Dwell // Photo: courtesy of Sofar Sounds

Sounds of the City: Outside the Music Box

Whether it’s go-go blasting from a street corner shop or jazz drifting up from a suburban basement, the energy of the creative spaces where music is produced sets the rhythm and determines the pulse that a city can become known for.

DC’s sound has shifted in waves over the decades, largely because the spaces where music is being made are continuously evolving. While the doors of most of the great jazz clubs that once lined U Street have closed and the back rooms and basements of punkdom are harder to come by, in 2019 there are more opportunities to hear live music than there have been in years. But it’s not necessarily the newly opened, traditional-style concert venues that are leaving their mark.

The emergence of brick-and-mortar spaces cared for by artist collectives – more intentional than DIY houses and more accessible than corporate clubs – are the places where the sounds of DC are generated today. And that sound is inextricable from an ethos of community participation in shared experience.

Rhizome DC takes physical shape in an early 20th-century house sitting just on the DC side of Takoma Park. Its founders established what is now a thriving 501(c)(3) after Pyramid Atlantic Art Center moved to Hyattsville and left a hole in the local arts community. The house draws its namesake from French philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s concept: “Unlike trees or their roots, the rhizome connects any point to any other point, and its traits are not necessarily linked to traits of the same nature.” That is, the space is built for multitudes of connections.

“Our main goal is to have lots of different things happening at the same time and nourish each other,” says Michael Smith-Welch, a member of the collective that keeps Rhizome running. “That’s what makes it exciting.”

The whiteboard schedule hanging in the kitchen marks events and shows every day and night of the month. As far as music goes, that means everything from jazz to experimental rock. In its first year, 600 acts came through the doors. Rhizome recently hosted the third annual installation of the Seventh Stanine Festival, a compilation of local musicians and accomplices like funk rockers Beauty Pill and instrumental ensemble Tone.

“A lot of those acts can’t play at the bigger places and it’s what we like: experimental,” Smith-Welch continues.

Rhizome is like a breathing machine – even the bathroom is converted into one big musical instrument. Strum any surface and the room emits an electronic feedback buzz in varying tones. It is also malleable to the needs of its community.

Beyond music, Rhizome offers workshops on fermentation, film and electronics, yoga classes, and an art lab for teens. While no one lives in the house, it does occasionally play host to resident artists, like the group of women who applied for a grant to have space to create while navigating new motherhood. An exhibition currently on display throughout the house is an installation of works from the Justice Arts Coalition, an organization that supports and sponsors incarcerated artists.

Across the city in the Trinidad neighborhood of Northeast DC, a back-alley carriage house is home to Dwell, an “off-grid creative space.” Like Rhizome, Dwell started as an alternative venue for local music when many others were shuttering doors or moving locations. And while it still caters largely to musicians, Dwell too has expanded with the energy of its community.

With no official address and printed maps given to event hosts for distributing to attendees, organizer Hannah Bernhardt says people are already jazzed when they arrive for the first time because they’ve had to interact with the neighborhood in a way they’re not used to just to find the space. Once they do, there is more whimsy in navigating the space itself.

“You get to journey through all of the levels of what happens here,” Bernhardt says. “On the first floor, there is a garage and a boat and evidence of woodworking projects [not to mention a pool table from Black Cat’s renovation days], and you go to the second floor and there’s music happening and the lights are flickering, and then you go up to the roof where there is a garden and a fishpond.”

The fishpond is a cistern of collected water used for the rooftop garden, a gathering spot for people to socialize between musical sets. It was all built out by hand by volunteer members in the community.

Dwell’s programming is managed by Bernhardt and Holly Herzfeld, childhood friends who grew up in the area. They strive to create a space that is welcoming for both the musicians who frequent and anyone who happens to find their way into Dwell.

“There’s a sensitivity and an openness that happens that’s really amazing,” Bernhardt says. “I often hear people say, ‘I’ve never seen anything like this, but it feels like home.’”

Her father David Bernhardt, who owns the physical building, adds, “People who return over a number of visits have a deeper, richer understanding of what’s going on.”

Someone who comes for a show with friends might return alone for a yoga class. This past May’s Dyke Fest drew hundreds of first-timers and familiars alike.

“We are trying to guide the way that space interacts with people,” Bernhardt’s father continues, “to value all the individual groups, tribes and circles that is the Venn diagram of our city and then bring them together. And this becomes Dwell. It’s especially important while Washington is changing again, and so dramatically, that we can set the tone for what is the culture [and] the music in the city and the vibe.”

Hole in the Sky (HITS) DC is another artist collective that congregates in an off-the-beaten-path performance and studio space. Unlike Rhizome and Dwell, however, HITS’ mission is a little more geared toward the needs of artists rather than visitors.

Though iterations of HITS have existed for about a decade, the collective’s current form really began to take shape about five years ago when a few artists set up studio space in the lofted building on the edge of Brookland that actually feels like a literal hole – not in the wall, but in the sky.

Annmarie Dinan Hansen is one of the lead organizers at HITS, which she describes as a “very fluid space,” one given to the “wants of those who are invested most in it” – a.k.a., those paying for the lease on the building. For Hansen, who has a punk background, that means a focus on punk music and “facilitating art forms that are underrepresented performance-wise.”

“We’re constantly navigating what it can and should be,” Hansen says.

That navigation hasn’t come without its challenges.

“There was a time when it had a reputation as not a particularly safe space for women,” notes Hansen, a vibe she hopes is changing. “We’ve been having a lot of events.”

HITS hosts a variety of collaborative gatherings, exhibitions for juried art shows, and other collectives and individuals in need of space to make, display and be inspired by art.

Conner Casey, a woodworker, folk musician and current HITS member, says that in addition to performance, the space is crucial for working artists.

“[This] can’t even exist as anything other than DIY,” he says. “It needs to be used as an arts space.”

Despite the enthusiasm of the communities that they build and serve, the “out-of-the-box” and “under-the-radar” nature of spaces like Rhizome, Dwell and HITS does not make them immune to developers’ dreams. Rhizome’s landlords, for example, own the Starbucks down the street and have visions of condos replacing the rickety white house on the hill.

But one thing is certain: DC needs these spaces. In them, music is binding force and a natural backdrop to the multitudes of expression that they foster. The subtle undertone of the sound they release seems to be: our city’s arms are open…come create with us.

Dwell: alley behind the 1200 block of Florida  Avenue in NE, DC (between Montello and  Trinidad Streets);
Hole in the Sky DC: 2110 5th St. Unit 2, NE, DC;
Rhizome DC: 6950 Maple St. NW, DC;

Support the Scene

A slew of small “official” venues around town also give lots of love to local bands. You can stumble into one of the following spots on pretty much any night of the week and likely catch an up-and-coming musical act.

Comet Ping Pong
Comet has been serving pizza and wicked backhands since 2006. It has also hosted thousands of live shows. Don’t miss local faves Park Snakes on July 15. 5037 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC;

Dew Drop Inn
Dew Drop is the hippest little train track hideaway in town. They just celebrated their fourth anniversary with a whiskey fountain and free hot dog bar. Don’t miss the triple threat of Lightmare, Dot.s (ATL) and Erotic Thrillers on July 11. 2801 8th St. NE, DC;

Marx Café
If you dig jazz, blues, DJs and the Revolution, get your Commie ass to Mt. P’s Marx Cafe. 3203 Mt. Pleasant St. NW, DC;

Pie Shop
The folks running Pie Shop are local musicians themselves, so they know what’s up. Plus, you can order sweet and savory pies from Dangerously Delicious downstairs and enjoy the rooftop patio between sets. 1339 H St. NE, DC;

The Pinch
14th Street feeling a little too posh these days? Head to the Pinch, go down to the basement lounge and revel in a good, old-fashioned punk show. 3548 14th St. NW, DC;

Slash Run
Named “best neighborhood joint” in 2018, their slogan kind of says it all: beer, burgers, rock ‘n’ roll. 201 Upshur St. NW, DC;

Photo: Trent Johnson

2018 Places to Party: A Go-To Guide to DMV Venues

Welcome to On Tap Magazine’s 2018 Places to Party guide, your go-to resource for the best venues in the DMV to host a party. In the listings that follow, you’ll find a broad selection of venues ready and able to help you plan the perfect party. From a small happy hour with friends to a blowout bash, these locales can handle it all.

b DC Penn Quarter

b DC Penn Quarter
801 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, DC | 202-808-8720

Award-winning burgers, all-American beer and the best bourbons are just the beginning. Conveniently located in the Navy Memorial Plaza in DC’s Penn Quarter neighborhood, b DC Penn Quarter is Washington’s headquarters for “good times, made locally.” Their handcrafted, modern American comfort food and beverages are the perfect additions to your next company meeting, holiday party, social event or corporate function. They offer space for 137 people inside, plus 60 on the patio and two semiprivate areas seating 40 and 24 guests each. They can accommodate a wide variety of events. Offsite catering is also available, including for events held at the Navy Memorial. For more information, give them a call at 202-808-8720 or email them at [email protected]

b One Loudoun

b One Loudoun
20416 Exchange St. Ashburn, VA | 703-723-2900

Award-winning burgers, all-American beer and the best bourbons are just the beginning. Conveniently located in Ashburn’s One Loudoun Center, b One Loudoun is NoVA’s headquarters for “good times, made locally.” Their handcrafted, modern American comfort food and beverages are the perfect additions to your next company meeting, holiday party, social event or corporate function. With space for 180-plus people inside and another semiprivate area seating 42 guests, they can accommodate a wide variety of events. Offsite catering is also available. For more information, give them a call at 703-723-2900 or email them at [email protected]

Barley Mac 1

Barley Mac
1600 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA | 571-800-3070

Barley Mac’s innovative twists on American comfort foods will please the taste buds while their extensive specialty liquor menu is sure to excite even the most ardent cocktail enthusiasts. With an industrial chic interior, plentiful seating and large bar area, Barley Mac is an ideal drinking and dining choice for groups of all sizes.

Blackwall Hitch

Blackwall Hitch, Alexandria
5 Cameron St. Alexandria, VA | 703-739-6090

Blackwall Hitch is located in the heart of charming Old Town Alexandria. They create a dining experience blending the area’s finest in tastes and talents with a coastally-inspired concept that creates a local connection. Here you’ll find seasonally-driven and locally-sourced food and spirits, great local music, and the area’s friendliest staff and patrons. Their philosophy is genuine and simple: they are here to create a dining experience that is unique and exceeds expectations. Whether it’s their signature flaming crab dip, oysters shucked at your request or custom-crafted cocktails, they deliver an experience you are guaranteed to remember. They also create events that you will remember forever. Their beautifully appointed dining rooms are perfect for any event. From bridal luncheons to rehearsal dinners to family reunions and graduations, their special events manager will guide you through every step, making sure your event goes off without a hitch.

Bluemont Vineyard

Bluemont Vineyard
18755 Foggy Bottom Rd. Bluemont, VA | 540-554-8439

Located 30 minutes from Dulles Airport, Bluemont Vineyard is easily accessible while feeling a world away. Sitting at 951 feet atop the Blue Ridge Mountains, the farmhouse-inspired tasting room overlooks Loudoun Valley and will set the tone for your special gathering. Bluemont’s personalized service and exceptional attention to detail is at your disposal to combine with the perfect space and experience for a memorable event. Visit them at or email [email protected] to start planning your next celebration.

Bobby McKey's Dueling Piano Bar

Bobby McKey’s Dueling Piano Bar
172 Fleet St. National Harbor, MD | 301-602-2209

Music is our Rx! If you’re looking for that out-of-the-box, unique celebration that will give guests memories to last a lifetime, look no further. Bobby McKey’s features an interactive show that pairs all-request live music with improvisational humor sure to entertain even the stuffiest of colleagues. With exposed brick walls and lofty ceilings, McKey’s offers a rustically cool event space. Your next corporate function, class reunion, bachelorette party or holiday event will be elevated with their unique entertainment, delicious catering and custom drink packages. Just a short stroll from the Gaylord National Convention Center and the MGM National Harbor, their location puts you in a prime spot just minutes from DC and Virginia.

Cafe Berlin

Café Berlin
322 Massachusetts Ave. NE, DC | 202-543-7656

Café Berlin is the perfect place to celebrate the holidays. The restaurant is decked out for Christmas in true German style. The private party room can accommodate up to 45 people for a seated dinner, and a standing reception is always an option as well. Need room for more people? The full restaurant is at your disposal. Café Berlin can accommodate up to 60 guests in its two dining rooms. The seasonally-inspired
draft beer selections and Glühwein, or German hot mulled wine, are always a delight and the winter wild game menu will wow your guests.

Cafe Citron (3) overhead shot

Cafe Citron
1343 Connecticut Ave. NW, DC | 202-530-8844

Tucked away on the south side of Dupont Circle, Cafe Citron is a colorful, Latin international restaurant, bar and lounge uniquely decorated with a funky, inviting and eclectic flair. They’re always a favorite for holiday company parties, birthdays, bachelorette, bachelor, breakup and yes, divorce parties. The restaurant can fit any budget to accommodate 10 to 200 guests with no room fee. Bottle service starts at $200, pitchers at $50 and large platters at $75 are available for large groups. The entire main floor is available for private happy hours from 5-8 p.m. at no fee as long as a minimum of $400 is spent between 15 to 100 guests. Voted the number one Latino happy hour in town with small plates from $3.50 to $10, they carry a vast selection of Latin American beers, delicious specialty drinks and fabulous tapas platter selections with the best mojitos in the city. International DJs, a live Latin percussionist and dancers are available for hire for your event, as well as music, microphone and projector usage at your request. Cafe Citron transforms into a nightclub Monday through Saturday after 10 p.m. They host free salsa classes Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m. and Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. They also offer free bachata classes Thursdays at 8 p.m. Looking for a fun and unforgettable venue? Cafe Citron is it. They even offer free shots for birthdays. Please text 202 422-3005 or email [email protected] for more information or check them out online at

Photo: Scott Suchman

Photo: Scott Suchman

50 Blagden Aly. NW, DC | 202-791-0134

Located in DC’s historic Blagden Alley, Calico is a restaurant, bar and urban backyard. Stop by and enjoy a variety of beverages and elevated, cookout-style fare designed to be enjoyed with a group. Signature bites include Chef Nathan Beauchamp’s take on cookout classics like Carolina BBQ ribs, lobster mac & cheese, and crab cakes. Nibble fare, sip on unique craft cocktails in nostalgic, single-serve drink pouches, or enjoy a drink from the large selection of beer, wine and cocktails on draft that reflect Calico’s relaxed, communal atmosphere. Let Calico help plan your next birthday party, happy hour or holiday gathering. Send the Calico team some details on what they’re looking for and they’ll be happy to help. For more information, email [email protected] or call 202-791-0134.

Chart House

Chart House
1 Cameron St. Alexandria, VA | 703-684-5080

Chart House Alexandria is situated on the Potomac River, where you take in spectacular views of the Capitol while feasting on an impressive menu. Enjoy fresh fish specialties such as mac nut mahi, slow-roasted prime rib and the signature hot chocolate lava cake. With three semiprivate dining areas, Chart House is the perfect location to host your party or event. The Capitol and Sequoia Rooms are surrounded by windows on three sides, allowing you and your guests to enjoy panoramic views of the Potomac and downtown DC. Open for lunch Monday through Saturday, 11:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.; dinner Monday through Thursday, 4-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 4-11 p.m.; Sunday champagne brunch 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. and Sunday dinner 2-10 p.m. Chart House has the best happy hour in town Monday through Friday, 4-6:30 p.m. featuring delectable appetizers starting at $4 and signature cocktails starting at $6. Reservations can be made online.

CIRCA at Chinatown

CIRCA at Chinatown
781 7th St. NW, DC | 202-628-7777

Conveniently located by Capital One Arena, the Washington Convention Center and Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro, CIRCA at Chinatown is an American restaurant featuring seasonal classics and delicious, neighborhood-inspired food and drinks. The massive restaurant concept provides multiple seating options across two levels for large parties and private happy hour events. The first level offers the craft cocktail Dragon Bar, complete with an extra-long granite bar and room for 125 standing guests. The second level features the main dining room for up to 100 seated guests, an additional bar upstairs for 40 standing guests, a glass-enclosed private dining room for 36 seated guests and a semiprivate lounge for 12 seated guests. The CIRCA team works with you to tailor the space and create special menus to make your next gathering unforgettable. Email them at [email protected] to book your next happy hour, party or event.

Crafthouse 1

Crafthouse, Fairfax
11861 Palace Way, Fairfax, VA | 703-825-1811

If you’re on the hunt for the perfect place to host the beer connoisseurs in your life, look no further than Crafthouse Fairfax. With an extensive, rotating cast of draft and bottled beers, there’s no shortage of great brews available for your party – especially seasonal offerings. In addition to beer, you can choose from handcrafted cocktails, a diverse offering of food and daily specials. They also offer happy hour from 3-9 p.m. Entertain your guests with trivia, live music or football games, and be sure to check out Crafthouse’s website for special happenings.

Photo: T. Buell

Photo: T. Buell

DC Brau
3178-B Bladensburg Rd. NE, DC | 202-621-8890

Looking for a truly unique space for your next event? DC Brau offers a variety of event spaces for company meetings, birthday parties, receptions, holiday gatherings or any special occasion. The brewing company can accommodate groups of all sizes, ranging from a small squad to parties of 500 of your closest friends or associates. In addition to the tasting room and side bar, DC Brau now offers a new space called The Lodge with a long private bar and comfortable seating. Of course, the full brewery is also available for a truly one of-a-kind experience. Email DC Brau at [email protected] and follow them on social media @dcbrau.

The Fainting Goat

The Fainting Goat
1330 U St. NW, DC | 202-735-0344

A local place to call your own, the Fainting Goat is a favorite neighborhood spot in DC’s U Street Corridor. Enjoy great cocktails and food in a relaxed atmosphere right in the heart of the bustling U Street nightlife. With fresh and local nibbles, craft beer and spirits, and friendly staff, Fainting Goat is the place you’ll keep coming back to. Let their team help you plan your holiday party, happy hour, seated dinner or any occasion. Send them a little information about what you are looking for and they will get back to you as soon as possible. Email [email protected] or call 202-735-0344 for more information.

Finn McCool's

Finn McCool’s
713 8th St. SE, DC | 202-507-8277

Finn McCool’s is the ultimate event space on Capitol Hill. The private, second-story venue can accommodate 80 guests and boasts a piano stage, private bar and exceptional audio/video options with Bose surround sound. Finn’s event team is on hand to cater to your every need, offering entertainment options, transportation assistance, custom food and beverage packages, and decoration assistance. They make creating a unique and unforgettable event easy. From business breakfast meetings and lunches to happy hours, receptions and holiday parties, Finn’s has you covered. For more information on reserving the premier party space for large parties in the main dining room or to book the entire restaurant, please contact marketing and beverage director James Abbott for additional information at [email protected] or 410-989-3564.

Fire Works Pizzeria

Fire Works Pizza, Arlington
2350 Clarendon Blvd. Arlington, VA | 703-527-8700

Fire Works Pizzeria & Bar is one of Arlington’s most popular restaurants, with a vibrant yet relaxed atmosphere perfect for your next holiday party, celebration or office gathering. Known for wood-fired artisan pizza and voted number one in NoVA, Fire Works has a full menu of appetizers, entrees, sandwiches and more, plus a great banquet menu for planning your festivities. With over 30 draft beers, 100-plus bottle and can beer selections, a well-balanced wine list, and a full bar featuring inventive craft cocktails, your guests won’t lack for great food and drink. Fire Works offers a private party room for up to 40, an outdoor patio for 50 or more during fair weather, or larger events upwards of 100 in the main dining space. Fire Works’ expert culinary team is ready to help you create the perfect private party to fire up your guests. For more information and to book your next party, call 703-527-8700 or email events coordinator Viri Morales at [email protected]


Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant
555 South 23rd St. Arlington, VA | 703-685-0555

Add some color, flair and wonder to your next party by booking it with Freddie’s Beach Bar. From the décor to the atmosphere, this is a fun place for any occasion to throw a party. From speeches to shows, Freddie’s is well-prepared to entertain with its stage equipped with wireless, microphones, lighting, TVs and more. The karaoke collection includes over 20,000 songs so you can sing your heart out. From hosting parties of four to 120 patrons, you’re sure to have a great party. For fabulous food, décor, entertainment and lasting memories, book your next party or event at Freddie’s Beach Bar. For more information on Freddie’s, visit or call 703-685-0555.

Gordon Biersch - Navy Yard

Gordon Biersch, Navy Yard
100 M St. SE, DC | 202-484-2739

Gordon Biersch features handcrafted beer, wine and specialty cocktails. Purity, precision and perfection are the hallmarks of its premium, German-style biers. Crafted to the exacting standards of the Reinheitsgebot, or German Purity Law, Gordon Biersch uses only the highest-quality Weyermann Malt from Bamberg, authentic Bavarian Hersbrucker hops and pure, filtered water to develop a range of well-balanced flavors for every discerning taste. Situated only a few blocks from Nationals Stadium in Southeast DC, Gordon Biersch offers fresh, handcrafted beer and premium, made-from-scratch food, all served up in a friendly and fun atmosphere. Surrounded by modern day décor and handsome wood furnishings, guests are able to watch the brewing process through the glass-walled brewery.

Gordon Biersch - Rockville

Gordon Biersch, Rockville
200 East Middle Ln. Rockville, MD | 301-340-7159

Gordon Biersch features handcrafted beer, wine and specialty cocktails. Purity, precision and perfection are the hallmarks of its premium, German-style biers. Crafted to the exacting standards of the Reinheitsgebot, or German Purity Law, Gordon Biersch uses only the highest-quality Weyermann Malt from Bamberg, authentic Bavarian Hersbrucker hops, and pure, filtered water to develop a range of well-balanced flavors for every discerning taste. Situated in the Town Square in Rockville, Maryland, Gordon Biersch offers fresh, handcrafted beer and premium, made-from-scratch food, all served up in a friendly and fun atmosphere. Surrounded by modern day décor and handsome wood furnishings, guests are able to watch the brewing process through the glass-walled brewery.

Gordon Biersch - Tysons Corner

Gordon Biersch, Tysons Corner
7861 Tysons Corner Center, McLean, VA | 703-388-5454

Gordon Biersch features handcrafted beer, wine and specialty cocktails. Purity, precision and perfection are the hallmarks of its premium, German-style biers. Crafted to the exacting standards of the Reinheitsgebot, or German Purity Law, Gordon Biersch uses only the highest-quality Weyermann Malt from Bamberg, authentic Bavarian Hersbrucker hops and pure, filtered water to develop a range of well-balanced flavors for every discerning taste. Located in the largest shopping mall in the DC area and just minutes away from the nation’s capital, Gordon Biersch Tysons Corner is a favorite among locals and visitors. The restaurant can accommodate 436 guests with indoor and patio dining. Included are two banquet facilities that are available for group dining and private parties. The restaurant features seven plasma televisions, as well as a magnificent view of the restaurant’s brewing facilities. Brewery tours and beer samplings are given by the brewmaster and staff.

Greene Turtle

The Greene Turtle, Alexandria
7879 Heneska Loop, Alexandria, VA | 703-971-0200

The Greene Turtle’s party room can accommodate small and large gatherings, as well as any size in between. Featuring several large, flat-screen TVs, your group can enjoy presentations or sporting events while enjoying food buffet-style or served lunches and dinners. There’s no fee to reserve the room, and the team works to ensure you and your guests are taken care of by dedicated servers and menu options that fit any budget.

Hawk 'n' Dove

Hawk ‘n’ Dove
329 Pennsylvania Ave. SE, DC | 202-547-0030

Hawk ‘n’ Dove is equipped to welcome anyone in search of an exceptional way to celebrate with a variety of private dining and event options for any occasion, year-round. With each event, you’ll receive customized food and drink packages, entertainment options and transportation assistance, plus accommodations for all audio and video needs on their Bose surround sound system. Parties of 10 to 100 guests may enjoy a seated or cocktail experience in the expansive private area with a dedicated bar and service station. For larger parties, reach out for full restaurant rental availability at [email protected] or 410-989-3564.

Heavy Seas Alehouse

Heavy Seas Alehouse
1501 Wilson Blvd. Arlington, VA | 703-879-4388

Heavy Seas Alehouse in Rosslyn is a place where sailors tell stories but parties become legends. Fans of Heavy Seas Beer can experience Baltimore’s best and locally owned craft brewery in their own backyard in Arlington alongside some of the top regional and national craft beers. The menus feature fresh and seasonal ingredients that they source locally whenever possible. The dishes are simple in appearance, with bold and assertive flavors that stand up to the intense beers Heavy Seas is known for. With multiple options for private dining and group functions, Heavy Seas Alehouse looks forward to hosting your private event or celebration. Call or email to reserve your party today at [email protected]

KO Distilling

KO Distilling
10381 Central Park Dr. Suite 105, Manassas, VA | 571-292-1115

KO Distilling boasts a beautiful copper and oak-themed, 2,500-square-foot event center that can hold up to 88 people, and features a banquet hall, stunning tasting room and ADA-compliant restrooms. The banquet hall comes with ample seating, and the view of KO Distilling’s state-of-the-art distilling plant is remarkable and definitively unique. The tasting room includes a handsome bar, four crank-up style circular tables, two large Chesterfield-style leather couches and a gas fireplace. Edison light bulbs, a tin ceiling and an overhang constructed of used bourbon barrel staves work together to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. Visit to learn more and inquire.


711 8th St. SE, DC | 202-846-7728

Lola’s on Barracks Row is the perfect place to host your private function. This flexible space will take the pressure off your shoulders and impress your guests. Lola’s second story space features a pool table, outdoor patio and full bar and can accommodate parties of up to 50 guests. Plus, Lola’s will happily and personally arrange your special event or reservation for any group up to 150. With each event, you’ll receive customized food and drink packages, as well as accommodations on all audio and video needs on the Bose surround sound system. Larger parties can reach out for full restaurant rental availability at [email protected] or 410-989-3564.

Madame Tussauds 1

Madame Tussauds
1001 F St. NW, DC | 202-942-7310

Host your next special event at Madame Tussauds – Washington DC. Whether you want to brush elbows with the presidents or mingle with the stars, your guests are sure to have a time they will never forget. Featuring 14,000 square feet of interactive space, Madame Tussauds – Washington DC is a memorable, dramatic and fun venue for any and all occasions: company parties, cocktail receptions, birthday celebrations, networking events, product launches, seated dinners, holiday parties, fundraisers and much more. Madame Tussauds works with many of the District’s best caterers, photographers, videographers and the hottest DJs – all the connections to make your event a red carpet affair. Located in the historic Penn Quarter neighborhood, Madame Tussauds is centrally located just steps away from the National Mall, Chinatown and Gallery Place and easily accessible by rail, bus and car. Contact Madame Tussauds at 1-888-WAX-IN-DC or visit

Murphy's Grand Irish Pub

Murphy’s Grand Irish Pub
713 King St. Alexandria, VA | 703-548-1717

Murphy’s of Alexandria has over 40 years of experience in catering to large groups and has successfully hosted every type of event ranging from holiday office parties to rehearsal dinners, retirement parties to fundraising events and even small group gatherings. The upstairs is available to rent for private functions and can accommodate up to 100 people for receptions or sit-down dining. It features a cozy, three-sided, open-stone fireplace that allows for fireside dining. A full bar is available, offering a vast selection of domestic and international beers, premium and house liquors, and an assortment of premium wines. A stage is located at the front of the room, which can be used for presentations or entertainment.


Ophelia’s Fish House
501 8th St. SE, DC | 202-543-1445

From fundraisers and receptions to corporate events and dinners, Ophelia’s Fish House is the premier private event venue on Capitol Hill. With 2,100 square feet of private event space, every event is tailored to meet and exceed your expectations. Customized food and drink packages, as well as an array of entertainment and transportation options, are just some of the allure of Ophelia’s. Enjoy an extensive craft beer and wine list, a widespread selection of handcrafted cocktails and an outside patio with a dedicated bar and service station. Email their marketing and beverage director, James Abbott, to book Ophelia’s for your next event today at [email protected] or call 410-989-3564.


520 8th St. SE, DC | 202-544-1168

Dark, sexy and upscale, Orchid Bar is the perfect venue for your next soirée. Rent out the entire space to enjoy customized food and cocktail options along the 42-foot, marble-clad bar (DC’s longest) and on the outdoor patio with a firepit. Orchid’s event team is on hand to provide entertainment, transportation and decoration assistance, and the venue can accommodate all audio and video needs. With 2,300 square feet of private event space, every event there is tailored to exceed your expectations. Limited availability for parties of 10 to 125. Email their marketing and beverage director, James Abbott, to book Orchid Bar for your next event today at [email protected] or call 410-989-3564.


Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar
203 Crown Park Ave. Gaithersburg, MD | 301-330-4400
1905 Towne Centre Blvd. Annapolis, MD | 410-897-1022

Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar is a fresh, colorful and fun Latin American restaurant experience inspired by Central and South America, Cuba and the Latin Caribbean. Their Gaithersburg and Annapolis locations offer ample private party space and are a refreshing break from the norm. They can easily accommodate any and all dietary needs and restrictions and help you stay within your budget. And with a menu of more than 100 rums from around the world, they know how to get your party started right. Contact them today to book your no-frills private party event for the holidays. Visit for more information or to get started.

Pearl Street Warehouse

Pearl Street Warehouse
33 Pearl St. SW, DC | 202-380-9620

Pearl Street Warehouse is filled with the sounds of all-American music and offers a relaxed, intimate atmosphere unmatched by any other local venue. With a 300-person capacity, two large bars, state-of-the art A/V capabilities, and the opportunity to work with their expert booking team to book a band or performance, Pearl Street Warehouse is the ideal spot to host your event. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Penn Social

Penn Social
801 E St. NW, DC | 202-697-4900

Penn Social is a massive, versatile venue located in the heart of Penn Quarter, just two blocks from Capital One Arena. The popular locale is home to three unique bars, seasonal patio seating, 30-plus draught beers, two stages, over 15 arcade games, a collection of board games and much more. Penn Social is your go-to spot, whether you want to host a small happy hour party, a huge holiday party or a daytime panel discussion for your 200-person office. For the sports fan, Penn Social features a 22-foot HD theater screen, with seven additional HD projection screens and HDTV’s throughout. Interested in checking out their space? Join them for their daily 4-7 p.m. Happy hour which features $2 off all beers, as well as $5 rail drinks and $6 wines.

Public Bar

Public Bar
1214 B 18th St. NW, DC | 202-223-2200

With the holidays approaching, Public Bar’s lounge level is the perfect place for your company to host this year’s holiday party. With space for all your guests, great food, drinks and a private floor that fits up to 150 people, Public Bar is the perfect place for your next event. They host corporate happy hours, watch parties, fundraisers and other parties. Their catering menu can be customized to serve anywhere between 20 to 250 people with all of your favorite bar foods. If you want to celebrate your birthday or plan a special event, check out Public Bar’s rooftop and get a private table and party to the sounds of their in-house DJs. Email them at [email protected] to inquire about upcoming events, or to book your next party and table reservation.

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm
42461 Lovettsville Rd. Lovettsville, VA | 540-822-9017

The Restaurant at Patowmack Farm provides a unique location for any event: wedding, rehearsal dinner, corporate events, birthday, holiday parties, or baby and bridal showers. What could be more perfect or more magical than idyllic views in every direction and a breathtaking panoramic view of the Potomac River? The chef will help customize a menu offering progressive, local, earth-to-table cuisine. The team wants to assist you throughout your entire journey, accommodating your vision and ensuring your event is truly unforgettable. Country-style and peaceful with nature’s splendor surrounding you, enjoy the casual, quaint feel – the perfect venue for your special occasion.

Sauf Haus 2

Sauf Haus Bier Hall & Garten
1216 18th St. NW, DC | 202-466-3355

Conveniently located in the heart of Dupont Circle, Sauf Haus Bier Hall & Garten is a multilevel traditional German biergarten. The massive 5,000-square-foot space is a historic building established in 1922, formerly known as the Guitar Shop. The first level offers the foosball room, complete with two foosball tables, a projector and room for 150 standing guests. The second level features the patio inside bar, a more intimate bar space for up to 150 standing guests and the biergarten for up to 200 guests. The Sauf Haus DC team has an event coordinator onsite to work with you to tailor the space and create special menus to make your next gathering unforgettable. Email them at [email protected] to inquire to book your next happy hour, party or event.

Sign of the Whale

Sign of the Whale
1825 M St. NW, DC | 202-290-3310

Washington, DC’s Sign of the Whale, a Dupont icon for nearly one-half century, is the most dynamic establishment in DC to combine both work and play. The Whale offers lunch, happy hour, trivia and an upbeat nightlife on the weekend. It’s also home to the Philadelphia Eagles and Ohio State football. The Whale is a true neighborhood bar that will make you feel welcome from the moment you step inside. The main bar is large and expansive while the upstairs loft bar provides a private and intimate experience. With availability to rent out the upstairs bar, back dining area or the entire bar, the Whale can host your event of up to 250 people for birthday parties, bachelorette/bachelor parties, corporate happy hours, holiday parties, luncheons, reunions or fundraisers. They also offer many different drink packages and a delicious catering menu to meet your needs. For more information, visit their website at or email them at [email protected]


Siné Irish Pub & Restaurant
1301 S. Joyce St. Arlington, VA | 703-415-4420

Siné, Gaelic for “this is it,” boasts architecture, furniture and décor straight from the Emerald Isle. A fullservice bar features 18 different draft beers and a professional and friendly wait staff makes Siné the perfect setting for business lunches and after-work family gatherings or groups for sporting events. They have an ideal space for any size celebration. Reserved party spaces are available to accommodate up to 80 people for sit-down dining, or up to 150 for a cocktail or casual mingling event. Rooms are available seven days a week at no additional charge. Party platters featuring finger foods are also available. Prices vary based on the size and needs of the party. To make your reservation, email [email protected] or call Monday through Thursday between 1:30-3:30 p.m.

Smith Commons 1

Smith Commons
1245 H St. NE, DC | 202-396-0038

Smith Commons is a three-story dining room and public house that makes you feel right at home. The exposed brick and big bay window offer a casual yet vintage atmosphere. They host several events like weddings and corporate meetings and offer private dining as well – the venue has proven to be a go-to gathering space in the heart of the Atlas Arts District. Each guest will get to experience a customized menu and drink package, as well as A/V services. They create great memories! Contact Jessica Sturgis for additional information at 202-607-5561 and/or [email protected]

Tavira 2

Tavira Restaurant
8401 Connecticut Ave. Chevy Chase, MD | 301-652-8684

Tavira has been an award-winning restaurant since 1999. They provide a fine dining experience in a family friendly setting. Enjoy authentic Portuguese and Mediterranean selections. Along with their regular menu, they offer several daily specials and two three-course meals: a Portuguese tasting menu (seven days a week) and a three-course, prix fixe menu (Sunday through Thursday). Also, enjoy Happy Hour Monday-Friday in their attractive bar. There is plenty of free garage parking. Visit their website for more information.

Tio Javier

Tio Javier
514 8th St. SE, DC | 202-507-8143

Planning a fiesta? Host your next event at Tio’s in one of their festive and inviting event spaces. Their heated rooftop features a private bar, fire pits and can comfortably accommodate 150 standing guests or 50 seated. Their first-floor dining space also has a private bar, opens up to historic Barracks Row, seats 40 and can host up to 80 standing guests. For larger parties, contact them about full restaurant rental availability. While they’ve got an extensive tequila selection, you’ll also receive customized food and drink packages for your event. Audio/video, entertainment and transportation options available. ¡Olé! Email [email protected] for more information.

The Urban Winery 1

The Urban Winery
949 Bonifant St. Silver Spring, MD | 301-585-4100

Taste. Learn. Create. The Urban Winery is located just over the District line in downtown Silver Spring. Guests can enjoy a thriving winery setting without driving to a pasture. Family-owned and operated, their winery and restaurant caters to corporate events, sip and paint parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and showers and anniversaries. Cozy up with your friends in their barrel room. Have a group of 10 to 20 people? Sign up for their private winemaking classes. At the Urban Winery, guests are encouraged to explore their inner winemaker and indulge in their Mediterranean-style menu. The heart of their business is carrying on the legacy of their father Anthony, who immigrated from Greece and enjoyed making wine. Please visit for more information. Follow them on Facebook @theurbanwinery, Instagram @the_urbanwinery, Twitter @urbanwinery_ss and Yelp at


Tysons Galleria, 2001 International Dr. McLean, VA | 703-442-9110

When looking to host a private event in Tysons, look no further than Wildfire. Their selection of party rooms is perfect for both private and semiprivate events. Contact their parties and special events managers at 703-442-9110, and they’ll assist you in planning your special occasion from beginning to end.

  • Holiday parties
  • Corporate events, meetings and presentation
  • Cocktail receptions
  • Birthday celebrations
  • Baby and bridal showers
  • Rehearsal dinners
  • Celebratory brunches

Wildfire McLean features six private room options to host any breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner event. Their private rooms accommodate 20 to 120 people and are equipped with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment. In addition, valet parking is available.


300 Tingey St. SE, DC | 202-651-6375

Whether you are planning a tailgate, happy hour or corporate event – or just gathering with friends to watch your favorite team – Willie’s is the perfect venue. Located just steps from Nationals Park in Navy Yard, their open-space venue rises above the rest and features fi nger-lickin’ barbeque, a wide selection of draft beers and craft cocktails. With 360-degree views of the game, Willie’s is the perfect setting for fans to show off their city and host an event. Private and semiprivate space available for 10 to 300 guests. Good friends. Good times. Great food. Contact them today to plan your next event, or to cater your next party or tailgate. Email them at [email protected] for more information.

Photo: Courtesy of Jamal Gray

Movers & Shakers: Who’s Behind the Music in DC?

DC’s music scene is an organism in flux. This is not so surprising, with several new venues recently opening – and several closing – and despite the city’s increasing population, it remains a relatively transient town. Still, DMV artists are finding more ways to build community and establish legitimacy on local and national levels, but not without hard work from some individuals behind the music who truly believe in the strength of the District’s musical past and the potential for its future. We caught up with a few of the movers and shakers making an impact on DC music.

Jamal Gray

DC native Jamal Gray is a musician-curator-organizer who founded the Uptown Art House – a creative incubator and activism-focused artists’ space “without borders” – and leads the avant-garde jazz troupe Nag Champa Art Ensemble. His projects often bridge the underground and the conventional in an effort to elevate the whole of DC’s music scene.

On Tap: How did you first come to be involved with music culture in DC?
Jamal Gray:
My personal connection with music is through my parents. They met working at WPFW 89.3FM, which is a local radio station in DC that focuses on jazz and public affairs. Both of my parents are from DC. My dad was a record producer and [eventually] started his own label. I’ve been around music my whole life.

OT: What major changes have you seen in the local music scene in the past 10 years?
Once things moved more toward [the] Internet, people were moving less toward trying to cultivate a scene and more toward trying to cultivate a persona. That’s where I think we are in music in general, and DC’s just a microcosm of that. A lot of people are spending a lot of energy to cultivate their persona.

OT: With your own music, the collaborations you work on and the performers you support, it seems you’re trying to counterbalance that and keep the “real” in the music. Is this your goal?
If I’m going to support an artist, I want to know what they’re going to add to the conversation. It’s got to be a dialogue, not a diatribe. You should create from yourself, but not only for yourself. You have to be able to jump inside people’s worlds, especially if you want to make an impact. That’s part of what I’m trying to do – push things forward. Art is always a vehicle for progress or change, because it’s usually the artists that will take that risk before other people. That’s what I’m about.

OT: What do you think DC music needs to push forward?
There’s a real conversation that has to happen between the artists themselves so we are held to a certain standard, and between the venues and artists so everyone can feel appreciated. A lot of people who want to leave [DC] say there’s no industry here [and] no infrastructure for musicians. I want our community to be globally minded but locally based. People passing through need to know you can come and see good music happening. We need documentation for it – platforms that are invested in the future of it. I’m an advocate, but I’m an artist too. The best thing I can do is continue to push forward good content and experiences, and help build spaces to incubate toward the next level.

OT: What projects are you most excited about right now?
We are working on a new Nag Champa record. I’m also really excited about my radio show on Full Service Radio called “Late Bloom” that airs live every Wednesday from 7-8:30 p.m. We feature a mix of new and obscure music, and interviews with locally based artists working to make global impact. The Uptown Art House project is continuing, but as a creative agency for artists, musicians, curators and activists.

Listen to Gray weekly on Full Service Radio at and check out Nag Champa and Uptown Art House on Facebook: @nagchampadc and @uptownarthouse.

Photo: Sam Segal

Photo: Sam Segal

Peter Lillis

Not only did Peter Lillis help establish Songbyrd Record Cafe and Music House’s success as an intimate venue in Adams Morgan focused on local musicians, he’s part of the team behind independent record label Babe City Records, a member of DC-based band Den-Mate, and the marketing manager for Union Stage.

On Tap: You have been involved in many facets of the DC music scene for several years and taken on new roles as the energy has shifted. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
Peter Lillis
: In the past five years and perhaps longer, DC was the center of the DIY music and house show scene and really focused on doing shows in nontraditional venues. I got involved around that time, around 2014 or so. I began throwing shows at similar places. I was inspired by the idea of active participation. I got disillusioned by the idea of covering music and wanted to be in bands and put on shows. It took me a few years of doing that to realize I wanted more, and the DIY community was a great opportunity to dive into that. I was inspired by everybody’s personal and communal interest [in] bettering themselves and the scene. There was an exciting movement happening.

OT: Do you think the DIY era is over?
There’s still a good amount of it, but DC is not getting more affordable. The spaces that were central to that experience are gone now – torn down or renovated and sold. But for me and my colleagues at the other collectives, everyone seems to have upped their game. DC has done a better job of investing in nightlife and entertainment options for people. There’s a lot of money and young people and new options for performers. The Wharf where I am now with Union Stage is a great space for people to play. Songbyrd does great work engaging locals. [Dangerously Delicious Pies] is open on H Street. The house show arc was necessary to get us here. We all got the practice we needed to develop empathy for promoters and bookers. The DIY concept doesn’t need to be confined to people’s homes; it’s not mutually exclusive from commercial venues. The fact that they are going away just means we’ve built something that people want, which is encouraging.

OT: You organize industry panels and meetups. What is the purpose of those?
When we opened Union Stage, [owners] the Brindley brothers had a very welcoming attitude, which is kind of rare. We concocted this effort to directly engage the music community and see what it would bring. The central idea is to give people a platform to meet and talk and see how everybody works together. The music industry is very connections-based. That can make it difficult for people who don’t have the knowledge or resources to be involved but want to be and are talented and motivated. The meetups and platforms we’ve organized have that in mind. It’s been successful so far, [but] there’s a lot of work left to be done. The city could support local arts in a more effective way. The only way we can communicate that to decision-makers is through collective action, so this is a small effort at doing that. We give people the initial tools and contacts to grow their business while keeping it concerted and learning from the community itself, and we can get feedback and learn how to run our business better.

OT: What do you think is unique about DC as a local musician?
It’s a somewhat small city but [a] very big media market, so it’s somewhat easy to navigate compared to some of the more entertainment industry cities where there’s a ton of noise. You can meet people and there’s a scrappy attitude, but being the city it is, we get more eyeballs and cred than a city of a similar size in a different location. [It’s] advantageous for local artists to live in our area and be able to play in Baltimore, Philly, NYC, Richmond – you can play any of those places and still be home in your bed at the end of the night. People need to get out of town and start evangelizing the community here, and that’s the only way we’ll become effective on the national, international level.

Join the DC Music Industry group on Facebook to get involved in Lillis’s community efforts. Learn more about Union Stage at and Babe City Records artists, including Den-Mate, at

Photo: Alicia Raft

Photo: Alicia Raft

Sasha Lord

Sasha Lord has promoted, partnered and worked with numerous groups in the DMV. She has also managed tours for several artists, booking shows abroad and traveling with the musicians. Now based in Brooklyn, Lord is currently GM of the Market Hotel (Brooklyn) and Trans-Pecos (Queens) while remaining the primary booker at Connecticut Avenue-based music venue Comet Ping Pong.

On Tap: How did you get into the business of artist promotion?
Sasha Lord:
I have a background in community outreach and working with at-risk populations. I worked for an outdoor leadership school and I’ve always been community-oriented. In college, I worked at Black Cat and then got the opportunity to [work] at Comet Ping Pong. I also have a background working with people with disabilities, and that’s why I tried to make Comet as accessible as possible. I’ve combined my professional background and community work with my love of music to make a diverse, accessible venue for all ages.

OT: What did you see at Comet, in terms of artists and audiences?
Comet is beautiful because it’s very much a community. We have a variety of promoters so we have a broad range of types, ages, genres and diversity in music – and that makes it a unique space. My shows will sometimes have an older demographic [while] other promoters have a younger [demographic]. It’s very well-rounded and community-oriented.

OT: What should venue operators and promoters do to elevate DC as city where musicians want to come but also pay attention to the artists who are already here?
Taking care of artists and being mindful of their needs is crucial. Over the past 10 years booking [at] Comet, I was able to go to festivals [and] tour with people. I curated a showcase at South by Southwest, helped with two events [at] Art Basel and [participated in] art fairs. I toured so I could be a better promoter. It made me realize that Comet is a really good venue, and we’re really good to artists. It made me understand what touring artists go through when they arrive. Maybe they’re exhausted, maybe they spent their last $20 on the Baltimore [Harbor] Tunnel, maybe they’re hungry [and] slept on someone’s floor. I didn’t think about those things until going on tour. I realized how hard it is. So when bands show up, be mindful. I feel for the most part, most of the venues in DC do a good job at that.

OT: Now that you are based in New York, how will you stay involved in DC music?
I have shows booked at Comet through April and plan to continue to book there. A lot of bands reach out to me now wanting to be booked in both NYC and DC, and it’s awesome that I’m able to do that. I recently booked [80s indie band Beat Happening’s] Calvin Johnson in DC and New York, and have some other things in the works for the next year. I’m cultivating and curating in both cities, so bands will know that they’ll get a good experience at [multiple shows]. I’m not leaving DC. I’m hoping to contribute even more by bridging the cities together.

Read about Lord and her projects at and learn more about Comet Ping Pong’s winter lineup at

Music Picks: October 2018


Leon Bridges with Khruangbin
These two Texan musicians are bringing their acts to the East Coast early this month. Khruangbin sources their inspiration from their newest work Con Todo El Mundo from soul and funk music in the Middle East, which I wouldn’t have even considered to be a thing until I looked into this album. Leon Bridges will bring some classic R&B and soul with a country twang to The Anthem from his new album Good Thing. Though they may occupy dissimilar genres, the smooth soulfulness of their music ties them together really nicely and makes pairing them together on tour a fantastic idea. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $55. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC;


Capitol Hill Jazz Foundation’s Hillfest
Hillfest, an all-day, free concert held in Garfield Park, will bring musicians together in an effort to translate performances into policy. The festival begins with a conference addressing policy concerns that directly affect musicians on a local and national level, followed by a day-long concert. Enjoy performances by bands such as Stefon Harris & Blackout, JOGO Project, Cheryl Pepsii Riley and many more. Learn more about music and marketing through the conferences that will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, and enjoy the various vendors showcasing their wares on Friday. Garfield Park: 2nd and F Streets in SE, DC;


Lupe Fiasco
Chicago rap veteran Lupe Fiasco released his new album Drogas Wave in late September. The 24-track album features frequent collaborators like Nikki Jean, Crystal Torres and Simon Sayz, as well as new ones like Damian Marley. Though he’s always been a prominent voice in conscious rap, Fiasco’s work has taken on a new level of self-awareness – especially amid the various controversies and threats of retirement of the past few years. Hopefully, this new album gives fans of his old work something to be excited about again. Doors at 8 p.m. Tickets $30. 9:30 Club: 815 V St. NW, DC; 


Black Masala CD Release Party
Celebrate the release of Trains and Moonlight Destinies from this dynamic live brass band based in DC. One of their many musical influences comes from India in the form of Bhangra music. Even their name refers to a term used to describe a mix of spices often used in Indian cuisine. Their eclectic tunes run the gamut from jazz and New Orleans funk to Balkan brass and free-spirited, Romani-tinged folk with punk-rock vibes. Hopefully, their new album demonstrates a bit of growth when it comes to their liberal use of the “g” slur. It’s 2018 and we need to do a bit better, no? Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $15. Pearl Street Warehouse: 33 Pearl St. SW, DC;

The Presets with Blood Red Shoes
Australian electronic duo The Presets and English alt-rockers Blood Red Shoes take the stage this month at U Hall. Rolling Stone Song of the Year winners The Presets released Hi Viz a few months back after going years without releasing any big projects. Blood Red Shoes took a similar hiatus right before starting to record their new album Get Tragic, which is set to debut in January. According to a recent Clash interview, their leading single “Mexican Dress” is about the lengths people will go to for attention. “Whether it’s online or in real life, small hits of validation and the feeling of having all eyes on you have become our generation’s biggest drug problem,” says guitarist and vocalist Laura- Mary Carter. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $25. U Street Music Hall: 1115 U St. NW, DC;


J Cole, Young Thug, Jaden Smith and EarthGang
There’s so much to be excited about for this tour – for one, you get to see J. Cole. Did you know his album 2014 Forest Hills Drive went platinum with no features? I’m so thankful for Cole’s KOD era so that meme can finally be laid to rest. Also, Young Thug posted bond for the felony charges he stacked up in Georgia, so we can expect to see him on this tour date. Plus, he has a new song “On the Rvn” in the works with the legendary Elton John, 6lack and tourmate Jaden Smith that should be coming out any day now. Smith and EarthGang round out this very comprehensive lineup that represents various facets of the rap world and conveniently places them all together on one stage just for you. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets start at $29.50. Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC;


Nine Inch Nails with The Jesus and Mary Chain
In honor of their ninth album Bad Witch, NIN is joining fellow white noise lovers The Jesus and Mary Chain on The Cold and Black and Infinite Tour in October. Scottish alternative pioneers JMC released Damage and Joy in 2017 – their most recent music prior to that was from 2002, so it’s been more than a decade since any fan has seen them play new music on tour. It’ll be an experience to see these two bands touring together again since it’s been almost 30 years since they’ve shared a bill. Doors at 6 p.m. Tickets $95-$175. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC;


The mysterious producer is coming to Ten Tigers and bringing her unique sound with her. Some of her musical influences include Björk as well as Chopin, Imogen Heap and Nicolas Jaar. The Just Enough EP, which only features two songs, debuted earlier this summer. With these tracks, Mija delves deeper into the concept of her own genre-bending production that she somehow still manages to fill with sensitivity, introspection and raw emotion. She also has a collaboration with Heelys, which accurately reflects her reluctance to stick to only one medium of expression. Any artist that’s making music while simultaneously designing (and probably wearing) Heelys out here in these streets is someone that is clearly riding their own wave, and I definitely respect that. Doors at 10:30 p.m. Tickets $20. Ten Tigers Parlour: 3818 Georgia Ave. NW, DC;


Mikaela Davis
Singer, songwriter and classically trained harpist Mikaela Davis dropped her debut album Delivery this July, but it’s definitely not the angels-coming-down-from-heaven harp playing that you’d think. Davis uses her harp as one would use a guitar, and her music takes elements from psychedelic rock, chamber pop and folk. For good examples, check out her songs “Get Gone” and “Other Lover,” and be sure to check out her show when she comes to DC, too. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $13-$15. DC9: 1940 9th St. NW, DC;


Junglepussy continues to flourish as she steps further into the greatness she claimed for herself on 2015’s Pregnant With Success. Since then, this queen of affirmation, health and self-awareness has catapulted to new heights not only with musical cameos (shout-out to Insecure) but onscreen ones too. The good sis has an IMDb page now and has appeared in shows like Mostly 4 Millennials, the SXSW movie Support the Girls and HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness. If you missed her in any of these roles, you owe it to yourself to check out her live show when she comes to DC to give us a taste of her newest album JP3. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $20. Songbyrd Music House and Record Cafe: 2477 18th St. NW, DC;

Little Dragon
Little Dragon is a Swedish electronic band, or at least that’s how they’re often described. To me, Yukimi Nagano’s vocals and the intelligent musical compositions of her bandmates catapult them into their own realm. The haunting soulfulness in Nagano’s voice makes them able to work with people like Big Boi, Anderson .Paak, Mac Miller (RIP), De La Soul and more. They have a newer song with Faith Evans called “Peace of Mind” up on their website that you should check out if you want to see what I’m talking about. In any case, this is a can’t-miss show especially since it’ll be at an intimate venue like Rock & Roll. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $35. Rock & Roll Hotel: 1353 H St. NE, DC;


Call me a nerd for this, but I literally did a project about Mae and the concept albums they released back when I was in high school. Oddly enough, it was for a class where we made our own websites from scratch to learn HTML, and my little artist page and bio that I wrote about them turned out really nice if I do say so myself. Maybe it was the precursor that led me to my true destiny of writing tons of mini-artist bios about upcoming concerts for a local magazine. Personal anecdotes aside, I have a tremendous amount of reverence for one of the bands that formed my emotional landscape as a youth, cemented my love of concept albums and earned me an A in my web design class. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $22-$40. Jammin Java: 227 Maple Ave. E Vienna, VA;


J Balvin
At the time this was written, Colombia’s own J Balvin was the second most streamed artist on Spotify – worldwide. The artist has been working tirelessly to bridge the language barrier of popular music in the American mainstream, and whatever he’s doing is finally paying off. With the recent success of his Cardi B and Beyoncé collabs, and the constant stream of bangers he puts out, I’d say his goal is well within reach. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $39. EagleBank Arena: 4500 Patriot Cir. Fairfax, VA;

Lily Allen
LDN-born Lily Allen is back with her new album No Shame. The last I’d heard from her was about her culturally appropriative video for her single “Hard Out Here,” and since then, I’ve not been able to see her music the same way though I had been a huge fan of hers since 2007. Upon realizing she would be coming to DC, I looked to see what she had been up to. In the four years since Sheezus, it seems the pop star has experienced much growth. Not only has she apologized for the insensitive video, but she wrote a memoir detailing her experiences with motherhood, addiction and the perils experienced since rising to fame at such a young age. In her new album, her maturity is apparent – the cheeky honesty that’s been a hallmark of her music from the beginning now comes forth with a lot more vulnerability and wisdom. Her evolution as an artist makes me proud to be a fan again. Show at 7 p.m. Tickets $35-$40. The Fillmore: 8656 Colesville Rd. Silver Spring, MD;


NSO Pops Presents Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back with Live Orchestra
The number one reason to go see this show is to have the once-in-a-lifetime experience of having an orchestra play you the Star Wars theme (and the other songs from the soundtrack that are arguably much less iconic) note for note while the movie plays in real time. The number two reason is that if you go see this, you will be able to brag to your friends about how cool it was – and no one would be able to top it unless, you know, they were in the original film or something. Tuesday’s show begins at 7 p.m. but the other two shows start at 8 p.m. Tickets $34-$149. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts: 2700 F St. NW, DC;


Beach Fossils and Wavves
For some reason, I really like surf-inspired rock that’s heavy on the angst and emotion. It makes me feel like I’m lying on the beach next to my surfboard contemplating my life choices (mind you, I’ve never even so much as looked at a surfboard up close in real life). Beach Fossils and Wavves will be joining forces with opener Kevin Krauter, whose music offers a nice change of pace to balance everything out. Wavves will be headlining on Wednesday and Beach Fossils on Thursday. Doors at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $25. Black Cat: 1811 14th St. NW, DC;


Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
I’m going to keep it 100 here and say that what marginal knowledge I have of Nick Cave comes from eavesdropping on the excited chatter of my editor. Quite a few members of our editorial staff really go up for this man and are super excited for him to come all the way from Australia to our little corner of DC. From what a brief jaunt through some Google pages has taught me, this post-punk poster boy and his crew are a very on-brand choice to really amp up the Halloween vibes. Catch them at The Anthem this fall. Doors at 6:30 p.m. Tickets $60-$100. The Anthem: 901 Wharf St. SW, DC;


Australian duo Kllo is a staple on many “chill” type playlists populating Spotify. The light, airy R&B-inspired vocals of Chloe Kaul and the skillful production of her cousin Simon Lam make for an ambient blend of music that is danceable yet incredibly calming. Come see what all the fuss is about when they travel to DC this month on the U.S. leg of their tour. Doors at 7 p.m. Tickets $15. Union Stage: 740 Water St. SW, DC;