Nightlife Agenda

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By Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz
washingtonpost.com Staff Writers
Thursday, October 19, 2006; 12:00 AM

Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Wednesday

Thursday, Oct 19
David reviewed Soft Complex's debut EP "Barcelona" last month and the title track continues to get heavy rotation here at NA headquarters. Although remixes outnumber original tracks by a margin of five to three on the CD, people who have seen the band perform live know that Soft Complex has plenty of quality songs that are being held for an eventual album. The Rock and Roll Hotel is a good place to hear them, as Barcelona performs there tonight as part of the latest Nouveau Riche Dance Party. The three DJs in Nouveau Riche will follow with their usual mix of mashups, rave-ups and other dancable tunes that will have everyone who took advantage of the free cans of Sparks (before 10 p.m.) shaking out all of that extra energy.

Friday, Oct. 20
Don't call it a break up -- Gist frontman Nayan Bhula may be relocating to the Big Easy, but one of the area's most consistent rock bands isn't throwing in the towel. Instead, the local trio that neatly walks the line between jagged post-punk and throwback riff-rock will stick together and be a commuter band. It's good news since the group's latest, "Diesel City," showS the kind of progress you'd hope for after a pair of promising, if a bit uneven, albums. BuT that's still quite a commute -- Google Maps tells us it's a 21-and-a-half hour drive from D.C. to New Orleans -- so don't expect too many area shows in the band's future. Catch Gist with the Chance at the recently rechristened Solly's (formerly U-Turn).

The Brand New Heavies's blend of acid jazz rooted in '70s funk put them at the top of the heap when that trend peaked in the '90s. Once the group went dormant, their hits gradually became classics. Last year vocalist N'Dea Davenport rejoined the group, and now it's like they never parted. The reformed Heavies launched a mini-tour early this year to push their reunion album "Get Used To It," and when they hit Washington and Baltimore in July, they looked as happy together as the audience was to see them. The band's chemistry is as tight as ever, so catch an encore of the Heavies' triumphant return at the 9:30 Club tonight.

Love's primary rep is as an ultra posh dance club. But given that the Roots, Common, Ludacris, A Tribe Called Quest and many more have graced its stage, Love easily could be considered one of the city's major concert venues. Tonight's show makes us wonder if Marc Barnes is really trying to get on everyone's tour itinerary. The Red Star Soul tour hits Okie Street with a slate of unknowns and up-and-comers opening for a trio of current R&B stars. Raheem Devaughn is the ubiquitous crooner with the James Brown work ethic who always electrifies audiences. Claudette Ortiz has tried to forge a solo identity outside of the group City High, but she's still more known for flawless looks than her music. And anchoring the whole shebang is Robin Thicke, Justin Timberlake's challenger to the blue-eyed soul throne and the son of "Growing Pains" dad Alan Thicke. Robin's bluesy contributions to Lil' Wayne's "Shooter" made believers out of a lot of folks who were skeptical about both artists.

The DAM Festival arrives in Washington next weekend -- check out our podcast for a preview of the three-day, 45-band-and-DJ gathering -- but the kickoff party is tonight at the Rock and Roll Hotel. We've actually mentioned this show on two different podcasts: Fritz enjoys the oft jangly, occasionally atmospheric indie rock of Dirty on Purpose, who make the most of contrasting boy-and-girl vocals, while Rhome is taken with the twin melody lines of local synth-pop-rockers Exit Clov, who -- surprise! -- feature identical twins on lead vocals. The Dance Party opens this interesting bill, and DJ Geologist, from the avant-everything Animal Collective, gives audience members a taste of his iPod between sets.

We've written about Riff Raff, a Sunday night feast of punk, metal, new wave and alternative music at the Green Lantern. Last week, Riff Raff DJs Joshua and Dean traded Sunday nights at a gay bar for a prime Friday slot at the Cosmo Lounge above Chief Ike's, and they're not looking back. How can you say no to an unpredictable playlist, a mix of gay and straight clubbers and two cans of PBR for $5? You can't. You really, really can't. The music starts at 9, and you should be able to skip the bar's cover charge if you tell them you're there for Riff Raff.

Saturday, Oct. 21
As audiences in the U.S. developed love affairs with soul singers like Maxwell, D'Angelo and Eric Benet, Omar was entrancing the rest of the world. Sure, this U.K. export has a hardcore group of fans on these shores, but they've always had to dig up expensive import copies of his releases. You rarely see Omar on American charts, store shelves or in clubs. Over the course of 16 years and six albums, Omar has laid a myriad of styles under his agile Stevie Wonder-like tenor: jazz fusion, dub, bossa nova and, often, a sound that just defies categorization. His newest album, "Sing (If You Want It)," features some of his best work yet, including the afro-tinged scorcher "It's So" that earned a permanent spot in DJ bags a couple of years before the album dropped. Experience the finest in British soul as Omar plays the more spacious upper room of Bohemian Caverns.

A piñata will liven up any party, but one that's stuffed with American Apparel clothing, coupons and gift certificates -- now that's pretty darn sweet. Garutachi's American (Apparel) Psycho Party at the Rock and Roll Hotel features live performances by New York's Dead Combo, who come off as an electro version of the Stooges, and the Glass, plus DJ sets by the bands and Garutachi resident Ca$$idy. But we're also interested in the idea of smashing open a piñata filled with sweatshop-free goodies. Everyone who enters gets some sort of gift, we're told, and the best Halloween costume wins an AA gift certificate. Doors open at 9, and for the first house, everyone gets free admission and two-for-one rail drinks. After that, it's $10.

Diddy, Luda and Dipset may show up for homecoming at Howard, but that's not how we roll in the good CP. When the University of Maryland's homecoming rolls around, we -- and this means all three of your Nightlife correspondents -- eschew celebrity-filled parties with $200 cover charges to show our Terrapin pride by drinking in parking lots, possibly watching a football game, and then hitting bars on Route 1 for cheap beers. Casual fans looking for a day of partying might want to skip DIY tailgating -- parking passes are too expensive -- and join the Boomerang Party Bus, which is organizing a trip from Caddies to Byrd Stadium to College Park bars and back. Tickets are $35, which includes transportation, a keg, food and $2 drinks when you return to Bethesda. Hit ridetheboomerang.com for more information. (Oh, and that $200 thing? Not a joke. Fritz saw people paying that much to get into the VIP section at Diddy's H2O party last weekend.)

Backed up by djembe drummer Jali D and acoustic guitarist Waldo, vocalist Psalmayene 24 channels old griots in new bohemian form with the same energy he brings to theaters as an actor, poet and dancer. He rap-sings his way through stories of love, childhood mischief and politics with a physical presence that conjures up a Jamaican b-boy. Folk-hop might sound like a corny euphemism, but nothing better describes PS24, who plays a monthly set at Busboys and Poets tonight.

Wednesday, Oct. 25
Lorelei was a key component of the "other" part of the vibrant mid-'90s D.C. indie rock scene. While people tend to associate the city with the Dischord sound, Slumberland Records was just as vital and holds a very dear place in the hearts of many former college radio DJs and, well, friends of college radio DJs. No label was responsible for more top-notch, dreamy indie-pop. Lorelei's 1996 release "Everyone Must Touch the Stove" stands next to albums from the Ropers, Velocity Girl and the Lilys as excellent examples of this sound. The group has been sort of on-and-off over the past few years, but seems to be gearing up to give it another go, starting with tonight's show at DC9.

Bomani "D'Mite" Armah hinges his self-promotion on being a poet with a hip-hop style. He's definitely one of the more entertaining voices in a local spoken word scene that's overflowing with talent. But Armah really grabbed hearts and minds when he decided he needed to borrow a little more from the hip-hop world to reach people. His spoof of L'il Jon and pretty much every krunk song that has come out since his emergence is hilarious, but also scary because it's a bit difficult to tell that it's satire. Some key lyrics from "Read A Book" let you in on the joke: "Buy some land, buy some land, (expletive) spinning rims!" and "Raise yo' kids, raise yo' kids, raise yo' (gosh darn) kids!" You can catch D'Mite tonight at the weekly Hump Day Grooves show at Busboys and Poets. Be sure to respond with your best L'il Jon on the last two syllables of the hook on "Read A Book": "R-E-A-D A B-O.... O-K!!"


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