Every Tuesday, the Going Out Guide staff highlights the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.
Tuesday, February 4
Beth Orton's career path has seen her lend her lush, expressive vocals to singles by big-beat DJs the Chemical Brothers, become the face of the "folktronica" movement that combined jazzy downtempo electronic with folkie melodies, and eventually scale back the trendy soundscapes in favor of singer-songwriter tunes. Her latest album, "Sugaring Season," finds her voice confidently sailing over peppy acoustic guitars and piano-driven ballads. She performs at Rams Head On Stage in Annapolis.
Snow forced the postponement of Mari Vanna's first anniversary party, and this makeup date should beat the storm forecast for later in the week. (Knock on wood.) Doors open at 9 p.m. for an off-kilter karaoke night that includes a free glass of champagne and a free slice of birthday cake. No reservations required.
Wednesday, February 5
If you’re reading this while eating lunch at your desk, you’re not alone: Surveys have found that between 20 and 30 percent of employees rarely take lunch breaks; a 2012 study by Right Management found 39 percent of workers didn’t leave their desks while taking a break. (You can guess that this is probably not a good thing for a variety of reasons.) But a new event at Penn Social wants to shake up our workaholic Washington ways. The Noondance party tries to bring a nightclub vibe to the daytime with DJ Lord Cashmore spinning the likes of Prince, Madonna, Rick James, the Rapture and Bruno Mars from noon to 1:30 p.m. Beer is available, but you’re not required to drink while hitting the dance floor or playing skee-ball or shuffleboard. Think of Noondance as a trip to the club without stressing about finding a late-night ride home, or a light aerobic workout without having to bring a change of clothes. Admission is $5 in advance and $7 at the door; an optional brown bag ticket provides entry and lunch for $12.
Ladysmith Black Mambazo's stirring, richly textured vocal harmonies have become the default sound of South African music for most westerners. Though the group sings primarily in Zulu, its hypnotic, rhythmic acapella passages are a lingua franca of world music. After more than four decades of performing, Ladysmith Black Mambazo shows no signs of slowing down: 2013 saw the group release yet another Grammy-nominated album, and plans for 2014 include two more albums, including a collection of American gospel songs. Don't miss this set at the Barns of Wolf Trap.
Thursday, February 6
On the 69th anniversary of Bob Marley’s birth, the Howard Theatre will sway to the pulse of the roots rhythm that he spread to the world. One of the top women in reggae for 30 years, Sister Carol has earned the sobriquet of “Mother Culture” for the conscious threads always woven into her music. To pay homage to the king of reggae, Sister Carol will be paired with the Itals. Local band the Arkives opens the show.
Friday, February 7
As a founding member of New Orleans’s beloved Cowboy Mouth, Paul Sanchez specialized in a vibrant fusion of roots rock and R&B that could tear the roof off any club. As a solo artist, he trades in witty, funky singer-songwriter material that leaps from his acoustic guitar. His poignant tales of the Crescent City find an appropriate home at the Cajun-themed Bayou in Foggy Bottom. But be warned: The small size of the bar means the show is expected to sell out in advance.
Our colleague David Malitz once perfectly described Pissed Jeans as " jarring, driving sludge rock that should appeal to fans of the Stooges, Flipper, Black Flag or really any band that makes you want to jump around and crash into stuff." Make sure you get to this Black Cat show early to catch the buzzed-about local foursome Priests, whose Bikini Kill-influenced punk has been turning heads.
On the first Friday of the month, the Maryland Live! Casino welcomes a retro cover band to its "80s Invasion" at the Rams Head Center Stage. Good to know, if you need your flashback fix, but not entirely groundbreaking. Except we're curious what will happen when February's chosen act, the Regal Beagles, is joined by DJ Biz Markie. Sure, Biz will be spinning before and after the band, but there has to be a live version of "Just a Friend" in the works, right? Either way, the night of free entertainment might be worth the drive to Arundel Mills.
Saturday, February 8
The last time Holy Ghost! visited U Street Music Hall, it was 2010, and they were performing their seductive, groove-filled electro-disco as a three-piece live band. (Shortly thereafter, the critically acclaimed group found itself big enough to play the Identity Festival and headline the 9:30 Club.) This weekend, though, Holy Ghost! founders Alex Frankel and Nick Millhiser are occupying the DJ booth, not the stage. You might hear some tracks from last year's "Dynamics" album, but we'd expect more deep-bass and indie-house tracks akin to what the duo has remixed over the last few years, such as LCD Soundsystem, Donna Summer or RAC. Opening is Cut Copy bassist Ben Browning; his band's hit "Hearts on Fire" was remixed by Holy Ghost! back in 2007. Anyone 21 or older gets in free before 11 p.m.; it's $12 after that.
Sunday, February 9
It’s hard to believe that DC9 is a decade old. The scrappy little club near Ninth and U streets faced challenges over the years, but it enters its second decade stronger than ever, thanks to a rooftop deck, improved sound and a wide-ranging booking policy that means lucky fans can boast about having seen Cold War Kids and the xx there years before they were selling out much bigger venues. A full week of 10th anniversary events kicks off Sunday with a night of certified D.C. rock stars. Regents is a hard-core band featuring ex-members of Frodus, Battery and Sleepytime Trio; J. Robbins was the frontman for mid-1990s heavyweights Jawbox before founding Burning Airlines and Channels; Title Tracks is led by singer/guitarist John Davis, formerly of Q and Not U and Georgie James. Subsequent shows are headlined by Chain and the Gang, Justin Jones and Dead Meadow before wrapping up Saturday with a reunion of the wildly popular Nouveau Riche DJ night.