Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn and Rhome Anderson
washingtonpost.com Staff Writers
Thursday, June 16, 2005; 12:00 AM

Thursday, June 16
"Battle of the bands" reminds us of high school acts playing down at the local community center or ice rink. "Battle of the law firm bands" piques our curiosity. Tonight at Madam's Organ, eight groups representing downtown firms like Patton Boggs LLP, Greenberg Traurig LLP and Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan LLP set aside the tasseled loafers and power ties to rock out and raise some money for charity. The first band begins at 7, and a "champion" will be crowned around midnight. Proceeds from the event -- including a $10 cover charge and a percentage of food and drink sales -- go to Gifts for the Homeless, an organization that collects and purchases clothing for the city's homeless shelters.

Friday, June 17
We used to enjoy checking out DJ Ray Kang at the Blue Room, where he and DJ Double o7 spun hot-n-funky house at Knee Deep every Thursday night. That party's gone the way of so many others, but Kang is now droppin' vinyl across the river at Gua-Rapo. This Friday, he's putting aside the progressive and deep house for a different sort of music -- Ferris Bueller's Night On brings vintage new wave and rap to the trendy Arlington lounge. The format change is a bit of a headscratcher, even if this is just a one-off, but there's no cover and you've got nothing to lose.

When we see a city other than Washington used as the sole credential to hype a DJ, we both usually roll our eyes. Are D.C. club-goers such desperate seekers of validation that we'll immediately love DJ Random Bamma just because he's DJ Random Bamma from NYC? Since appearing at Air last summer, DJ Gaurav has been popping up in town a lot, and he's always billed as "NYC's DJ Gaurav." Rhome has now set aside the skepticism after hearing Gaurav rock Avenue last weekend. He's got the goods and does the mainstream hip-hop and R&B thing with enough timing and panache to make even hardened underground heads get down. Gaurav will be setting it off tonight at the opening of Moon Light, a new party at Vida that makes use of the club's large outdoor patio. Hit PartyWithEnigma.com for the reduced admission business.

Ozio is all laughs and libations tonight. Catch some live stand-up from Washington's own Mike Brooks and check out the new HBO "Bad Boys of Comedy" special on the club's big screens. Admission is free if you arrive before 10 and a pretty reasonable $10 after; but make sure you leave the jerseys and fitted caps at home.

You may have seen signs on Metro buses and in Metro cars asking, "What is the Guerilla Queer Bar Takeover?" Find out tonight at Fado, beginning at 9.

Local young soul rebels Deborah Bond, OKTBRWRLD, Zwei and Sol provide musical accompaniment for the sunset at the Carter Barron Amphitheatre tonight as part of the free Weekend's Weekends series. This is the "first date" pick of the week right here.

Saturday, June 18
Singer-guitarist Chris Richards of Q and Not U and singer-guitarist Martin Royle of Washington Social Club leave their bands behind and perform solo tonight at the Black Cat as part of a fundraising concert for Miriam's House, a shelter for homeless women with AIDS. We're of two minds about musicians who do solo shows without their (well-known local) bands. It can be cool to hear a performer stake out territory you wouldn't expect (if, say, one of the guys starts playing Johnny Cash covers or My Bloody Valentine-esque dirges) or if they whip out some enjoyable new material. At the same time, it's nearly impossible to tackle the music on its own terms, putting aside comparisons to the musician's "other" body of work. But does that matter when we're dealing with two musicians from two of the best bands in the city? The bill also includes Andy Zipf and the Gena Rowlands Band. Doors open at 9:30, and there's an $8 cover.

The local hip-hop scene has had glimpses of the 9:30 club stage over the years, but those triumphs are few and far between. Head-Roc was a part of the Infinite Loop the last time he had a chance to rock it more than four years ago. It's only fitting tonight that he gets another shot to celebrate the release of his second full-length album, "Negrophobia." Raucuous funk outfit Devine Nature shares billing, along with Asheru and his Black Lincolns crew.

Once you decide to form a Journey tribute band, choosing a name is half the fun. Tributecity.com lists more than a dozen groups that re-create the classic San Francisco rockers, including Separate Ways, Raised on Radio and three different bands that call themselves Escape. Of course, it helps if, you know, you actually sound something like Journey. Check out the clips on journeytributeband.com, the Web site of a Virginia band called Frontiers, and you'll have to admit the singer sort of does sound like Steve Perry. Judge for yourself tonight at Clarendon Grill, when Frontiers tries its hardest to make you believe you're watching Neil Schon circa 1981.

Sunday, June 19
West Virginia Public Radio's "Mountain Stage" show is one of the more interesting and eclectic shows on the airwaves, drawing stars like R.E.M., Norah Jones, Lyle Lovett and Beausoleil in addition to up-and-coming country, folk and world music performers. Heard across the nation on public radio and XM and shown on almost 200 public television stations, the venerable program celebrates its 600th show by leaving Charleston, W. Va., for a special session at the new Music Center at Strathmore. On the bill tonight are country singers Guy Clark and Loudon Wainwright III, songwriter Michael Penn, soulful guitarist Raul Midon and local roots-rock band Last Train Home. Tickets range from $28 to $45.

Vocalist Yahzarah drops in at Takoma Station tonight for Raheem Devaughn's ongoing jam session and showcase. This petite belter developed her chops at the Duke Ellington School for the Arts before heading down south to North Carolina to ply her trade. Heard most recently with underground hip-hop upstarts Little Brother and the Foreign Exchange, she has also released material on Marcus Johnson's Marimelj imprint. Admission is $15, but that's a moot issue if you don't arrive early -- DeVaughn has amassed a huge congregation and they rarely fail to pack the place.

Tuesday, June 21
MeShell Ndegeocello returns to her D.C. roots tonight with an appearance at Republic Gardens. She won't be performing, though. She's hosting a listening party for her new jazz project. Ndegeocello's also slated to select tunes as part of the night's DJ rotation, which features Jahi Sundance and Munch from the Movement and Groove Gumbo. Munch opens things up at 9, followed by singer Grenique. Jahi and MeShell take the late shifts, which wrap up at 2 a.m.

More and more DJ nights feature bands like Bloc Party, the Futureheads and the Killers, but you have to look hard for any that include little-known-but-way-cool songs by Freezepop, Cut Copy or Robbers on High Street. That's where Bluestate comes in. Yes, you'll hear Oasis, Hot Hot Heat and M.I.A (and maybe even Spandau Ballet or Kelly Clarkson), but the chance to discover a new band is just as interesting. The music starts at 9 tonight at Cafe Saint-Ex. There's no cover.


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