Thursday: If Girl Talk is the Michael Jordan of mashups, maybe that makes the Hood Internet something like Charles Barkley. Girl Talk is the undisputed champion of the style, hogging all the glory and festival headlining gigs, while the Hood Internet is left to wonder what it might be if it didn’t exist at the same time as the genre’s biggest star. Not that the Hood Internet is hurting for fans who go wild for the duo’s hip-hop-meets-top-40-meets-indie-rock-meets-whatever creations that are the soundtrack to sweaty nights in the club. It’s a gimmick, sure, but one that Hood Internet has down to a science. Capital Cities and Magic Man open the 18-and-older show.
Thursday: When Nikki Giovani compiled “The 100 Best African American Poems,” she included the popular selections you might remember from school — Gwendolyn Brooks’s “We Real Cool,” Langston Hughes’s “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” But there are some names that aren’t quite as well-known, including Washington resident Truth Thomas’s “Harriet Tubman’s Letter 2 Master.” Tackling topics from peace in the Middle East to African American history to the homeless sleeping on your block, Thomas’s deft lyricism shows his history in music (he recorded as Glenn Edward Thomas for Capitol Records in the ‘80s) and a sharp, reflexive wit. This month Thomas is the featured poet at Busboys and Poets’ Nine on the Ninth poetry series, with host Derrick Weston Brown. (If you’d like to read your own poetry, the open-mike signup begins at 8:30 p.m.) Because of the popularity of these events, tickets go on sale Thursday morning, and you need to arrive early to get a good seat.
Saturday: There are few more stalwart, respected figures in American underground rock music than Calvin Johnson. What Ian MacKaye is to D.C., Johnson is to the Pacific Northwest — founding an iconic label (K Records), fronting a never-ending string of standout bands (Beat Happening, Dub Narcotic Sound System, Halo Benders), providing a moral compass for an entire scene. No matter the band, Johnson’s playful baritone and showmanship have a way of making his shows consistently loose with a carefree, party atmosphere. This visit to D.C. takes Johnson to a surprising location — Adams Morgan clothing store Meeps — on a tour to celebrate the music issue of every post-grad intellectual’s favorite lit mag, the Believer.
Saturday: When future critics assess this era of modern popular music, the crossover between electronic dance music and hip-hop probably will be a prominent focus. Hot rappers grab electronic producers for tracks. Electronic acts feature cameos by underground MCs. Rappers have to rhyme over slow trap beats and 130-beats-per-minute dance bangers. By the time these hybrids filter into the mainstream, they’re already several generations behind their DIY, Internet and regional-scene origins. Trillectro is a new Washington music festival created to highlight all of this, with musical acts, artists, vendors and DJs. The 12-hour line-up is as impressive as it is ambitious. Some of the homegrown talents include Nouveau Riche, Tittsworth and DJ Underdog. Welcomed guests include leading moombahnista Dave Heartbreak and rapper Schoolboy Q. The festival will take over the entirety of Fairgrounds, the venue near Nats Park and the Navy Yard Metro.
Sunday: When Gold Leaf Studios closed to make way for a condo development earlier this year, we were deprived of one of the city’s finest small-scale cultural institutions: the no-frills listening parties of the DC Jazz Loft , an intimate event that featured everything from traditional to free jazz in the same night, delivered to fans who sat on folding chairs or, more likely, the floor. The regular series is set to return next month at Montserrat House, but first, there’s a one-off show at the Hole in the Sky arts space with young lions the Braxton Cook Quartet, Steve Synk and PH Balance, and the 33 1/3 trio.
Need more ideas? There are 10 after the jump.
Friday, Aug. 10
Leading go-go curator Kato Hammond has been documenting the music since the early days, and his Web site, TMOTTGoGo, was one of the entities that helped it find a foothold in the Internet age. He’s hosting a happy hour at Liv to gather many of the scene’s contributors for fellowship. DJ Terry Tyler will be digging deep in the crates for rare go-go grooves.
When it comes to classic sad-sack indie rock, few bands are as successfully self-loathing as Sebadoh . Get a double dose at the Black Cat, as the band’s principal songwriter, Lou Barlow, is also an opening act.
After years of collaborating with the likes of Evolution and Oliver Ales, D.C.’s own 3 Stars Brewing Company is finally putting three of its beers on local taps. They’ll have multiple events at D.C. beer bars the next few weeks, including a grand debut at ChurchKey this Thursday night. We suspect, however, that the party at the Big Hunt the following night will be even more fun. It’s a homecoming of sorts for Coleman, who was the bar’s beer director before following his dream of brewing. You’ll be able to try all three beers on draft and cask, beginning at 5 p.m.
The drinking-from-a-firehose experience that is modern digital music consumption is slowly sounding the death knell for the art of liner notes. Triple-threat performer Paige Hernandez brings to life a piece of musical theater called Liner Notes that explores the relationship that fans have with the treasure trove of information on a record’s packaging. The show debuts for two nights only at the Atlas on H Street.
Comet Ping Pong goes avant garde this Friday night, hosting three happily out-there acts. Headlining is Diamond Terrifier , the solo saxophone-plus-electronics project of Sam Hillmer, best known for his work with Brooklyn band Zs. Locals Anthony Pirog & Michael Colton and Pilesar also perform.
Classic rock that we have a serious soft spot for — the Steve Miller Band . Oh, like you’re not singing along when “The Joker” or “Take the Money and Run” comes on the radio. Seems like we’re not alone in our fondness as the road warrior plays not one, but two shows at Wolf Trap on Friday and Saturday.
Saturday, Aug. 11
In the fast-moving world of themed dance parties, the ’80s and ’90s have already been eclipsed by nostalgia for the first decade of the new century. (Seriously, didn’t it end only two years ago?) DJs Will Eastman and Brian Billion, who regularly sell out the 9:30 Club with the all-’90s “No Scrubs” party, are dusting off their Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake, Lil Jon and Nelly records for Hot in Herre .
DC Sail’s annual Cantina Cup regatta takes place on the Potomac on Saturday, and even if you don’t know your fore from your aft, you can head over to Cantina Marina for the dockside after-party. (Seriously, it’s one of the best sunsets in town.) The $20 admission includes live music, dancing and, most important, four rum drinks from sponsor Mount Gay, beginning at 5 p.m.
Break out your taffeta and satin prom dresses and powder blue tuxedos, because it’s time for Derby Prom. The Red Derby’s annual retro-fun-fest has a cheap-date theme, cheap beer and shots (of course), plenty of slow -dance opportunities and a photographer to capture all of the magic. Doors open at 8 p.m., and there’s no cover.
Steve Miller Band at Wolf Trap (see Friday listing)
Sunday, Aug. 12
In 2009, Real Estate was an opening band at the Black Cat’s backstage. Three years and two albums of gorgeous, jangling pop later, the New Jersey band is headlining the 9:30 Club. It’s a well-earned rise for a band that excels at both songwriting and owning its own aesthetic.