Wednesday, March 19, 2008; 12:00 AM
Thursday, March 20
Try as we might, we couldn't find a reason to give tonight's De La Soul and 9th Wonder show the side eye. I mean, it came out of nowhere and we want to be skeptical of a free gig featuring one of the biggest acts in hip-hop history at MCCXXIII but we really can't front. It's a double dose of classic grown folk hip-hop business and all you have to do is arrive early and be patient. Until the headliners appear, 9th Wonder (listen) will surely keep smiles on faces by dropping classics beloved by hip-hop babies born in the '70s. Make sure you give him some dap for lacing Erykah Badu's lead single "Honey." He's been keeping busy since parting ways with Little Brother, even leaving fans a nice treat on their "Get Back" album in the form of "Breaking My Heart." If you haven't checked in with Plugs One, Two and Three since the flawless "Grind Date" LP, make sure you cop that Mission Impossible and get caught up. And no, De La is neither "jazz rap" or "alternative hip-hop" (Internets and music journos please take note.)
A very happy Nowruz to everyone celebrating the Persian new year today. Ibiza is hosting a large party with DJs Pejman, Ovy and Ace spinning house and international music. Print a pass good for the free admission to the 18-and-over event from DJ Ovy's MySpace page. A smaller throwdown is taking place at Napoleon and Metropolitain, where the lounge will have a "1001 Nights" theme and DJs will spin international songs. Rose water, celebrated for its cleansing properties, is traditionally drunk during Nowruz to help clean evil spirits from the body. Napoleon is helping get the new year off to a great start by offering a rose water champagne toast at midnight. There's no cover charge.
Friday, March 21
It's been two-and-a-half years since Jamaican reggae king Beenie Man (listen) released "Undisputed," a hits-heavy record that helped restore his place at the top of the dancehall ranks. Since then, all he's put out is a greatest hits record, plus the occasional appearance on other artists' records, the best of which was "Belly Danza" with Don Omar back in the summer of 2006. Sure, we love "Who Am I," "Under Mi Sensi" and "King of the Dancehall," but let's hope Beenie busts out some new material tonight at H2O, where he's performing an 18-and-over show. Doors open at 9, and those of legal drinking age can partake of an open bar until 11.
It's a rare DJ who gets the call to remix Berlin electrohouse star Boyz Noize, hip-hop legends Eric B. and Rakim and trance-house trailblazers Utah Saints -- let alone make them all irresistibly funky and danceable. Then again, Krafty Kuts (listen) is hardly your usual turntablist. The Brighton, England-based producer and performer is equally versed and influenced by hip-hop, house and electro, though if we had to use a reference point for those who'd never heard Krafty Kuts, we might be forced to say "Imagine a hip-hop- and breakbeat-influenced Fat Boy Slim." Krafty Kuts -- Martin Reeves to his mum -- knows how to rock the big beats that will pull crowds onto the dance floor, and his sharp breaks, slinky electro basslines and well-placed hip-hop samples will keep them going until the wee hours. Bring your dancing shoes to Buzz tonight, because preceding Krafty Kuts will be two of D.C.'s finest funky house/hip-hop/breaks/electronica/kitchen sink teams: The All Good Funk Alliance (listen) and the Fort Knox Five (listen).
All the Easter fun this weekend isn't limited to kids. Tonight, the Professionals in the City group is throwing an Easter egg hunt through the bars of Dupont Circle. You join the group at a series of venues and hunt for plastic eggs filled with candy or (hopefully) coupons and prizes. Meet the group at the Big Hunt at 7 p.m. and keep your eyes open for booty.
Saturday, March 22
There's more Easter fun on Capitol Hill today and tonight, as the Capitol Hill Bunny Hop tries to turn the neighborhood into some weird Playboy-esque bar crawl. (The first 500 people to show up get fuzzy bunny ears, you see, and some women bring their own fuzzy Peter Cottontails, and then they wander around the Hill all day. The reaction from tourists is hilarious.) The format is pretty similar to Lindy Promotions' other bar crawls: Show up at the Dubliner between 1 and 6, then hit one of the 10 other participating bars for food and drink specials, including $2 Miller Lite and $3.50 Sparks cans. Because the locations are widely spread out -- the Dubliner and Hamilton's are near Union Station, the Tune Inn's on Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Finn Mac Cool's is on Barracks Row -- a shuttle bus will run between bars all day. Admission is $13, or $10 if you bring two cans of food for the Manna Food Center. Make sure you arrive early to get your bunny ears.
Only three more months until the D.C. Caribbean Carnival! Man, we're dreaming of summer temperatures on Georgia Avenue, colorful parade costumes, those amazing jerk chicken vendors, ginger beer, steel pan bands ... June can't come soon enough. We mention this not to depress you (and us), but to remind everyone that Carnival season kicks off tonight at Zanzibar on the Waterfront with the Glorious Fete. A dream team of local soca, reggae and calypso DJs includes Hazzard, Andy Mix, Shiloh International and Sprang International. Doors open at 9, and door prizes include tickets on Air Jamaica. (Somebody say "spring break"?)
With his big hair, mutton chops and throwback threads, you may have mistaken Amp Fiddler (listen) as another neo-soul artist mining the '70s for inspiration when he dropped his first solo album in 2004. You'd be missing out on a lot of history, because Amp has put in a few decades backing George Clinton and his P-Funk tribe as well as more contemporary artists like Jamiroquai and the Brand New Heavies. He has also served as a mentor of sorts for some of the most soulful exports of the Motor City modern soul movement including Moodymann and the late great J. Dilla. His recent collaboration with Corinne Bailey Rae is an infectious slice of club and swinging jazz fusion, complete with boogie woogie piano and muted cornet. The singer and keyboardist just decided to bide his time in launching a solo career, and his patience has paid off. The live disco and house trio Tortured Soul (listen) is currently armed with a new album's worth of songs and a guest guitarist to add some chank to the rhythm section. Our favorite mid-Atlantic soul jazz purveyors, Fertile Ground, round out tonight's soul explosion at the 9:30 Club.
If you spend any time in the clubs up in Charm City -- heck, if you spend any time in Shoe City stores in Bodymore -- you might be familiar with the work of Blaqstarr. The 22-year-old DJ is one of the most exciting talents in the world of Baltimore Club music, that so-repetitive-it's-catchy genre that relies on a relentless thump of bass and instantly recognizable samples. Baltimore Club is just starting to move beyond the city limits, thanks to DJs like Diplo and our own Tittsworth, but Blaqstarr has a pretty bright future in front of him. Signed to Diplo's Mad Decent record label, he found himself producing a track on M.I.A.'s award-winning "Kala" and remixing the single "Paper Planes." Check out Blaqstarr's bangin' beats tonight at the Rock and Roll Hotel, where he's a guest of the Nouveau Riche DJs on the main level. Meanwhile, guest DJs Matt Nordstrom, Ed Dudes and Emily Rabbit take over the upstairs. Admission is $10.
Tonight is the final night of the Jewish celebration of Purim, and a very special masquerade party is being held at the DCJCC. Fancy dress is encouraged for "Masquerade and Mischief," which includes a performance by the D.C. Kings. Expect food, drinks and plenty of dancing. It's 21 and over, and there's a $5 suggested donation at the door.
Monday, March 24
Every now and then, we see events on our calendars that make us scratch our heads and wonder what the promoter was thinking. Let's talk for a bit about the German DJ duo Digitalism (listen), who makes extremely catchy and hook-filled electro featuring monumental build-ups and skronky, overloaded basslines. Digitalism has remixed big names like Daft Punk, Tiga, Cut Copy and the Klaxons, crafting tunes that are perfect for a long night on a warehouse dance floor. Digitalism's North American tour is going to Miami's famous Winter Music Conference, the historic El Rey theater in L.A. and the vast Webster Hall in New York City. So where will the group play in D.C.? Buzz? Ibiza? The 9:30 club? Nope: DC9, an indie rock club that's a fraction of the size of those other venues. We don't know how this happened or why, but it should be an amazing chance to get up close and personal with a band that's getting raves on both sides of the Atlantic. Signed to the oh-so-trendy French Kitsune label, the band just dropped a Japan-only EP called Moshi Moshi. If we're lucky, there'll be a few copies on hand to buy. Opening are likeminded DJs Guns n Bombs (listen) from L.A. and local mixmeister People's Champion.(listen).
Tuesday, March 25
K Street biker bar-cum-Late Night Shots hangout Tattoo comes up a lot in our weekly chat -- something about people loving to rock out to the VJ's selection of '80s and '90s alternative and metal -- but if you haven't made it out yet, we have some motivation for you: The American Diabetes Association is hosting a fundraiser there tonight. All of the $10 cover charge and a percentage of the night's drink sales will be going to charity, and drink specials include $5 mixed drinks, beer and wine from 7 to 9 and $5 Grand Marnier drinks all night long.