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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Party Like It's 1990 Something



Grunge, rave and hip hop all came into their own during the 1990s while I was home with kids paying absolutely no attention to what was happening in the music world. Fortunately I had a former 9:30 deejay keeping our house current with the eclectic scene, especially bands not playing on the radio. So basically, if it happened in the 1990s, I missed it.

This Saturday local bands Getchoo, Dammit Josie and Dashing Bumpkins converge to reanimate that bygone decade with an all ages tribute show at the Rock n Roll Hotel.


On the other hand, if you want to see a band that has been playing since the '90s, check out the  Ubangis' Summer Fling show at Slash Run. (For you trivia fans The Ubangis' first show was with The Wanktones in December 1990 at d.c. space.)


And for those of you who fondly remember The Wanktones- be sure to listen to Takoma Park's WOWD this Sunday morning for a trip back in time.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Trolls Redux



Once upon a time, folks lived in fear of trolls.  Cumbersome and ugly, these creatures could be found in remote caves with piles of questionable bones laying nearby. By the time I was a child, trolls had been relegated to fairy tales. This was my concept of a typical troll:

Circling back, modern day trolls function as malevolent entities again. No longer skulking in caves,  they hide on the internet, throwing up offensive tidbits like chum, hoping to deliberately provoke and disturb.

D.C.'s Comet Ping Pong, the pizza parlor with an imaginary underground dungeon, has withstood a particularly vicious onslaught of rumors. Despite it all, the ping pong tables remain busy with erratic young players and parents chasing after both balls and kids. Messages of support from young and old can be found scrawled across a poster near the bar. The phone may be oversubscribed, but you can always order your love in the form of a pizza pie online.

After dinner, Comet doubles as a concert venue and even though local musicians who once played there have been menaced as well, the music will not be silenced. This Friday ole 9:30 Club pal Norm Veenstra will be on deck with Tone, Show Pony and James Wolf. All ages show starts at 10 p.m.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

We Like to Rock Too Much


Washington DC's federal hat tends to overshadow its true denizens- those incredibly lovable and often talented natives. Those of us lucky enough to have grown up here in the 1980s can't help but remember the supernova group Switchblade and a certain hot shot guitar player with an eye popping pompadour.


I am happy to report that DC's own Ratso is back and ready to rock again. Look for him this Thursday night at Villain and Saint in Bethesda with a new project called Lunch With Bob. According to Mr Silman, the band will be playing “kick ass American music” when they open for Colonel Josh and the Watt Brothers. Might be a raucous night considering V and S is having its first Biker's Happy Hour, too.



Thursday, June 1, 2017

Long Live Rock n Roll



Once upon a time, most of us lived in a world relatively untouched by digital logic circuits. Yes, we had transistor radios, but we still had to be at home to answer the phone.  We lived in caves, but we did have lots of live music starting with middle school mixers and high school proms. (Fancy Colors, y'all.)  Plus there were loads of little clubs. Emergency, Babe's, The Far Inn, One Step Down,  One Flight Up,  Takoma Tap Room, Columbia Station,  Childe Harold, L.B.J Club, Italian Gardens, Friendship Station,  My Friend's Place, Gallagher's, The Keg.

Now it's deejays at school events and rocketing real estate values have brought down many an old haunt.  The smaller venues are as endangered as this tiny dude.

 Forest Owlet
Out in the wilds of Palisades, there's been no live music since Starland Cafe closed its doors many a moon ago. This Saturday, however, The Rhodes Tavern Troubadours will storm the castle with a church basement rock party just off the Boulevard. There's a real stage and plenty of dance floor.  And you won't be paying ten dollars for a beer because it's BYOB.   Tickets at the door.  Details here.







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.