The Dismemberment Plan remains one of the best rock bands this city has seen over the past decade, and they perform their first of two nights Friday at the Black Cat (202-667-7960). They'll be joined by openers Engine Down and New York's intriguing Gloria Deluxe. (Gloria Deluxe will also play their rootsy cabaret rock Sunday at the Velvet Lounge [202-462-3213].)

At the Improv (202-296-7008) Friday through New Year's Eve, the hilarious stand-up comedian Tom Rhodes takes a break from hosting a talk show in Holland (in English) to crack up Washington audiences.

Saturday the eclectic jazz guitar master Larry Coryell performs at Jaxx (703-569-5940), along with local fusion openers Traffic Jam. And the annual reunion of area jamband godfathers New Potato Caboose takes place at the State Theatre (703-237-0300), along with openers the Jellyfish Blues Band, featuring members of Eddie From Ohio. My favorite soul band in town, Eddie Jones & the Young Bucks, plays Saturday night at Bohemian Caverns (202-299-0800). The Birchmere's (703-549-7500) annual Hank Williams tribute takes place Saturday night, featuring bluegrass great Lynn Morris, with Marshall Wilborn, Robin & Linda Williams, Bill Kirchen, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marx and others.

French-born harmonica ace Frederic Yonnet plays his dynamic jazz Sunday night at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage (202-467-4600). Worth a drive Sunday to the Ram's Head (410-268-4545) in Annapolis is the appearance of country-folk-rock couple Buddy & Julie Miller, whose music takes a back seat to no one's. James Brown keeps going and going and performs Monday at the 9:30 club (202-393-0930). On Monday, lo-fi indie rocker and songwriter Patrick O'Donnell plays a CD-release party at the Black Cat (202-667-7960). Poppy hip-hoppers B2K and IMX join stunning R&B vocalist Kim Scott Monday at Constitution Hall (202-432-7328). Pennsylvania roots rockers the Badlees perform Monday at IOTA (703-522-8340), with openers Bree Sharp and Alexander Seier.

Tuesday is New Year's Eve, and whatever plans you have, consider using SoberRide to get home. It's a free cab ride home (up to $50 value), and all you have to do is dial 800-200-8294 (800-200-TAXI), or # 8294 if you're an AT&T cellular subscriber.

-- Eric Brace