By Mike Laws - 09/07/07 06:48 PM EDT
Britpop Dance Night
The Black Cat, 811 14th St. NW
Main stage, 9:30 p.m. $10
It was about time, if you ask us. With the lesser imitators of Radiohead’s doom and gloom having dominated the British pop charts for the past half-decade or so (hello, Coldplay, Keane and Muse), it’s refreshing to know that there’s a spate of new acts from across the pond whose ambition it is to rock your socks off. Drawing their inspiration from mid-’90s Britpop — from its plentiful hooks, pub-style singalong choruses and detail-rich narratives — bands like the Kaiser Chiefs and Arctic Monkeys have all but stated outright their intent to eschew experimental noodling and get back to the basics, which means making you dance, amigo.
It’s with that in mind that the famed Black Cat, located in the heart of the über-hip U Street Corridor, hosts Mousetrap, a monthly dance party devoted exclusively to the music that inspired youngsters like the Chiefs and Monkeys. From manic mid-’70s punk rave-ups (think the Buzzcocks) to slickly produced ’90s megahits (Blur, Pulp, Oasis), DJ Mark Zimin spins the kind of set that, in its sheer danceability, reminds us of an era when not all English rockers were fey, world-weary angsters. After all, wasn’t rock ‘n’ roll supposed to get into your hips as much as your head?
Zimin and the Black Cat faithful seem to think so. Theirs is a shared taste for the best Britpop, which was a dynamic thing, chockablock with cheery, beery choruses and encouraging an exuberant, devil-may-care togetherness. And with the frenzied congressional calendar just resumed, that’s a perfect prescription for Hill staffers to beat the first-week-back blues.
Ozio Restaurant & Lounge
1813 M St. NW
Looking for a spot of R-and-R that’s a touch more refined? Then head on over to Ozio, M Street’s deceptively large and unabashedly posh martini bar, where you’ll find a large selection of signature concoctions at half-price from 5 to 8 p.m. on weekdays. Another draw? You can puff away on your preferred variety of lighted tobacco, D.C.’s smoking ban be damned. Just don’t wear jeans.