Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.
Wednesday, July 24
If your knowledge of English beer extends no further than Bass, Boddingtons and Newcastle, you're in for an awesome awakening at ChurchKey this week. There are about three dozen microbreweries in London alone, and boring ales are being left in the dust up and down the country. A "British Invasion" night at ChurchKey shows off 26 new imports to the states on draft and cask, including Derbyshire's Buxton, West Yorkshire's Magic Rock, and East London's Brodie's. (They're easy to drink, too: Buxton Moor Top, a citrusy, hoppy pale ale, is a staple at a number of London's better beer bars and checks in at a whopping 3.6 percent alcohol.) Also, traditionalists will find beers from Conniston, Adnams and Hook Norton. (The full list is on ChurchKey's Facebook page.) All beers will be available as four-ounce pours or as pints once you find something you like.
After five albums, Mastodon are among the biggest heavy metal bands in the world -- and deservedly so. A group that's happy to kick down the genre's boundaries while playing dark, intricately textured rock, Mastodon's music is also perfect for summer arenas. They bring the metal down like Thor's hammer alongside Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Machinehead and others at the day-long multi-stage Mayhem Festival at Jiffy Lube Live.
Casuarina reps Rio de Janeiro and the choro music that originated there, as well as the modern wave of samba musicians. A relative of samba, choro puts more emphasis on instrumental virtuosity and has sometimes been referred to as the classical music of Brazil. Casuarina stops at Tropicalia for its stateside tour, supported by Washington's own Cissa Paz.
Thursday, July 25
We've written about the number of opportunities to combine geekiness and nightlife in D.C., and now the Smithsonian is elbowing its way into the act with Yuri's Night at the Smithsonian at the S. Dillon Ripley Center. It seems odd to celebrate the 52nd anniversary of Yuri Gagarin's orbit of the Earth and the 44th anniversary of the moon landing, as neither is the big round number that grabs people's attention. (Also, Yuri's Night, the worldwide celebration of Gagarin's flight, is in April.) But no matter: The people dying to go to this event are into space exploration and science, and they'll get their fill. Activities include talks about space tech from the people behind the SpaceUp DC conference, a space costume contest and chances to collect microbes for the International Space Station and to view enormous, detailed GigaPan images of a space shuttle. Throw in a silent disco (remember, space is a vacuum) with DJs from the One Love Massive, dance performances and cocktails, and you've got one nerdy night. Tickets are cheaper if you buy them in advance.
As the Right Proper Brew Pub gets closer to opening in Shaw, its owners are rolling out preview beers made with other brewpubs. The first is called Brimstone and Clover, an herbed saison brewed with Baltimore's Brewer's Art. It will start showing up around town this week, but the tapping party at Birreria Paradiso includes half-price drafts from 5 to 7 p.m., and the chance to try four other Brewer's Art beers for 50 percent off.
Friday, July 26
Marlee in the Mixx is one of U Street's best kept secrets, even though the band is hard to miss. From its perch in the front window of Indulj, the band and its high energy sets pull passersby off the street. With nine members no older than 23, the band deftly handles covers of everything from Teena Marie to Kendrick Lamar, as well as a solid repertoire of originals. U Street is a bustling boulevard of a new D.C., and Marlee in the Mixx fits into the new cosmopolitan vibe; the band also is a throwback to the era of live performers woodshedding nightly to perfect a unique sound. Marlee opened for Big K.R.I.T. at the Fillmore last year, so catch the band before it's consistently filling big venues. They play two extended sets between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Local cello-and-guitar duo Janel and Anthony occupy the middle of a unique Venn diagram, where the circles include free jazz, world music, electronic and soaring indie guitar. You may hear a scorching surf guitar solo over a hypnotic riff of plucked cello strings, or a hazy, Indian-inspired drone topped by bleeps and noise. Though primarily instrumental, this isn't ambient background noise. You'll find yourself drawn in anew with each song. Janel and Anthony perform a free concert from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Silver Spring's BioWall Plaza, an multimedia outdoor performance space. (It's on Cameron Street between Spring and Fenton, about a block north of the Fillmore concert hall.) In case of rain, the band will perform Saturday from 4:30 to 6 p.m.
The new album from Future Bible Heroes finds Stephen Merritt, the indie-pop genius behind the Magnetic Fields, offering wry lyrics about partyhopping and heartbreak over breezy nu-disco beats. It's essential listening for fans of "69 Love Songs," and don't be surprised if this Black Cat show sells out.
CLARIFICATION: According to the Future Bible Heroes twitter feed, Merritt will only be appearing at two shows on this tour, in Boston and New York, and only performing two solo songs at each concert.
The buzz around Daft Punk has never been higher, as anyone who braved lines for the "Random Access Memories" listening parties can tell you. U Street Music Hall co-owner and Bliss DJ Will Eastman calls Daft Punk "the cornerstone of the music that I love." He and DJ Ozker are spinning a night of Daft Punk and similar artists (LCD Soundsystem to Classixx) at the club to raise money for Project Create, a charity that provides arts education to at-risk youth in D.C.
You don't find many places selling shots of Redemption Rye or Temptation Bourbon for 90 cents these days. In fact, we can't think of any – other than 201 Bar on Friday night. With the August congressional recess right around the corner, the Capitol Hill bar will be throwing an all-'90s dance party with a DJ and drink specials. (Conveniently, there are no votes scheduled in the House on Friday.) It kicks off with 90-cent whiskey from 9 to 9:30 p.m. and includes $3 wine, $4 glasses of bourbon and $14 buckets of Goose Island Summertime kolsch for the rest of the night.
E.U.'s fanbase is one of the broadest in Washington, encompassing those who remember when "Da Butt" was a cultural phenomenon as well as a newer generation that might have never seen "School Daze" but know there's something special in E.U.'s funky go-go. Singer and bandleader Gregory “Sugar Bear” Elliott is celebrating his birthday this weekend with a party that promises to bring together two of the genre's most popular bands -- E.U. and Rare Essence -- with a slew of guest musicians and rappers at the Best Western Hotel ballroom in Lanham. (Dress to impress is the rule.) Tickets are $15 in advance and might be much more at the door.
Saturday, July 27
Haven’t been going to many concerts lately? Thankfully, the 9:30 Club offers a one-night primer of Bands You Should Know on the local scene: The heavy post-rock soundscapes of Black Clouds, the fuzzy, tuneful garage-meets-surf rock of Shark Week, and thrash metal kings Warchild top a six-band bill at Washington’s top club. This will allegedly be Warchild's final show, which should be reason enough to go.
Few producers craft burbling, thumping electro-disco as finely as Tiga, the Canadian producer and DJ whose discography is littered with certified club hits: "Burning Down," "Pleasure From the Bass" and crowd-pleasing covers of "Hot in Herre" and "Sunglasses at Night." He's also responsible for memorable remixes of the Scissor Sisters, LCD Soundsystem and Justice, among others, and his BBC 6Music mixes are guides to some of the planet's best dance tracks. He's finally making his first appearance at U Street Music Hall. It will be worth the wait.
The Drink the District beer festival returns to Shaw this weekend, with 50 beers and 10 food trucks one a one-block stretch of New York Avenue near the Convention Center. It'll be crowded, a little bro-y, and you'll wonder why people are gathering around the PBR and Shocktop stands. But the combination of unlimited outdoor drinking and games for three hours for $35 is just too good for many people to pass up. There will be afternoon and evening sessions on Saturday and Sunday, so check the forecast before purchasing, but don't wait too long, or the tickets will sell out. (Get them from the Drink the District Web site.)
The grown folks strike again with event collective Adrinkwithfriend's new party. Known for breaking in spots around town before they blow up, the group's Sugar Baby party lands at Black Whiskey for a night of funk, soul, classic hip-hop and R&B for folks who know how to wear pants properly. DJ Jahsonic is on the mix, specialty whiskey cocktails are on the menu and the food trucks will be on the block.
Sunday, July 28
If you miss seeing one of the world's biggest bands, you can usually say, "Oh, I'll catch them next time they’re in town." Not so with New Order. The trailbrazing new wave band's current tour, which features three of the four original members, brings them to the D.C. area for the first time since a gig at Merriweather Post Pavilion in August 1993. If you miss this one ...