Every Tuesday, the Going Out Gurus highlight the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties.
Tuesday, May 13
Fort Collins, Colo., has a solid claim as the country's capital of craft beer. New Belgium, Odell and Funkwerks are among the better-known breweries from Fort Collins, but after a trip to the Denver Brewfest last year, Fritz came away impressed with the brews from the Fort Collins Brewery. Whether a hoppy IPA, a sweetly malty Maibock or the potent Obsessed Barleywine, every beer was brimming with flavor and personality. Unfortunately, you couldn't get them in the D.C. area – until today, that is, when Fort Collins debuts in Virginia. (Sorry, D.C. and Maryland.) The official launch is at Rustico in Alexandria, where 10 brews will be unveiled at 6 p.m., including a couple of limited editions, such as Old Mottled Duck Olde Ale and Obsessed Barleywine. There will be free glassware – and seriously, don't miss the Maibock.
Thursday, May 15
It's the third Thursday of the month, which means a local brewer is offering unlimited beer at the Victorian mansion of beer magnate Christian Heurich as part of History and Hops. This time around, you can taste three brews from the much-buzzed-about Bluejacket Brewery while touring Mr. Heurich's well-appointed home. (Don't miss the basement tavern room, or bierstube.) (UPDATE: This event has now sold out.)
Sheila E. has been banging on things since the members of her famous Escovedo family were changing her diapers. She got pretty good at it, and has been a top touring and session drummer for decades. Much of the world got to know her through her work with Prince and breakout '80s solo hits, including "The Glamorous Life" and "Love Bizarre," but the folks too young to remember that may have seen her work as music director for Beyonce and J-Lo. With all of her accolades and achievements, Sheila E. still hits the road hard, as the stage is where she really puts in work. She's bringing the housequake to the Howard Theatre.
Friday, May 16
Rockabilly hall-of-famers Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys are currently celebrating their 25th year as a band. They bring their toe-tapping mix of western swing, country and rollicking rock and roll to Iota as part of the quarter-century anniversary tour.
Saturday, May 17
The annual Forward Festival excels at bringing cutting-edge and underground DJs and artists from a variety of genres to venues across Washington. The highlight of this year's five-day fest is Saturday night, when we expect a lot of club-hopping. A warehouse space in the Ivy City NE neighborhood plays host to Magic Mountain High, a trio that mixes drum machines, laptops and musical instruments to create a warm, droning version of improvised house music. Also on the bill: U.K. drum 'n' bass DJ Krust, dubstep producer J.Sparrow, artists painting live and aerial dance performances.
Over at U Street Music Hall, veteran techno whiz Josh Wink tops a bill with local funky house DJs Soul Mob and deep house groover Chris Nitti. A few blocks away, tropical bass master/Moombahton Massive fixture DJ Sabo of the Sol Selectas crew joins All Good Funk Alliance and QDUP for their Sao Funky Saturdays residency at Tropicalia.
The Eurovision Song Contest is an annual competition to see which of Europe's 39 countries can produce the best pop song. (In truth, outlandish costumes and over-the-top performances have become as important as the music.) This year, with the contest hosted by defending champion Sweden, the House of Sweden is showing the concert live on six large, high-definition screens. (The embassy says this is the only place to see the competition in HD outside of Europe.) Expect a colorful party vibe with plenty of embassy staffers and Europhiles rooting for their favorite country. Beyond the TV screens, there will be entertainment, snacks and multiple bars. One drink is included with admission. As with all House of Sweden events, space is limited, so buy tickets in advance.
Pity the poor Preakness Stakes. The first Saturday in May featured a bevy of parties celebrating the Kentucky Derby with mint juleps and hat contests, but few bars do anything to mark the Preakness, even though it’s in our own backyard. The Brixton is showing the Preakness as part of its Triple Crown series, with drink specials, a best-dressed contest and the horse race on big screens.
!!! was one of the leaders of dance-punk back at the turn of the millennium, with the jaggedly percolating "Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard (A True Story)" remaining one of the genre's greatest hits. Most of the band's contemporaries have hung it up, but !!! remains on the road, complete with a new album, "Th!!!er." The band still plays perfectly enjoyable punk-funk with jittery rhythms, even if there's not much that's new. Hear for yourself at the Black Cat.
Artisphere is a real gem for staging unique, eclectic all-ages shows. It's like a mix of the Kennedy Center and that cool gallery opening you went to that also had a few bands on the bill. Artisphere's Global Dance Party features an all-D.C. lineup of Elikeh, Nappy Riddem and Black Masala. The sounds range from Afrobeat to electro-funk.
One for the dancers: Lil'E is bringing her Lady Gaga vs. Madonna vs. Boy Bands party back to the 9:30 Club, which means you'll hear the Jackson 5, New Kids on the Block, N'Sync and One Direction doing battle with the Material Girl and the New Madonna.
Sunday, May 18
The team behind 3 Stars beer is throwing a foodie block party Sunday at its Takoma brewery. While DJs spin summer dance tunes, you can sample six kinds of beer, including the juicy Two to the Dome double IPA and the rich From Russia With Love imperial stout; snack on barbecue prepared by chef Logan McGear of Smoke and Barrel, oysters from the Rappahannock Oyster Company and pickles from Gordy's Pickle Jar; and try cocktails made with Green Hat Gin and Angel's Envy bourbon. Advance tickets are $10, which includes a tasting glass and your first beer; the rest of the food and drinks will be sold a la carte.
Quick: How many Maryland breweries can you name? More than two dozen brewers and brewpubs from across the Free State are bringing at least 125 beers to Frederick's Carroll Creek Park for the Maryland Craft Beer Festival. The strength here is depth: For every familiar Flying Dog or Brewer's Art, there's a chance to sample the Ruddy Duck, from Solomon's Island, or Monocacy Brewing, and offshoot of Frederick's Brewer's Alley. Bluegrass bands perform while you sip, and food will be available.