Sure, the French rock group Jamaica has huge, singalong hooks and dance-floor-friendly retro grooves. But it also has a secret love of headbanging rock, which comes out when you’d least expect it. (Say, the half-timing riffage that erupts after the chorus of the single “Short and Entertaining,” which otherwise bears a passing resemblance to Phoenix’s driving “1901.”) As the latest act out of the endlessly trendy Parisian label Kitsune, Jamaica is swathed in hype. Find out whether it’s worth it when the group performs live at U Street Music Hall this week, with openers Via Audio and local DJ Philip Goyette.
We’ve gotten some flack about writing and tweeting about the return of National Bohemian Beer to D.C. taps. We realize there are some people out there who don’t think Natty Boh is a good beer. But we can all agree that Charm City makes some truly great beers, and the proof will be on tap at Meridian Pint during “ A Celebration of the Beer of Baltimore .” Nineteen of the Pint’s 24 taps will be turned over to beers made by the Brewer’s Art, Oliver or Stillwater breweries, including a handful of collaborations among the three. (For the record, we’re really psyched about being able to get drafts of Brewer’s Art Ozzy, Green Peppercorn Tripel, Resurrection and the Stillwater-collab Débutante.) Oliver gets 10 drafts, including its Stillwater collaboration Channel Crossing #3, while Stillwater itself gets a trio of taps. And then there are another three casks, including a version of Oliver’s seasonal Jacob’s Winter Celebration aged in Beaujolais Nouveau barrels and the new MP2, which Meridian Pint’s Sam Fitz brewed up at Oliver. Get there early or go home disappointed. Doors open at 5.
If you don’t have tickets, you missed your chance to see Toro y Moi Thursday night at the Rock & Roll Hotel. But you’re not entirely out of luck: Chaz Bundick - who has risen through the haze of electro-pop acts that have taken hold of the indie underground - and his band will stop by Sweetgreen in Logan Circle to perform a free midday set. (The Sweetgreen folks are bringing you next month’s Sweetlife Festival with the Strokes, Girl Talk and more.) Tell your boss you’re taking a long lunch.
The Park has become one of the area’s strongest venues for live soul and R&B music this year, thanks to packed “unplugged” performances by Bilal, Jaguar Wright and Teedra Moses. This week, it’s Angie Stone ’s turn. We haven’t heard much from the honey-voiced soul singer since “Baby” was climbing the charts back in 2007, but Stone has some of the best pipes in the game. She’s performing toward the end of happy hour, which runs from 5 to 8 and includes $5 cocktails. (Later on that night is a joint birthday party for the Wizards’ Josh Howard and Joe Haden.)
There are plenty of reasons to attend the third Moombahton Massive . It features a collection of many of the slow-rhythm genre’s top DJs. It’s a benefit for Munchi, who spun at Moombahton Massive 2 and since suffered a brain injury and has incurred serious medical expenses — all of this show’s proceeds will go toward that cause. And it’s at U Hall, so the show can take full advantage of the sound system’s otherworldly bass capabilities. And the mother of headliner and genre creator Dave Nada is selling homemade empanadas. Two for $5. You can’t beat that.
Do your friends drag you to karaoke nights where people drunkenly belt out Journey and Britney Spears? Then Hip-Hop Karaoke at Liv is for you. Practice your favorite MC’s stage prowl, multi-syllabic rhyme bursts and rap hands technique, then sign up to rock with a hype man and a DJ armed with a gang of classic hip-hop instrumentals. Whether you love Redman or Raekwon, Missy Elliott or MC Lyte, you can live out your rap star glory, just as long as you get on the list when Liv opens at 8 p.m.
This event should have been called “Nellie Comes to Nellie’s.” Nellie’s Sports Bar is hosting a book-signing party for Alison Arngrim , the actress who played the bratty, occasionally nasty Nellie Oleson on the “Little House on the Prairie” TV show. (Who needs a reminder?) Arngrim became an AIDS activist after Steve Tracy, who played her TV husband, died of the disease in 1986. Arngrim’s memoir, “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch,” details her life as a child actor and abuse survivor, and she’ll sign it and chat about her work during a special happy hour beginning at 6 p.m. (Don’t forget: House beers and rail drinks are $1 from 5 to 6, $2 from 6 to 7 and $3 until 8.)
For the past year, stickers and T-shirts sporting DC Brau’s Capitol dome logo have become a regular sight at beer bars and street festivals. The start-up brewery has had a great marketing campaign, but what has been missing is the actual beer. Finally, the wait is over: For the first time since 1956, Washington has its own brewery capable of producing enough beer to sell at bars across the city. Get your first taste of Public, an American-style pale ale, at Meridian Pint during Friday’s “tax-relief day” release party. Pints will be $4 from 5 to 8 and $5 after, and the DC Brau owners will be on hand to give away commemorative swag. (If you can’t make it out Friday night, Meridian Pint will be the only place in Washington selling DC Brau beer until Monday, when it launches citywide.)
When Fritz interviewed Eric Jao back in 2003, the Virginia-based DJ was working full time in IT and grinding at local clubs on the weekends. Then Jao - a.k.a. DJ Enferno - won the DMC American DJ hampionships and went on to the world championships, where he finished second. His career was launched, and Enferno now works as Madonna’s tour DJ when he’s not headlining his own club shows. In a nice twist, he’s the special guest at U Street Music Hall this Friday, where Enferno-wannabes will be competing in the DMC American Battlegroun regionals for a spot in the U.S. DJ Championships in New York City. Come down to cheer on the next generation of DJs at the free contest, then stick around for an exhibition in cutting and scratching.
Waka! Flocka! Waka! Flocka! Forget nimble wordplay and clever rhymes -- Waka Flocka Flame , rap’s most recent breakout star, succeeds thanks to blunt force and repetition. The frenzied shouts of his own name that populate the background of basically every one of his songs have turned into the genre’s most anthemic form of self-promotion since the roars of “Wu! Tang!” decades ago, and the blazing beats provided by up-and-coming producer Lex Luger make his songs sounds larger than life. Who knows exactly what time he’ll hit the stage Friday at DC Star -- it will be sometime before 4 a.m., is all we know -- but if energy in the club is flagging, expect that to change the minute Waka bounds on stage.
The International Soul Society wraps up a week of urban arts, movement and music (of which Friday’s DMC battle was a part) with their main dance battles as well as film screenings at Artisphere. The organizers of this festival are longtime cultivators of DC’s street dance scene, so everything from house styles, to popping to breaking will be represented. With multiple generations, countries of origin and disciplines involved, the battles and cyphers will be cooking all afternoon and all night. Check the schedule for specific battle times.
Four years in, That ’80s Prom is as strong as ever. What’s the appeal? Crowds of girls in froofy taffeta ’80s prom dresses and guys in skinny ties and vests over T-shirts bopping around to a VJ spinning ’80s Top 40 hits and a set by costumed cover band Hair Raid. Throw in souvenir Polaroid photos, Rubik’s Cube contests, prizes for the best outfits and free retro candy (Pop Rocks! Fun Dip!), and you’ve got quite a night on your hands. Tickets are $17.50 in advance, which includes free beer from 8 to 9 and discounted drinks the rest of the night.
Danielson ’s gospel-inspired, falsetto-heavy indie pop songs may seem a bit gimmicky, but frontman Daniel Smith and a rotating cast of “family” members have been releasing music for the better part of two decades now, which is long as some buzz bands have been alive. Smith’s act is highly conceptual, but he still pays enough attention to songcraft to keep things interesting. Local Benjy Ferree, who hasn’t been heard from in a year or so, opens at Red Palace.
If you’re going to name your band K-Holes — search it in urban dictionary or ask your delinquent cousin if you don’t know — you better make some foreboding music. And that’s exactly what K-Holes create with their swirling post-punk maelstrom, which sounds like a descent into the depths from which random howls, blasts of saxophone and pounding percussion claw their way to the surface. The similarly threatening AIDS Wolf opens the show at Comet Ping-Pong. Be frightened.
On the other end of the spectrum you have the glorious sounds of Sharon Van Etten over at the Red Palace. She’s no stranger to D.C., having played here a handful of times over the past year. You will certainly see many of the same faces in the crowd because it’s hard to pass up a chance to hear her heartbreaking tunes that do the very rare magic trick of making a D.C. crowd stand in enraptured silence. With a full-band, the weeping guitar lines and loping bass serve as perfect enhancements to Van Etten’s crystal clear voice. Pro tip: Looking for a date idea? This show is it.