Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week’s best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Find a longer list of events at www.goingoutguide.com .
Spirits in Black is like no other cocktail party in Washington. As DJs spin the loudest and hardest heavy metal, everything from classic Metallica to the Sword’s newest album, a team of top-notch guest bartenders shakes up a special menu of drinks with names such as “The Thing That Should Not Be” and “Blood and Thunder.” Spirits in Black used to be a regular event at American Ice Company, but its creators now take it on the road. This installment, held in the Black Cat’s Red Room, features well-known mixologists Jeff Faile (Fiola) and Owen Thomson (Range) behind the bar. The DJ lineup includes Mike Schleibaum, the guitarist for local thrash-metal stars Darkest Hour.
Wednesday from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Black Cat, 1811 14th St. NW. 202-667-4490. www.blackcatdc.com. Free.
This is the time of year when Michael Jackson fans get heavy in the heart. The feeling sets in more intensely as his Aug. 29 birthday approaches, and the only way to get your spirit right is to blame it on the boogie and turn the disco out. You just have to choose wisely, however — don’t play yourself by partying with folks whocan’t do justice to the King of Pop’s rich and varied catalogue. You have to work the hits, but you need the B-sides and album cuts as well. You have to create a narrative that doesn’t just rely on nostalgia. Let DJ Dredd be your guide at the 9:30 Club and you’ll be covered. Shamon.
Friday at 9 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. 202-265-0930. www.930.com. $15.
Yes, there’s a concert on the Capitol lawn this weekend, but our favorite end-of-summer musical tradition is the DC Blues Festival at Carter Barron. The festival turns 25 this year, and it’s still a free, family-friendly day out. The concert is headlined by Albert Castiglia, a Florida guitarist who plays blistering solos in the vein of Albert Collins, but you’ll also hear performances by some of the District’stop blues musicians, including Fast Eddie and the Slowpokes and the D.C. Blues Society Band. A side stage has instruments kids can play with, plus special workshops for kids and adults led by pro musicians.
Saturday from noon to 7:30 p.m. Carter Barron Amphitheatre, 4850 Colorado Ave. NW. 202-895-6000. www.dcblues.org. Free.
The ’80s Dance Party was one of the District’smost popular weekly DJ nights in the ’90s and ’00s. (In fact, the weekly melange of ’80s pop hits, John Hughes movies and sequin-wearing bachelorette parties ran longer than the decade it celebrated.) After a falling out with the owners of longtime home Heaven & Hell, the Dance Party dropped off the map. But that’s changed, now that original ’80s Dance Party promoter Steve Donahoe is working with Black Whiskey, the laid-back bar and performance venue on lower 14th Street NW. The party makes its debut at Black Whiskey this weekend with familiar faces, including longtime host Neal “The Angel” Keller in the DJ booth. It’s got plenty to offer those looking for a shot of nostalgia, and it shouldn’t have much trouble pulling in hordes of 14th Street bar-crawlers looking for a place to dance.
Saturday from 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Black Whiskey, 1410 14th St. NW. 202-800-8130. www.80sdanceparty.com. $5.