Friday: In the go-go canon, Backyard Band — BYB for short — is the crucial link between the classic crank of the late ’80s and the rugged, hip-hop-influenced sound of the ’90s. BYB brought rowdy rawness to the go-go while still keeping the pocket going, and also can be cited as a precursor of today’s bounce beat. Lead talker Big G is a crown prince of go-go and a cherished D.C. icon. After 25 years, BYB is enshrined among the greatest to ever do it, and it will be celebrating its silver aniversary anniversary at the Howard Theatre.
Friday: Nomadic Massive is a fitting name for a hip-hop crew that rolls nine deep, features members from nine countries and weaves five languages into its work. Racking up passport stamps since its 2004 debut, the band integrates traditions from every immigrant community of its Montreal home, incorporating reggae, jazz, blues and hip-hop. You can catch the group at Artisphere with D.C.’s own stylistic shape-shifter Kokayi and his band.
Saturday: The Brooklyn-based band Yarn draws from across the spectrum of what’s considered “Americana”: the country-tinged rock of Graham Parsons and the Flying Burrito Brothers, the acoustic side of Neil Young, and Waylon Jennings’s outlaw period. It all comes together in weary, whiskey-soaked lyrics, a steady shuffle beat and the delicately trilled notes of a mandolin. The band has a huge following dubbed “the Yarmy,” so advance ticket purchase is recommended for this Hill Country show.
Saturday: The National Symphony Orchestra is out and about on U Street and around Logan Circle this week, bringing a team of trombones to Ben’s Chili Bowl (Tuesday from 9 to 10 p.m.), performing chamber music at Busboys and Poets (Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m.) and celebrating the Emancipation Proclamation with the African American Civil War Museum at Florida Avenue Baptist Church (Sunday at 5 p.m.). But the event that we’re most intrigued by is at Twins Jazz on Saturday night. Three NSO musicians - violist Ruth Wicker Schaaf, bassist Jeffrey Weisner and cellist David Teie - will join the Eric Wheeler Trio for two sets that will alternate between jazz and classical. This is an appropriate place for the confluence of two sounds: Duke Ellington thought of his compositions as “American classical music” and was influenced by Debussy as well as by swing. The two 90-minute sets begin at 8 and 10 p.m., and admission is free. Arrive early for the best seats.
There’s more after the jump, including an international DJ night, a funky beer tasting and a listening party for the new Yo La Tengo record.
Tuesday, Jan. 8
Meridian Pint’s newest theme night is for those who like their beer really, really flavorful. A dozen sour and funky Belgian, German and American beers are going on tap at Old and Sour , including Jolly Pumpkin Noel De Calabaza and Professor Fritz Briem 1809 Berliner Weisse. Meanwhile, Meridian Pint’s resident beer geeks are taking the opportunity to release a dozen aged barleywines and strong ales from their cellar stash, including two-year-old releases from Great Divide, Weyerbacher and Brooklyn. Four local breweries — DC Brau, Franklin’s, Oliver and Union Craft Brewing — will showcase their own old-and-funky beers on the bar’s patio. All beers will be available as four-ounce samples as well as full-size pours.
Thursday, Jan. 10
As hard as it seems to believe, Yo La Tengo has been earning critical raves for its albums since the mid-1980s. The Hoboken-based indie rock trio is releasing “Fade,” its 13th disc, next week, but you can get a preview tonight at the weekly Mr. Radio party at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room. The record will be played in its entirety, beginning at 8 p.m., followed by dancing to DJs spinning everything from Abba to LCD Soundsystem by way of Prince and Le Tigre. There are all-night drink specials, including $3 PBR cans, $5 Stella and $5.50 mixed drinks.
Kerry Washington’s turn as a high-level political “fixer” on ABC’s “Scandal” is inspiring fanatic devotion on par with some of the best television we’ve seen the past few years. Scandal nuts can go toe-to-toe with “Lost,” “The Sopranos” or “Breaking Bad” fans in their obsession. If this sounds like your tribe, gather with them at Indulj for a “Scandal” watch party . Buy your first drink and your second round is on the house from 5 to 8:30 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 11
It’s international night at U Street Music Hall. The headliners are Polish duo Catz ‘n Dogz, who have been winning plaudits around the world for deep, lush disco house. Opener Rory Phillips has been a resident at some of London’s top electro-house parties, such as Our Disco and Trash. D.C.’s own Lxsx Frxnk starts the night with deep house and techno.
Saturday, Jan. 12
Q and Not U was one of the most beloved and critically lauded bands to come out of Washington around the turn of the millennium. The trio broke up in 2005, but members John Davis (currently in Title Tracks) and Chris Richards (currently The Washington Post’s pop music critic) have gotten back together for a more mellow new project called Paint Branch . They’ll be performing songs from new album “I Wanna Live” at Adams Morgan’s Red Onion Records, beginning at 6 p.m.