Weekend Recs: A Live Music Road Map

by Borderstan.com August 20, 2010 at 9:13 am 7,196 6 Comments

U Street NW Borderstan

The U Street corridor is home to numerous clubs with live music. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Danny Shapiro

The weekend is upon us. [exhale] And, for those of us who are braving the heat and staying in the District for all its urban glory, there’s actually a lot of great live music to see–especially on the 14th and U corridor.

So, without further ado, here are the weekend’s top picks, if one were to embark on three nights of nonstop melodic mayhem. (Remember to check out Borderstan’s weekly local music listings.)

Friday Night, August 20

Jazz Crawl on the 14th & U Streets Corridor. What better way to end the week than with a ‘pub crawl’ through the best selection of DC’s jazz venues–right at our doorstep!? Starting at 14th & Q, check out the first set of the Antonio Parker Quartet at HR-57.

Once the appetite has been whet, head back up to U Street to continue along the evening’s upward trajectory. Grab your favorite drink at Utopia (U Street between 14th and 15th) and enjoy the artistic ambiance while listening to their superb resident Friday night band.

Head on down the 1300-1400 blocks of U and stop by the downstairs Cafe Nema for some local jazz flair and always affable staff, then head up to Twins Jazz for Alan Carr, a jazz saxophone legend in the making. The crawl continues as you join the festivities at Indulj, whose consistent offerings of high quality jazz and vocal talent warrant its steady flow of neighborhood supporters.

Finally, head over to Bohemian Caverns for the final act of the late show Tribute to Nina Simone and Miriam Makeba, two legends whose very existence and influence on musical history have helped forge U Street into the musical landmark it is today. Friday night… complete.

Saturday Night, August 21

We’re Going Back to the ’90s! The Mighty Mighty Bosstones at the 930 Club. Oh, if just for the nostalgia of reliving the 1995 Alicia Silverstone classic film Clueless, head over to the 930 Club and partake in what will surely be a feverish Saturday night. Who can forget those blaring trumpets at the start of the hit, “The Impression That I Get,” or even the impression I get of seeing Alicia and Brittany Murphy dancing around the ever-stylish lead singer Dicky Barrett’s larger-than-life charisma and vocal prowess? Their 2009 return-to-form release, ‘Pin Points and Gin Joints’ will surely be on spotlight throughout the night’s set, but who can resist the urge to return to our high school glory days?

Saturday Night, August 21

Hip Hop and R&B Groove for a Good Cause: Tamika Jones, Flex Mathews (to benefit Street Sense) at the Black Cat. Give your feet a rest on Saturday night. Stay in one spot for what will no doubt be a great performance of soaring R&B vocals, inspired rhymes–and a crowd that shows support to not only musical talent but also for DC’s homeless population who pour their heart and soul into the creation and sale of the newspaper Street Sense.

A quick jump over to the MySpace pages of Tamika Jones and Flex Mathews will pique the interest of any dubious and wavering Borderstan readers.

Saturday Night, August 21

Two Bands Reshuffle Into One, Talent Emerges–Admiral Radley (Members of Earlimart and Grandaddy), Hooray for Earth at DC9. I’ve been a fan of the bands Earlimart and Grandaddy for a few years now, but have obviously been off the radar screen since the formation of Admiral Radley, the rock group consisting of members of both aforementioned bands. Now that I’m caught up on this fortuitous pairing, be sure to check out their show at DC9; tickets are still available online. Their upbeat, dreamy, indie pop vocals will leave you humming all the way through the inevitable U Street jumbo slice walk on your way to bed.

Sunday Night, August 22

Get Your Ska On! The English Beat & Bad Manners w/ Chris Murray at the 930 Club. If you wake up every morning in search of the ultimate tour pairing of two 1980s British revival 2-Tone and Ska elite artists, then I am happy to say that your prayers have finally been answered. Check out The English Beat (or, ‘The Beat,’ as they were known in their heyday in the United Kingdom) and Bad Manners to effuse any 11th-hour remaining weekend buzz before that Monday morning alarm bell goes off.

Sunday Night, August 22

If You’re Feeling Adventurous: Juliette Lewis, Dearly Beloved, Jacob Michael (U.S. Royalty) DJ Set at the Rock & Roll Hotel. For those avid rock fans in search of something else, do not pass up the opportunity to see the rock goddess (of Natural Born Killers fame) Juliette Lewis. Why not make it an all-90s movie reinvention weekend and see this unabashedly no-holds-barred musician (and sometimes actress)? The pure energy, raw rock talent, and diehard fans will leave you ready to take on anything… even a Monday morning in the office.

See you all out at the gigs!

Danny Shapiro is an avid music lover who has the good fortune to live very close the music scene on the 14th and U corridor.


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