This week we welcome a few of our favorite summer traditions — D.C. Caribbean Carnival and the start of the Fort Reno concert series. This week also marks the ninth anniversary of DC Soundclash, the go-to DJ night for classic Jamaican sounds; maybe stop by after checking out Going Out Guide’s free Reggae Night concert at Carter Barron. And [Expletive] Up have one of the year’s best albums in “David Comes to Life,” so it only makes sense that the group’s Monday show at Rock & Roll Hotel will be one of the year’s best.
You never know what’s going to happen at the DC Variety Show at the Red Palace. Sword swallowers? Burlesque dancers? Comedians? Magicians? It’s worth your $10 to be entertained for the night, for sure. And while you’re at the Palace, grab a drink and wander outside to check out the newly expanded back patio.
Wednesday looks like it’s going to be the hottest day of the week -- a perfect time for a rooftop party with Brazilian jazz, Latin snacks and tropical drinks. Local group Origem performs on the lush nightclub roof deck at Eden as a fundraiser for the Institute for Responsible Leadership, a nonprofit group that offers leadership training for African American students. Tickets are $25 in advance; the event runs from 6:30 to 9:30. (Advance tickets are available from http://sambaysangria.eventbrite.com)
There’s a lot of mutual respect and admiration in D.C.’s DJ scene, so
when a bunch of them get together, they’re often entertaining each other as much as they’re moving the crowd. A subset of affiliated D.C. vets calling themselves the Diamond Cutterz will be sessioning in the booth at U Street Music Hall, blasting off from hip-hop to parts unknown for an evening called the Go-Round. All the names should be familiar: Roddy Rod, 2-Tone Jones, Quartermaine, Face, Cuzzin B and Steve Swann.
Rocker John Thornley (U.S. Royalty) and DJ Philippe Cherit (Fatback) are joining forces again for a special summer solstice edition of their Que Sera dance night at Napoleon. Expect to hear the Stones, the Velvet Underground, garage rock, surf rock, yacht rock -- and get $5 St. Germain drinks while you’re at it. Doors open at 10, and there’s no cover.
Intern season is in full swing, and BlackFinn downtown is among those offering a warm welcome to our summer visitors: Every Thursday through Labor Day, “Intern Thursdays” means free drinks from 8 to 9, $5 drinks from 9 to midnight (your choice) and two $75 gift cards given away. There’s no cover -- just e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to get on the list. (As a nice gesture, anyone who’s on the list can bring an unlimited number of friends who aren’t.)
D.C. Caribbean Carnival is one of our favorite events of the year, but the celebrations extend well beyond Saturday’s parade on Georgia Avenue NW and the concerts at the festival grounds. There’s a whole weekend of parties, most of which feature singers and DJs who are expressly in town for carnival. Start your weekend off right with Friday’s all-day Hookie “Day Fete and Pool Party” at the Capitol Skyline Hotel. Call in sick and head down to the Skyline’s huge outdoor deck for DJs and tropical drinks. Admission is $20 in advance (more at the door) and includes an open bar from noon to 2 p.m. (Look, you’re not going back to the office. Just embrace it.)
Get in the mood for carnival’s opening by heading out to Flags Till Morning at the Hampton Conference Center in Capitol Heights on Friday night. Most of the weekend’s big acts are scheduled to appear, including Trinidadian soca dancehall king Iwer George, the Virgin Islands star Pumpa and New York-based soca singer Yankey Boy. Drinks are free from 10 to 11 p.m.
For nine years, the DC Soundclash at Marx Cafe has been the go-to spot for the lively, life-affirming sounds of classic ’60s Jamaican sounds — ska, rocksteady, dub and vintage reggae that keeps your head nodding all night long. The DJs are rabid vinyl collectors who know their stuff, and they keep a solid mix of the familiar (Prince Buster, the Skatalites, Jimmy Cliff) and tunes you’ve never heard but will want to hear again and again. Stop by the DJ booth to check out limited-edition mix CDs and souvenir pins, then head to the dance floor for the rest of the night. As an added birthday bonus, Room 11 bartender Dan Searing, who has just released a book dedicated to classic punch recipes, will be ladling up glasses of Jamaican rum punch for the event.
Michael Jackson may have been gone for two years, but local DJs continue to keep his memory and music alive at the aptly named Michael Jackson Is Still Alive at U Street Music Hall on Friday night. Expect rare cuts, remixes and party jams courtesy of Jerome Baker III, James Nasty, Mr. Bonkerzzz and the Simple Things team of Wally Jojo and the Space Agent. There’s no cover at the happy hour, which runs from 6:30 to 10, and drink specials will be offered.
“Beers, Queers and Rock and Roll” is the theme for the monthly Beat City party at Chief Ike’s Mambo Room’s Cosmo Lounge. The music runs the gamut from AC/DC to ZZ Top via Bloc Party, Joan Jett and Judas Priest. Admission is free. Pool is free. Pay $5 at the bar for either two cans of beer (PBR or Natty Boh) or a shot of Jim Beam and a can of beer. Your choice. If there’s a more awesomely divey gay party in the city, we’ve yet to find it. The fun begins at 9.
The most popular of our annual Going Out Guide Weekend concerts at Carter Barron Amphitheatre is always Reggae Night . The year’s show should pack it in again, with a lineup for Archives featuring Lenny Kurlou, Passion Reggae Band and Carl Malcolm & Positive Vibrations Band. Be sure to snag your free tickets at The Washington Post (1150 15th St. NW) starting at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, or at Carter Barron starting at noon.
Last week in this space we talked about a Saturday show at the 9:30 Club featuring the Feelies, a long-ago indie rock act that had reunited and released a stellar album that matched up favorably with the group’s revered early work. Deju vu. Dinosaur Jr. made glorious noise in the ’80s, led by the sludgy, slicing guitar work of frontman J Mascis. The group’s original lineup reformed in 2005, releasing two albums that captured all the bone-crushing power of their vintage work. The band’s show Saturday is a time to appreciate the past. The trio will perform 1989 powerhouse “Bug” in its entirety, which means you won’t want to miss the beginning of the set — “Freak Scene,” one of the most iconic songs in the indie rock canon. You’ll also want to get there early because the pre-show entertainment is unique — Dinosaur Jr. will sit down for an interview with punk-legend-turned-talk-show-host Henry Rollins. Weird but (we hope) cool.
We have to admit that we paused when we got an invite to a Donovan House rooftop pool party called “ Unknown Pleasures .” Joy Division is probably the last thing you want to listen to while drinking a beer poolside on a summer day, you know? But fear not: This is another dance party organized by Chris Price, of the local FFWD label, and he’s promising everything from Larry Levan to LCD Soundsystem for your listening pleasure. With no cover charge, happy hour drink specials and one of the best views in Washington, consider this house/post-punk/punk-funk party a must-do. Just get there early, because capacity is limited.
Bar patios aren’t just for people in the summer: Bring your favorite four-legged friend to a happy hour benefiting Lucky Dog Animal Rescue at Lou’s City Bar in Columbia Heights. All-day deals include $3 Leinenkugel Summer Shandys and $4 Flying Dog Old Scratch Ale, with 10 percent of all patio sales donated to the charity. (Not to be left out, dogs receive free water and treats while you hang out.)
Guitarist Vernon Reid has kept busy with an active creative journey
that extends beyond fronting Living Colour. Along with session work, solo releases and outside production, Reid has been exploring visual art and electronic music. He performs his work “Artificial Afrika” at the National Museum of African Art, blending digitally altered images with his own electronically manipulated guitar accompaniment. A Q&A follows the event, which begins at 6:30 p.m.
U Street Music Hall really spoils us. Drum and bass innovator LTJ Bukem came to the United States from the United Kingdom for the recent Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas. He figured that since he was over here, he might as well line up a couple of other gigs — literally two. And one happens to be at our jewel of an underground venue. Bukem is an extremely versatile DJ but mostly tends to spin stuff on the softer side of d’n’b, favoring jazzy samples and atmospheric breaks. He can still drop sinister tracks as well, and you can expect to hear many sides of the genre that he helped popularize.
After turning Saint-Ex’s tiny basement into a Rio-style throwdown and turning heads DJing at Eighteenth Street Lounge’s monthly Brazilian soiree, DJ Neal Becton is taking the Brazilian Rhythms dance party to the Capitol Skyline Hotel’s pool deck for Sunday’s big Dubsplash party . Sipping a caipirinha while wearing a swimsuit and dancing to samba, tropicalia and bossa nova sounds pretty perfect right about now. Doors open at noon, and the music runs until 8, weather permitting.
There are many unofficial starts to summer, but for us it’s when the Fort Reno season kicks off. So we say, forget the solstice, summer officially gets underway Monday. That’s when the local series starts with the metal mayhem of Beasts of No Nation, along with fellow locals Railsplitter and Valley Tours. As always, concerts start about 7 p.m. and wrap up by 9:30. Don’t even think about bringing bottles or anything illegal. But maybe bring a few extra bucks for the ice cream truck.
[Expletive] Up has long been one of the most entertaining live bands around -- just check out these photos from the band’s September gig at Rock & Roll Hotel. Now that the Toronto hardcore sextet has recorded its masterpiece -- the 18-song rock opera “David Comes to Life,” a non-stop 80-minute adrenaline rush filled with endless shout-along and air-guitar moments -- the live show should reach another level of intensity. Past shows at the Rock & Roll Hotel have been well attended but nowhere near sold out, giving massive frontman Damian Abraham plenty of room to roam. The universally positive reviews for “David Comes to Life” should mean a more packed club, which means it will be an especially up-close-and-personal evening with Abraham. Jeff the Brotherhood open at Rock & Roll Hotel.