Nightlife Agenda

By Fritz Hahn, Rhome Anderson and David Malitz Staff Writers
Thursday, April 19, 2007; 12:00 AM

Thursday | Friday | Saturday | Sunday | Tuesday

Thursday, April 19
Almost 15 years ago, De La Soul opened the classic "Buhloone Mind State" album with the chant "We might blow up but we won't go pop." The sentiment almost seems quaint when contrasted with today's hip-hop landscape, where priorities are markedly different. Asylum's weekly Ghetto Rock party borrows the name and spirit of De La's third record tonight to welcome DJ Roddy Rod and DJ 2-Tone Jones for an evening of true school hip-hop.

Falls Church native Thao Nguyen is based in San Francisco these days, which is a shame for the local scene. To say that she sounds like an indie-rock version of Edie Brickell might not seem like a compliment, but it is. Like the late-'80s starlet, Nguyen's voice almost ventures into yodel territory at times, but it mostly has a refreshing, down-home feel that is a perfect fit for the brand of folk she plays with her backing band, the Get Down Stay Down. Richmond power-pop quintet Prabir & the Substitutes and Carol Bui open at Iota.

We usually recommend bars and bands, not movies, because we're better music critics than the next Roger Ebert and the Other Guy. Anyway, tonight the Hirshhorn is screening "Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait," a documentary that follows the infamous French headbutteur through a single match from April 2005, adopting the Real Madrid star's point of view. It's a perfect introduction for those who think soccer's low-scoring games mean the players don't do much for 90 minutes and an exciting testament to Zizou's vision, guile and skill on the ball. The film begins at 8, and seats are first-come, first served.

Last summer, we mentioned the weekly Absolute Addiction party at Play, which became a pretty solid Thursday night option: No cover, free drinks for ladies and a DJ mashing up '80s tunes in a lounge that doesn't take itself too seriously. The promoters and venue owners parted ways a few months later, but they've apparently kissed and made up, because Thursdays at Play is restarting again tonight with the same deals: No cover when you sign up at and free drinks for women between 10 and midnight. DJ Carlos is spinning hip-hop and house all night.

Friday, April 20
Salsa singer Victor Manuelle has played at Constitution Hall, hosted the Latin Grammy Awards and performed a cappella at the legendary Celia Cruz's funeral. And tonight, you can see him at ... the Hilton Hotel in Tysons Corner. Seriously. Manuelle, known as "el Sonero de la Juventud" or "the Youth's Sonero" because of his popularity with younger salsa fans, has become one of the biggest stars in the world since his unlikely debut. (He jumped onstage with famed vocalist Gilberto Santa Rosa on a dare and managed to impress the sonero with his phrasing and improvisation.) While he's dabbled with reggaeton and other new styles of Latin music, Manuelle has stuck to romantic salsa ballads and classic dance floor-packing numbers. Brush up on your steps before heading out tonight; since it's in a hotel ballroom, this won't be a laid-back all-seated concert. Manuelle's rousing vocals will have the crowd moving all night long.

The Six Points Music Festival kicks into high gear in its second weekend. The toughest ticket will likely be at Iota, where local heroes Middle Distance Runner headline a show that also features These United States and Pittsburgh's keyboard-driven rockers Black Tie Revue. Don't be surprised if there's a line down Wilson Boulevard to get into the club. Area fans can't get enough of MDR's infectious indie rock and a 9:30 club concert in February drew twice as many attendees as can fit into Iota. You do the math. Part of that big draw may have been due to the other band on the bill, over-the-top power-pop quartet the Dance Party, which has its own show tonight at the Rock and Roll Hotel, opening for sometimes kitschy new wave revivalist Kenna. The Vita Ruins and the Sentiment round out that lineup.

Unless you're so cutting edge it hurts, you probably haven't heard of Codebreaker yet -- and we're stressing the word "yet." The Milwaukee-based electro duo has played with the likes of Hot Chip, Phoenix and Radio 4 in the Midwest, and it's definitely one to watch: The sound recalls some crazy house party where Cameo is drinking with Prince, Phoenix is partying with Daft Punk and Bootsy Collins is jamming on the sofa. Fritz has already said the band's "Dream Lover" -- available on Codebreaker's myspace page -- is "the best damn dance song" he's heard in ages, thanks to a rubbery bassline, jumpy guitars and synths that don't overwhelm the vocals; think sunny '70s radio disco with just the right amount of updating. Even when the songs turn into homage (try to listen to the single "Exiled" without thinking of "Flashlight"), it's still good fun. Codebreaker's making its D.C. debut tonight at the 9:30 club's monthly Infamy dance party, hosted by DJ Will Eastman (of Bliss) and the folks from DC9's Taint. Doors open at 10.

If you dismissed Teedra Moses as "not Faith Evans," "not Mary J. Blige" or "another Ashanti," you missed out on some solid tunes like "Complex Simplicity" that could have bubbled up to the top of your digital playlist. It seems that her sound wasn't organic enough for the neo-soulsters or glossy enough for Beyonce worshippers, so Moses's 2004 debut was undeservedly overlooked. She made a positive first impression a couple years ago at Fur, when many attendees of a show headlined by Cee-Lo Green came away impressed by the petite singer with the big energy. Catch her return trip to Washington tonight at the Black Cat, along with the PJ Morton Band.

Mainstream clubbers may not realize that Washington is home to a bunch of boutique dance music labels that drop obscure treats highly sought after by international audiences. Fueled primarily by the work of Kid Gusto, True Grooves is one such imprint. Its releases feature original productions and remixes that combine breakbeats, jazz, funk and Latin touches into sophisticated dance floor workouts. As these releases are often pressed in small quantities and snatched up quickly from record bins, you might want to take the opportunity to cop the new project from the True Grooves crew themselves at Science Club tonight, where you can listen to them spin other fine records you'll want to own.

Saturday, April 21
Plenty of Six Points action to take in tonight: At the Red and the Black, local alt-country-pop faves the Brindley Brothers share a bill with female-fronted indie rockers Pash. DC9's stacked lineup includes Baltimore new wave/post-punks Two If By Sea, the crisp, clean pop of the Roosevelt, energetic New York rockers Bridges and Powerlines and a solo performance from former Monopoli frontman Alfonso Velez. A block away at the Velvet Lounge is another four-band show, and the highlight there is North Carolina quartet Red Collar. The group's indie rock sound is much more D.C. than N.C., with jagged guitars and shouted vocals that recall Fugazi and Jawbox.

The tightly intertwined relationship between fashion and popular music is a subject more suited for masters' dissertations and impenetrable sociological tomes than our pithy column, but there's no better way to experience the two than the STYLEistics events at the Rock and Roll Hotel. Local clothing and jewelry designers display their wares in fashion shows and sell them to the public, celebrity DJs rock the house and the crowd soaks in the atmosphere as well as cheap drinks. Tonight's edition features music by JD Samson and Johanna Fateman of Le Tigre, 11 D.C.-based designers (read more about them on the Web site of promoters Brightest Young Things), free drinks, clothing giveaways and a whole lot more. Doors open at 7, and admission is free until the DJs start at 10. (Sparks and all rail cocktails are half-price until 10, too.) Ten percent of the proceeds go the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer.

If you grew up in the 80s, you don't need us to explain how rad "The Goonies" is. One of those heartwarming tales of a ragtag group of misfits that manages to save the day/town/world from scheming-but-bumbling villains, it features Corey Feldman, Martha Plimpton and Sean Astin in a hole-filled plot involving lost pirate treasure, evil developers, chases in caves, the unforgettable Chunk ... it's a classic. The DCJCC is showing the film tonight at its 16th Street headquarters, and -- this is the best part -- following the screening with an '80s movies pub quiz. Round up your friends and get there by 8 for the best seats. Admission is $9.

Performance art doesn't generally get much run on these pages, but we can confidently recommend Aphrodizia. Formed around the otherworldly vocals and meditative soundscapes of Yoko K, Aphrodizia combines electronics, percussion, violin, reeds, live video and interpretive models into an engrossing sensory experience, made even more interesting by visuals from Adrian Loving, the artist who runs the Dissident Display gallery. If that's not enough for you, this party is your first chance to get a glimpse of Lotus, the sleek new K Street lounge from Fur owner Michael Romeo, which will have its full public debut in the next few weeks. Admission is a $15 donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and doors open at 6.

Sunday, April 22
The weather forecast has been pretty clear so far this week, so we're going to go out on a limb and suggest you get outside and enjoy the warm(ish) temperatures while they last. The Deck is exactly what it sounds like: A large, wooden sun deck outside the Savoy Suites Hotel near Glover Park. There's a bar, and a couple of TVs, and that's about it -- but what more do you need? Doors open at noon, and the all-day specials include $3 domestic beers, $4 imports and half-price glasses of wine. Enjoy it while you can.

At an age when most people are just figuring out what to do with their lives, the Willowz are at a career crossroads of sorts. The members of the Los Angeles quartet, all in their very early 20s, are already on their third album and second label, moving from venerated garage rock powerhouse Sympathy for the Record Industry to Dim Mak, the original home to high-profile bands such as Bloc Party, the Gossip and Pretty Girls Make Graves. Film director Michel Gondry discovered the band early on and has featured it on the soundtracks of both "Science of Sleep" and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." In fact, it was the Willowz playing in the background during the scene in "Sunshine" in which Kirsten Dunst jumps around on a bed while in her underwear. (Official Nightlife Agenda favorite scene in that movie, by the way.) Singer Richie James Follin still sounds pretty much like Jack White, and the band's aggressive blues-rock attack isn't far off from the Stripes themselves, but on the recent "Chautauqua," the band has moved beyond simply bashing out fuzzy garage rockers and even slows things down and gets introspective on occasion. Still, expect a raucous good time when the Willowz open for New Rock Church of Fire at the Red & the Black.

Tuesday, April 24
If you're not going to the Smithsonian, the Lisner, National Geographic or other such venues that help sponsor emerging forms of non-Western music, you're missing some of Washington's most intriguing musical experiences. In a fitting confluence of history and tradition, the National Museum of African American History and Culture is bringing forward-thinking Cuban pianist Omar Sosa to the Lincoln Theatre, a place that is a symbol of U Street's own musical melting pot. Sosa starts from a base of Afro-Cuban jazz and connects that to other rhythms of the diaspora along with electronic beats and synths. For this Washington show his personnel includes Cuban drummer Julio Barreto, Mozambican electric bassist Childo Tomas and Senegalese singer Mola Sylla.

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