The Juan MacLean

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In the fall of 2001, Q and Not U helped put me back in a relationship with the woman I love. She’d recently made her feelings—or lack thereof—very clear, so when I found out she was going to see the band, I thought I’d show up and try to reconnect. I only caught up with her after everyone had finished playing and we had a brief, awkward exchange. It stuck in my craw until about 3:30 in the morning, when I sent her a soul-bearing e-mail—she responded with a phone call 15 minutes later, and we’ve been together ever since.

The music probably had little to do with my eventual success, but, still, a concert is preferable to a restaurant or dark theater when you’re looking to connect with a new or old love. Unlike waiters and ushers, soul singers, house DJs, experimental noise bands, and metal outfits can be counted on to drown out any insecurities or awkward moments, and in so doing, lend a bit of cover to any romantic advances.

Of all your options for a date involving music this summer, Fatback at Liv every third Saturday may be one of your best bets. For the uninitiated, the monthly event is a “funk and soul dance party” that promises “no cover, no dress code, just a chance to do it right.” Sounds like a pretty good way to get sweaty with your honey. You can also hit up the Web site (fatbackdc.com) for downloads of mixes that could very well lead to amour for those times when you want to cut through the pretense of getting dressed and going out.

The latest incarnation of Justin Moyer’s alter-ego, Edie Sedgwick ditches drum-machine power in favor of a full band, which allows the El Guapo/Supersystem vet (and City Paper contributor) to more fully engage in the spectacle that he’s created. This means the show will feature more in the way of witty in-character, between-song banter—a definite bonus if you’ve brought along someone shy and need help filling those early-relationship awkward silences. The Dischord artist brings his brand of pop-culture commentary to Black Cat’s backstage on May 19.

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Although the Juan MacLean’s latest, The Future Will Come, is getting mixed reviews, the band’s live show—which MacLean has called “a cross between Throbbing Gristle, Kraftwerk, and maybe Bread or Fleetwood Mac”—is always worth catching. MacLean says his latest is “a disco-inflected Human-League-sounding record,” which creates the perfect opportunity for a bit of get-down with your significant, or insignificant, other at the Black Cat on May 23. For those interested in a more quiet, hand-holdy Black Cat experience, Bill Callahan (aka Smog) will be by on June 12, bestowing his soothing brand of acoustic pseudo-sweetness.

If you’re a Guitar Hero obsessive looking to submit the special person in your life to the ultimate soulmate test, head to the U.S. Air Guitar Championships on May 29 at the 9:30 Club. If your date can get through this hipster gymnastics competition, you may have a keeper. For a more traditional night of romance at the 9:30, check out “The Cool Ruler,” Gregory Issacs, one of the legends of lovers rock, on June 4.

There are many reasons to catch 82-year-old Ralph Stanley when he takes the Birchmere’s stage with his Clinch Mt. Boys on June 13. For starters, the man is a living legend who may not be touring for much longer. He’s also “the best banjo picker and tenor singer in bluegrass music,” according to his Web site, though the press pitch isn’t too far off. And, for date night purposes, he represents a chance for you to inject some old-timey flavor into your love life.

Beyoncé’s June 24 Verizon Center appearance is a perfect time to make a move on a date—when there’s a woman in a spangly leotard and stilettos gyrating and sweating onstage, any attempts to steal a kiss, or even a feel, will seem sweet and quaint in comparison. Tickets are pricey, but it’s OK to go cheap: Bey’s sexual energy should have no problem reaching the heights of section 408.

Slightly less kinetic are Wilco and Conor Oberst, who play Wolf Trap’s Filene Center on July 8. Still, the double-bill ensures an evening of mopey pop tunes that will then give way to mellow, raspy, perfect-

for-summertime lawn-sitting music. Which is to say that you will probably make out with just about whomever you bring—keep that in mind when purchasing tickets.

Fatback at LIV, Every third Saturday at 10 p.m. FREE

Edie Sedgwick at Black Cat, Tues., 5/19, at 9 p.m. $10

Bill Callahan at Black Cat, Fri., 6/12, at 9 p.m. $1

The Juan MacLean at Black Cat, Sat., 5/23, at 9 p.m. $13

U.S. Air Guitar Championships at the 9:30 Club, Fri., 5/29, at 8 p.m. $15

Gregory Isaacs at the 9:30 Club, Thurs., 6/4, at 7 p.m. $25

Ralph Stanley at the Birchmere, Sat., 6/13, at 7:30 p.m. $35

Beyoncé at Verizon Center, Wed., 6/24, at 7:30 p.m. $20.75-125.75

Wilco with Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, Wed., 7/8, at 8 p.m. $32-38.