Every Tuesday, the Going Out Guide staff highlights the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.
Tuesday, February 11
Hipsters love Sharon Jones' sweet, pitch-perfect retro-soul, which channels the sounds of 1960s Memphis and Detroit so perfectly that the listener is never quite sure whether they're hearing brand-new material or vintage obscurities unearthed by a R&B-loving record collector. Their parents love Sharon Jones because they remember music sounding this timeless music back in the day. Having spent the last year battling cancer, Jones and her all-action band the Dap-Kings are back with their strongest album to date, the appropriately titled "Give the People What They Want," and performing at the Lincoln Theatre.
Over the course of her career, Norwegian singer-songwriter Ane Brun's signature sound -- a soulful, Billie Holiday-ish warble over finger-picked guitar -- has been showcased both on its own and backed by a full orchestra. This tour, which begins with a concert at Jammin' Java, features Brun playing songs from her new "Songs" and "Rarities" retrospectives in a solo acoustic format.
The highlight of the Corcoran Gallery of Art's annual Artini gala is its cocktail competition, in which at least 10 local mixologists create original cocktails inspired by works in the gallery's permanent collection. In the weeks leading up to Artini, the mixologists hold "Feature Nights" at their bars and serve their cocktails. (It's doubly rewarding, as a portion of the proceeds benefits the Corcoran's NOW program for young and emerging contemporary artists.) The 2014 series kicks off at the W Hotel's P.O.V. Lounge, where Joe Ambrose will be shaking up his drink, which draws on Childe Hassam's colorful landscape "A North East Headland." Upcoming nights to watch include The Gibson (Feb. 18), Quill (Feb. 25) and Farmers Fishers Bakers (March 5).
Longtime Drive-By Truckers bassist Shonna Tucker released her first solo album in November – the fourth current or former member of the Athens, Ga., band to do so. As you might expect, it's full of muscular Southern rock, bluesy riffs and poppy country. Tucker and her band, Eye Candy, perform for free at Hill Country this week, meaning it's a risk-free night for fans of the Truckers.
Wednesday, February 12
Ruth Gressler's Pizzeria Paradiso restaurants are famous for two things: classic pizzas and great craft beer. Gressler's launching her first pizza cookbook this week, and since Washington lacks a historic Pizza Castle, she's taking over the Brewmaster's Castle for the launch party. There will be pizza-making demonstrations, antipasto and all-you-can-eat pizza paired with all-you-can-drink beer and cider from DC Brau, Oxbow, Stillwater and Millstone. Appropriately enough, the brewmaster from each brewery will be serving beer from their respective taps. The $65 ticket includes a copy of Gressler's book.
Fourteen Mid-Atlantic breweries bring their seasonal strong ales to R.F.D. Washington's back room for the bar's annual Strong Ale Tasting. You'll be familiar with many of the names on the list (Mad Fox, Port City, Franklin's), so make sure to try the offerings from the younger ones, such as Adroit Theory and Three Notch'd. The $40 ticket covers a sample (thankfully not a full pour) from each brewery.
Several nights a week, Flash serves as an incubator for rising electronic-music talent, hosting the buzzed-about and the soon-to-blow in its tight Shaw venue. There are almost always artists worth seeing, but having King Britt on the decks free of charge makes it a mandatory stop this week. Few in his field have consistently made an impact in multiple genres for as long as he has. As a DJ, King Britt has been globe-trotting for a couple of decades, playing everything from big-room bangers to abstract ambient sounds. His production resume covers techno, hip-hop, soul and world music. And his projects as a curator have unearthed the work of folk artists and re-imagined them in modern contexts. Joining King Britt for this special mid-week session are such D.C. hip-hop maestros as DJs Ragz, Oso Fresh, Throdown, Jon Q and Irie X. Doors open at 8 p.m.
Thursday, February 13
Washington's punk community was rocked by the January death of Travis Jackson, the head of Windian Records and the drummer for the Points. Jackson, who worked in construction, was struck by a car on the Suitland Parkway. He was 34 and left behind a wife and 1-year-old son. Musicians and DJs are coming together at the Black Cat to raise money to support his family: Live sets from Thee Lolitas and End Crimes will be bookended by DJs Baby Alcatraz and Mad Squirrel of Party Lights, and Collin Barth of Thee Lolitas. There's a $10 donation at the door.
Though it's held the night before Valentine's Day, the Woodrow Wilson House’s annual Speakeasy Bash has nothing to do with Cupid, hearts and flowers. (History buffs know Prohibition began during Wilson’s term, though he opposed it and vetoed the Volstead Act.) But this party at Wilson’s post-White House home has everything you need for the perfect date night: It’s a chance to dress up, sip Prohibition-era cocktails, dance to jazz by the Laissez Foure quartet, learn about the Lindy Hop and tour the Kalorama museum. Hint, hint: Admission for a couple is cheaper than two solo tickets.
Friday, February 14
Austin's Black Angels are one of the most trippy, fuzzed-soaked psychedelic garage bands around, full of heavily echoed vocals, fizzing guitars and trebly snatches of Farfisa organ. By tunes blissful and sinister, this is a band with the Velvet Underground and Strawberry Alarm Clock coursing through its veins. This show at the Black Cat finds the band performing with Roky Erikson, who helped birth psychedelic rock in the 1960s as a member of the 13th Floor Elevators.
The much-loved Bell's Hopslam double IPA arrived in Washington this week. Many people love the award-winning brew, which includes six varieties of hops and plenty of honey. Others roll their eyes at the Beatlemania-style frenzy at tappings and retailers who jack up prices like it was Pappy Van Winkle. If you're a fan of Hopslam – or want to understand the hype – the best event this week is at the Black Squirrel, where Hopslam will go on tap alongside Troegs Nugget Nectar, another hophead favorite than includes five kinds of hops and plenty of malt. Tasting the two back-to-back promises to be an educational (and delicious) experience.
Dead Meadow's sludgy blend of metal and psychedelic rock and penchant for extended guitar solos meant the band never fit neatly into the D.C. music scene. The trio eventually moved to Los Angeles, but we're always happy to welcome them home for a rare show, such as this DC9 anniversary concert with the Apes and Sunwolf.
Maracuyeah expresses its musical activism through Latin and Caribbean dance music, choosing to throw parties in community places outside of the usual nightlife ecosystem. Catch the team back at Restaurant Judy, the Salvadoran restaurant on 14th Street NW. The Amor Prohibido party features rap-cumbia fusion with La SalvadoReina and Helado Negro's avant-bolero stylings, while Maracuyeah residents Mafe and rAt select a multinational stew of bass heavy tropical tunes to keep everyone moving.
Saturday, February 15
Looking for a way to combine your love of classical music and your love of freshly made beer? The local genre-crossing classical ensemble All Points West is gearing up for its performance at next month's Atlas Intersections Festival with a five-hour open rehearsal at the Atlas Brew Works in Ivy City. Listen to the ensemble's piece "DarkCity," which incorporates works by Duke Ellington and Aaron Copland, while touring the five-month-old brewery and sampling a few beers. Pints are $5 during the event.
DC9's anniversary week winds up with an unexpected reunion: The DJs of Nouveau Riche. The triple-threat of DJs Gavin Holland, Starks and Nacey helped put DC9 on the map as a dance party hotspot in the mid-to-late '90s: The brightly clad crowd would dance with wild abandon to the mix of electro and club tracks, way after the last can of Sparks was finished. (Seriously, they used to give out free Sparks at Nouveau Riche, which should tell you everything you need to know.) Nouveau Riche called it quits last year after a seven-year run, but they're back together for one night.
Sunday, February 16
The Human Rights Campaign's annual Her HRC celebration is too big to confine to one night or one venue. The lineup for the party at Town is solid enough: DJ Rosie (Lure at Cobalt, Club Hippo), DJ India (Ozio, Madam's Organ) and DJ Dee Dub (Lure at Cobalt, Zeba Bar) are among the female DJs providing dance music from 8 p.m. to midnight. At midnight, the action moves to Phase 1, said to be the country's oldest continuously operating lesbian bar, where the beats go until 3 a.m. The next morning, the party reconvenes at Hank's Oyster Bar for a special extended Presidents' Day Ladies Brunch, which runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets to the dance party are $15; Tickets to brunch, which include food but not drinks, are $25. A combination ticket is $40, and can be purchased from www.hrc.org.
Andy Rourke once played bass in the Smiths, and is currently a radio DJ and remixer in New York. Rich Morel has remixed the Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode and the Killers, and is one of the co-founders of the popular Blowoff dance party, which got its start in D.C. They're teaming up for a free dance party at Little Miss Whiskey's on this three-day weekend, which means you can stay out drinking and dancing until 4 a.m. The doors open at 10 p.m., and we think it's going to fill up pretty fast.