Tropicalia, the dance club hidden underneath a Subway sandwich shop on U Street NW, is celebrating its fourth birthday the way it started: with international dance music. While the club is sometimes home to DJs playing American pop hits now, on this anniversary, U.K.-based Dhol Foundation will bring its booming South Asian percussion and rhythms to the small room. The combo is led by Johnny Kalsi, who’s also played with Afro Celt Sound System and Transglobal Underground. His instrument, the dhol, is a barrel-shaped drum with a goatskin top and bottom that the drummer hits with a stick and a beater. And the Foundation often features four of them, because Kalsi likes a big, multicultural wall of sound approach. The Dhol Foundation performs with DJ Rekha at 8 p.m. at Tropicalia, 2001 14th St. NW. $20–$25. (202) 629-4535. tropicaliadc.com. —Steve Kiviat
DC VegFest is this Saturday at Yards Park from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The free festival is a chance to try samples of vegan and vegetarian food from restaurants and food producers like Shouk, HipCityVeg, 3 Twisted Vegans, Busboys & Poets, and more. The first 1,000 people to arrive get a fully loaded swag bag with more freebies from vendors. Bring the dog! DC VegFest, 1st St. and N St. SE, dcvegfest.com. (Laura Hayes)
OH AND ALSO
Friday: Set phasers to “buzzed” at Black Cat’s weekly Ten Forward Happy Hour—one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and drink specials every Friday. 7 p.m. at 1811 14th St. NW. Free.
Friday: San Diego heavy metal sorcerers Goblin Cock hit DC9 tonight with local sludge/doom trio Jail Solidarity. 6:30 p.m. at 1940 9th St. NW. $15.
Saturday: Even if you didn’t get tickets to the National Museum of African American History and Culture’s opening weekend, you can still head to the National Mall without a ticket and take part in the museum’s outdoor “Freedom Sounds” celebration. The evening concert showcases three groups formed in the 1980s: Living Colour, with its blend of metal and funk; Public Enemy, known for controversial raps over dense, funky beats; and The Roots, a hip-hop unit that gained the attention of listeners long before it became Jimmy Fallon’s house band. The daytime performers emphasize the more rootsy side of the African diaspora. Highlights include the Rising Star Fife & Drum Band’s bluesy mesh of flute and galloping percussion, Bobi Céspedes’ powerful Afro-Cuban singing, and the Freedom Singers, led by Bernice Johnson Reagon, who courageously sang its spine-tingling spirituals throughout the South as part of the 1960s civil rights movement. At the March on Washington, the group inspired with “We Shall Not be Moved” and the group’s current incarnation, with three longtime members, will demonstrate the poignancy and ongoing relevance of their message. The festival begins at 12 p.m. at the Washington Monument grounds on the National Mall. Free. (202) 633-1000. nmaahc.si.edu. —Steve Kiviat
Saturday: After months of renovations and delays, Joe’s Record Paradise’s new location is finally open. They’ll be celebrating with a grand opening celebration on Saturday, featuring food, treats, raffle prizes and music from local DJs. Noon at 8700 Georgia Ave., Suite B. Free.
Saturday: If you want to find out what this New Wave of D.C. Hardcore (NWODCHC) is all about, head to Petworth’s Slash Run to catch some of D.C.’s finest: Stand Off, Red Death, Kombat, and Guilt Parade, along with Maine’s Corrective Measure. 7 p.m. at 201 Upshur St. NW. Suggested donation.
Sunday: A 1735 Italian comic opera and an 1875 British operetta don’t have any obvious connection, but for its double bills, D.C.’s plucky, inventive InSeries opera company always comes up with one, however tenuous. In this case, the common theme is marriage, but it might as well be “here’s what passed for feminism in the olden days.” La Serva Padrona, baroque composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s farce of a gold-digging maid who aggressively pursues, and tricks into marriage, a boorish nobleman matches uncomfortably well with Trial by Jury, Gilbert and Sullivan’s tale of another scandalously forward woman who seduces the lecherous judge overseeing her divorce proceeding. Director Nick Olcott gives both an Edwardian era setting, with a fast-moving, in-the-round staging and just enough goofy physical humor to help you check your brain at the door. The opera runs Sept. 14 to 25 at Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H St. NE. $22–$42. (202) 204-7763. inseries.org. —Mike Paarlberg
Sunday: Cleveland, Ohio emo-punk outfit Signals Midwest are on tour promoting the release of its excellent new album, At This Age. Check ’em out at DC9 with local bands Oklahoma Car Crash and Kid Claws. 8 p.m. at 1940 9th St. NW. $8.
Sunday: Vinyl heads, get your fix at the quarterly DC Record Fair, happening Sunday at The Howard Theatre. 11 a.m. at 620 T St. NW. $5-10.