Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Saying Our Goodbyes

Saying good-bye to a treasured dive is always rough- especially one that has spawned its own subculture of people called "The Grillbillies." The Sunset Grille in Annandale has had many close calls with closing, but this week it looks like things are wrapping up for good. This ThursdayJohnny Castle and the Thrillbillies will be there one last time to usher out an era that they helped create. This tiny place has seen an inordinate amount of talent come through its doors, and we will be very sad to see it go. If you can't get down there one last time, here's a tribute to the Grille from DC ROCKS' photographer Chip Py.

Even sadder though is saying good-bye to a person.

Today begins the official send off to Chuck Brown with an all day/ all evening viewing at the Howard Theater. The service happens on  Thursday beginning at noon at the Convention Center. I've been listening to a lot of Chuck Brown's music on the radio this past week, and it's never without joy to hear that voice calling out to us, but it's going to take a long time to get over not seeing that smile again.

Thank you, for giving us that and more, Mr Brown.
You gave us your all, and hopefully, this town won't ever stop listening and learning from you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Do Go Back to Rockville

Rockville once upon a time was a typical American town with shady streets and old houses radiating out from the Montgomery County Courthouse. Over the years however, it's been turned upside down by developers looking to save the town from itself.  I took a field trip there last winter and didn't recognize a thing although weirdly enough the newest idea is to give Rockville back an old fashioned town center.

But one thing at least, has literally not changed: the grave of Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald is still right across the Pike in St Mary's Cemetery. Being Memorial Day weekend, the traditional beginning of summer marked by a day of remembering the dead, DC Rocks says why not combine both of these seemingly incompatible traditions? First take a (hopefully) battered copy of The Great Gatsby on a field trip to contemplate the man who so eloquently wrote "and so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

And afterwards, to celebrate summer's onset, the new old town of Rockville is throwing a very large party, and we're all invited.  Lots of our musical friends will be there including Ruthie Logsden and Greg Hardin, Dave Chappel, Billy Coulter, Justin Trawick, The Nighthawks, Dan Hovey, Chopteeth and King Soul. Over 40 free performances on 8 stages should provide a boatload of entertainment for just about everyone Saturday and Sunday from 1 in the afternoon until 10 at night.  Check out the schedule for details.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Fretting Over Options

As I write this  WPFW, DC's last bastion of real radio, is blasting Chuck Brown and trying to raise money for their membership drive, a very worthy cause by the way. I am torn between wanting to hear Chuck's voice and wanting to turn it off because I miss him so, but I love that station, and I love it that they are playing our beloved departed Godfather.

It seems trivial to write about anything else, but the sun comes up every day no matter what, and if you are looking for a distraction this weekend- well, there is stuff out there.

Artomatic is going on from May 18th through June 23rd, and there is always something cool to check out for artists and performers of all stripes.

Any Bad Seeds or Cramps fans at large out there? Then you might remember Kid Congo Powers who once slung a guitar for these bands and more. He'll be making a scene this Saturday night at Comet Ping Pong- a place which gives you things to do while you wait for that pizza.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

DC Not Rocking Today

Washington lost a big piece of its soul today when our local hero and Godfather of Go- Go, Chuck Brown, died of pneumonia at the age of 75.  I never saw him without his beatific smile on stage, and that's why there is a picture of him on my refrigerator- just seeing that face could cheer me up every day. The man was the epitome of cool, yet his performances radiated warmth. One song could go on for a half hour, yet he never seemed to tire. He made so many people happy. He made so many people dance. And he never stopped giving us his all and above all that- his love.

While Washington won't be the same without Chuck Brown, his music and his influence will surely live far beyond this day. He was not just a performer; he was a true artist that brought a different beat to the party. The best party.

Take it to the bridge, Mr Brown. We can't blame you for bustin' loose, but it's going to be that much quieter down here without you.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Looking For A Cheap Date?

When economic times are tough, Washington, DC traditionally has a way of keeping its marble head above water, but the denizens pay a high price for just about everything including food, drink and entertainment.

That's why DC ROCKS is always scouring the area for cheap seats and happy hours, and nothing says affordable quite like the word "FREE." Summertime will bring more outdoor concerts than you can shake a blanket at, and all kinds of music from downtown to the farthest reaches of Suburbia, but just to get you started this Thursday catch the mighty 8 piece King Soul  at Veteran's Park in Bethesda and Saturday local party favorites The Grandsons will be at the McLean Palladium in the Old Dominion.

More happenings as the summer goes on, but don't miss our favorite venue Fort Reno- back in action sometime after DC schools get out in June.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Weekend Warriors Take on Wednesday

By Wednesday you might well be on your way to surviving another work week, but musicians don't know the meaning of a Monday through Friday 40 hour grind. You play when you get a gig, and that's what Drew Gibson is doing this Wednesday night at the Rock n Roll Hotel. He's got a pretty mellow thing going on so if you just want to just chill and contemplate life beyond the office, this is the show for you.

$10 bucks- 2 bands including the Bobby Thompson Project.
Feel the love.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A Case of (Minor) Mistaken Identity

DC ROCKS fans may love local music, but what they really dig is the history of the DC scene. One of my readers, a fountain of knowledge in his own right, Kendall Church, brought it to my attention that it was not Ian MacKaye's dome on the Minor Threat record jacket referenced  in my article about the punk rock exhibit at the library. That head (and body) belong to Ian's brother Alec who was not in the band - hence the confusion. I went to a Very Reliable Source and was not only given confirmation on this factoid, but was rewarded with more minutiae for all you trivia fans:  Alec MacKaye was also the hand model for the Teen Idles.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Make Some Noise at the Library


Okay, but there's a punk rock thing going on at the Arlington Central Library where, on a recent field trip, former Slickee Boy Mark Noone contemplated channeling Ian MacKaye. This is a cool exhibit full of flyers featuring local bands from the legendary to the long forgotten. Take a kid or an old friend and see if you can't tap into those foggy memories.