Thursday, January 4, 2007; 12:00 AM
Friday, Jan. 5
While we've seen some progress in recent years, D.C.'s nightlife scene remains largely stratified by race, income level and sexual orientation. We always appreciate the efforts made by those who want to tear down the walls, like Karl Jones and his friends who run the Guerrila Queer Bar Takeover, a monthly happy hour that forces gay and straight barhoppers to spend a few hours in each other's company. Jones also is a founder of Taint, DC9's monthly dance party for gay fans of indie and electro music. Starting tonight, Taint is joining forces with Bliss, the Black Cat's monthly dance party for fans of indie and electro music, for Infamy, a monthly late-night showcase at the 9:30 club. Beginning at 11, DJ Will Eastman and DJ Bill Coleman spin tunes to make everyone in the place move, and there's a live performance by Daisy Spurs, a "crunkadelic" New York dance troupe that has a few electro-friendly songs to go along with its scantily-clad stage show.
As we look over year-end lists compiled by electronic music magazines and DJs, it's hard to miss the growing praise for of dubstep -- a dark, bass-heavy mix of garage and soulful house -- thanks to critically acclaimed albums by Burial and Skream, and the rock-solid Warrior Dubz compilation assembled by BBC DJ Mary Anne Hobbs. But one guy who we don't always hear enough about is Joe Nice, a Baltimore-based DJ whose forward-thinking mix CDs and online radio shows have earned him the chance to DJ in London alongside the scene's heaviest hitters. (See his myspace page for a sample.) If you need an introduction to the sounds of South London's streets, you're not going to get a better guide on this side of the pond. He's not in D.C. as often as we'd like, but you can check him out tonight at Shockout!, a new dubstep night at Mezza Luna, alongside DJs Ricky Ricardo & Signal, Whighzeguy and Brother Pinch. MC Shawn Lucas on the mike. The $5 cover is an absolute steal.
Saturday, Jan. 6
Almost 20 years after Elvis Presley (allegedly) died on a Graceland toilet, local bars and clubs are still throwing over-the-top birthday parties in the King's honor. Jumpsuited Fat Elvises line up for costume contests, bands blast "All Shook Up" and everyone gets to say, "Thanka. Thanka vurry much" in a bad southern drawl. The annual celebration at Dr. Dremo's Taphouse includes Elvis karaoke, professional impersonators, a costume contest, a special menu (peanut butter-and-'nana sandwiches! Burnt bacon and mustard!) and the unveiling of the tasty Imperial Graceland Stout, specially brewed for the bar by the Shenandoah Brewing Company. Admission is free for anyone dressed like Elvis, no matter which era. Over at Chick Hall's, Surfin' With the King is a rockin' birthday luau with the excellent local band the Hula Monsters, who will no doubt perform classics like "Rock-a-Hula" and "Blue Hawaii." Again, there's a costume contest (male and female categories) with cash and prizes. Chick's also offers a trivia contest, so study up.
When Apex's Liquid Ladies dance night closed a few months ago, it was a serious blow to D.C.'s lesbian club scene. After all, there's only one full-time lesbian bar (Phase One) and mere handful of weekly or monthly parties, like A Different Kind of Ladies Night. Starting this week, though, there's a new weekly dance night called the Kitty Cat Lounge at Jack's (the former Le Pigalle spot on 17th Street). Promoters promise drink specials and no cover. We're also curious about the music, which promises "something for everyone," with hip-hop, indie rock, Top 40 and reggae. (Crossing so many genres in one evening is a feat that's hard to do well.) Doors open at 10.
For a guy who often takes the stage armed with only an acoustic guitar, Brandon Butler sure can vary his shows. Sometimes he's backed by a full band, but tonight's performance will be a solo affair. On record he plays stark folk ballads with a sometimes piercing voice, and he represents that side of himself in a live setting, but just as often he can be found cracking jokes, telling stories and generally goofing off. Butler performs with the Hold Up at Galaxy Hut, where you can still legally enjoy a smooth, tasty Parliament Light while enjoying a live music performance.
Selam is a small basement restaurant on U Street that served as the launchpad for the FunkDC DJ crew. Every week they'd haul a PA and decks into that nondescript dive and play to friends, sometimes with guests like former DMC competitor and occasional Aroma resident DJ Madness. We haven't seen anything going on in that space since those cats moved on to Bossa and Eighteenth Street Lounge, but tonight at Selam, DJ Meistro and partner DJ Holiday kick off a monthly party called Solid Gold. Known for rocking bodies at Wonderland, Meistro will focus on the dancehall and classic hip-hop elements of his arsenal for this new event.
Can we get enough of "Heavy Metal Parking Lot"? By the looks of things, no. The classic documentary -- which stars dozens of half-drunk guys with mullets, ripped T-shirts and Camaros tailgating outside the Capital Centre before a 1986 Judas Priest concert -- celebrated its 20th anniversary last year with screenings and a deluxe DVD reissue, and the party is still going strong. Tonight at the Black Cat, a special midnight screening of the movie also includes performance by local headbangers Death By Sexy and Nitro Tokyo. With a $9 cover, it's more entertainment than you'll get at the neighborhood multiplex, and besides, if you stick around after the last devil sign is thrown, you can chat with filmmakers John Heyn and Jeff Krulik.
Sunday, Dec. 7
Ah, Chapel Hill. How exactly did the quaint North Carolina college town become the hub for indie rock, home to bands such as Superchunk, Archers of Loaf and Polvo, as well as Merge Records? Sweater Weather hails from Chapel Hill but doesn't share the angular, abrasive sound of the aforementioned bands; the sextet is more likely to employ a xylophone than a blast of distortion and pretty harmonies instead of shouted call-and-response vocals. It might be a bit sleepy for a Sunday night, but with solid local acts the Foreign Press and Mikal Evans also on the bill, the show at the Red and the Black is worth the trip.