Thursday, September 20, 2007; 12:00 AM
Thursday, September 20
When the Argonaut opened two years ago at the "Starburst" intersection of H Street NE, Bladensburg Road, Benning Road, Florida Avenue, Maryland Avenue and 15th Street, people were shocked that nightlife kingpin Joe Englert was putting a tavern in what was a pretty desolate neighborhood. But the homey, nautically themed Argonaut was the first piece of the H Street/Atlas District revival, and it's stayed one of our favorite spots, thanks to the large selection of rum drinks, amazing sweet potato fries, board games, foosball and a comfortable neighborhood vibe, not to mention the expansive (and relatively new) patio. Tonight's the Agronaut's second birthday, and they're celebrating with a rack of food and drink specials. Sip a mojito while playing pool, foosball or darts for free.
Most band names have no bearing on the type of music the band plays. Endless Boogie is an exception. The Brooklyn group plays boogie rock, like the Allmans at their rocking, Duane-era peak. And while the songs aren't quite endless, they do go one for quite a while. Find a groove and jam on it, that's the name of the game. The group is a cult favorite and it seems to be fine with keeping that status. Their MySpace page has never been updated, they have only a pair of limited edition vinyl releases in their discography and this current tour with Finnish avant-rockers Circle (listen) is Endless Boogie's first in six years of existence. If you suspect that this is some sort of ironic Brooklyn thing, that's not the case. These aren't kids co-opting an "uncool" sound and making it cool -- it's a group of older dudes (average age over 40) playing music they actually enjoy. Party like it's 1969 at DC9.
We've been getting a lot of good Afropop in Washington lately -- in fact, we just suggested hometown boys Chopteeth in last week's column -- but we'd be remiss not to mention that the Afromotive (listen) is at Eighteenth Street Lounge tonight. The Asheville, N.C., band fuses the brass and polyrhythms of Fela Kuti with jazzy improvisational solos and a heavy dose of funk. They go on at 10, but the Lounge is open for happy hour at 7.
Friday, September 21
Fritz has been all over Buzz's grand reopening in recent weeks, announcing the lineup exclusively on the Going Out Gurus blog and interviewing founder and DJ Scott Henry for the Weekend Section, so we're going to keep this short: Moby (listen), Sander van Doorn (listen to "Riff") and Scott Henry are taking over Fur tonight. It should be insanely good and insanely crowded. Get advance tickets or get there early, and the party goes until 5 a.m.
DJ Meistro speaks softly but hefts some heavy crates. Even though Wonderland has changed over the past two years, Meistro's still quite adept at getting folks who come in requesting Soulja Boy to dance to funky white labels and exclusive mash-ups. His partner Deep Sang is the disco specialist, always avoiding cheese in favor of soul. You can celebrate the two year anniversary of the duo's Dirty Bombs night tonight, where the duo is unveiling their new mix CDs. Set off your next house party for a cool $10: Meistro's Ram Di Dance 2 delivers another volume of dub and dancehall, while Deep Sang's Bump N Hustle unearths rare disco tracks.
When you think about it, Nationals fans, this season was a lot better than we expected. Every baseball prognosticator had our guys losing 100 games or worse, but we should finish just under .500 ball for the year, which isn't too bad, considering the youth in our starting pitching. You can celebrate the impending end of the season -- our last at RFK -- tonight at kstreet, where third baseman (and face of the team) Ryan Zimmerman is hosting an unofficial End of the Season party. He and some other players did make it through the mob outside for a similar party in the spring, so if you're coming, RSVP on www.kstreetdc.com and get there earlier than you'd think. (And if you're coming from the Nats game against the Phillies, make sure you run home and drop off the jersey and ballcap before hitting the club. You won't want to be left outside.)
Saturday, September 22
The Capitol City Carnival is a new beer-and-music festival that's trying to capture the spirit of the now-cancelled Old Dominion Beer Fest, and looking at the lineup, it might even better it. Fifty breweries are bringing pairs of beers to taste, and the lineup includes a lot of smaller labels to explore -- Penn, Bluegrass, Lancaster, Southhampton, Great Divide -- as well as heavy hitters like Bell's, Delirium, Bear Republic, Dogfish Head and Clipper City. Then there's the music, which features the legendary George Clinton and P-Funk, California skate-funkers Fishbone (listen) and Southern Culture on the Skids (listen). If you're heading out to Bull Run today to see P-Funk and Fishbone, your best bet is to take the Party DC/On Tap bus. That way you can have as many beers as you want! Buses leave Clarendon Grill at 1 and should get back after 11. The $49.99 ticket includes festival admission, transportation and four beer samples. Act fast, because space is limited.
Bliss has changed a lot since it debuted at the Metro Cafe seven years ago. The original indie-rock focus isn't as prominent as electro and remixes at primetime, though DJ Will Eastman still finds room for the likes of Baxendale and GoodBooks alongside Chromeo, Klaxons and Daft Punk. Bliss turns seven tonight on the Black Cat's backstage, and it should be a hot, sweaty mess of dancing and boozing. It's $6, and doors open at 9.
Ave.to (listen) is the newest result from a collision of some of the most interesting artists on Washington's electronic, hip-hop and soul scenes. Low Budget beatsmith Oddisee -- who has crafted tunes for DJ Jazzy Jeff, Kev Brown and J-Live as well as his own solo work as an MC -- regularly records out of the home studio of Kolai, one half of the DJ/instrumentalist duo T-Kolai and reedman for the hybrid electronic ensemble Aphrodizia. With help on the boards from The Unknown -- who might have to change his name soon based upon the beat placements he's been getting -- some experimental sessions coalesced into a tight bunch of jazz infused instrumental hip-hop tunes that begged for an official release. With Kolai, The Unknown and Oddisee forming the core of the newly christened Ave.to, they immediately brought in Lucan (violin) and Tom P. (percussion) from Aphrodizia, along with vocalists Deborah Bond and Kia Bennett. The group plays its inaugural show at The Space tonight.
The Soulive boys are ready to pack the 9:30 Club again tonight. While the jazz chops are still vicious and the solos can inspire music geek nirvana, the trio has expanded to a quartet, with the addition of vocalist Toussaint steering the group further down the songwriting path that they trod on 2005's "Breakout." Now on the legendary Stax label, Soulive recently released the aptly titled "No Place Like Soul." With this new vocal based material, the group's vigorously dancing, air-drumming and air-guitaring crowd will be moved to sing along too.
So what'd you do for your last birthday? Go out to dinner with a couple of friends, then hit a club or two? How pedestrian. How proletarian. When H2O owner Abdul Khanu turns a year older, he tries to impress. This year, he's invited Eve and Fabolous to spend the night at his club, performing and partying with actress Vivica A. Fox "and all her celebrity friends." (If you get a chance to chat with Vivica in the VIP area, can you ask her when she's going to make another good movie? It's been a while.)
Sunday, September 23
Last month we wrote about a benefit for John Stabb the local punk icon and former frontman for straight-edge pioneers Government Issue, who was viciously assaulted by a group of teenagers just a block from his Maryland home. Those medical bills still need paying, so there's another benefit happening tonight at the Rock and Roll Hotel. The big draw for this one is Government Re-Issue, which features 3/4 of the band's iconic early '80s lineup, including Tom Lyle, Brian Baker (once of Minor Threat, now of Bad Religion) and Stabb himself. Also performing will be 76% Uncertain, No Image, Alive at Last, L.O.J. and Pup Tent.
Tuesday, September 25
Used to be that Brooklyn was synonomous with post-punk. Sharp guitars, a disco backbeat and an intimate knowledge of Gang of Four's "Entertainment!" -- that description worked for most bands coming out of the borough. It's no real surprise that that trend has passed, but who knew that Peter Gabriel and Paul Simon would turn out to be the next major influences? Yeasayer (listen) is one of a handful of Brooklyn bands (see below for more) that is looking way beyond dance-rock and post-punk for inspiration and ends up sounding a lot like those world-music loving pop veterans. Yeasayer's new single, "2080" (downloadable on the September Mixtape) is an intoxicating, soothing tribal jam, a vibe that runs throughout Yeasayer's live show. Catch them opening for Shapes and Sizes on the Black Cat's backstage.
Speaking of beer, we're big fans of Rehoboth's esoteric Dogfish Head Brewery, as are most reasonable people who love hoppy beers. Dogfish founder/beer creator/legend Sam Calagione is the kind of guy who thinks nothing of recreating the beers found in King Midas' tomb, brewing a BerlinerWeisse-style beer with fresh peaches or making a special malt liquor with red, white and blue corn for July 4. Tonight at Rustico, Calagione is hosting a special six-course beer dinner that finds his brews paired with dishes by chef Frank Morales. All-inclusive tickets are $69.
Wednesday, September 26
Even in the Internet Age, it seems like there are more magazines than ever. Too bad the vast majority of them are awful. One that breaks from the mould, though, is Found. The magazine is full of trash. We're not being mean -- it really is filled with actual garbage. On its pages you'll find random notes, papers and other assorted objects found (see, it's not just a clever name) by editor Davy Rothbart and loyal readers who send him their discoveries. The latest, Found #5, features a collection of letters from a one-time FBI agent and details his career in a series of memos, including his account of the loss of his gun during a surveillance operation, his official reprimand by J. Edgar Hoover, another reprimand for misfiled reports, a letter detailing some misadventures in dogsitting and his eventual resignation -- and quick rescinding of that resignation. "Yesterday evening I did the most difficult thing I have ever been called upon to do -- submit my resignation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. All day today I have been reminding myself what I am losing. Therefore, I am directing this letter to you in a last effort to avoid this catastrophe ... In conclusion, Mr. Hoover, I plead for your forgiveness and for an act of mercy from you." Like the contents of the magazine itself, the series of letters is a unique combination of funny, touching and just bizarre. Tonight at the Velvet Lounge, Davy Rothbart will read from a selection of notes, while his older brother Peter will perform music based on material in the magazine.
Dirty Projectors (listen) get points for originality for "Rise Above," a song-for-song interpretation of Black Flag's classic punk album "Damaged." They also get plenty of points for awesomeness. Like the previously mentioned Yeasayer, Dirty Projectors is another Brooklyn group with a worldly sound. At least this incarnation of the band: Main Projector Dave Longstreth is constantly shifting his group's sound -- the last project was a glitch-pop opera based on the lyrics of the Eagles. Even though he's moved from Don Henley to Henry Rollins for inspiration, don't expect to hear any angry shouting or buzzsaw guitars, because there's nothing here that sounds remotely punk. Each of the 11 songs on "Rise Above" are intricately crafted and music nerds can spend hours deconstructing them. It's great headphone music, but it should also sound great on the Black Cat's backstage, where the band will be joined by Baltimore's Ecstatic Sunshine.