Every Tuesday, the Going Out Guide staff highlights the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.
Tuesday, January 28
We love to mock Washington for its wonkiness — it is, after all, where people get together in bars on a Tuesday night and watch the State of the Union speech as if it were the Super Bowl. Capitol Hill watering holes will be packed this evening, but if you’d like to have a bit of fun, there are many other options. The Diner and Bar 201 will host State of the Union bingo games with prizes, so listen for such phrases as “health care” or “let me be clear” if you want to win prizes. (There also will be plenty of drink specials.) All four Busboys and Poets locations will have community viewing parties; the one in Shirlington will be followed by a panel discussion analyzing key issues. The most raucous time will be in Adams Morgan, as Ventnor Sports Cafe hosts its ninth-annual viewing party. Upon arrival, pick a word or phrase (“bipartisan” and “health care” are always popular) and you’ll receive a $1 Jell-O shot every time the president uses it.
A Venn diagram of the backgrounds of traditional folk singer Amelia Meath and indie-rocker Nick Sanborn doesn’t have much overlap, so their work together as Sylvan Esso takes an entirely unexpected shape. Sanborn moves from the bass to a battery of electronics, building live synth layers under Heath’s looped vocals. For their tour stop at DC9, they’ll be complimented by PLOY, a duo that released some of the most memorable synth-pop of 2013.
Unlimited Pabst Blue Ribbon. Free picklebacks. Snacking on "PBR-inspired hors d'oeuvres." Put 'em together and you have "The Boilermaker," one of the most hipster-centric events to cross our desks in ages. Chez Billy is playing host from 7 to 10 p.m. on Tuesday night, and while the $40 price tag gives us pause – that's a lot for cheap beer and whiskey on a weeknight – it does include all taxes and tips. The fine print: You get unlimited whiskey only for the first hour. There are no advance tickets, either – just pay cash at the door.
UPDATE: Mari Vanna's anniversary party has been postponed until Tuesday. Feb. 4. There will still be free champagne and karaoke. Snow forced the postponement of Mari Vanna's first anniversary party, and there's nothing in the forecast that could get in the way of this one. (Knock on wood.) Doors open at 9 p.m. for an off-kilter karaoke night that includes a free glass of champagne and a free slice of birthday cake. No reservations required.
Thursday, January 30
Not many singers have the first single from their first album go platinum, but that’s what happened to Tennessee native Dustin Lynch. His “Cowboys and Angels,” a moody love song reminiscent of Clint Black, earned the 28-year-old multiple American Country Awards and CMT Music Awards. The rowdy, cliche-filled single “She Cranks My Tractor” earned more eye-rolls than plaudits, but Lynch’s eponymous debut album, filled with songs he wrote or co-wrote, has marked him as someone to watch in Nashville. He makes his debut at the new Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill in Woodbridge, the first of several concerts there presented by local country station WMZQ. Buy tickets in advance to save $5 at the door.
From her early days playing bass with D.C. go-go bands to her Grammy-worthy explorations of neo-soul and jazz, Meshell Ndegeocello has followed a variety of muses. One influence that has always been apparent, though, is the legendary Nina Simone. At this special tribute at Rams Head Onstage, Ndegeocello will mine Simone's greatest songs as well as songs from her own back catalogue.
The new Right Proper Brew Pub in Shaw has kicked off with some interesting collaborations, including a dark, roasty Baltic porter with DC Brau and a potent, Scottish-style wee heavy with Lost Rhino called Lost & Proper. They're going the opposite direction with the latest effort, made in conjunction with Brian Strumke of Baltimore's Stillwater Ales. The Lady Came From Baltimore is a saison brewed with wheat, oats and cider tips, says Right Proper co-founder Thor Cheston. It will be tapped for the first time Thursday night. Strumke is driving down I-95 for the occasion, and "he's bringing some cool stuff with him," Cheston says. Color us intrigued.
Friday, January 31
The Bluejacket brewery/bar/restaurant opened in December, and it's finally starting its brewery tours this weekend. Free tours will be offered six times a day on Fridays and Saturdays, beginning at 10:30 a.m., with the next tour embarking every 20 to 30 minutes. It includes a full tour of the brewery and a free four-ounce pour of one beer at the bar afterwards. Up to 15 people can take each tour, and slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so arrive early. The "Tasting Tour" seems more informative: It costs $22 but includes five samples on the tour, including one tank sample from a beer in progress. That tour is offered at 2:30 and 3 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and reservations are required. Call 202-524-4862 for more information.
Port City Brewing Company celebrates its third anniversary this weekend by (what else?) debuting a new beer over two nights of parties. The main event is Friday in the Alexandria tasting room, where brewer Jonathan Reeves will tap Colossal Three, a limited-edition hellerbock, at 3 p.m. Local beer bars get to share in the fun: Old Town's Pizzeria Paradiso and D.C.'s Boundary Stone and Meridian Pint will also tap kegs on Friday night, and each has 48 special German-style glasses to give away with purchases.
Saturday, February 1
It has been 55 years since “The Day the Music Died,” the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and “The Big Bopper” J. P. Richardson. Each February, a slew of the area’s top rockabilly and roots-rock acts come together to perform the trio’s music in their honor. This year’s Buddy Holly Tribute features the Flea Bops, Ruthie and the Wranglers, Honky Tonk Confidential and six other bands. The tribute concert is back at Blob’s Park, where the giant wooden dance floor provides plenty of room to cut a rug. It’s a bittersweet occasion, though: The old German beer garden is closing for good at the end of March. Tickets are $15 in advance; For another $15, you can add an all-you-can-eat German buffet.
The new series of DJ nights at Redrocks on H St made a big splash with a capacity crowd for Talib Kweli, and now organizers are keeping the hip-hop royalty coming through their DJ booth with a set by Tony Touch. Nuyorican b-boy, producer and selector Tony Toca had a legendary run in the 1990s' heyday of the New York mixtape game, when making mixtapes actually had something to do with DJing. His own six album releases combined the best of the hip-hop underground as well as the burgeoning reggaeton sound.
Continuing Port City Brewing's third anniversary events, assistant brewer Will Cook and DCHeavyMetal.com are hosting another of their Metal Nights at the Pinch in Columbia Heights. Stop in between 6 p.m. and midnight to try the limited anniversary beer Colossal Three, listen to DJs heavy metal, and catch live music by locals One Slack Mind and Above the Silence, beginning at 10 p.m. Admission is free.
Everything we've ever read about local indie band Dot Dash plays up the group's collective resume: Singer/guitarist Terry Banks was in St. Christopher and the Saturday People before teaming up with bassist Hunter Bennett in acclaimed local indie-rock band Julie Ocean; guitarist Steve Hansgen played bass for hardcore legends Minor Threat and Government Issue, and then the mod-rock group Modest Proposal; drummer Danny Ingram co-founded harDCore band Youth Brigade. Very impressive. But we're more interested in the music, a retro cocktail that recalls the yearning indie-pop of Sarah Records; the '80s neo-Byrds jangle of R.E.M., Orange Juice and other seminal college radio artists; the tight, throbbing basslines and slashing guitars that evoke the Jam and the Clash. Last year's "Half-Remembered Dream" covers a lot of territory without ever sounding like a tribute record. Listen to it for free on bandcamp, then check out Dot Dash with History Repeated – a band led by local punk stalwart John Stabb of Government Issue – at Comet Ping-Pong.