Fri. The rollicking and rocking NRBQ is at the Birchmere (703-549-7500). See CD review on this page. . . . Guitar maestro Bill Kirchen is doing a semi-acoustic show at Jammin' Java (703-255-1566). . . . It's a night of blue-eyed soul at Nissan Pavilion (202-397-4328), when the Average White Band, Hall & Oates and Michael McDonald take the stage. The same lineup is also at Cavalier Telephone Pavilion at Pier Six (410-481-7328) in Baltimore on Sunday.

Sat. The pop-flavored dance hall sound of Shaggy and rootsy reggae of Morgan Heritage have people wanting to move at Wolf Trap (703-218-6500 ).

Sun. It's Freaks United III from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. at Nation (202-554-1500). The event features performances from Stromkern, Robots in Disguise, Hypofixx, Null Device, Ego Likeness and Life Cried plus DJ sets from Adam X, RB, Ferret, Hellraver, Whiterabbit, Kangal, MissGuided and MindCage. There is also an independent film room, a variety of vendors and fireworks viewing. . . . Paul Oakenfold looms as large as anyone on the DJ scene, and he's spinning at the 9:30 club (202-393-0930). Also on tap are Scott Henry and Liquid Todd.

Mon. Washington's Q and Not U plays smart, catchy, loud rock at Fort Reno (visit www.fortreno.com for info). Also on the bill is Partyline.

Tues. Paul & Storm, who you may recognize as having been half of Da Vinci's Notebook, continue performing clever and entertaining a cappella in a show at IOTA (703-522-8340). We're About Nine opens. . . . It hasn't been scientifically proven but it's entirely possible there is some sort of law of physics that prevents Lyle Lovett from putting on a bad show. He's got a wealth of great material and a droll delivery that makes his between-song patter almost as much fun as the music. Lovett is at Wolf Trap (703-218-6500). . . . Juliana Hatfield has been turning out indie pop-rock for more than a decade and has a devoted fan base. The Damnwells play a blend of rock and country that's catchy and fun. Hear them at Fletchers in Baltimore (410-558-1889). They're also at IOTA (703-522-8340) Thursday. For more, see the CD review on Page 8.

Weds.

Gravy Train!!!! brings its one-of-a-kind show with elements of queercore, rap, performance and assorted other styles to the Warehouse Next Door (202-783-3933). The Vanishing fills out the bill. . . . Local rockers Welbilt are at T.T. Reynolds (703-591-9292) in Fairfax with their well-crafted sound.

-- Curt Fields