Around Town: 2014 Hilly Awards Gala — 12/6/14

Library of Congress -- View East from the U.S. Capitol Dome (DC) June 2013
The Library of Congress and Capitol Hill neighborhood

The annual Hilly Awards Gala takes place Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014 at St. Mark’s Church.

Produced by CHAMPS, Capitol Hill’s Chamber of Commerce, each year, Capitol Hill residents vote for the best neighborhood businesses in a range of categories, including best restaurant and best bar/tavern.

Last year Acqua al 2 was Restaurant of the Year and Beuchert’s Saloon was Bar/Tavern Of the Year. See all the winners from 2013.

Here I highlight my predictions for Restaurant and Bar/Tavern for 2014:

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Music Park: Interpol @ 9:30 Club — 11/30/14

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When a band has gone through some big lineup changes, and releases a fifth album, you don’t necessarily expect the songs from that album to be the most exciting ones played on the next tour.

But then this is Interpol, the post-punk standard-bearers that have been defying expectations since they formed in New York City roughly 17 years ago. And so it seems the band can do little wrong as long as the wall of guitars that make up Interpol’s signature sound includes bandmates Paul Banks and Daniel Kessler behind it.

The band released El Pintor, its latest album, in September and embarked on a tour to support it. In a sold-out show at the 9:30 Club on Sunday night, the opened with “Say Hello to the Angels” from their first album, Turn On the Bright Lights — and the first and second albums continued to get quite a bit of love throughout the show.

But the second song, “My Blue Supreme,” is from the new album, and as the band continue with the set, you can see that the new songs symbolize the continued spirit of their collaboration. Interpol could have hit a speed bump without founding bassist Carlos Dengler, who departed after the last album, but instead they embarked on a remarkable distilling of their sound and thematic messages to produce an album as wholly fresh and exciting as their debut.

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Don’t Miss: New Build @ U Street Music Hall, 12/2/14

NEW BUILD PHOTO 2014

Guitarist Al Doyle, bassist Felix Martin (both of Hot Chip) and composer Tom Hopkins make up ambient synthpop band New Build, which is headlining at U Street Music Hall on Tuesday, Dec. 2. New Build are joined by Museum of Love, which features Pat Mahoney (of LCD Soundsystem) and Dennis McNany.

New Band recently released a second full-length album, Pour It On. Doyle, who also was in LCD Soundsystem, took time to talk to publicists about his past in LCD and his future with New Build

Q: What was your favorite LCD gig?

Al Doyle: Probably the one which I thought was my last ever gig, at the end of the Sound of Silver tour when James said he wasn’t making another record. We played “New York, I Love You” and I was totally in tears, just broken down and sobbing, and to add to it James started singing “Al Doyle, I Love You” and that was just too much. Never been so mushed up on stage before or since — actually, talking about it now it probably wasn’t my “favorite” gig, but it was a singular experience. Very grainy footage here:

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Music Park: Furniteur @ DC9 — 11/26/14

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I gotta say that it seems Prince George Records is doing something right.

I knew of the DC label as the backer for dance duo Pleasure Curses, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Prince George has more artists in its roster, and one in particular which could prove a breakout act in the next year.

Enter Furniteur, who opened for Frenchman David Grellier performing under his bandname College at DC9 last Wednesday. With the recent electronic release of a four-track EP, Furniteur have been playing several small shows around DC in places like The Dunes and Comet Ping-Pong. They are well worth catching at your earliest opportunity.

Furniteur’s frontwoman is local chanteuse Brittany Sims, who studied art in New York City and decided to form a band back home in DC after graduating. She’s recruited Kevin Bayly and Mike Toohey of Brett (formerly the Dance Party) and presented Furniteur as a smoldering synth-driven trio.

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Food Park: Copycat Co. Enters the H Street Fray

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H Street NE continues to bolster its choices of restaurants and bars with an almost endless stream of openings in the last couple months.

A bar crawl is in order, especially if the streetcar ever decides to open.

One intriguing concept comes from Devin Gong, from Barmini, in the form of a cocktail bar slash pot sticker and dumpling restaurant.

Copycat Co opened less than a week ago and it immediately fits into the electic Atlas District/H St NE scene.

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Sports Park: Get Your Baseball Fix at the NatsFest — 12/13/14

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The Presidents racing

The Washington Nationals had a fine season. If not for the suddenly mighty Giants, it might have been the best season.

With a first place finish in the National League East, at 96-66, for the second time in three years, the Nationals are primed to be a contender next year and beyond.

Let’s get excited for 2015!

Okay, we do have some time to idle away before April.

One way to get your baseball fix in the meantime is the annual NatsFest on December 13.

Get autographs and photos with your favorite players and the Presidents, play games, listen to seminars. Be a kid. Enjoy baseball.

NatsFest 2014

Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Saturday, December 13

11am-5pm

$20 Adult; $10 Children

All Ages