Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Annabell Lee and Ziggy LOVE

Romantic love may not always work out the way we hope, but we can sometimes take solace in poetry or perchance with a bottle. In Baltimore you can indulge in both at one of my favorite watering holes, the Annabell Lee Tavern. Images of Poe grace every wall, and themed cocktails such as the "Purloined Letter" allow us to wallow happily in melancholia.

For those who are actually looking forward to Valentine's Day, musical possibilities abound this weekend kicking off with the Rhodes Tavern Troubadours' love-in at the Takoma VFW on Thursday. Why kill yourself for a dinner reservation when you can bring a couple of hotdogs along with your companion to the VFW? This has got to be the ultimate cheap date. There's no cover, the music starts at 7, and is done by 10.

Friday night a tribute show will honor the genius of David Bowie at Villain and Saint.  To me Bowie's songs transfigure every day life into a Ziggy Stardust kind of love.  Some are calling the event "Spiders From Marshall" with a "collection of kooks" which sounds perfect to me

although the official call is a "David Bowie Valentine."

Saturday, also at Villain and Saint, The Vi-Kings will take the stage with their psycho-active 1960s dance party.  Both shows are only 10 bucks. (Crunching the numbers,  I think that racks it up to about 75 cents per musician.)

Last but not least on Sunday Dangerously Delicious Pies founder Rodney Henry will be throwing down some rock-a billy punk kind of thing at his renovated for music pie shop on H Street NE with The Glenmont Popes.  Veteran players Jimmy Swope and Justin Jones are also on this top notch bill.

Please check DC ROCkS' calendar for more choices to support our local scene.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Here's a quick heads up from our friend Bill Hanke, and a reminder that free music happens right under our noses at the Kennedy Center's Millennium stage every single day at 6 p.m. All you have to do is show up.

"In 1998 there was a band called The Route 11 Boys. When they broke up- half became Old Crow, half became Hackensaw Boys. Despite being able to whip the crowd into a frenzy with their original style of Americana, the strange world of "popularity" has not come knocking for these road warriors. Playing roadhouses throughout Appalachia for 20 years, they honed their skills to a razor-sharp edge."

Thursday, February 7, 2019

All Together Now

When I was little, my parents didn't turn me on to a lot of contemporary music. Consequently, in 1964, I had Captain Kangaroo in my vinyl collection and no earthly idea of what was going on at the Washington Coliseum on February 11th.  The Beatles played their first concert here.  In Washington D.C. Without me.

This weekend I'm still unaware of most things, but there are a few extra curricular activities on my radar. The "House of Champions" closing reception is tomorrow night at Gallery O on H.  The show features photographs by Michael Horsley who had the presence of mind to prowl around D.C. with his camera in the 1980s when many thought nothing was happening.

For those of you mourning the downsizing of the Black Cat, the reincarnated Red Room Bar will be opening this weekend with promises of being a cover free space -even during shows. Check it out here.

In New Orleans, Mardi Gras is not so much about a certain Tuesday, but more about a season of parades and parties which ends on March 5th in 2019.  Celebrate the in-between time with a Little Red and the Renegades dance party at Haydees on Friday. No cover!

Saturday Beatle fans, who might have missed the boat like I did, can check out the myriad of local talent involved with the Newmyer Flyer Love Song show at the Hamilton.

Sunday afternoon bring your "canned food and such" and browse for cool stuff at the Punk Flea Market/ Food Drive at DC-9 which is happening at 3 p.m. in the afternoon.

Finally you can show off your flea market finds Sunday evening  at Villain and Saint when the Thrillbillys invade Bethesda with what we hope will become a monthly gig. The five dollar cover gives you a lot of rocking bang for your buck and will go a long way to curing those sinking "oh crap, it's Sunday night" blues.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Old Man Winter

The bitter cold yesterday reminds us that Mother Nature and her little sidekick Old Man Winter are always in charge. Color me perverse, but I like seeing vestiges of snow out there reminding us that the season is indeed winter.  Winter should be winter.

When I lived in California, the thing I missed most about the East coast was the vivid change of seasons.  Spring here in D.C. is outrageously beautiful starting with the white blooms of the star magnolia and peaking with the cherry tree thing. The darker greens of Summer are announced by fireflies, and that first crimson maple leaf on the sidewalk is a bright harbinger of more colors to follow. Now we are back to winter again, and even as I write an unexpected snow is falling which gets me jazzed up and thinking about making pancakes to celebrate.  I won't apologize.  Snow has always floated my boat. Here's proof.

For those of you winter weary pilgrims thinking I am nuts, there's a a slew of shows to warm things up.  This weekend, especially Saturday, Ground Hog Day, which, by the by, is a great movie to watch  in winter.  Looking into my crystal ball, I see all kinds of music kicking off with the Cravin' Dogs and Wicked Sycamore tonight.

On Saturday: The Yachtsmen, Seven Door Sedan and Apollo 66 will be tearing things up at the Silver Spring American Legion, the 18th Buddy Holly Tribute features a zillion players at the Rock Creek Mansion,

We Were Pirates, a perennial favorite, is back with  a CD release party at the Rock n Roll Hotel

and "There Will be Cake, " a phrase sure to grab my attention,  means a bunch of bands at Slash Run.

For those avoiding the pigskin festivities on Sunday chill out with Vintage #18 at JV.

Here's a partial list of what else is going on round town the rest of the month.  Please send along your suggestions.

Cravin' Dogs/Wicked Sycamore @ Takoma VFW
The Yachtsmen/ 7 Door Sedan/ Apollo 66 @ Silver Spring American Legion
Buddy Holly Tribute @ Rock Creek Mansion
There Will Be Cake @ Slash Run
We Were Pirates CD party @ Rock n Roll Hotel
Vintage #18 @ JV Matinee @ 4 pm
A Suite for Gil Scott Heron @ Millennium Stage
A Video Tribute to LuX Interior and the Cramps @ Slash Run
Red Room Opening @ Black Cat
Punk Flea Market @ DC-9
Thrillbillys @ Villain and Saint
Hackensaw Boys @ Millennium Stage
Rhodes Tavern Troubadours @ VFW
Bowie Valentine @ Villain and Saint
Valentine Slim @ Takoma VFW
The Vi-Kings @ Villain and Saint
Rock-A-Sonics @ Glen Echo Ballroom
Justin Jones. Rodney Henry/Jimmy Swope @ The Pie Shop
The Yachtsmen @ Galaxy Hut
Thrillbilly Matinee @ JV @ 4
Suga Grits/ Black Masala/Surprise Attack/Nkula @ Gypsy Sally's
Dave Chappell @ JV

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Something There Is That Doesn't Love a Wall

Robert Frost 1913
Wow. I find it hard to believe that Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall" was first published in 1914 -over a hundred years ago. It might be worth rereading if you haven't cracked a poetry book in a while. Modern times being what they are, he is also on youtube reading the thing out loud for Pete's sake.

"Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense."

I'm with Robert.

In the meantime, while we are busy discussing walls, we might forget that this is really about people. People who are driven to leave their homes in hopes of finding a better life in another country.

One such person is Massama Dogo. He felt compelled to come here about fifteen years ago.  Now he keeps one foot in D.C. and one foot in Togo where he is working on musical projects. His latest video was shot both here and in Africa.  I can't understand a lot of French, but the poignancy of leaving all you know and love for opportunities elsewhere comes through loud and clear.

Massama's band DOGO will be performing at the Bossa Bistro + Lounge Thursday night. Friday night the Bold Deceivers are back doing their thing at Hell's Bottom a.k.a. the Takoma VFW.  Look for more things to do on DC ROCKS calendar and keep thinking about those walls.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Nothing But Gray Skies

The leaden skies which cloak Washington DC seem to be occurring with alarming frequency lately, almost as if the weather senses the federal mood about town. When the sun shines, we squint upward and look for the dimmer switch or dash outside to take advantage of the Vitamin D before the clouds return.

Last Sunday, in keeping with atmospheric upheavals, a mini blizzard occurred just as we began our pilgrimage to Susan Mumford's memorial at the 9:30 Club. Massachusetts Avenue was covered with snow as we cautiously descended to the deserted parking lot on 9th Street which looked more moonscape than District.

As an unintended consequence of the government melt down, Bill Warrell was snowed in at a national park in Delaware while many other friends were marooned just beyond the Beltway. Kudos to Kenny Inouye who gets the long distance award for flying in from Hawaii,

and also to Chris Vine who blew in from Brazil via England.

Brendan Canty was among a myriad of musical troops who joined forces to reprise Tiny Desk Unit - an effort which succeeded in both channeling and honoring Susan. The love in the room inspired all, and we missed those near and far who couldn't make it to say good bye. Thank you to all who helped make this event happen.


In between storms this weekend, old school rockers might want to seek refuge from the gloaming with the ever reliable Thrillbillys at JV's on Thursday, and Lunch with Bob, featuring Ratso at the helm, will take down the Takoma VFW on Saturday.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Back to Things 9:30

Hey, kids. This Saturday night the 9:30 Club is putting on a show with all home grown bands which is not so much the norm on V Street.  The "rockabilooza" line up features Jumpin' Jupiter, The Grandsons and Virginia and the Blue Dots, but I'm also looking forward to Dingleberry Dynasty shaking things up in a different way. Attendance counts if we want to see more DC area bands on the marquee although a possible snow day might interfere with the head count. Don't be weenies, you all.  Bonus attraction: long time 9:30-ite, Lisa White will be in the DJ booth.

By the way, the folks at IMP are offering a furlough deal for everyone- not just the beleaguered federal workers:

"We know it won't pay the bills, BUT we're doing what we can to lift spirits during the furlough by offering ticket freebies from now until the shutdown ends (ha!) or 11:59pm on Monday, January 14, (whichever happens first).
Buy a ticket to eligible 9:30 ClubThe AnthemThe Lincoln Theatre, and 9:30 Presents at U Street Music Hall shows happening through February 8th and get one free (so long as it's not sold out and supplies are available)!" 

Sunday evening, we convene, again at 9:30,  for a concert to remember Susan Mumford who was an early pioneer at both dc space and 9:30 F Street.  Whispers and spirits of the old 9:30 live in the basement on V Street now. Here the original back bar from F Street and art postcards of past show calendars by Mark Holmes grace the walls. When we lose people from the olden days, this is where we gather to remember them. (Thank you, Seth and Rich)

I wrote about Susan back in September, but Alona Wartofsky's wonderful piece for The City Paper was more comprehensive.  Hit the links to read all about it although Susan would probably just say aw, shucks, why bother? But bother we will.

She was a rare and funny bird. She fronted the band Tiny Desk Unit which both christened and closed the club on F Street, yet her musical career and life were both too short. Despite the brevity of our time with Susan, she sparked brightly while she was here on this planet- both on stage and off.