Thursday, February 15, 2007; 12:00 AM
Thursday, February 15
Cro-Magnon Man finally gets a steady lady friend and decides to pass on a Valentine date that would feature one of the most romantic songwriters of modern progressive soul music. He figures, "How could I compete with that guy?" Enlightened Man knows that an evening with his lady and the sounds of Eric Roberson will earn him amorous energy transferal and props for great musical taste. He can also nail the bonus points if his companion wasn't already familiar with Erro's music, because then she'll always associate discovering it with their evening together. Do you want to be evolved or left behind on the evolutionary ladder of love? Take your special friend to see the hip-hop generation's heir to Sam Cooke and Smokey Robinson at the 9:30 club tonight.
DJ Meistro and DJ Moose usually want you to shake your behinds, but tonight, they want you to join them at Wonderland and shake it hard enough to make some dollars fall out of your pockets. The proceeds from tonight's Spread Love benefit are earmarked for the Women's Collective, an organization that supports families affected by HIV/AIDS. Hip-hop, funk and dance classics await, along with drink specials and good karma points for partying with a purpose.
It seems early in the year, but Mardi Gras season is upon us already. Two parties tonight will help you build up to the Fat Tuesday madness:
First, as part of the After Hours series, our friends from Express (which carries this column in its Friday issue) are hosting the Cajun band the Crawdaddies at Mister Days from 6 to 9, inviting you to feast from a Cajun buffet and offering specials on hurricanes and Miller Lite. Wear beads -- bring-your-own, not earn-your-own -- and you might win a $75 bar tab. There will be door prizes and giveaways, too, including a set of round-trip tickets on Jet Blue, which would come in handy right about now.
RNR is turning into Mardi Gras central this week, with a pair of parties taking place at the Gallery Place lounge. The new Twisted Thursdays party is taking on a New Orleans theme with prizes for the best costume and the person who's earned the most beads by the end of the night; each winner gets $100 in cash and a $50 bar tab. The usual drink specials -- $3 beers, $4 Bacardi and Cokes and Lemon Drops -- apply, and you'll find DJs spinning old-school, hip-hop, Top 40 and downtempo over two floors. Get on the guest list for this 18-and-over party at www.nightlifeagency.com.
Friday, February 16
There's more Mardi Gras at MCCXXIII tonight, where promoters DCNites and Absolute Addiction are demanding "scandalous behavior" from guests at the Masquerade Ball. It starts with an open bar from 9 to 11 and plenty of beads for all patrons who buy tickets in advance (go to dcnites.com or absoluteaddiction.com). Then you get wild as DJs spin house, hip-hop, Latin and rock music. Later, a VIP table and bottle of Grey Goose will be given to the people who (a) "earn" the most beads or (b) wear the most scandalous or creative costume. (If you're planning to run for office in the future, don't worry about proof of tonight's actions coming back to haunt you: Anyone seen with a camera or taking pictures with a camera phone will be thrown out of the club after all the photos are deleted.) Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 if you want to get "VIP access" to the third-floor Spank Lounge.
Raheem Devaughn started out pushing demos and crushing open mikes along U Street, and now he makes the ladies scream on international tours. Despite the elevated profile, you can still find him showing love to his hometown with a busy schedule of local shows and hosting duties at area hotspots. Whether it's a full band headlining slot at the 9:30 club or freestyling new songs from a nightclub's DJ booth, Raheem always leaves it all on stage. He'll be doing an intimate mini-set at Cafe Peju tonight for everyone still in post-Valentine love hangover mode, a la Diana Ross.
During our weekly Got Plans? chat, we often get questions from people who are looking for a casual night out, such as a combo playing pleasant jazz you could tune out if conversation proves more intriguing. The Vandermark 5 is not that kind of band. No, they are one of those jazz combos you might associate with the word "bleating" or right behind that, "skronk." The group is perhaps the most high-profile of Chicago reedman Vandermark's two dozen or so outfits -- when you work largely in the medium of improvisation, it makes it easier to be a part of so many projects -- and has been a favorite in free-jazz and experimental music circles for the last decade. Just because Vandermark and his cohorts play an unorthodox style doesn't mean they aren't masters of their instruments. In fact, it would be easy to make the argument that only the most talented players can succeed in the free-for-all atmosphere that Vandermark creates. Sometimes the results are aggressive, with each member of the ensemble attacking his instrument to create a cacophony of swirling sound. Other times the group explores more open spaces. Because of the improvisatory nature of the music, each show is guaranteed to be a unique experience. Bring an open mind to Jammin' Java.
On the other hand, if you want to enjoy some more traditional jazz, there's no better place to be than the Natural History Museum's Smithsonian Jazz Cafe. That's where there will be an 80th birthday tribute to tenor saxophonist Buck Hill, the local legend known to many as "The Wailin' Mailman." Even at 80, Hill is still getting it done, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise that the featured performer at his birthday tribute is ... Hill himself. Joined by friends and well-wishers, he'll surely show that while his performances may not have the same fire as they did half a century ago, the elegance and class remain.
We're expecting plenty of Assault and Battery at Five tonight, and if you know what's good for you, dance music fans, you'll be there -- and you'll like it. DJs Jenn Lasher and Baby Anne are teaming up tonight on the decks, and if it's anything like the "Assault and Battery" two-CD set they collaborated on in 2005, this should be an outstanding night. While the compilation has an electro edge to it, each woman makes her taste known; Lasher's hard-hitting industrial grooves mesh well with Baby Anne's driving funky breakbeats. Give Lasher the support she should expect in her hometown, and you'll want to catch every minute of Baby Anne's set if she's dropping tracks from her new "Baby Anne Rocks" album, which includes tracks by DJ Icey and Krafty Kuts alongside some original productions. Doors open at 10, and the party goes until late.
You know what we hate? The annual Guinness marketing exercise known as the Great Guinness Toast. We really don't see ourselves saying, "Hmm. Well, if a gigantic London-based beer company tells me to, I guess I better go down to a pre-selected pub on Friday night and have a pint of Guinness at 11. Knowing that thousands of other people will be doing the same thing at the same time really restores my faith in humanity." Rubbish. We try to avoid the damn thing every year and usually succeed, though we think it's only fair to tell you that Fado's plan for the evening includes Johnny Jump Up, one of the better Celtic rock bands in the area. You'll hear everything from the Wolfe Tones to Van Morrison, you'll hoist a pint and sing along. Just make sure you're not drinking the black stuff at 11, okay? A little bit of rebellion never hurt anyone.
Saturday, February 17
Because most of us don't get Wednesday as a day off, party promoters are throwing most of the city's Mardi Gras bashes tonight, giving the heartier souls a full two days to recover before heading back to work.
DC101's annual Mardi Gras Madness has been the biggest Mardi Gras party in D.C. for several years running, and it was always the biggest day on the calendar at the cavernous (and now-shuttered) Lulu's. It'll be interesting to see how everything changes when the madness moves to the beer geek-friendly R.F.D., which is better known for its 30 beers on draft than bead-winning debauchery. Promoters are sticking with the usual program: crowd-pleasing rock tunes by the cover band Gonzo's Nose, free masks for the first 200 people through the doors, and, of course, plenty of free beads. Doors open at 9, and cover charge is $5 "early." Translation: Get there late and your wallet takes a hit.
Speaking of tradition, another annual event that earns generally positive reviews is the Mardi Gras Kickoff Jam at the Hard Rock Cafe. Run by the young professionals group Things to Do, it's an all-evening affair that changes as the night goes on. Doors open at 9; for the first 45 minutes, you're listening to classic Crescent City jazz. Then it turns into a salsa and samba party for Carnaval, and at 11, things shift into party mode for Top 40, '80s and old-school hip-hop tracks. (You can also sneak away to the karaoke room.) Early arrivals get free food and masks, while everyone receives beads -- and there's a midnight beads contest with prizes, so you know what to do. (Hint: you can also BYOB.) Tickets are $10 in advance from thingstododc.com.
Back at RNR, Professionals in the City's annual Mardi Gras Madness includes DJs spinning retro, Top 40 and "club" music, food and drink specials and "bead contests." These parties are usually packed with 20-somethings and 30-somethings looking to unbutton (a little) and party, though it won't be as crazy at the throwdown at R.F.D. Tickets are $10 in advance and more at the door; early purchasers should hit prosinthecity.com.
Perhaps you read David Segal's story a few weeks ago about New York's pillow fight league. (Or perhaps you just looked at the pictures of the costumed women bashing each other over the head. No biggie.) Adams Morgan's Asylum has abandoned its long-running women-wrestling-in-colored-Jell-O events, and in a few weeks, it'll throw the first in a series of all-female pillow fights. If you're curious, there's an exhibition match tonight, complete with free shots of Jameson.
It's been more than two years since Kingpin, our favorite divey post-9:30 club hangout, was severely damaged by fire. We're still waiting for it to reopen -- hey, hope springs eternal -- but a team of Kingpin's DJs have banded together to create a monthly event around the corner at DC9. Dubbed the Kingpin Sound System Ho Down, it's going to feature turntablists rocking hip-hop, go-go, old-school funk, dancehall -- just like those late, late nights on U Street. It's free until 11 and $5 after.
Sunday, February 18
When long weekends roll around, there's no excuse not to go out and party on Sunday night -- especially when you'll have so many stellar events competing for your hard-earned dollars.
Collector's Edition is one of the newest additions to the "no-work-or-school Monday" scene, hosted by the ubiquitous Daryl "Quartermaine" Francis and featuring the stellar mixing skills of DJ Dredd. Tonight's party at Felix takes in all three rooms of the Adams Morgan lounge and includes Dredd rocking a set of early hip-hop classics, the soulful funk of Adrian Loving, block-rocking beats by Dave Nada and a sampling of roots and reggae from Fiyaman, who's usually found at Duke's City on U Street. Headlining is DJ G Brown, a New York-based mixtape master who's found behind the decks at clubs like the Marquee and APT. Admission is $10 until midnight and "more" later, but you'll want to get there on the early side; last month, the place was slammed and the line was out the door.
It's been almost seven months since Buzzlife's last party at Nation, and while organizers haven't found a new weekly home yet, they're putting on some stellar parties at Avenue. Tonight's wide-ranging Beats, Beads and Boobs lineup includes Philly drum 'n' bass king Dieselboy; Whighzeguy, Ricky Ricardo & Signal spinning dubstep; and a local house showdown with Exit (DJs C. Devin Byrnes, Shwa and Matt Sanborn) taking on Section 8 (Ken Lazee and Matt Sandborn). As always, the party's 18 and over, and there's no dress code.
Five go-go bands, two floors, free drinks, free soul food buffet, and the NBA All-Star Game on two dozen TVs, including three projection sets. You're probably all ready to be there even before we tell you that the music includes Chuck Brown, Lissen Da Grewp, Sugar Bear and EU, the What Band and ASAP. Zanzibar on the Waterfront's All-Star party is also one of the top old-school and new-school lineups we've seen in a while, making it the place to watch Agent Zero take on the West. Get there early; the two hours of free food and drink begins at 5, and the party's going until the early hours of Monday. Admission is $25 in advance from Downtown Sports Locker Room locations.
If that's not enough go-go for you, the Positive Black Men Coalition is hosting its own All-Star party at Bravo Bravo with old-school veterans Proper Utensils and former Rare Essence frontmen Jas Funk and Lil' Benny, plus DJ Big John. ("You know that 'Bama be rocking," say the promoters, and we'll take them at their word. Tickets are $20 in advance.
Monday, February 19<br />Richard Buckner is no stranger to Iota. The singer-songwriter -- who often looks like a legitimate mountain man, depending on how much beard and flannel he's sporting -- usually hits the Arlington club a few times a year. He almost always takes the stage unaccompanied, with just a guitar and his low-throated, gruff voice to play his stark folk tunes. His Monday stop at the club will be different, though. Ohio indie rock group Six Parts Seven will pull double duty, serving as the opening act and as Buckner's backing band. The songs on Buckner's latest album, "Meadow," feature fuller arrangements and some experimental tendencies, at least when compared to Buckner's more traditional past work, so it will be nice to see him try to recreate those moments in a live setting. Buckner's an easy guy to pull the "eh, I'll see him next time" routine with, but tonight's show is sure to offer something different than his usual performances.
Tuesday, February 20
Tell your boss you've got a doctor's appointment Wednesday morning and get ready to sneak out of the office early this afternoon. The Bourbon Street Bash at McFadden's starts right at 5 p.m. and features $3 hurricanes and $4 tequila shots all night long, plus beat-the-clock beer specials: $1 until 7 p.m., then $2 until 10 and $3 after. There will also be plenty of free beads. (You know, in case you feel like throwing them for some reason.) DJs keep the dance music going late into the night.
Wednesday, February 21
NOTE: Clay Walker's performance has been postponed due to a death in his family. It will be rescheduled. We usually think of Ned Devine's Irish Village as a place to go for Guinness and DJs on the weekends, but it's become quite the place for line dancing and country music on Wednesdays. Every now and then the club brings in a special guest, too. Tonight, it's a big occasion with country star Clay Walker, who's had a half-dozen singles atop the country singles chart since "What's It to You" hit No. 1 in 1993. After four platinum records, he's joined the Curb label -- home to LeAnn Rimes and Tim McGraw -- and he is promoting a disc called "Fall" with a free show at Ned's. Yes, free. You can pick up tickets in person at the Sterling nightspot.