Nightlife Agenda: Bruce Vilanch, the Dismemberment Plan and rare beers

October 15, 2013

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

The Dismemberment Plan (Photo by Shervin Lainez)
The Dismemberment Plan is back in action -- and promoting a new album -- this weekend at the 9:30 Club. (Photo by Shervin Lainez)

Tuesday, October 15
By the early '90s, Pete Rock was reaching a tipping point in his quest to master turntables and beats. A student of Marley Marl, Rock would go from following in the master's footsteps to cementing his own legacy as a revered figure in East Coast hip-hop, creating classics songs that melded jazz samples and chopped beat breaks. In CL Smooth, Pete Rock found a partner whose dense, nimble cadences completed the compositions he had been crafting in his basement. Their three releases as a duo yielded some of the best moments in hip-hop's golden age, including what may be the greatest memorial song of all time, "They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.)." The pair are back on a reunion tour, which stops at the Howard Theatre with support from Camp Lo.

Thursday, October 17
Combining garagey buzzsaw guitars with the swagger and twang of '70s country and boogie rock, Those Darlins don't sound like too many other bands coming out of Nashville these days. That's both a blessing and a shame -- and a reason to see them at the Black Cat.

Friday, October 18
Bruce Vilanch is one of the funniest men in America, even if most people know him only from his regular appearances on "Hollywood Squares." Vilanch has been the head joke writer for the Academy Awards since 2000, starred as Enid Turnblad in both the Broadway and touring productions of "Hairspray" and made an indie comedy called "Oy Vey, My Son Is Gay." Expect plenty of his trademark wit and encyclopedic knowledge of pop culture during a Q&A session at Cobalt this weekend. The event runs from 9 to 11 p.m., but you can skip the $10 cover charge if you're in the door by 9.

Fresh from winning four medals at the Great American Beer Festival, Alexandria's Port City Brewing Company is set to reintroduce its delicious Revival Oyster Stout. It's a traditional British style of stout that uses oysters to add brininess and a smooth texture to the beer (trust us - it's not as gross as it sounds). Port City is again partnering with the War Shore Oyster Company on this beer, so it's only natural that the tapping party pairs oyster stout with freshly shucked oysters. Head to the brewery tasting room Friday evening and grab a half-dozen War Shore oysters and a pint of Revival for $17 while supplies last. Each beer helps the environment, too: Five percent of all sales goes toward restoring the Chesapeake Bay's oyster supply.

She Shreds, a magazine dedicated to female guitarists, celebrates its first anniversary this weekend by bringing the two-night ShredFest to Washington. They couldn't have picked a better draw for opening night at Comet Ping Pong: Ex Hex, the brand-new project from Wild Flag guitarist Mary Timony, which features chunky, ringing garage rock on its first release, "Hot and Cold." Portland's the Ghost Ease, Nashville's Cry Baby and Brooklyn's In School also are on the bill.

The Brown Girls Burlesque troupe doesn't get to torch D.C. often enough, so it is with renewed excitement that the ladies make a grand return to the Black Cat. This time around, their show will divide the troupe into Team Beyonce and Team Rihanna for a titillating choreographed shakedown showdown.

Saturday, October 19
The Dismemberment Plan's compelling, idiosyncratic indie rock has a way turning concerts into frenetic dance parties. From 1993 to 2003, they forged a reputation as one of the city's finest live acts, and then they were gone. A pair of reunion shows in 2007 and a handful more in 2011 delighted fans, but no one dreamed the band would really get back together -- or record a new album, The excellent "Uncanny Valley," the Plan's first record since 2001, drops Oct. 15, and you can hear the songs live on Saturday and Sunday night at the 9:30 Club.

If you're a fan of good German beer, or just beer in general, the well-organized Snallygaster festival in Union Market's parking lot is one of fall's must-do events. Greg Engert, the beer expert behind ChurchKey, Rustico and the forthcoming Bluejacket, selected about 200 beers for Snallygaster, including 16 gravity-poured casks of kellerbier from Franconia, smoky rauchbiers and sour Berliner weisse and gose, in addition to thirst-quenching Oktoberfest styles. Beyond German brews, look for seasonal fresh-hop ales and pumpkin beers and a focus on small Virginia producers as well as rare English ales. Red Apron Butchery will be serving brats and hot dogs, lawn games will be available, and DJs and stilt-walkers will be among the entertainers. Lines are bound to be long, so buy tickets in advance.

From Rare Essence to the 911 Band to Familiar Faces, Donnell Floyd has spent three decades in the go-go world. Ever get down to "Overnight Scenario," "Work the Walls," "Lock It" or "Brown and White?" D. Floyd lent vocals and saxophone to those percolating grooves. He's marking 30 years in the game with an all-star concert – a "black carpet affair" – at the Howard Theatre.

The '80s Dance Party was nothing short of a phenomenon in the 1990s, drawing hundreds of people to Adams Morgan's Club Heaven every Thursday for their fix of Madonna, Duran Duran, Wham! and Kajagoogoo. While DJs spun songs found only on "Totally Awesome '80s" compilations, John Hughes movies played on projection screens and bachelorette parties sporting jelly bracelets danced next to college students. The event lost momentum when it left Heaven a few years back, but it's making a return to Black Whiskey for its 20th-anniversary celebration. DJ Neal Keller says the focus is more on alternative and new wave hits these days, "but we still play all the guilty pleasures" - and when it comes to '80s music, is there any other kind?

We've long been fans of Ursula 1000, the Brooklyn-based DJ who mixes '60s boogaloo, horn-driven Latin funk, rubbery R&B grooves, disco beats and modern electro in unstoppable dance sets. The Eighteenth Street Lounge staple is joining like-minded cohorts Fort Knox Five at Tropicalia this Saturday to mark the release of his new Quentin Quatro project, which you can listen to on Soundcloud. There's no cover charge, so show up early.

Sunday, October 20
Butch Warren, who died Oct. 5 at age 74, was one of Washington's greatest jazz musicians. As the bassist in Blue Note Records's house band in the 1960s, Warren recorded legendary albums with Herbie Hancock, Dexter Gordon and Sonny Clark, and toured with Theolonious Monk. But after these highs, Warren spent four decades battling drug addiction, homelessness and schizophrenia. In recent years, though, he'd been rediscovered and became a frequent (if irregular) performer at jazz nights around town, including Westminster Presbyterian Church's popular Friday jam sessions. Warren's legacy will be remembered at a pair of jam sessions this Sunday - first at Westminster from 3 to 6 p.m. and later at Columbia Station, the Adams Morgan club where Warren performed for four years, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m.

Monday, October 21
Toro Y Moi is one slightly nerdy fellow with a quiet voice, big concepts and software-based songs that can either make you dance or want to become amorous -- or perhaps both at the same time. He's often placed at the center of the chillwave style of recent years, which could be described as the next chapters of downtempo and synth pop. It's electronica for the after-hours set, or indie pop without guitars, with the occasional outright jam thrown in. Toro Y Moi will take a body of music that sounds like an intimate headphone session and expand it to the 9:30 Club stage.

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Fritz Hahn · October 14, 2013