Nightlife Agenda: Spacy parties, local beers and old-timey tunes

April 8

Every Tuesday, the Going Out Guide staff highlights the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.


The Carolina Chocolate Drops don't hew only to the traditional songbook: They have been known to cover Blu Cantrell's single "Hit 'Em Up Style (Oops!)" in concert. (Photo by Michael Wilson)

Tuesday, April 8
One of the finest old-time revival acts performing right now, the Carolina Chocolate Drops are bringing back the disappearing art of African-American string bands. The foursome can do charging, banjo-fueled romps ("I Truly Understand That You Love Another Man") and straight-from-church acapella choruses ("Read, 'Em, John") with ease, and things get most intriguing on tunes like “Country Girl,” where beatboxing and the sounds of a record scratching drop seamlessly into the mix alongside singing fiddles. They're headlining a rootsy night the 9:30 Club.

Wednesday, April 9
The third album from Love-Language -- aka Stuart McLamb and a cast of musicians -- is the group's most joyful yet, combining moddish indie-pop, clap-along garage rock, and swirling, orchestrated late-'60s pop. This show finds the North Carolina singer and his band visiting DC9; buy tickets in advance and save a few bucks at the door.

Colombian rapper Ephniko now calls Miami home, and that city is the perfect melting pot from which to spread his sun-drenched tropical hip-hop vibes. A recent collaboration with Washington's Empresarios finds them trading Spanish verses in tribute to famed salsa singer Hector Lavoe; the pairing worked so well that the artists are teaming up on a short East Coast tour, as well as a series of exclusive sonic treats. The tour kicks off at Tropicalia with a show fronted by raperos y congueros.

DJ Shiftee is an overachieving music and tech nerd who has been able to flip the Mt. Olympus of turntablist achievement -- the DMC World Championship -- into a snowballing series of successes: extensive world tours, music instruction and equipment development, and releases of his original productions. His innovations are propelling the creativity and potential of an analog art form in this era of push-button DJs. Witness his jaw dropping skillset at U Street Music Hall.

Thursday, April 10
Nobody knows more about the history of alcohol in Washington than Garrett Peck. The author of the rollicking history "Prohibition in Washington, DC: How Dry We Weren't" recently released his fifth book, "Capital Beer: A Heady History of Brewing in Washington, D.C." It's a guide that stretches from 1796, when the Washington Brewery first opened near the Navy Yard, through the rise and closure of the Christian Heurich Brewing Company, to the highly anticipated debut of DC Brau. Peck, an engaging speaker and tour guide, takes the stage at the Warehouse Theatre to discuss his research, including his discovery of the Washington Brewery's original location. Naturally, the audience gets to sip local beers and snack on appetizers during the presentation. The event begins at 6:30; you'll want to enter through the main bar of the Passenger. Proceeds from the $35 tickets benefit the Museum of the American Cocktail.

Friday, April 11
In an age where aspiring musical acts flood the internet with material in hopes of catching a bite of success, Australian electronic duo Flight Facilities have taken the opposite approach. Only releasing four original songs over the course of four years, they've shrewdly built buzz on each release with artfully crafted videos and a different attention-grabbing chanteuse featured on each song. They've also burnished their cred with a heap of remixes along the way. The music itself is the lighter and sexier side of electronica, drawing comparisons to Jamiroquai and Daft Punk. The D.C. leg of their flight itinerary takes off at the 9:30 Club supported by Washington's own Will Eastman.

The Holmes Brothers have spent more than three decades bringing the Piedmont blues, gospel and soulful country to audiences far from tiny Christchurch, Va. After a bout with cancer, singer/guitarist Wendell Holmes is back to form on the trio's brand-new album "Brotherhood." The group should pack Gypsy Sally's.

Saturday, April 12
On April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin became the first man to orbit the Earth. The anniversary is celebrated as Yuri's Night, a global event celebrating space and space travel. There are two parties in Washington, depending on how serious (and nerdy) you are about your love of the cosmos.

The monthly Nerd Nite at DC9 is hosting three talks related to infinity and beyond, delivered using PowerPoint and a fair amount of snark: An astrophysicist from the American Astronomical Society will discuss the basics of fiery supernovas (or, as he puts it, "a star projectile-vomiting") and black holes; a research scientist from the Goddard Space Flight Center will talk about how images from outer space can be used to predict droughts and issues of food security; and two journalists who spent 30 hours exploring and documenting all three space shuttles will provide inside information on what it's really like on board. As always, the vibe will be pleasantly geeked out and fueled with canned beer.

The annual Countdown to Yuri's Night, held this year at the Anacostia Arts Center, is a little more spacy. Picture a variety show and burlesque performance where '50s B-movies meet "Star Wars"; a wacky space-age costume contest; live music by the fuzzed-out surf rock band Atomic Mosquitos; dance tunes spun by DJ Adrian Loving; and an exhibition of space-themed works by 15 local artists. Tickets ($25 in advance, $30 at the door) include free shuttle service to the Arts Center from the Anacostia and Eastern Market Metro stations.

While running errands on Sunday afternoon, Fritz stopped by the very cool Crooked Run nanobrewery in Leesburg. The best beers on tap were Belgian-style – especially a black tripel called Shadow of Truth – but they're all changing this weekend. Brewer Jake Endres is hosting Crooked Run's first IPA Tap Takeover, including the tapping of Force of Nature, a complex double IPA that was a hit when it debuted last year. Pints start at $5; we recommend picking up tasters of all four IPAs before you make up your mind. Hopefully the weather will be nice enough that you can sit on the patio.

The organizers of the D.C. Funk Parade keep coming up with unique ways to raise funds for the May 3 celebration of All Things Funky on U Street. This time, it's a pig roast at Local 16: A $15 donation to the group's IndieGoGo page is good for all-you-can-eat swine and two beers between 5 and 9 p.m. while a DJ spins.

Sunday, April 13
The Damaged City Festival is a three-day celebration of all things hardcore, including shows by D.C. legends Government Issue and '80s super-fast hardcore heroes Infest on Friday and Saturday night. Unfortunately, both of those shows are sold out, but you still might be able to see Infest, who reunited last year after a 20-year hiatus, on Sunday afternoon. In the best hardcore tradition, the festival winds up with an all-ages matinee at the Dance Institute of Washington, headlined by Infest, with local openers Blockhead and Red Death. (There's also a record swap, if you're looking to trade some old Discharge or Ashes 7"s.) Doors open at 12:30 p.m., admission is $10 and there are no advance ticket sales. If you can't make it Sunday, look for midnight shows at the Pinch on Friday and Saturday, featuring locals Coke Bust and the U.K.'s God Throb, respectively.

Fritz Hahn has written about bars, drinks and nightlife for the Washington Post Weekend Section since 2003, but he also writes about everything from Civil War battlefields to sailing classes. A product of Prince George's County public schools, Fritz majored in journalism at the University of Maryland and lives in the District.
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