This week's essential DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.
Wednesday, August 20
X roared out of Los Angeles in the early '80s, infusing primal punk with edgy, off-kilter rockabilly that made "We're Desperate" sound like a call to arms. The original foursome, fronted by John Doe and Exene Cervenka, is back together for one of its occasional reunions, and with no new album to promote, you can expect to hear all the old favorites at the Black Cat.
Thursday, August 21
Fergie is no stranger to getting crowds moving: The veteran techno and hard house DJ holds residencies at several Las Vegas hotspots, including Wet Republic and Hakkasan, and his decade-plus career has included regular stints in Ibiza and at major European festivals, plus a weekly BBC Radio 1 gig. This week, he's visiting Ultrabar for Glow Thursdays, where drink specials include $8 vodka-Red Bull all night. Grab a pass from Ultrabar's website for free admission before 11.
Ninja Tune's Mr. Scruff embodies the legendary label's spirit of experimentation and eclecticism. His epically long sets, original productions, and accompanying visual art are part whimsy and part expertly crafted electronica. Scruff rocks a full open-to-close set at U Street Music Hall, giving him the space to fully stretch out.
You may remember Ishmael Butler from the '90s hip-hop trio Digable Planets, but these days, he and partner Tendai Maraire are pushing the bounds of hip-hop as Shabazz Palaces. The duo's second album, "Lese Majesty," fuses dense, dubby rhythms with hazy psychedelic touches to sound like no one else. Their tour stops at the Black Cat tonight.
Spider Bags' fuzzed-out, window-shaking fusion of punk and garage rock makes for one of the most unpredictable and incandescent live shows around. The North Carolina band is touring in support of its first album for the legendary Merge Records, and playing with likeminded locals Harness Flux at DC9.
Friday, August 22
Retro DJ nights are common at area rock-cum-dance clubs, but few DJs can boast the track record of Will Eastman and Brian Billion. The duo's all-'90s No Scrubs dance party has sold out the 9:30 Club 13 times in a row, while the newer all-2000s Hot in Herre party has sold out its two previous appearances at the club. Eastman and Billion are bringing their favorite Nelly, Missy, Outkast, LCD Soundsystem and MIA hits to the 9:30 Club again this Friday night, and another full house is expected. (To pre-game for the show, check out this 2012 piece about Hot in Herre, with the DJs picking their favorite "forgotten" tracks of the decade.)
For three years, the Mason Inn has been Glover Park's home for SEC football and live country music, and a prime incubator for neighborhood walks of shame. The bar's third anniversary naturally includes an open bar, which runs from 9 to 10:30 p.m., followed by a DJ spinning "Johnny Cash, Avicii and Miley Cyrus remixes" for a packed and sweaty club. Faded university ballcaps or Jack Rogers sandals are suggested, but not required. You do, however, need to RSVP if you want the free drinks.
Harper Simon will be walking in his dad's footsteps at the Black Cat when he teams up with Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars. Paul Simon's "Graceland" made a cultural impact as an early foray into African music by an American mainstream musician. His son Harper approaches this live collaboration through the lens of indie rock.
Saturday, August 23
Looking for a post-Trillectro party to keep the good vibes going? Head for Liv, where DJ Mathias's Crankparty mixes future hip-hop, electro, R&B, house and pop radio remixes. The versatile Mathias has spun at U Street Music Hall and Rock and Roll Hotel, and opened for French Montana at the latter venue. Doors open at 10. There's an open bar until 11; you might want to buy tickets in advance to skip the lines.
Sunday, August 24
Sunday afternoons in August were made for booze and bocce – and, if you believe City Dogs Rescue, adorable, adoptable puppies. The Dogs and Tails happy hour on Vinoteca's patio will feature adoptable foster dogs, special cocktails, punch, a cookout and a bocce tournament. It's all for a good cause: Donate $10 to City Dog Rescue and you'll get happy hour prices from 4 to 8 p.m. Vinoteca will donate $1 from every glass of punch and hot dog to City Dog Rescue. Entry to the bocce tournament costs $25 for a team of four players, with proceeds also benefiting your four-legged friends.