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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Porch Time


One memorable year a ways back, two of my children briefly became vegetarians while they were  in school. Not at the same time, of course, because that would have been too easy for the resident chef. They transformed separately and consecutively. The girl child was moved by a film she saw in class- a somewhat brutal exposition on the beef industry. It was "the next cow watching" that sent her over the edge. The boy, on the other hand, was a committed consumer of bacon, and had always eschewed anything remotely colored green. He converted on a bet.

This teenage episode reminds me of the People's Republic of Takoma Park. Goofy and politically over correct, it's a community we love in spite of itself. A nuclear free zone which spawned Mary Chapin Carpenter, John Fahey and Root Boy Slim as well as "Cat Man," "Fox Man" and "Roscoe." Azalea City: eclectic old homes and beautiful porches.

Come Saturday afternoon, like cicadas emerging from the murky underground, musicians of many stripes will be out in broad day light for the fifth annual Takoma Porch Fest happening from 2-4 p.m.  Click the link for handy map and schedule, and check out this cool little never never land for yourself.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Not Fade Away

Bob Weir /from Diamondback archives

I was never a huge Grateful Dead fan, but my UMD housemates sure were. If memory serves me, Dougal, Chauncy, Stuart and Pete all camped out in the snow to get tickets for the Dead's show at Ritchie Coliseum back in the 1980s. It was a big deal. Pete even designed commemorative tee shirts featuring Jerry Garcia's head on a terrapin's body. And thanks to my housemates, I found myself sitting on a folding chair close to the front. And thanks to the internet,  I can tell you exactly when that show was: Saturday March 7, 1981 to be exact. And it wasn't at Ritchie- it was at Cole Field House. With the date pinned down, I can find my own journal entry. (Being the odd child that I am, I took my notebook to the concert.)



"Row 11 Seat 5. Shoved Stuart over one. Everybody's standing on their chair swaying and screaming  looking glassy eyed at the stage. Alcohol, cigarettes, sweat and pot.  "It looks like rain, " Jerry croons and the crowd goes wild.  Now everybody's clapping, but all I see is a sea of knees. I  can occasionally get a glimpse of this page by the light of a flashbulb. I smell hash."

It was right about then that a flashbulb went off in my own head. I realized what a mistake I had made by attending the event stone cold sober.  Still it was a feather in my cap to be able to say I saw the Dead. And I wish I still had my tee shirt.



Fast forward to now. Jerry Garcia's famous "wolf" guitar which once brought almost a million dollars at auction, is being sold again.  This story didn't really catch my interest until I heard that the sale will be an unprecedented act of love beyond fandom. The man who bought the guitar in 2002 has pledged to donate all of the proceeds of the auction and the accompanying concert to the Southern Poverty Law Center - a group which has mounted the charge against hate groups and racism.  This "box of rain" is the kind of love this country needs. Now more than ever.



Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Connect the Dots?


A plethora of shows this weekend line up with a galaxy of genres: Psychedelic Prog Rock, Polyrhythmic Post Punk, Americana, Shoegaze, Roots Rock, Psych Dance, Street Blues, Gonzo Folk, Bar Prog, Party Metal, Math Rock just to name a few. Something for everyone. Right?  If you're left a bit dazed by all these monikers, get a magic marker and try to connect the bands to their ilk. Or just go with the flow and throw a dart. One thing they all have in common? As per DC ROCKS' credo- nothing here over $20 - most under $15- or no cover. All more fun than staying home and watching the news. Local music needs local people!

FRIDAY


Greenland is back ! along with Emma and Fat Spirit at Slash Run.


Bold Deceivers take down Takoma VFW. 


Eric Brace is back ! with Peter Cooper & Thomm Jutz at Jammin'Java


Bumper Jacksons have a crazy CD Release Party at The Hamilton.





 SATURDAY


Cravin' Dogs 10th (!) CD / Party at Villain and Saint.





David Goodfriend's new project The Conrads' debut (!) at the Takoma VFW 


The Messthetics- a dream team of former Fugazi players and guitar hero Anthony Pirog will be above ground at Comet Ping Pong with Crown Larks and Time Is Fire.




Wednesday, May 3, 2017

These Are People That Aren't gone


Acoustic show with two men who rocked the 1980s. Catch 'em before they head for the West.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Ten Bands You Haven't Seen in Bethesda Lately


Bethesda back in the day was mostly a two story sort of town, but now it's easy for natives to get lost looking for familiar landmarks.  As developers knock down one block after another with Godzilla like indifference, rumors are running rampant. What next on the chopping block ?  The Farm Women's Market? Pines of Rome? Tastee Diner? The Psyche Delly? (Okay, the Psyche Delly's gone, but the block is still there.)

Here are ten bands you might remember playing that old rock haunt:

Evan Johns and the H-Bombs, Switchblade, Insect Surfers, King Soul, Tru Fax, Nightman, both The Slickee and the Rosslyn Mountain Boys, Catfish Hodge, Beatnik Flies. 

Wait, one of those is a lie! 

Silly social media games aside, the good news is live music can still be found in Bethesda. Flanagan's Harp and Fiddle took over the Psyche Delly's old address, and  The 19th Street Band will be there FridayMary Ann Redmond plays on Saturday.  Feeling supper club fancy? Cut the rug with Chopteeth at Bethesda Blues or- last but never least- King Soul will be just up the avenue throwing it down at Villain and Saint. Both play this Friday.




Friday, April 21, 2017

The Spawn of Travesty




If you remember Cap'n Tugg and Gore de Vol, you grew up when TV programming was anything but generic. Every day after school we watched Cap'n Tugg, cruising the Potomac with Fantail the Parrot, fighting villains like Axel Graxle and Captain Flashflood while pushing "Bosco" to pay the bills.  



He communicated with Mister Flanagan in the engine room with something that looked like (and probably was) a vacuum cleaner hose and received updates from Commander Salamander. The humor of it all sailed right over my elementary school head, but I was a loyal viewer.


Another local celebrity, Creature Feature's horror host, Count Gore de Vol introduced the Langley Punks to the world with the film short Attack of the Paramecium Man. Nowadays films reach for perfection, but we lose the sheer genius which overcame low budget and very low tech. The Langley Punks, who in my humble opinion, were direct spawns of Cap'n Tugg, produced an explosion of insanity from the petri dishes of their imaginations. Who could forget titles like Alcoholics UnanimousHyattsville Holiday and Intestines From Space?



Really? No clue? Then prepare to be educated tomorrow evening at The First Absolutely Final Retrospective gathering and film event at the AFI in Silver Spring.






Thursday, April 13, 2017

Can This Date Be Saved?


I don't want to tell you procrastinating types that tax day is not April 15th this year. Why?
Because April 15th is a Saturday, and then comes Sunday which is Emancipation Day, but the holiday shifts to Monday April 17th which is my father's birthday as cited on his birth certificate, but since he was born at home in DC, and since Greeks aren't big on birthdays per se, and perhaps because there was a bit of a language barrier thrown in, we celebrated his birthday on April 18th  his whole life long without knowing any better, which is why this year April 18th is Tax Day. Oh and please note that this Sunday Greek Easter shares the day with regular joe Easter something that happens now and again depending on moons and things. 

But the reason I don't want to tell you about the shifting tax day is because of the fun shows this weekend which you can go to because your taxes are already done. Right? Or you can procrastinate until Monday. Up to you. 

Meanwhile the Desson Thompson Trio will be shaking things up at Villain and Saint and competing for attention with Doug Stevenson and the Spades just down the road at Hank Dietle's. (Bringing us to the question why are there two things to do this Friday when for weeks on end there's nothing on tap?
 (Answer? See paragraph one.)



And Saturday, especially for those of you who live left of town, Ruthie of the Wranglers has this to say:

So what heading does this show fit under? Music, party/nightlife, comedy, concert, barn dance, country, americana, roots rock n roll, hollerin' contest, beer slam, dance, social, relaxation therapy, love-in? I need some of all of that!! Scientically proven to improve your mood. WARNING: Side Effects include smiling, weight loss, increased appetite, fits of laughter, possible slurred speech and uncontrollable dance-like quick movements which may become permanent. 8:30 pm. Let's rock it! We are NOT EVEN CHARGING ADMISSION FOR THIS SHOW!