This week’s Top 5 Events:
Wednesday: When Animal Collective performed at Merriweather Post Pavilion in July, it was a happy homecoming for the Baltimore-bred psychedelic band that became overground stars thanks to the vibrant, joyous songs on its 2009 album named after the Maryland amphitheater. There couldn’t have been a more appropriate venue for the celebratory show. When Animal Collective’s Avey Tare performs at U Street Music Hall on Wednesday, it will also be an appropriate venue. His 2010 solo album is a dark and murky affair, featuring Animal Collective’s usual array of shape-shifting sounds but with songs that are less expansive, more introspective and still plenty trippy. It should be a good match for the subterranean confines of U Hall.
Friday: As the concert calendar starts to dry up entering the holiday season, here’s a show that happily hits every box on our checklist. Cool band? New York instrumental rock trio Psychic Paramount creates a towering blast of noisy, psychedelic mayhem, preferring a relentless onslaught as opposed to the quiet-loud interplay that many of its vocal-free peers favor. Cool venue? American University’s Kay Chapel hosts the band. A show like this would usually be in the building’s basement, but a bigger room is needed for the band’s smoke machine (bonus cool). And then there’s the price — free. Which makes all the rest a bonus.
Saturday: Something about this time of year makes it seem like the most natural thing in the world to head out on the town dressed up as Santa or wearing a cringe-inducing sweater with blinking red reindeer noses and sequin-covered snowflakes. If you’ve got an ugly holiday sweater burning a hole in your closet, head down to Dupont Circle for the Christmas Crawl , where tacky Christmas sweaters are mandatory - as are cheap drinks. Unlike other bar crawls, this one has no standard specials at each of the 13 participating bars: If you want $2 PBR cans, go to Public Bar. If you want $5 Red Bull and vodka drinks, go to Sweet Spot. If you want $1 Jello shots, go to Bread and Brew. (A full list of deals is on the event Web site.) McFadden’s hosts a midnight best-dressed contest for the best/worst getup. Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door; start your crawl at McFadden’s or the Front Page.
Saturday: Between “Boardwalk Empire” and Ken Burns’s recent PBS documentary about Prohibition, speakeasies and classic cocktails are all the rage. For a taste of Roaring Twenties glamour, head to the D.C. Craft Bartender Guild’s annual Repeal Day Ball at Georgetown’s historic Halcyon House. As the Red Hot Rhythm Chiefs perform hot jazz and swing, guests sample cocktails prepared by an all-star lineup of mixologists, including locals Todd Thrasher (PX), Gina Chersevani (PS 7’s), Jason Storch (Rasika), Chantal Tseng (Tabard Inn) and Dan Searing (Room 11). They’re joined by globe-trotting veteran Tony Abou-Ganim, New York’s Tad Carducci, San Francisco’s Danny Ronen and Chicago’s Adam Seger and Charles Joly. As you might expect, it’s one of the most festive black-tie events of the season. Tickets include all drinks, hors d’oeuvres and a buffet; a VIP pass allows for admission an hour earlier for more time to sample, plus an invitation to an after-party at a nearby lounge.
Sunday: Rapper Talib Kweli and singer Res have covered increasingly diverse stylistic ground throughout their careers and after collaborating occasionally along the way, created a band together. Kweli emerged at the beginning of the independent hip-hop movement, becoming one of its foremost talents and flirting with mainstream recognition through hits such as “Get By” and work with Kanye West. Res’s 2001 debut album combined soul, rock and electronic touches in a way no one else has done. In the indie pop guise of Idle Warship , the duo tries on different personas that they haven’t explored individually. The closest comparison is Gnarls Barkley, but not too close. D.C. to New York export Oddisee opens at the Black Cat.
Looking for more great ideas? There are 10 after the jump.
Wednesday, Nov. 30
To mark World AIDS Day, the Kimpton Hotel restaurants are hosting fundraisers to benefit local AIDS organizations. A $10 ticket to Urbana’s Red Hot Night, which benefits the Whitman-Walker Clinic, is good for passed hors d’oeuvres and a seasonal specialty cocktail (additional drinks are $5 each). Across the river at the Palomar Arlington’s Domaso Trattoria Moderna, A Taste of Virginia’s Own features wines from six Virginia vineyards, including Barboursville and Paradise Springs, and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door, and benefit the Northern Virginia AIDS Ministry.
Gauntlet Hair plays indie-pop with plenty of reverb, but unlike many bands that use the same effect, Gauntlet Hair’s songs don’t disappear into themselves but instead burst with vibrancy. Catch the band at DC9.
Thursday, Dec. 1
Prince Paul has made a career out of being ahead of the curve: He created the hip-hop skit, the first hip-hopera and the Gravediggaz project, which was horror core long before OFWGKTA. Add his stream-of-consciousness comedy project “Psychoanalysis: What Is It?” and the guest-heavy albums he released with Dan the Automator as Handsome Boy Modeling School, and you’re still just touching the surface of the mad scientist of hip-hop. We don’t really know what “ Negroes on Ice ” is all about, other than it currently exists as a crazy (NSFW) series of UStream videos that turn farcical hip-hop mix shows into performance art. But Prince Paul will be appearing in that guise with his son P. Forreal at Busboys and Poets, so that’s more than reason enough to mention it.
The Coney Island Rock n’ Roll Road Show delivers exactly what you’d expect: a full slate of rockabilly bands, performers eating fire or broken glass or lying on beds of nails, burlesque dancers and even a “caravan of curiosities.” Of course it’s at the Red Palace.
Friday, Dec. 2
The last time Cosmo Baker showed out at U Street Music Hall, he ripped an all-vinyl set of house classics, tearing through them at hip-hop pace. Genre-agnostic but style-devoted, Cosmo Baker is a chief party rocker, which is why he’s featured at U Hall proprietor Will Eastman’s birthday bash at Red Fridays, along with longtime fixture Sam “The Man” Burns.
Though Hamilton’s is only a block from the Capitol grounds, it’s far enough off the beaten path to be one of the better after-work spots in the neighborhood. Celebrate the bar’s fifth anniversary with a full day of specials, including $1 PBR cans, $3 Grand Marnier shots and $5 mixed drinks, beginning at 11 a.m. Stick around for a PBR can sculpture contest from 5 to 9 (with a $100 grand prize) and dance tunes spun by DJs Sharkey and Trevor Martin.
Saturday, Dec. 3
Just in time for the holidays, the envelope-pushing Crack variety show is back at Town. This time, the cast explores high school through song, skits, dance routines and audience-participation games, but we don’t think it will look anything like “Glee.” If you miss the Saturday night show, the drag queens will return Sunday afternoon.
Sunday, Dec. 4
Huntsville, Ala., rap duo G-Side continues to make some of the best hip-hop around, drawing on both psychedelic and soulful sounds and samples while keeping its Southern rap bonafides. New album “iSLAND” follows last year’s excellent “The One … Cohesive.” The band is at DC9.
Monday, Dec. 5
It’s an old-school TeenBeat Records night at Galaxy Hut, as singer-songwriter Tracy Shedd teams with Talk It, featuring alumni from ’90s indie rock favorites Eggs.