Correction to This Article
The DC Comedy Fest events originally listed for Saturday, April 8 -- including the auditions for "The Late Show with David Letterman" -- will be happening on Friday, April 7.

Nightlife Agenda

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By David Malitz
washingtonpost.com Staff Writer
Thursday, April 6, 2006; 12:01 AM

Thursday, April 6
It's DC Comedy Fest time and while you can't be faulted for wanting to check out the bigger names such as Emo Philips and Demetri Martin at Lisner Auditorium on Thursday and Saturday, respectively, you should also do your best to check out one of the many smaller showcases at venues such as HR-57, the Warehouse Theatre, the Warehouse Next Door, the Comedy Spot, Flashpoint and D.C. Arts Center. All of those spots are hosting a slew of young comedians tonight -- give 'em a chance and see if they can make you laugh. The screening room at the Warehouse will be showing Film Fest Finalists, two collections of four shorts, with entries from Martin and fellow "Daily Show" contributor Bob Wiltfong. The movies will be screened at 7 and 9 p.m. tonight and Friday, and from 1-7 p.m. on Saturday.

I've always liked the idea of a residency. It harkens back to the earlier days of rock 'n' roll when bands and specific venues were more closely tied together. You know, the Beatles at the Cavern Club, the Grateful Dead at the Fillmore, the Velvet Underground at Max's Kansas City. Baltimore's Two If By Sea will be lucky to achieve a fraction of the acclaim of any of those groups -- you could say that about every single band out there -- but it will at least have the residency thing in common. Tonight is the first of four Thursday night shows the Interpol-esque rockers will play at DC9. Five Four, a dreamy indie-pop quintet opens tonight.

Friday, April 7
I'm still lukewarm on the Six Points Music Festival, but there are far worse things you could do with your weekend than check out some local music. The opening bands are your best options tonight. The Hickories, opening for Emmet Swimming at the State Theatre, play jangly folk-pop that features plenty of wonderful female harmonies. It sounds like something you may have heard on college radio in the '80s before that whole grunge thing happened. Lucky Day is another band that plays clean, straightforward pop, using Brit-rock as a major influence. Catch them at the Velvet Lounge. You can hear a hint of emo in songs by the Seldon Plan -- which is all you want to hear, really. Otherwise, the quartet plays tuneful, wistful rock that Seth Cohen would probably dig. They'll be opening for the Brindley Brothers at the Mansion at Strathmore.

The best local show of the evening isn't a Six Points show, though. We've talked about the Apparitions before and featured the group on our latest edition of the Nightlife Agenda podcast. The guitar pop quintet calls both D.C. and Lexington, Ky., home and makes music that would fit in on the "Children of Nuggets" box set that Rhino Records released last year. The Apparitions' songs have power pop and psychedelic sensibilities, and they're clearly uninterested in writing the same song over and over. Twangy local duo Revival opens at Iota.

It's another full night of DC Comedy Fest shows. HR-57 hosts two sets of auditions for "The Late Show with David Letterman." The 7 p.m. show is for young locals; the 9 p.m. show is for the pros, or at least those one step closer to the big time. Two of those in the second showcase, Andy Campbell and Rob Campbell, get full sets at the 11 p.m. show. After headlining Lisner last night, Emo Phillips will drop by the Warehouse Theatre to perform at the 9 p.m. show with the Washington Improv Theatre. At the Comedy Spot, the Upright Citizens Brigade touring company performs at the 7 p.m. show.

Saturday, April 8
This one is just too weird: You've got Tom Morello (performing as the Nightwatchman), former guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, one of the most fiercely political, leftist rock groups of the past few decades. (Granted, he's also the current guitarist for Audioslave, one of the most boring, easy-money supergroups ever.) Then you've got Boots Riley from underground, leftist (see a theme developing?) rap group the Coup. Where are these two performing? Why, in a strip mall in Vienna, of course! Jammin' Java hosts Morello, Boots Riley and local roots rockers the U-Liners for a benefit concert for Axis of Justice, a nonprofit, grassroots organization formed by Serj Tankian of System of a Down and Morello that has the general goal of fighting for social justice around issues of peace, human rights and economic justice. Can a protest at the White House be far off?

A couple more Six Points options for tonight. Pharmacy Prophets are pretty much the definition of no-frills rock and they should serve as a good soundtrack to a night of drinking at Iota, where they open for the Speaks. After catching them you'll probably be just in time to see singer-songwriter Justin Jones a block down Wilson Boulevard at Galaxy Hut. Hopefully he'll be performing with his backing band, which gives his songs extra vibrancy. Over at DC9, Monopoli will play its atmospheric, everything-in-its-right-place modern rock.

Artist Ben Claassen, who pens the "Dirt Farm" comic in the City Paper, and artist Kim Dorn will provide the visuals for Gallery's KoolSkool Art Party in Silver Spring. A trio of DJs -- Rosenberg, Ace and People's Champion -- will spin everything from funk and hip-hop to electro.

Back in December we wrote about Voxtrot, an up-and-coming indie pop group from Austin, Tex., prior to the group's show at the Warehouse Next Door. Or rather, what was supposed to be the group's show there; the band's van broke down on the way into town and the show didn't happen. Four months and lots of glowing press later Voxtrot is coming back to D.C., but is playing at an even smaller venue this time, Georgetown University's Riverside Lounge. Voxtrot is the type of band that could be selling out the mainstage of the Black Cat within a year, so this could be one of those classic chances to say "I saw them first." Admit it, you love when you get to say that. Or maybe it's just me. To make sure you get a ticket, you might want to show up around 7:30 p.m., when doors open.

In another case of a local show being a fine alternative to Six Points scheduling, a diverse collection of local rock bands teams for a free, all-ages show at Club U-Turn. At the top of the bill is the D.C. group with arguably the best and most appropriate moniker, Assrockers. The quintet plays what can be best referred to as drinkin' music. It's not metal, it's not punk, but it's sort of close to both. Synth-pop/metal mayhem-makers Full Minute of Mercury will also be playing, along with avant-rockers Gist and '90s throwback alt-rockers the Alphabetical Order. Doors open at 8:30.

Sunday, April 9
British post-punk quintet Art Brut is surely immune from any criticism of taking itself too seriously. The group wears its irony all over its collective sleeve on its debut album, "Bang Bang Rock and Roll." The album hasn't yet been released in the States, but that hasn't stopped it from being hailed as one of the best debuts in ages by bloggers all over. And you know what? For once, the bloggers are right. Take away the jokiness that permeates the album and the band still has plenty working for it, namely a great sense for hooks and soft/loud dynamics on songs such as "Good Weekend" and "Emily Kane." This bodes well for the group's show at the Black Cat; ironic or not, if something rocks, it rocks.

Monday, April 10
We were kind of bummed when Galaxy Hut decided to ditch live music on Monday nights, but the alternative is proving to be a fine replacement. Monday is now movie night at the Arlington club, with films being projected onto a 90-inch wide screen in the bar's front window. After running through the entire "Twin Peaks" oeuvre (seeing that backwards talking midget on a 90-inch screen surely gave someone nightmares), next up is "The Muppet Show," Jim Henson's classic late-'70s variety that appeals to kids, adults and basically anyone who likes things that are funny. So get your fix of Kermit, Piggy, Gonzo, Animal and my personal favorites, Statler and Waldorf, those grumpy old guys in the balcony.

As it stands right now, Ghostface Killah is the one carrying the iron flag for the Wu-Tang Clan. Ol' Dirty Bastard has left us, Method Man is in deodorant commercials and GZA and RZA are busy hanging out with Jim Jarmusch. Meanwhile, more than 10 years after being a key player on fellow clan member Raekwon's "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx" and his own "Ironman," Ghostface Killah is still one of the best in the rap game. His just released "Fishscale" might be just a step below "Ironman" and its 2000 followup "Supreme Clientele," but that's like saying the last couple seasons of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" weren't up to par with the first few; when you're already in a league of your own, expectations can get out of hand. Catch the Ironman himself, Tony Starks, at the 9:30 club. And for the record, Krazee Eyez Killah has nothing on Ghostface.

Wednesday, April 12
Club Five's monthly drum 'n' bass night, 5:DNBSessions, celebrates its third anniversary tonight by giving away lots of free stuff (shirts, CDs, posters) and welcoming an up-and-coming talent from the U.K., DJ Friction. At 27, he's already approaching a decade in the electronic music scene. Also on the decks this evening will be Noisia, a three-man crew from Holland, as well as locals Illeffect and Bobby Jae. Admission is $10 before 11 p.m. and $15 afterward; Smirnoff-flavored vodka drinks will be $3 all night.


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