Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy All Hallows Eve From The Gouls At Dc ROCKS

Palisades Moon- Fletcher's Boathouse DC

Thursday, October 30, 2008

On Philvis, Lester Bangs, Frank Zappa and Decorating

A few years ago, inspired by a particularly hot Rhodes Tavern Troubadours show, I announced that I would write about them in the style of Lester Bangs, who some call the first “modern” rock critic. I even reread the Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor Dung collection. Truth be told, there’s no way I can imitate Lester but the project g0t me wanting to write.

A recent New York Times article on teaching uses a line attributed to Bangs in the movie Almost Famous to suggest a way to reach the student: “The only true currency in this bankrupt world is what you share with someone else when you are uncool.” Bangs could be irreverent and even downright hostile. (Check out his famous piece on Lou Reed’s Berlin.) I've always loved his sentimental undercurrent.

When I think about how much I like going to see our local bands, some of them repeatedly, it's a bit uncool, or at least obsessive. It’s like watching Buffy reruns, spending 17 hours learning how to do SuDoKu puzzles or reading the whole article about the discovery of dark matter. You know it’s uncool, but it sure makes you feel better. More so if you are geeking out with someone else.

That’s why I’ll be out to see Puptent , Beatnik Flies and Ottley at Surf Club Live this Saturday, even though I have seen them all before. Lots. Consult previous DC ROCKS posts for details. Call me uncool, but these are bands which will rearrange your psyche, and they are people you will be glad to share it with.

It’s also the birthday celebration for Phil “Philvis” Duarte of Puptent, my buddy since college and partner in noise therapy. I found a Frank Zappa line on a beer bottle the other day: “Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.” I've been decorating with Phil for a long time, and when I see a picture of us decades ago, I think how lucky we are to have people to share the uncool with, and plenty of decorating to do. This Saturday, at the last great honky tonk and newly reborn Surf Club Live, the spirits of Lester Bangs and Frank Zappa will be haunting.


Friday, October 24, 2008

A DC Boy

Anyone who knows Mark Noone (and that will include a LOT of DC natives) knows that he is a man of many, many talents and often driven towards perfection. You might know him as the lead singer of The Slickee Boys or a mainstay in the Hula Monsters. He's been in bands around here making music all his life, and may very well hold the world's record for the most performances ever at the 9:30 Club. He also has the gift of gab, and a phenomenol memory. Washington is his home town. Click here to find out what Mark was talking about on the playground at Lafayette Elementary-in 1964. He's still talking about it today.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Mark Noone Says

I was pondering what to write about The Surf Club Live show featuring Ruthie and The Wranglers and The Billy Coulter Band this Saturday night when the brilliant idea hit me. I would enlist the help of  a consummate professional- a guy who has been in the music business around here for many many moons- Mr. Mark Noone. Here's what Mark has to say:

"Ah yes, Wranglers at the Surf Club! Back when it was Chick Hall's Surf Club, and I was holding down the bass guitar duties with Ruthie and the Wranglers, we played there every Wednesday for about a year or so. We even recorded a live album there that turned out quite well! That was back when we were more of a honky tonk band. Now Ruthie and the Wranglers is a more refined country/roots act, I saw them last at the Rams Head in Annapolis. They were very good! Very polished. Great to see that Wranglers are back at Surf Club again.

A band I'm in now- Hula Monsters played a rather posh wedding reception, which boasted a stunning blond bride. This was a couple of years back, but the groom looked very familiar. He turned out to be none other than Billy Coulter. Billy, in another life, used to be in a band called The Inserts. Inserts were a cool kind of 80s band, they played with Slickee Boys a few times, and after the reception he played his current stuff for us. It was catchy and rockin’! A bit like if the Stones met Jon Anderson at a Mott the Hoople show. We were all very impressed. That's what you will hear from him and his talented band this Saturday night."

Stay tuned for more writing from Mark Noone this weekend. In the meantime- make your entertainment dollar stretch- go see local live music. Remember DC can't rock without you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Roll with 7 Door Sedan Thursday

7 Door Sedan. We've always been fans here at DC Rocks, and just lately they've gotten good press from the City Paper as well. Help this original DC band keep going by goin' to see them. Glenn Kowalski sent this shout out about their next show:

"We're excited about our gig with the Dexter Romweber Duo at the Red and Black. Dexter Romweber (formerly of the Flat Duo Jets) is the cult legend that influenced Jack White among others, and is the subject of a recent documentary. The Dexter Romweber Duo is comprised of Dex and his sister, Sara (formerly of Mitch Easter and Let's Active).

The show is Thursday night at 9 at the Red and Black on H Street. Pretty sure we'll be going on first, so get there early. I don't know what kind of turnout this will be. Possibly an unusual crowd!"

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Natural Local Phenomenon Is Back:

Rosslyn Mountain Goats*
Lonesome Hobo Tuesday
October 21st, 8-10pm
at the historic
Quarry House Tavern

no cover, pay what you can!
*Joe Triplett, Peter Bonta, Bob Berberich, Rico Petruccelli, and
Martha Hull

Friday, October 17, 2008

Do you know Jon Carroll? (Does anyone know anyone?)
I think Jon is another area rock star that perhaps a lot of people don't know but should. He's a prize winner in his own rite, (literally- a BUNCH of Grammies and Wammies) but he often sneaks in and out- sitting in with a lot of bands around here. You might not notice him because he's not the kind of guy to hog the spotlight, but if you hear really good piano playing going on- take a look- it just might be him. He can also play a small boatload of instruments- writes songs... sings- if you look in the dictionary you'll see a little picture of him by the entry "multi- talented."
 Jon will be doing his own thing with hand picked musicians at the Barns of Wolftrap this SATURDAY night. I guess some people must know what's going on because his show last year sold out. So get in the know- and get to know Jon Carroll.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Surf Club Live Loves You - Love it Back

This Saturday is a good night to play some pool, have a beverage or two and see 3 great bands at the legendary Surf Club Live. I used to think Dollar Bin's name was derogatory. Then I realized the dollar bin is where you find the surprise gems you didn't know you needed. These veterans of many DC and Baltimore rock and roll wars will surprise you with their new songs and unexpected covers. Sister Ex burst upon the scene this year, and is developing quite a following. Another band of veterans, they bring you songs with a purpose served up with passion, skill and speed. Speaking of veterans, Rambling Shadows may have the most badass line-up of veterans going. You'll love the band that converted me to earplugs. What I think of as their trance punk riot will keep you coming back for more.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Spoonful of Strange Brew This Friday on U

When my parents got off work in the 1940s, they used to go down to U Street to check out the night life. There was a lot to choose from including theaters, music venues and after hours clubs. The riots which burned through DC in 1968 pretty much put an end to many things. A lot of that area was either destroyed or abandoned. For a while it seemed like Ben's Chili Bowl was a lonely survivor, but one of the good things about living here in Washington is seeing the old town come back- slowly- really slowly- but surely. Now clubs and restaurants dot the corridor again up and down U Street, and I keep hearing about new spots. This week my favorite Cream revisited band- GHz goes urban when they appear Friday night "Upstairs at Almaz" at 1212 U Street NW. John Zidar of GHz sent me the skinny:

The place is directly across from the Lincoln Theatre. Supposed to be great Ethiopian food, and the upstairs has a full stage with sound, full food service, and it’s own bar. The Little Falls Jazz Quartet will play 7-8:30, Doc Volatile from 8:45-10, and we’ll slam it from 10:15 until we’re worn out. (a 90 minute version of "Spoonful" should do it)

All of this for a mere FIVE BUCKS ! A fin. (That's a mere cinquo dinero in Spanglish.)

For those of you hankering for an even more nostalgic sound-that crazy boy group- The Hula Monsters will be rocking a swing dance uptown at the Chevy Chase Ballroom. ( 5207 Wisc. Ave NW -right above Paul's Liquor)

"Spoonful" or "Rock the Hula".
Choose your poison.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our Hometown- It's Smaller Than You Might Think

There's that old saying that familiarity breeds contempt, but living in and around DC for most of my life has just led to... more familiarity. I run into someone at a party, and if they are of a certain age and demeanor-given fifteen minutes or so-I can usually find some connection. Just the name Cokinos can do it as my large Greek family has lived here since the early 1900s.

Then there are the circles. My friend Lynn grew up a block from where I live now. (I actually met her Dad independantly of Lynn- he is a very active guy in my neighborhood and not hard to spot taking care of business in his summer suits with the pants cut down to shorts, plaid slip on shoes and yellow happy face socks.) In Lynn's circle there is a couple from her Georgetown U. days who I already knew as parents from my son's school. Lynn said one of her Mt. Rainier neighbors was in a band, and when I saw him I realized I knew him from my dc Space days. Yet another friend of hers-a junk dealer- was a college housemate of mine. I was at a party a month ago, and I talked to a woman I'd never met before. After the aforesaid fifteen minutes or so she suddenly asked me- do you know Lynn ? If you don't know Lynn, and you are reading this- chances are it's only a matter of time.

Read up on why Lynn thinks DC rocks at my other site Washington DC My Hometown.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Columbus Day

When we were growing up, Columbus Day did not bring the word genocide to mind, as it might now. Back then it was all about how Columbus was practically God's gift to the poor savage Indians. These days Columbus Day might have more meaning as a shopping day-except the economy is sinking faster than the Nina or the Penta would have if they had been caught in a perfect storm. So take those hard earned dollars and spend them wisely- support our local music scene. Ten dollars won't buy you much anymore, but it will buy you a whole night of music as all the shows listed here are ten bucks or under.

Tonight for example, you could have dinner with The Loggers- at Bangkok Blues in Falls Church. Saturday night there's the whole Surf Club /Velvet Lounge dilemma (see last posting) But wait there's more!
Sunday at 2 those venerable canine musicians  The Cravin' Dogs will do a matinee at Iota. Bring the kids; see a great band, have a beer and a juice box. It's a hoot.

Then Sunday night the Alice Despard Group (which usually brings tears to my eyes at least once a set) comes back into the fold to play at the sweet club Alice founded- The Galaxy Hut in Arlington. Alice never charged for bands during her reign, and Larry the new owner has kept the cover way low at just five dollars which is dang reasonable. Memphis 59, a rock alt country type band will open. (By the way if you can't make the show, you can read about Alice's DC memories at Washington D.C. My Hometown)

And just across the street from The Hut at Iota the alt country indie rock type thing continues with three more bands.

WAMA Crosstown Jam Presents:
SUNDAY is the New SATURDAY Show (for all you wise crackers with Monday off)
This show features: Little Pink  with Mary Battiata another DC area singer with great lungs and heart breaking potential. Plus David Kitchen, a man of many bands and talent, and 
Leaving, TX which self describes themselves as "a country band with a twang-rock problem.
The shbang starts around 8:30 p.m.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

From Two Women Who Don't Stay Home To Wash Their Hair: Girl Talk

LYN2: Hey what are you doing on Saturday night? I can't wait to see Sister Ex, 7 Door Sedan and Beatnik Flies all in one show at the Velvet Lounge.

LYN1 Yeah-all of them in that tiny space? I love it! You can stand close enough to the bands there to start a revolution or something. On the other hand that new band King Soul is playing at the Surf Club. They need bodies.

LYN2: I wish more people would check out the Surf Club. It's old-school honky tonk feel makes me feel like Patsy Cline.

LYN1: Yep-The Surf Club is great- plenty of room to dance or you can play pool or just chill at the bar. But you can't beat the Velvet Lounge for tiny rock dive intimacy- sort of like those night clubs in old movies except without the cool tables and chairs and waiters and just about everything else.

LYN2: Atmosphere aside, I can't believe how much I look forward to seeing two bands that didn't even exist a year ago-7 Door Sedan and Sister Ex just get better and better. As for the Beatnik Flies, their three decade history has defined my life! I really like their version of the Beatles' "Every Little Thing She Does!"

LYN1: King Soul hasn't been around very long either although all of their members have been in or are still in a ton of bands like Chris Watling from The Grandsons or Jake Flack of the RTTS-speaking of which The Troubadours will be there, too, and they don't play out much anymore. 

LYN2: I saw King Soul at the Takoma Street Festival, and it was a wall of talent and fun. As for the Rhodes Tavern Troubadours- it will pain me to miss that. They rock.

LYN1: It'll pain me to miss you! 

LYN2: So it sounds like one of us might be in DC and one of us might be in Maryland. Let's meet up for a 2 a.m. breakfast!  

LYN1: Amen.

P.S. We heard VL has made a number of improvements including the bar being open upstairs during the bands. Links to all the bands and bars mentioned above can be found in the sidebar of DC ROCKS. 

Monday, October 6, 2008

Friday, October 3, 2008

Free Music/Free Spirits

Takoma Park. It's a haven for the oh so politically correct set- plus artists, writers, and musicians. You could shoot a Nerf gun down Carroll Avenue, and your chances of hitting a Republican are probably a thousand to one. (I'll bet Cheney has never even stepped foot in this berg.) At any rate, this Sunday head on up there for a  great escape from all the talking heads and problems of the last week.

Since 1981 The Takoma Park Street Festival has been a great all day party with craft and food vendors and stuff for kids to do.  Best of all, three stages of live music will be happening from one end of town to the other. This year's line up is pretty amazing, including Ruthie and The Wranglers, Janine Wilson, Tommy Lepson, Billy Coulter, King Soul and more! Hit the link above for a list of all the bands, times, and locations. Wake up with 7 Door Sedan at 11 and polish the day off at 4 with Chopteeth and/or The Nighthawks , but whatever you do, don't miss PRABIR AND THE SUBSTITUTES at 2 p.m. at the dance stage.

Parking can be problematic at this event, but The Metro is just a few blocks away.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Maryland Is For Rockers

For many people around Washington, Virginia is a very scary place. The phrase "I'm in Virginia"  locally translates as "I'm lost." But fortunately for Virginia phobes, Maryland seems to have the edge this weekend with things going on Saturday at The Quarry House and The Surf Club- plus the Takoma Park Street Festival will rage on Sunday. 

Saturday night, find good and good for you rock and roll with The Thrillbillys who will be crossing the mighty Potomac from their usual Sunset Grille post to grace us with their presence at The Quarry in Silver Spring. 
If more eclectic, spacier bands are your cup of tea- The Cashmere Jungle Lords (another Virginia band taking the plunge in Maryland)  surf band The Atomic Mosquitoes and back to basics rock band Jonny and The Stingrays will be at The Surf Club in Hyattsville- also on Saturday.

Both venues deliver a heck of a lot of good music for VERY few bucks.

Come back tomorrow for more on the Takoma Park thing which includes yet ANOTHER Virginia band- PRABIR and the SUBSTITUTES. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

DC Rock Homies

Alice Despard- you might know her as the founder of The Galaxy Hut or you might know her for her music. Though Alice sold the club some time ago The Hut still lives on as a great little dive in Clarendon with a great selection of beer and a haven to see all sorts of indie music and meet all kinds of individuals.

What you might not know is that Alice grew up here. Check out her contribution- "The Mobile Party Unit"- as my first guest author on Washington DC- the Hometown blog.