Wednesday: If you heard only Khaira Arby ’s awesome nickname - the Nightingale of the North - you might think she was a character on “Game of Thrones.” In reality, she’s one of Mali’s best musical envoys, fronting a band that plays Western instruments and creates songs with both rock-and-roll flourishes and distinctly Saharan roots. It makes for a lively sound, and based on her recent performances at the Kennedy Center and Red Palace, this show at DC9 should be one of the most invigorating you’ll see.
Friday: From his teenage years fronting local go-go stars the Backyard Band to starring on “The Wire” and hosting a radio show on WKYS, Anwan “Big G” Glover has seen a lot. Now he’s entering the next phase of his career, moving beyond go-go to hip-hop. His first album, “Transformations,” comes out this month, loaded with cameos from the likes of Raheem DeVaughn, Wale and Phil Ade. Glover is set to celebrate with a performance at Ibiza.
Saturday: “Old school” DJ nights used to mean ‘70s funk and house mixed with ‘80s hip-hop and R&B. But as late 20-somethings and gently aging 30-somethings have gotten older, they’ve started decrying the music that gets played on the radio and in clubs. Now we’re seeing more “old school” nights that advertise ‘80s and ‘90s hip-hop, house and R&B for a “mature” - not old - audience. Longtime promoter Terry Frasier has jumped on the trend with a monthly traveling party called the Old School Hang Suite . Its second event takes over Embassy Suites’ downtown hotel this weekend, with Biz Markie spinning classic songs in the main ballroom (including, inevitably, “Just a Friend”) and DJ Quicksilver dropping ‘80s and ‘90s house and reggae in the “Hang Suite” at Finn & Porter restaurant. WHUR (96.3 FM) DJs Michele Wright and Mark Clarke host. Both party areas feature drink specials, free hors d’oeuvres and projection TVs screening the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Miguel Cotto fight. “Classy attire” is required.
Saturday: Saturday offers a chance to enjoy one of the doubleheaders that U Street Music Hall has been spoiling us with lately. The early show features the dark-synth Brooklyn band Light Asylum , which might be upstaged by opener Daughn Gibson. Gibson’s “All Hell” is one of the year’s more intriguing albums, a combination of old-fashioned country crooning and electronic rhythms. The nightcap is a marathon, six-hour DJ set by club favorites Volta Bureau. Get ready to hear plenty of dynamic house tunes from the trio of Will Eastman, Outputmessage and Micah Vellian. If you can’t be there, the set will be broadcast live on Sirius XM’s BPM channel.
Saturday: The term “epic” is overused and should be employed more judiciously. But it’s a totally suitable descriptor for the hip-hop bar crawls hosted by Queen Makeda , a small, nondescript spot on Ninth Street NW’s Ethiopian row. Employing some of the city’s best decknicians, Makeda partners with venues in the vicinity, and each stop has a theme and drink specials. Outside of bar crawls, Makeda has been a bar where folks just stop by for living-room hangout sessions accompanied by strong drinks, chicken wings and non-mainstream hip-hop and R&B. Sadly, Makeda is closing, although the owner promises a move to another location by summer. To celebrate two years of revelry, it’s hosting a Cinco de Mayo blowout from 4 p.m. until close, with $5 cocktails, $3 beers and Makeda resident DJs Soyo, RBI and Jav going nonstop. Remember to bring cash to this “everything must go” sale.
Keep reading for more, including the first pool party of the year at the Capitol Skyline Hotel, the return of Soccer Team, a garden party at the Gibson, a taste of Justin Jones’s new album and some seriously funky beers.
Tuesday, May 1
The Gibson is officially opening its patio for spring and inviting guests to experience it in their most genteel outdoor raiment for its May Day Garden Party. Whimsical yet refined activities such as hopscotch accompany dainty comestibles and a tasting of the lounge’s new cocktail menu. Admission is $15.
Wednesday, May 2
The Burley Oak brewery opened in Berlin, Md., just before Labor Day weekend, producing beers made with locally grown grains and hops. Burley Oak beers finally make it to D.C. this week, and you can try them at two bars Wednesday night: Scion will have six taps pouring for $5 each from 5 to 10 p.m., and Smoke and Barrel will have a half-dozen taps as well as Aboriginal Gangster, an IPA with Motueka hops, on cask from 7:30 p.m. to close.
It looks like American Ice Company is going upscale this week: The special guests Wednesday night are Jeff Faile, the amaro-loving bartender from the three-star Fiola restaurant, and Andy Myers , who selects wine with three-digit price tags at the four-star CityZen restaurant. Faile and Myers, however, won’t be in their usual roles: They’re joining American Ice for the heavy metal-and-cocktails Spirits in Black party. Faile will be shaking up drinks with such names as “The Root of All Evil” and “The Thing That Should Not Be,” and Myers will be spinning thrash metal, death metal and all things hard and heavy with DJs Treebeard and Andy O.
Thursday, May 3
Thursday’s show at the Rock & Roll Hotel with Xiu Xiu and Dirty Beaches brings together two iconoclastic acts who don’t share a common sound. Xiu Xiu hops around from harsh experimental noise to twisted pop; Dirty Beaches plays rock-and-drone that sounds straight out of a David Lynch movie. But both provide plenty of tension onstage, so don’t expect to be comfortable when standing in the middle of the crowd.
In honor of James Brown’s 79th birthday, Pizzeria Paradiso is serving up two dozen seriously funky beers Thursday, including ales fermented with wild yeast, Belgian beers aged in wine pinot noir and whiskey barrels. Different beers will be on tap at the Georgetown and Dupont Circle locations — check the bar’s Web site for a full list — but both will feature a special “funky green tomato” pizza for the occasion.
Friday, May 4
H Street has gone from tentative social outpost to a maelstrom of weekend activity. The dancing options can be a bit intense due to the masses of people at the popular spots. That’s why it’s nice to see an event on that strip with DJs playing classic soul, R&B, disco and hip-hop in a more relaxed (and grown-up) space. The Fever First Fridays monthly party at Fever Lounge (a.k.a. HR-57) features Cuzzin B this evening.
Saturday, May 5
Cinco de Mayo and the Kentucky Derby on the same day? Decisions, decisions. Do you don seersucker and drink mint juleps or pull out the comedy-size sombrero and do tequila shots all night? Some places, like the Red Derby and Jack Rose, will celebrate both . . . or you can pick “None of the Above” and head for Adult Swim . The first pool party of the year at the Capitol Skyline Hotel should lure crowds with hip-hop DJs, grills and multiple bar stations. (With highs forecast in the upper 80s, this could be the pick of the weekend.)
Local duo Soccer Team released one album of spindly, low-key indie pop back in 2006 and weren’t heard from much after that. Late last year the band re-emerged with a three-song single that showed that their knack for melodic, unassuming tunes didn’t disappear after half a decade off. Ideal Forms and the Gytters also perform at Comet Ping Pong .
Norwegian-born/Sweden-based chantreuse Ane Brun ’s output is charmingly eccentric: Sometimes she performs with her acoustic guitar, sometimes with a full band, sometimes backed by just a string quartet. Her latest album, “It All Starts With One,” kicks off with a track that’s nothing but her voice and bouncy percussion, but it’s also full of such slow-burning folk-pop as “What’s Happening With You and Him” and “The Light From One.” Brun and her band visit the Hamilton this weekend.