Memorial Day is over. You’re back at the daily grind. If you spent the holiday at the beach, you wish you were still there. If you didn’t, you’re tired — read: jealous — of hearing your co-workers talk about it and wish you could have gone. Here’s the compromise: Head to VitaminWater Uncapped Live, the Brightest Young Things pop-up gallery/event space on 14th Street NW, for a midweek beach party. Marvin’s Neville C. and other DJs will be spinning surf rock, reggae and tropicalia for your dancing pleasure while classic surfing and beach-bunny films are projected on the walls and We, the Pizza hands out free food. Entry is free, though there will be raffles to raise money for the Surfrider Foundation, a nonprofit group that works for cleaner water and shorlines.
Aloe Blacc excitedly jumped into hip-hop while still in his teens, and he immediately made a splash with partner DJ Exile. Since those days of ‘90s underground hip-hop, he became a progressive Left Coast MC and added soul and electronic excursions to his straight boom-bap. Then he reinvented himself as the son of Al Green and became a throwback soul star. He brings his Mos Def-meets-Stax Records style at Rock & Roll Hotel.
Detroit can claim to be an original hub for two very different forms of music: garage rock and techno. The Dirtbombs have kicked out the garage rock jams for a few decades, but that doesn't mean they aren't fans of their hometown's other signature sound. On the recent "Party Store," the Dirtbombs pay tribute with a full album of Motor City techno classics given the garage rock treatment. Hear it burst to life at Rock & Roll Hotel.
Youth of Today roared out of the New York City hard-core scene in the mid-1980s, with buzz-saw guitars, neck-snapping tempo changes and an uncompromising message: Drugs and promiscuity are wrong. Going vegetarian is morally correct. You’re responsible for your own decisions. There are no gray areas. (The band’s debut was on a label called “Positive Force.”) Vocalist Ray Cappo, a.k.a. “Ray of Today,” went beyond mere sloganeering, though, espousing a clean-living, straight-edge lifestyle that influenced countless skaters, punk fans and bands drawn in by the energetic music and positive vibes, plus the fraternalistic all-ages shows. The band broke up in 1990, but its influence didn’t wane as the members joined other influential acts: Cappo formed the Hare Krishna hard-core band Shelter; guitarist John Porcelly played in Judge and then Shelter; bassist Walter Schreifels joined Gorilla Biscuits. Cappo and Porcelly reformed the not-so-young Youth of Today for a 2010 reunion tour, and the new lineup finds itself at U Street Music Hall this Friday. Just like the old days, it’s a daytime matinee (5 p.m. doors) for an all-ages crowd. Mid-’90s straight-edge band Mouthpiece, Give and Mob Mentality open at U Street Music Hall.
We’re not quite sure what to expect from the "inaugural" Sweet Tea Pumpkin Pie Festival , and we’re not sure there will be another one. But you have to admire the organizers' ambition. On Friday and Saturday an advertised 100-plus bands will perform at six U Street-area venues. Unless you pay very, very close attention to the local scene, you probably won’t recognize too many names -- none of these bands would get 9:30 Club or Black Cat headlining status. All the performances are free and at off-the-beaten-path venues such as Bella, Ghion, Queen Makeda, Dukem, Almaz and 1920. Shows run from noon to midnight both days, and since they are all free, you can wander around as much as you want.
The Barracudas weren’t much more than a minor blip on the U.K. pop radar screen during the early-’80s, and were best known for their early songs: “Summer Fun,” “Subway Surfin’,” “Surfers Are Back,” “I Wish It Could Be 1965 Again” — you get the idea. The songs were appropriately sunny and groovy, with the right amount of both garage rock punch and summery jangle. Maybe it was just convenient scheduling, but having the reunited surf-punk minor stars play in the District at the start of June — as we prepare for three months of hot, sticky weather — sure works out well. Bathing suits optional, but appropriate at Comet Ping Pong.
D.C. Rapper Wale is receiving plenty of attention lately for joining Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group, particularly for his scene-stealing appearances on the crew’s recent “Self Made, Vol. 1” compilation. But he’s also the head of his own entourage, the Board of Administration. One of his most promising proteges is Black Cobain , a Virginia rapper with a Nirvana-loving name and a relaxed-yet-confident rapping style. Cobain showed plenty of promise on “Now,” his 2010 debut mixtape, and looks to up the ante with the new “Young, Gifted and Black.” Tuesday’s show at U Street Music Hall serves as the official release party for the collection, and both Wale and Cobain will take the stage.
Current popular music is all about getting your party on in the club, but at lots of clubs, folks aren’t actually partying. They have their bottle service and they’re posing and preening, but they're not actually partying, despite the pounding command to do so from the pumping music. Not at Good Life Tuesdays. It’s an out of the ordinary, early-week balance between flossing and going nuts on the dance floor. After a Good Life session with Jerome Baker III at Recess, you can pretty much chill on the weekend.