Friday: After almost two decades in the game, Nas is indisputably one of the greatest hip-hop lyricists of all time. His new album, “Life Is Good,” may not be on the level of “Illmatic” - or even “Stillmatic” - but it’s close to a return to his golden-age ‘90s sound. He celebrates the release of “Life Is Good” with a Moet Hennessy-sponsored party at the Park at 14th; expect Nas to get on the mike for a few songs. If you’ve never seen Nas live, you are in for a treat. Tickets include
free Moet Hennessy drinks and hors d’oeuvres from 5 to 8 p.m. and a party that lasts until 3 a.m. (Update: The Park says information it sent about the event is incorrect, and there is no open bar. Happy hour is the usual $4 cocktails and wine, $3 Corona and $5 small plates from 5 to 7 p.m.)
Friday: Wayne “The Train” Hancock inhabits a certain crossroads of country music - the rough intersection of honky tonk swagger, western swing and revved-up rockabilly. His songs tell tales of folks down on their luck as well as those ready for a few drinks on a Saturday night, set to jumping, swinging music that pulls couples onto the dance floor. Hancock’s music is the perfect soundtrack for a night at a rural roadhouse, but since we’re in Washington, we’ll settle for the low-ceilinged Boot Bar in the basement of Hill Country BBQ. Seating is limited; call ahead for dinner reservations to guarantee the best spots.
Saturday: As summer edges towards fall, wine festivals begin to take over weekend calendars. The Twisted Vines wine shop on Columbia Pike is one of our favorite neighborhood wine bars, and it’s hosting a super-sized wine tasting in its rear parking lot this weekend. Tickets to the Backyard BBQ and Wine Bash include a chance to sample 18 wines by the glass, a plate of barbecue and sides from the Backyard Barbecue and Catering Company, and an afternoon of cornhole and other tailgate-style games. Make sure you arrive early: The wine tasting runs from 4 to 7:30 p.m., and after that, you’ll have to buy wine and beer from the bar.
Sunday: There are two excellent and free music options for Sunday afternoon. Tennessee native John Paul Keith splits the difference between garage rocker and troubadour, playing old-fashioned rock-and-roll songs with hooks, twang and snappy lyrics. While he’s best known for bashing away with the One Four Fives, he’ll downshift to troubadour mode for this matinee show at Silver Spring’s Quarry House Tavern. At the same time, D.C.’s Red Onion Records welcomes guitarist Mark Fosson, a fingerstyle acoustic guitarist in the tradition of John Fahey. In fact, Fossom was supposed to release an album on Fahey’s Takoma Records imprint in the ‘70s, but financial troubles prevented that from happening. The album was eventually released by Drag City in 2006, giving Fossom’s career a boost three decades later.
Sunday: After more than a decade in the shadows battling personal demons and occasionally turning back to his muse in fits and starts, D’Angelo returned to music in a big way this year. First there were whispers that he was getting clean, getting fit and returning to the studio. Close confidants, including the Roots’ ?uestlove, tentatively floated out promising bits of info. Then D’Angelo launched a European tour looking hale and sounding re-energized, followed by a highly acclaimed jam session at Bonnaroo and a sharp appearance on the BET Awards. Could a new album be in the works? New songs have wound themselves into his string of public performances. Be a part of the return of D’Angelo when his Liberation Tour stops at Verizon Center, along with Mary J. Blige and Melanie Fiona.
Want more ideas? There are 10 after the jump.
Wednesday, Aug. 22
Don’t look now, but there’s only one month of summer left. Capitol City Brewing Company may be jumping the gun a little with its Farewell to Summer Bash , but we’ll take any excuse to party on a patio. From 4 to 9 p.m., the Shirlington brewpub will offer all of its house-made beers for $3.50 and sell brats and burgers straight from the grill for $6.50 each.
One of the city’s best free nights of music comes back as U Street Music Hall hosts the Whale, featuring resident DJ duo Beautiful Swimmers , who can always be counted on to spin the best in spacey-disco-funk obscurities. They will be joined on the decks by Andrew Morgan of People’s Potential Unlimited, a label that specializes in a similar type of crate-digging.
Get right next to the local rock group that has long been ready for its close up (both figuratively and literally) when U.S. Royalty plays at Montserrat House. (The band also performs at the same venue on Thursday.)
Thursday, Aug. 23
Friday, Aug. 24
Also celebrating summer this week is Luke’s Wings, a charity that pays for families of wounded soldiers to travel to be with their loved ones as they recuperate. The Endless Summer Beach Party fundraiser at L2 has a beach theme – the dress code is “St. Tropez style,” so get ready for tropical drinks and a limbo contest – and every cent of the proceeds from the $35 suggested donation benefits Luke’s Wings.
Everything popping in D.C.’s electronic dance music scene will be represented at the Urban Space 2012 party at the Warehouse Loft. Classic DJ and producer crews like East Coast Boogiemen and drum ‘n’ bass master Slant will rock the bass bins with baile funk mistress Zuzuka Poderosa and the tropical sounds of the Empresarios.
Meek Mill is one of rap’s fastest rising stars. His 2012 mixtape, “Dreamchasers 2,” is one of the year’s most popular, and he’s a star of Rick Ross’s Maybach Music stable. He holds his own with the Bawse on hits such as “Tupac Back” and “Ima Boss.” Local favorite Black Cobain opens at the Fillmore.
Saturday, Aug. 25
No one should be eating or drinking anything pumpkin-flavored until mid-September. And yet, here comes another sign that autumn is on its way: Dogfish Head’s Punkin Ale — one of the best and most popular pumpkin drinks around — debuts this week at all three Dogfish Head Alehouses. Each hosts an indoor/outdoor bash on Saturday with food and drink specials, live music and activities for the whole family. The Fairfax location gets into the spirit early by hosting tapping parties with pint glass and koozie giveaways on Wednesday and Thursday, but the Saturday event will be the biggest.
Consider ending your summer in grand, gluttonous glory at the Funky Fresh Foodie Fest . A veritable gang of food trucks, an array of adult beverage purveyors, four live bands, and a bunch of silly summer fun like the D.C. Karaoke Invitational will take over the Fairgrounds space near the Nationals Stadium. Tickets include a selection of food and beverages.
Sunday, Aug. 26
Boston’s You Won’t plays a style of indie-pop that never goes out of style — a bit twee, a bit self-deprecating, a bit quirky and plenty catchy. Catch the group at Iota.