Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I am psycho I mean psyched about this Friday night when TWO of my favorite bands Prabir and The Substitutes and Ottley play The Quarry House. I know I rave about Prabir and The Substitutes ad infinitum, but not all of you are listening. And the last time I recommended this band to someone I mentioned that they are the only band to ever make me want to scream. (I am not a screamer. I shriek now and then, but rarely full out screaming. The last time I remember really screaming involuntarily was when I was in labor with my first child which is another story.)
Anyway this person wrote me back and asked- would that be good screaming or bad screaming?

Good point I thought.

Well, it's good screaming- a scream of joy. Prabir tends to have an infectious scream like other people have infectious laughs- and the whole band gives all they've got whether it's a full room or an almost empty room which is a beautiful thing to do.

And Ottley. Ottley puts me in a trance. A really good trance- a rock and roll psychedelic up to the stratosphere and back down to earth kind of trance that takes three ace musicians to produce- Marshall Keith, Martha Hull and Bob Berberich. If you don't know who they are- just look 'em up in the Bible of Local DC Rock. (i.e. here on my blog)

The Quarry House can only hold so many people and so much talent so if I were you I'd get there early and please-save me a seat!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cleaning Up Washington One Block At A Time

For a minute I thought I'd woken up in another city or at least on another day. My trash day is Thursday, and this is Tuesday, yet there was a hum of activity and two trash trucks in my alley. I got up. No make that two trash trucks and a street sweeper in my alley. (I've never even seen a street sweeper around here-much less in the alley.) I rubbed my eyes and saw two guys throwing an old air conditioner into the truck. Whoops. I'd forgotten to call for a bulk pick up. Now I was alarmed. I live In Washington, DC- a seat of national, international and of course, local corruption. What was going on??

I got up and saw I was actually surrounded. There were more men with screaming lime green vests walking up and down. There's another truck, a van and two guys with brooms sweeping up pollen out front. Pollen? I still have leaves from last fall.

My curiosity got the better of me which it often does. I went out to the sidewalk.
Is the Pope coming back? I asked the man closest to me.

He grinned and turned to his partner. She wants to know if the Pope is coming back. They chuckled, then he leaned on his broom to talk for a minute. Now I felt better. This is the DC I know.

No- we're just tightening up the block, he said
And he apologized because the street sweeper guy had already made a feeble pass in front of my house- leaving a wide swath of pollen around my car.
I have no control over him, he said. And he treats me ...

Like a guy with a broom, I finished. He being in the truck and all.

He nodded.

Absolute power corrupts, I said, and we both shook our heads.

He nodded and said if I moved my car maybe the guy would be back. Maybe.

Great, I said.
I thanked him and moved my car .

A little while later I heard a lot of bellowing going on. Sure enough the street sweeper was back and my broom guy and he were yelling at each other. And then my street got swept. AGAIN. The whole crew worked my block for at least an hour before they moved on.

I still want to know who is coming to town.

Saturday, April 26, 2008



Meet up with your art buddies, neighbors, local business owners, and community leaders and have a fun Sunday night at a fundraiser for Art Outlet.


6:00 pm Nick's Pack
7:30 pm Art Raffle & poetry by BRASH
7:45 pm Magic by David London
8:00 pm Timothy Bracken
9:00 pm Art Raffle & poetry by BRASH
9:15 pm Magic by David London
9:30 pm Alice Despard
10:30 pm Art Raffle and Magic by David London

Don’t just save the date, come to the party! Artists will draw on you, Poetry on the fly, Autographed cupcakes. ( I dunno-I'm always for a party that involves cupcakes. )

Who: Your Art Outlet and you
What: Fund Razor
Where: Iota Club & Café
2832 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22201
When: Sunday, April 27, 6pm – Midnite
Why: Because together we can continue to build art and arts culture in our community!
Donation: $5 and $10 with five art raffle tickets. Buy more tickets at $5 for five.

Friday, April 25, 2008




Straight from the band's mouth

"This is a tragedy. We lost one of our own to the penal system yesterday morning. With this unpredictable turn of events and seriously bad timing gig wise,no one could have imagined this would have occurred. Every band has problems but this is off the scale completely. I am very sorry about this. Bruce and Vance vow to return as 9353 very very soon. It is no help with these gigs. We only had 24 hrs to work with. We've done it in 72 hours before, but 24 hours was not enough time to replace a member in. Not that kind of band. Real question we're stuck with today is: what kind of band is this? the answer:
You just can't get good help these days."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Quarry House Pops This Weekend

The legendary 9353's 25th Anniversary Hometown Tour hits The Quarry House this Friday and Saturday nights. These two shows are the last chances this year to hear the band that calls "paranoia pop." (And one of the most prolific poster plasterers this town has ever seen.) Four more bands will be joining 9353- a different line up each night:

Friday Night:
Puptent - "Pop-not-Pop"
Ironboss - a Baltimore band, very much not Pop

Saturday Night:

7 Door Sedan - their glam/psychedelic/rock and soul thing will wow you, but it's not quite Pop
New Standard - descendants of The Penetrators - (Does that sound like Pop to you?)

Try to make it out to two full nights-5 full bands-whether it's pop or not it's all local so please show the love.
Lyn1 and Lyn2

Monday, April 21, 2008

Count 'em

(prabir and the boys)

I didn't know it was happening until the middle of the last band's set Sunday night when my faithful companion turned to me and said- you've seen eleven bands this weekend. Eleven bands. In this order: Honkytonk Heart, Reverb Galaxy, Beatnik Flies, Atomic Mosquitos, The Flea Bops, Thrillbillys, The Rhodes Tavern Troubadours, The Grandsons, Ruthie And The Wranglers, Prabir and The Substitutes, and Greenland. I went to JVs out in Falls Church- a tiny dive with a bar and booths. I went to The Surf Club which has yet to change from the honky tonk road house it has always been out on Kenilworth Avenue, and I went to The Black Cat downtown- a staple of the DC rock scene since back in the early nineties. I heard all kinds of music- from seasoned rockers to young punks and except for a $20 benefit none of the shows were over $8, and all of them were good if not excellent.

There's plenty on the calender this weekend starting with GHz Thursday night at Bangkok Blues. John Zidar-drummer and the zee in GHz writes: In case some of you still don’t know, Bangkok Blues was remodeled last year and looks better than ever, with a lighted stage and a great house sound system. The place is now owned by an excellent sound man, Darrell Taylor, and he has turned BB into a great place to see and play music, which is why we have selected this venue to record our first live album! Darrell’s also a great guy who treats musicians well, and we want to support any venue that runs its business the way he does.

The last time I saw GHz there, Mary Ann Redmond-local songstress- sat in for a number or two- no extra charge. That's the great thing about local shows.

(GHz w/Mary Ann Redmond)

Try it. Just see one band.
(At least it's a start.)

And if you go Thursday please say happy birthday to John -the guy banging on the drums.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bill Kirchen had organized a benefit at Surf Club Live this Sunday for Chris Gaffney, a musician fighting liver cancer, but Chris passed away on Wednesday. The benefit will go on as planned as there are sure to be medical bills and hard times ahead for the family. Please come out and support the musicians who are supporting this cause. The line up will include: Bill Kirchen with Johnny & Jack & Mark Gamsjager, The Thrillbillies with Johnny Castle, The Rhodes Tavern Troubadors, Ruthie & the Wranglers and The Grandsons.

4PM Bill Kirchen with Johnny & Jack & Mark Gamsjager
5PM Thrillbillies
6PM Rhodes Tavern Troubadors
7PM The Grandsons
8PM Ruthie & the Wranglers
9PM Bill Kirchen with Johnny & Jack & more

Hours of good music for twenty bucks. (That's still a deal at only $4 per musical hour or per band.) And if you think Sundays are dull and boring- think again because this Sunday is anything but-Lynn2 has more on what there is to do:

My Favorite DC Sunday

This Sunday I get to do some of the things I like best about my hometown. First, there's the Earth Day event down on the mall. I'm not big on Earth Day- seems like a lot of hype about the issues I work on every day. At the same time, when you're fighting the power (because that's what it's about - not kayaking and cute little critters) you will take any star power you can get. Plus this year it's about global warming. If you are among the 7 people who don't think it's a big deal then you must not get out much. Anyway, I have always loved music events on the mall. It's when we locals get to take over from the tourists. I have great memories of laying down the blanket, assembling snacks and beverages and settling in to hear the bands and see who happens by. It still amazes me that in the years before cell phones you could still run into several dozen people you knew and build a little encampment. Now it's even easier.

In addition to lots of exhibits, speakers and music you can check out something that's really homegrown: Thievery Corporation. More than a band, they're an empire, a concept, a political force. Thievery has a global following, but they could only come from here. The Washington Post once described them as a world beat stampede, and I can't top that. The foundation are local guys Rob Garza and Eric Hilton, but the live line-up is lots more, and usually includes some surprises. DC has birthed a lot of special things: half smokes, Ben's Chili Bowl, Go-Go, harDCore and more - if you haven't checked out the Corporation you've missed one.

When that's done, I plan to mosey up to the Black Cat for the DC CD release party where Prabir and the Substitutes will unleash their new recording. This reporter has used up all her words on this Richmond-based band (wish we could call them our own) who continue to wow the local crowds. They're with Greenland so when you're a bit sun-burnt and ready to play some pool, have a beer and hang out watching two great bands Black Cat is your place. One day you will wish you saw Prabir and the Substitutes way back when.... this might be your time.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Death and Taxes

Certainty? In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes. Ben Franklin said it, and by George, he was right. Again. But for those of you that can get to the post office by Tuesday evening, and want a diversion- go see The Rosslyn Mountain Goats when they return to The Quarry House.

I went to the first show and was not disappointed. Don't expect to hear their old Mt. Boys' songs, but do expect great musicians (Joe Triplett, Bob Berberich, Peter"Tex Luigi"Bonta, Rico Petruccelli, and Martha Hull) playing a variety of music from traditional roots country to rock. (Last time this included Joe Triplett delivering a murder ballad which was so passionate he left the room slightly stunned. Someone finally broke the silence saying-Well, that was down right scary- which is exactly as it should be.)
And when Martha Hull takes the mike, the band is forced to rock harder and louder just to keep up with her. Martha tends to wander out towards the crowd which may startle the waitress, but that's the great thing about an intimate joint like The Quarry House. I don't know how long this will go on, but there is no cover. The band passes the hat in a low key way. PLUS happy hour prices all night. No wonder they call it Lonesome Hobo Brother, can you spare a dime Tuesdays. They go on at 8 so all you working stiffs can get home early, too.

You can get a LOT for your hard earned dough here which is more than can be said about those tax dollars we send flying off who knows where every year.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Spring Fever???

Has the fogginess of the last several days got you pondering rites of spring?
Feel like doing something different this weekend?

Remember Persephone? She's the pretty Greek gal that Hades grabbed for himself. (you know Hades, King of the Underworld- a bit self centered) Hades took her "down below" away from all the beauty up here. And while she remained in the underworld, the flowers and plants started dying up here. Fortunately for everyone, she had connections. Her father Zeus worked out a deal so Persephone could come back topside every spring. Which is what makes spring spring.

Which brings me to Persephone's Masquerade Ball brought to you by the Pagan Society happening this Saturday at The Hilton in Silver Spring. (Hey, coincidence? Silver SPRING ?)
Anyway this event is more expensive than most things I recommend, but it is a benefit and $30 get you in for the dessert and dancing portion of the evening. (about 8:30-1) The Rhodes Tavern Troubadours will be presiding over the dancing.

Or you could stay home and do your taxes.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Check Out Another Galaxy

Alice Despard. I ask people questions now and then to get me going when I want to write a story about them, and I'm happy to give over the reins when I get answers like this one. I asked Alice how she got started, and this is what she said:
I picked up the guitar shortly after I first heard Creedence Clearwater Revival's album Cosmos Factory. It just inspired me totally. All my friends were playing guitar in 7th grade. I was 13 years old, and my boyfriend played guitar, and I thought he was so cool so I imitated him.
I asked my parents for a guitar--begged for a guitar. My dad heard me and sent me a Sears guitar: an Astro, tobacco sunburst. Hard as hell to play and the strings cut into my fingers.
I developed calluses, which I have never really lost. Then I had to beg for guitar lessons, which I took for 6 months and grew bored, realizing I could play along with my favorite albums, read tab charts, and learn all I needed by myself. I learned most of my chords from George Harrison's All Things Must Pass album. And the Stones' Sticky Fingers and Exile on Main St.

I began playing with others when I was 15 and wrote my first songs then. My first band was
an all girl blue-grassy thing called Magpie Rag during my sophomore year at Whitman.
It was a good start. Our first gig was Mr. Henry's in Tenley Circle. It didn't seem to matter that we were teenagers.

And that's where Alice trails off, but those calluses she talks about, that she never really lost, are a testament to how long she has weathered the music scene. Through the years she has developed her own amazing style on the guitar. She has honed the band down to just herself and Evan Pollack on drums, but the sound is much richer than two people.
Alice used to own The Galaxy Hut ; she is the soul and heart that got this sweet little
place going. And Larry, the present owner, has done his best to keep it that way. Alice will be playing there this Monday which makes it all the better to see her in the cool little place she created- a refuge from the yuppie storm that threatens Clarendon and indeed our entire area. Art Daniels, her beloved barback will be opening.

Friday, April 4, 2008

(photo by chip py)

The Nighthawks- great name, great band, great memories (OK- foggy memories involving Georgetown and College Park for me, but I'm pretty sure it was fun.) This Saturday April 5th, you can relive those foggy days when they play Surf Club Live which is now the home to more local bands playing than ever. This venue almost bit the dust when The Hall Family sold it recently, but the new owners want to give the live local music thing a go- so keep an eye on their schedule and remember my mantra- a buck spent on local music goes WAY further than one spent on those mega bands you need binoculars to see. Plus you don't even have to buy binoculars.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

DC Rocks Inspires A Song

We sometimes attempt to amuse here at DC Rocks, but Lyn2 has BECOME a muse.
She received the message below from Phil Duarte after she wrote her description of Pup Tent at The Quarry House last week:

We've had this song we've jammed on for about a year and haven't done live because I thought it needed something else. Last night I started singing that part of your piece on DC Rocks, and it finished the song. The song will be called That's What We Are. "Pop/not pop, that's what we are," repeat ad infinitum until we end. So you are now the inspiration of a new Pup Tent number that with two more new tunes should be in the set by the time of the 9353 show. So there!

Feel the love.

Thanks, Phil.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

What The Heck Is Happening At Wilson?

If you don't live here in the city, you might have missed that Wilson High School has been in the news lately following the arrests of twelve students just before spring break. This was not an isolated incident by any means. Earlier in the year a student was assaulted by over age freshmen who had been "socially promoted." And that's two of the problems in a nutshell. Number one- all freshmen were moved up to high schools this year in an effort to conform the district's system. Number two-that sixteen year olds are promoted even if they aren't ready to leave the eighth grade. Ready or not here they come has never been more chilling. Wilson did not have the resources to receive over two hundred more students this year- plus over fifty of them were "social promotions." (My sister thought that went out with the dinosaurs which it should have.) ( or at least with Neanderthals) How sad and scary at the same time. Like most everyone else-I found out about all this by reading the paper- certainly not from my daughter who attends Wilson. I did ask her if she was alarmed. She gave me the same have you lost your freaking mind expression that I usually get.

Over Spring Break we received word that the temporary solution would be confining students to the class rooms for lunch. My daughter's sick with a flu so yesterday when she was catching up with a school friend on our porch, I asked how much work she'd missed with AP exams coming up soon.
-Oh, nothing much her friend replied- We did nothing today.
- And yesterday- what happened? What about the lunch crack down? I asked.
She laughed. It was total chaos, she reported. They couldn't keep the students in -it was a joke.
The lunch thing only lasted a day as students planned and implemented a walk out in protest that all were being punished for the acts of a relative few.
So I asked again -how do you all manage to go to this school and not be affected by the violence every one else is talking about?
It's a big place- we know where to go and not to go, they told me in agreement of what was obvious to them.
We avoid the sketchy areas like... the cafeteria.

Out of the mouths of girls.