Nightlife Agenda: U Street bar crawls, tango and a beer festival

April 22
Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks performs at U Street Music Hall on April 25. (Courtesy of Windish Agency)
Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks performs at U Street Music Hall on April 25. (Courtesy of Windish Agency)

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

Tuesday, April 22
Happy first anniversary to Del Campo, where the combination of smoked meat and smoked citrus cocktails have made us big fans. The restaurant is throwing itself a birthday party tonight, which involves unlimited food and cocktails 7 to 10 p.m., a performance by professional tango dancers and music for more tango dancing after dinner. A ticket is $55, and if we're being honest, we've never spent less than that for dinner and drinks at Del Campo.

Wednesday, April 23
The Chicago Cubs celebrate a milestone this Wednesday: 100 years of playing home games at Wrigley Field. Local Cubbies bar Ivy & Coney is marking the centennial of the Friendly Confines by showing the Cubs' 2:20 p.m. game against the Arizona Diamondbacks and offering a free Chicago-style hotdog and beer to anyone who shows the bartender a valid Illinois drivers license. (Can't skip out of work early? Don't worry: The free hotdog-and-beer deal will run until 7 p.m.)

Thursday, April 24
Pennsylvania's Sly Fox Brewing Company has become a fixture on local taps over the past year, but if you haven't explored its range of offerings, this is the night: A tap takeover at Scion runs the gamut from the simple and delicious Pikeland Pils to the rare Nihilist imperial stout. Scion gets crowded at happy hour, and for good reason: Show up between 5 and 7 p.m. and all beers are half-price. (Check out the full tap list.)

Rodney Atkins's string of hit singles includes "Take a Back Road," "Farmers Daughter" and "Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy)," uptempo songs that show off the Tennessee native's decidedly down-home outlook and sense of humor. His fifth album is expected later this year, but in the meantime, Atkins is hitting the road, performing new songs such as "Doin' It Right." He stops in at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar tonight.

Factory Floor occupies an interesting place where '80s electro and post-punk meets house and the DFA label's dancefloor-centric stable of DJs. Repetitive drum machines, percolating synths and vocals caked in electronic processing create a sound that's hypnotic and forward-thinking while also making you wonder, "Is this what Kraftwerk would sound like if they were produced by the Juan MacLean?" The trio performs with locals Protect-U and Steven Faith at U Street Music Hall.

Friday, April 25
An underground supergroup of sorts, Avey Tare's Slasher Flicks finds Animal Collective singer-songwriter Avey Tare, former Dirty Projectors keyboard player Angel Deradoorian, and Ponytail and Dan Deacon drummer Jeremy Hyman joining forces for infectious-yet-arty grooves. U Street Music Hall is the perfect setting for the trio's psychedelic, slightly creepy songs.

Singer Nicole Atkins's sound has always been rooted in classic soul and girl-group pop, and new album "Slow Phaser" finds her experimenting with huge disco beats ("Girl, You Look Amazing") and Cardigans-style Swedish indie-pop ("Who Killed the Moonlight?"). Her tour brings her to the Rock and Roll Hotel.

For two decades, Danny Howells has been one of the main forces in trance and progressive and tech house. The British DJ is playing an all-night DJ set at Flash, the dance club featured in our "21 places to drink and party right now" story in last Friday's Weekend section. Howells goes on at 11 p.m., and there's a $20 cover no matter when you show up.

Saturday, April 26
Capitol City Brewing Company's annual Mid-Atlantic Oktoberfest is one of the area's most popular fall beer festivals, drawing thousands to the streets of Shirlington to sample beers from dozens of breweries. This week, the brewery debuts a similar Mid-Atlantic SpringFest block party, which follows the same formula: Forty-five local and regional breweries, including a large contingent from across the Old Dominion, will pour their ales and lagers while restaurant and food trucks offer something to eat. The $30 ticket includes 10 drinks; additional four-ounce pours are $1 each. Taps open at noon, and the festival ends at 7.

Eleven bars on and around U Street are throwing open their doors today for the Do U Block Party, offering $3 beers, $5 cocktails and shots, and $ appetizers from 2 to 8 p.m. Buy a wristband for $15 ($20 the day of the event), begin at either the Brixton or Jin Lounge, then hop your way around Ben's Next Door, Cafe Saint-Ex, DC9, Dodge City, Duffy's Irish Pub, El Rey, Nellie's Sports Bar, Satellite Room and Velvet Lounge.

A love of '70s Krautrock, minimal techno, John Carpenter movie soundtracks and Italo-disco all pop up in Zombie Zombie's artfully arranged and orchestrated scores. The French synths-and-drums duo must realize the inherent humor in creating new Neu! songs in the 21st century, and they come off as loving and mocking their material, even when some of it can stretch over the seven-minute mark. The French Embassy's cultural service is presenting this show at Comet Ping Pong, which pairs Zombie Zombie with two local electro-tinged indie bands, Heavy Breathing and Young Rapids. DJ Names Names (Ian Svenonious of The Make Up and Chain and the Gang) also is on the bill.

For two years, CTRL has been one of the most interesting dance parties in the city. It's not just the DJs bringing a steady diet of electropop, remixes and indie hits to two levels of Cobalt, but the overall atmosphere generated by guest performers, dance contests and theme parties inspired by cats, cinematic spies or the Olympics. DJs Jeff Prior, Adam Koussari-Amin and the Pocket Gays celebrate CTRL's "second birth-iversary" with music, the popular photobooth, $3 PBRs and $4 Fireball shots at Cobalt, beginning at 10 p.m. Get in the mood with a series of preview mixes by the DJs on CTRL's Facebook page.

House music DJ Frankie Knuckles blessed the world by pushing forward a style of dance music with roots in his home of Chicago, and he blessed D.C. with many memorable nights on the decks. Knuckles's underground sound, the basis for just about every form of electronic dance music, created a space of freedom for legions of dancing devotees. Knuckles passed away at age 59 earlier this month, and the FORWARD crew will be jamming out at Zeba Bar for a special edition of their Bump 'n Grind party devoted to Knuckles's music and legacy. Chicago DJ Amir Alexander will be at the helm.

Sunday, April 27
The hip-hop bar crawl is back on the U Street corridor once again. The lineup this time is Duffy's Irish Pub, Lounge of 3, Solly's, Tap and Parlour, the Islander and Pure Lounge. Starting at 2 p.m. at Duffy's, the crawl will move through each bar every hour or two, with a featured DJ spinning specialty sets at each spot. A few of the sets include booze-themed old-school hip-hop at Duffy's; DJ Premier vs. the Neptunes at the Islander; and the best of the Dirty South at Tap and Parlour. The crawl ends at Pure Lounge at 8 p.m., and six DJs will tag-team for the rest of the night for those left standing. You can join the crawl at any bar for $10, which will get you access to drink specials at every venue.

Monday, April 28
Raul Midón is in the lineage of George Benson and José Feliciano, combining mastery of the guitar, expressive songwriting and distinctive singing. Midón also is voracious in his approach to genre, maintaining a vast orbit of collaborators that allow him to explore jazz, R&B, soul, dance music, folk and international sounds. In addition to his seven solo albums, he has performed and recorded with everyone from house music master Louie Vega to Cameroonian bassist Richard Bona. Midón will be joined at the Howard Theatre by AVERY*Sunshine, a powerhouse vocalist who brings jazz chops to her gospel roots.

Fritz Hahn has covered 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.
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