as it undergoes a renovation. The Alliance Francaise and Shaw Main Streets are among the partners turning the building into an immersive sensory experience as part of the Paris-inspired Art All Night event this Saturday. From 7 p.m. to 3 a.m., view large-scale art installations, dance to DJs and bands, and check out film screenings filling the entire building.

If you're not a fan of malty Oktoberfest lagers, you might enjoy Mad Fox Brewing Company's spin on the celebration: Hoppy Oktoberfest offers hoppy IPAs from more than a dozen Virginia breweries on tap, plus its new Hitzig Frau Oktoberfest beer. The event also includes a performance by the Justin Trawick Group and outdoor grilling.

The success of any good Oktoberfest party depends on beer and bratwurst. It's not healthy, but it's true. The folks at 1905 recognize this, and they've stripped their celebration down to the essentials. Brats and Brews features five sausages from the likes of Red Apron and Sausage Craft paired with beers made by Mad Fox, Port City, Flying Dog and DC Brau. All-inclusive tickets for the afternoon-long shindig are $30.

In Mali, the local traditions of stringed instrument virtuosity and storytelling serve as both a influence and parallel to the development of American blues. Like countryman Ali Farka Toure, Sidi Toure is blending both schools of music even further. His Songhaï folk documents the strife of his homeland as well its beauty. Sidi Toure plays at Artisphere in support of his third album, "Alafia," which means "peace" in his native tongue.

Sunday, September 29
BadWolf Brewing Company opened in Manassas in June, and if you haven't made the trip out to try their ales, Oktoberfest is a perfect excuse. Pumpkin and German-style beers will be on draft, classic rock and blues bands will play in the parking lot, and barbecue and ice cream will be served. (There's also an electric car show, thanks to National Plug In Day.) Doors open at 2, and music runs from 2:30 to 9.

Monday, September 30
Missed the Rock the Bells Festival or couldn't shell out for tickets? Tropicalia is hosting a night for anyone who copped indie hip-hop 12-inch singles from the mid-to-late '90s. Chali 2na was a founding member of West Coast old-school revivalists Jurassic 5 and still may have the most recognizable basso profundo in all of rap music. He'll be joined at the basement club by freestyling legend Supernatural, L.A. underground legend and Dilated Peoples member Rakaa, and turntablist god and Dilated DJ Babu.

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Lavanya Ramanathan | September 23, 2013