The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Nightlife Agenda: Forward Festival, golf happy hour and Marlee in the Mixx

Every Tuesday, the Going Out Guide staff highlights the week's best DJs, bands, dance nights and parties. Find a longer list of events at

Tuesday, May 13
For fans of Merle, Dolly, Waylon and Willie, it doesn't get much better than Outlaws, the monthly night of old-school country at Marx Cafe. This is the third-anniversary party, which means the boot-scooting might be a little more enthusiastic than usual. (Blame the $5 whiskey-and-canned beer combos.) The DJs were nice enough to send us a sampler of what you can expect to hear; doors open at 10 p.m. and admission is free all night.

Wednesday, May 14
Maimouna Youssef may not yet be a superstar, but her career highlights emphasize longevity over flash-in-the-pan success. The local singer, rapper and songwriter first caught wider notice (and a Grammy nomination) for her work with the Roots. Since then, she has released two projects on her own and collaborated or toured with a host of notable peers, including Lalah Hathaway and Femi Kuti. She's comfortable in every idiom of black music, from gospel and jazz to soul and, as her alter ego, Mumu Fresh, hip-hop. At the Howard Theatre, she'll mark the release of "The Reintroduction of Mumu Fresh," a mixtape that finds her playfully reworking current pop hits from Lorde and Rihanna, as well as matching her own consciousness-raising songwriting to today's club beats.

DJs and a rooftop deck have made the Lodge at RedRocks one of H Street's hottest spots for weekend dancing – it was on our list of 21 nightspots to visit right now – and the restaurant is starting to bring some of that vibe to weeknights. The TasteGood happy hour finds DJ Spinser Tracy (of Rock Creek Social Club fame) dropping beats from 5 to 11 p.m. while the bar serves food and drink specials. There's no cover.

Flash hosts Feel the Love, Live!, an open-format jam session with a hip-hop base. Led by multi-instrumentalist John Jazz, the house band also features decorated battle DJs Ragz and Throdown. Musicians as well as rappers and vocalists are invited to sit in between 8 p.m. and 3 a.m.

Thursday, May 15
The annual Forward Festival is centered around the convergence of electronic music and new technology: Five days and nights of cutting-edge dance music, exhibits by audio and video artists, and talks on cyberculture. With multiple events every night from Wednesday through Sunday, there's a lot to choose from on the schedule, so we chose three must-do events for this column. Thursday is a big night of drum'n'bass at Tropicalia, with San Francisco DJs Submophics and Method One joining New York's T.R.A.C. and D.C.'s Slant – celebrating 20 years with the local 2Tuff drum'n'bass crew – and Illogic and Vanniety Kills.

Sure, you could spend a gorgeous Thursday afternoon sitting at the usual happy hour at a bar near your office. Or you could spend a gorgeous Thursday afternoon socializing at happy hour while hitting a bucket of golf balls toward the Potomac River. Hard choice, right? The driving range at East Potomac Park Golf Course hosts a special Driving Range Social every Thursday from 6 to 8:30 p.m., perfectly timed for cool weather and sunset views. Grab a beer -- $4.50 pints or $12 pitchers – and pick up a bucket of balls for $4 to $13 before heading to the upper deck of the tiered range. Here's the clincher: There's no need to lug your clubs around all day, as the driving range office has free loaners available during the social. Admission is free; reservations are requested but not required.

Louisville's The Pass makes smooth, highly danceable electropop in the vein of Phoenix or D.C.'s Brett. The band has been releasing a series of 7-inch singles over the past year and is hitting the road to support them. They're stopping at the W Hotel's rooftop for a free show tonight, though you need to e-mail to get on the guest list. Doors open at 7:30, and Arlington's Pleasure Curses get the music started at 8:30. Cocktails are $12 all night. (Yes, that's a discount at the W.)

Friday, May 16
Our second Forward festival pick comes from Europe: The Cultural Office of the Embassy of Spain is sponsoring a free show by Le Parody, a duo whose poppy club music pulls in ukulele loops, poetry and trumpet into hypnotic songs. The concert is at Tropicalia, beginning at 9 p.m., and no RSVP is required.

Happy hours that combine cocktails and stylish menswear are right up our alley (or so we like to think). The Art of Style brings together the teams behind some of D.C.'s coolest new brands – Bull+Moose neckties and pocket squares, Nice Laundry socks, Read Wall suits and shirts, Stubble and 'Stache facial hair conditioner – and fashion blog Off the Cuff at the Huxley. Note that you must register to attend the happy hour, which runs from 5 to 7 p.m.

Saturday, May 17
D.C. Bra Crawl isn't a typo: It's a fundraising event for the Avon Breast Cancer Foundation and Bras for a Cause, an organization that donates bras to women and girls in need in the U.S. and Africa. A ticket is good for $3 Samuel Adams and Angry Orchard at six Dupont Circle bars, including Irish Whiskey, Mission and Madhatter, from noon to 10 p.m. (Bring a new or gently used bra to donate and you'll get a free drink, too.) The catch is that organizers are asking participants to wear "visible" bras, including bras over their shirts – even men. Sign up through and your ticket costs $30; go to the Bras for a Cause site ( and you'll only pay $8 to register.

The second race of the Triple Crown comes to Baltimore this weekend, and if you're looking to cheer on favorite California Chrome without actually going to Pimlico, get dressed up in your "Southern Belle" or "Southern Gentleman" attire and head to the Brixton's rooftop deck, where the Preakness will be on multiple screens and gin cocktails and mint juleps will flow, beginning at 2 p.m. Post time is 6:18.

Sunday, May 18
The Forward Festival wraps up Sunday with an interesting (and free) double header. A full day of house music and dance performances on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial climaxes with an evening "sunset set" by Philadelphia's genre-hopping party rocker King Britt. The fun begins at noon and goes until 8:30. Afterwards, everyone heads to Tropicalia for the festival's massive closing party. Six DJs are on the bill, headlined by U Street Music Hall residents Chris Nitti and Lisa Frank, while video artists create the visuals on the spot.

We've highlighted Marlee in the Mixx here before, as it's tirelessly honed its hip-hop, pop and R&B blend every Friday night at Indulj. The young band has a modern sound, but its musicianship is far more sophisticated than what you hear on urban airwaves. The result is "turn up" backed by chops. The band is preparing to drop its first original EP, "10,000 hours," with a release show at Cafe Asia from 7 to 11 p.m. Advance tickets are available.