Fri. If you're in the mood for old-fashioned, straight-ahead barroom rock 'n' roll, then a fine choice is Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes. The group begins a two-night stand at the Birchmere (703-549-7500). . . . The world-renowned DJ Tiesto is spinning at Nation (202-554-1500). For details, see the Spotlight on Page 8. . . . Dave Alvin is a fine songwriter with a knack for detail and mood. And he's a good live performer. Catch Dave Alvin & the Guilty Men as they begin two nights of shows at IOTA (703-522-8340). . . . The Skylighters perform an entertaining assortment of bluegrass, country and Americana at Jammin' Java (703-255-1566). . . . The D.C. quartet the Apes rock fiercely and without benefit of guitar. (They use a bass, organ, drums lineup.) The group is on a bill with longtime underground legend Psychic TV at the 9:30 club (202-393-0930). . . . If you look beyond her stripper and porn industry past, you'll find that Candye Kane is actually quite a blues singer with a style that can handle everything from ballads to roadhouse tunes. She's at the Chevy Chase Ballroom (202-363-8344).

Sat. The DC Carnival is back on Georgia Avenue. Along with a parade and other festivities, there will be an assortment of soca and steel bands. The parade starts at noon at Georgia and Missouri avenues, and musical events are at various locations. Visit www.dccaribbeancarnival.com/ for more info. . . . Carolyn Dawn Johnson is a talented pianist and singer who has written songs for such artists as Kathy Mattea, SheDaisy and Pam Tillis. Johnson broke through a few years ago and is steadily building her own performing credentials (See CD review on Page 8). She's doing two shows at the Rams Head Tavern (410-268-5111).

Sun. Maiesha & the Hip Huggers is a local group that performs solid, old-school funk. Check them out at Blues Alley (202-337-4141). . . . One of the biggest country stars around these days is Tim McGraw and you can hear him at Nissan Pavilion (202-397-7328). Also on the bill are Big & Rich, with their current hit "Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)," and the Warren Brothers.

Tues. There's quite a trio of acts at Wolf Trap (703-218-6500) when Ben Folds, Guster and Rufus Wainwright perform. The piano-playing Folds often brings a quirky sensibility, Guster creates catchy pop songs and Wainwright sings wistful chamber pop.

Thurs. British rappers the Streets and Dizzee Rascal are at the 9:30 club (202-393-0930). It may take your ear a song or two to adjust to their accents and slang, but they're both doing cool things within the genre. (See CD review on this page.) . . . Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour brings his incredible voice and world-beat sound to Lisner Auditorium (202-994-6800).

-- Curt Fields