Thursday, September 7, 2006; 12:00 AM
Thursday, Sept. 7
Prog rock doesn't pop up in Nightlife Agenda often, but we generally maintain that diversity is our strength, so when Running With Scissors popped up on the MP3 blog recently, they merited a closer look. The immediate impression was a combination of DNA from Rush and Linkin Park. (Really, in this band's hands, that's a good thing.) The band's lineup is about to change with the departure of its lead vocalist, so tonight's show at Velvet Lounge is your last chance to catch the original unit.
From soundclashes in "Yard" (Jamaica) to frat parties on college campuses to hip-hop club dancefloors, Sean Paul is one of those rare dancehall artists who blows up but doesn't go flat. After killing it with "Infiltrate" and "Gimme the Light," it would be hard to come back that big, but his smash hit "Temperature" didn't let up on the gas. Wind your waist up and flex all the dances from his videos when he performs at Love tonight.
Friday, Sept. 8
One of the more enjoyable CDs to find its way into the office lately -- local or otherwise -- is the self-titled debut EP from D.C.'s the Roosevelt. It's refreshingly straightforward, winning us over with catchy, memorable songs, forgoing the overstylized sounds that many young bands seem to be employing. It's classic American pop/rock -- Wilco before getting weird, Elliott Smith in those rare moments when his pop acumen overshadowed his misery. This just goes to show that good songs remain the most reliable gimmick around. The Roosevelt celebrates the release of the album at the Velvet Lounge with the Object Lesson and Vandaveer.
While the Rock and Roll Hotel hasn't had its "official" grand opening yet -- that's next weekend, with two nights of DJ sets by celebrity musicians Andy Rourke (the Smiths) and Marky Ramone (duh) -- the new club continues to bring some very interesting bills to H Street NE. Tonight, DJ Will Eastman of the Black Cat's popular Bliss night continues the welcome trend of spinning records before and after live bands. For the first edition of his new monthly Room Service, Eastman brings in the Presets, an Australian duo whose '80s-style electro, pulsing synths and distorted bass, is in the vein of A.R.E. Weapons, aggressive Depeche Mode or even Nine Inch Nails. (You can hear a clip of the band on our recent podcast.) The cover for this 18-and-over show is $10, and doors open at 9.
In October, D.C. will host All Our Power, a three-day conference about punk activism that helps reaffirm the city's status as the longtime conscience of the underground rock scene. In addition to panels and speakers, there will be related area performances by the likes of Medications, Travis Morrison and Head-Roc. Over the next month there will be a handful of benefits to raise money for the self-supported event, and one of those is tonight's show at the Warehouse Next Door, headlined by Mass Movement of the Moth. The local group might be described as hardcore for people who don't usually go for hardcore. The band's sound goes beyond the same hard, fast and loud 90 second shoutfests that most bands in that genre produce. MMM also incorporates hints of metal, ska and even prog rock, all while staying within the basic punk aesthetic. Baby Killer Estelle, Mess Up the Mess and the Last Waltz also perform.
Hard as it seems to believe, the Black Cat is turning 13. Does that mean it's time for the club to begin going through fits of misguided youthful rebellion? We don't have enough time or space to run down all the big names that have headlined on the club's mainstages (both at its current location and the original space a few doors north), but we're guessing you'll hear music by many of them during tonight's anniversary party. Previous years have seen employees taking the stage with their bands, but tonight the club's bartenders, bouncers and doorpersons spin music from their own CD collections for your dancing and listening pleasure. (As we continue to hear criticism of the number of DJ nights on the club's mainstage, the pro-live music crowd may find the symbolism too much to take.) There's no cover, and be sure to ask about the special 13th anniversary shots.
Saturday, Sept. 9
At the tender age of 19, a budding Dutch DJ named Armin Van Buuren crafted a track with a relentless beat and layers of dreamy, squiggly synthesizers. "Blue Fear" became the standard for all trance music that came after, and it launched Van Buuren to worldwide fame -- and a career of putting together "State of Trance" compilations. Nine years and numerous DJ awards later, Van Buuren is still going strong. He'll spin for six hours tonight at Glow, which should keep everyone dancing until they drop. The $25 advance tickets from wanttickets.com promise "no line, no wait" entry, which is a good idea -- the queues outside Fur can be massive.
We love jazz. We love free concerts. We're doubly pleased that there are two -- two! -- free outdoor jazz festivals today. (We're just hoping the weather cooperates.) In Silver Spring, wide-ranging smooth-jazz pioneers Spyro Gyra top a bill that includes Terell Stafford Quintet, the Marcus Johnson Project and Felix Contreras and the Afro Bop Alliance. Performances begin at 4, after a high school jazz band competition, and go until 10:30. Across the Potomac, the annual Rosslyn Jazz Festival boasts fiery New Orleans trumpet player Nicholas Payton, winner of a 1997 for Best Instrumental Solo, as well as vocalist Vanessa Rubin and the Larry Coryell, Victor Bailey and Lenny White Trio. Rosslyn starts at 1 and runs until 7, so if you time it right, you could enjoy a whole day of music without paying a cent.
Sunday, Sept. 10
"The Wire" may be set in Baltimore, but the HBO drama features one of Washington's hometown heroes. Anwan "Big G" Glover was a founding member of go-go legends Backyard Band before taking a role as thug enforcer Slim Charles. "The Wire" begins its fourth series on HBO tonight, and WPGC is among the sponsors of a Season Premier Party honoring Glover at Blue Gin. Doors open at 7, "The Wire" begins at 10 and the party continues until 2 a.m. DJ Dirty Hands provides the beats before and after the show. See eviplist.com for guestlist info.
Monday, Sept. 11
Last season, the best seat in town for Monday Night Football was in front of the huge high-definition movie screen at the State Theatre. Great sightlines, radio station giveaways, waitresses bringing food and drink to your table -- try to get that at home on your couch. The State isn't hosting similar parties this year, though, so for tonight's season-opening clash between the Minnesota Vikings and your Washington Redskins, we're going to suggest you head over to the Arlington Cinema 'N' Drafthouse, where every Redskins game will be projected larger than life. There's no cover, but you'll want to arrive before the 7 p.m. kickoff to score the best seats.
The Points are revivalists, but by drawing from both the garage rock and new wave eras, the local group pulls it off without sounding totally run-of-the-mill. The band's song "Rock n Roll No Rules" is a churning garage rocker with a chorus that's basically lifted from Devo's "Girl U Want." It's a pretty effective juxtaposition, and things are always full-steam ahead. Catch them with the Tuff Luvs and Hollywood at the Warehouse Next Door.
Tuesday, Sept. 12
The new BeBar is open for business around the corner from the Washington Convention Center, and while the dance floor was packed on Saturday night, the trendy, inviting lounge is trying to give patrons a reason to stop by and get down outside of weekends. Every Tuesday, for example, the club is turning the turntables over to Pink D.C. so DJs Cassidy -- a founder of DC9's popular Electrotease -- and Stephanie can spin new tracks by the Rapture, Hot Chip, Morrissey and other indie and electro favorites. While the music starts at 9, the dance floor itself doesn't actually open until 11, so you'll want to arrive on the late side. There's no cover, and the cocktails are strong and reasonably priced.
The standard DJ career path usually moves from a rep built on deckwork in battles, clubs or on radio into the world of production. Notable examples include DJ Jazzy Jeff and DJ Scratch, who started with EPMD then went on to create megahits for Busta Rhymes and others. It's not a one-way street anymore, though, as producers are now stacking album credits first and then branching out into spinning records. Nicolay was slinging beats in his native Holland before hitting big with the Foreign Exchange, a project that utilized the Internet to fuse his beats with the rhymes of Phonte Coleman from Little Brother. (They never even met in real life until after the record was done.) His work has since built on a formula of snappy drums, cool keys and soulful synth textures, and he's connecting with his growing fanbase through touring as a DJ. Catch selections from his new solo project mixed with exclusive nu-soul treats and classic hip-hop at Anzu tonight.