There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
Poor modern dance. While rock music is out having all the fun, touring the world and delighting millions of young fans, state-of-the-art hoofin’ usually ends up stuck at home on PBS, wedged between nature docs. But if Tony Award–winning choreographer Twyla Tharp once wondered, “Why can’t dance be as big as rock?” Starter Set responds, “Why not?” By embracing punk clubs and stinky-van tours, the 14-member dance troupe has found a way to spread its art to a largely untapped audience: hipsters who wouldn’t be caught dead at the Millennium Stage. “Hip,” of course, is a moving target, making the timing of Starter Set’s current tour with San Francisco’s Deerhoof (pictured) fortunate: While most über-hip bands of the past five years have built their reputations by ditching guitars, Deerhoof made its by doing the opposite. Blending the skronkiest sounds of the Kinks and of the amateur clamor-rock sibling-trio the Shaggs, the band has followed an unlikely path from underground noise-mongers to Web-zine-blessed indie-pop elite. All without the tired-dude angst that plagues most of its ax-wielding peers. Deerhoof’s latest record, The Runners Four, finds the band exuding a creepily positive energy, somehow managing to splice White Album–era Beatles onto Sesame Street singalongs. Deerhoof and Starter Set perform with Le Ton Mite, L’Ocelle Mare, and Martha Colburn at 9:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, on the Black Cat’s Mainstage, 1811 14th St. NW. $10. (202) 667-7960. (Aaron Leitko)