Every Tuesday, the Going Out Guide staff highlights the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Find a longer list of events at www.goingoutguide.com.
Hill Country’s weekly Rock and Twang Live Band Karaoke is a hoot and a half. Singers take the stage, backed by the HariKaraoke Band, and belt out Dolly Parton, Garth Brooks, Abba and Bon Jovi while wearing headdresses, wigs and silly costumes. What sets the night apart is the five-piece band; the singers really get into performing Hank Williams Jr. or Carrie Underwood songs when a crack team of musicians is cranking away behind them. This week’s karaoke doubles as a fundraiser for the Fisher House Foundation, which provides housing near Veterans Affairs medical centers for families of wounded service members. An optional $20 donation to the charity is good for an all-night happy hour — including $3 PBRs; $5 margaritas, mixed drinks and shots; and $20 margarita pitchers.
Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. Hill Country Live, 410 Seventh St. NW. 202-556-2050. www.hillcountrywdc.com. Free; $20 donation suggested.
Next Tuesday is your day to laissez les bon temps rouler, but you can get your Mardi Gras celebrations off to an early and classy start thanks to the Alliance Francaise. The French cultural institution is hosting a Mardi Gras Masquerade at Georgetown’s L2 Lounge with dancing to the New Orleans-style jazz and funk of the Blue Styles Brass Band. Costumes and masks are encouraged; if you don’t have a mask, some will be available at the door.
Thursday at 8 p.m. L2 Lounge, 3315 Cady’s Alley NW. 202-234-7911. www.francedc.org. $20.
Any rapper who has spun a yarn in rhyme form the past 25 years has a stylistic connection to Slick Rick. Likewise, the science of internal rhyme in rap verses can be traced directly to Rakim. The two MCs broke ground in their art form and opened up creative possibilities for future generations. To have both of them on one stage is worthy of a pilgrimage. Experience two living legends at work at the Howard Theatre, then stick around and rock out with “Tonight Show” bandleader DJ Questlove as he works the turntables at the after-party.
Friday at the Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. 202-803-2899. www.thehowardtheatre.com. Slick Rick and Rakim: Doors open at 6 p.m. $32.50 in advance, $37.50 at the door. DJ Questlove: Doors open at 11 p.m. $17.50 in advance, $22.50 at the door.
Most people are just getting ready for Mardi Gras, but Brazil is in the middle of its raucous Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, which draws millions to block parties and street parades through March 4. This weekend, Carnival is an excuse to get together and dance to some great Brazilian music. American-Brazilian ensemble Nation Beat fuses percolating Brazilian maracatu drums, call-and-response chants, bubbling New Orleans bass lines, funky guitar riffs and the soulful vocals of Fabiana Masili. For this show at Artisphere, Nation Beat will be paired with Alma Tropicália, a local ensemble that celebrates the smooth Tropicalia sounds of the ’60s and ’70s, and DJ Neville C., who has made numerous vinyl-shopping trips to Brazil.
Saturday at 8 p.m. Artisphere, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. 703-875-1100. www.artisphere.com. $15.