Thursday, January 31, 2013

Rave On Buddy Holly

Fifty three years ago this Sunday, Buddy Holly and fellow musicians Richie Valens and JP Richardson (the Big Bopper) climbed into a tiny plane on a snowy night hoping to make it to the next gig well ahead of their tour bus. Instead all aboard including the young pilot were killed when the plane went down in a cornfield, not long after take off.

Buddy Holly wrote a Cadillac load of songs during his short twenty two years on Earth, and that legacy raves on and on and on. This Saturday a whole lot of musicians (including Ruthie and the Wranglers, David Kitchen and Billy Coulter) are getting together to celebrate Buddy's music all night long at Blob's Park and Bavarian Beer Garden- just off the highway in Jessup. Blob's is the perfect venue for this kind of thing, and it's the real McCoy as far as atmosphere goes-a long time family run beer hall and restaurant with a huge dance floor in case you need to sock hop.

Only $15/11 bands (!)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Creatures of the Subculture Alert

It's a party; it's a reunion; it's the D.C. Funk-Punk Throwback Jam happening Sunday February 24th at the 9:30 Club.  I couldn't believe the line up when I first saw it:  Scream, Black Market Baby and Trouble Funk to name a few. Bands will be playing about 45 minute each with Henry Rollins hosting, and deejays and merriment in between sets.

Stay tuned to DC ROCKS  for a chance to win tickets.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Got to Know Where to Go

photo courtesy of DC ROCKS

One night, not too long ago, in the wilds of Northern Virginia where DC and Maryland people often fall into Black Holes of Doubt and Bewilderment as they travel, we stumbled into JV's  just to get our bearings. JV's Restaurant lurks in an innocuous strip mall on Route 50 - one of the treacherous tentacles leading out of Seven Corners. It's just the kind of hold out place you'd expect to find an ass kicking band if you were a character in a movie, but this can actually happen here. Dave Chappell was on stage that evening, and the show was unforgettable. This Thursday he'll be back again with Bruce Swaim on sax and drummer Barry Hart. (Barry gave everyone a scare last month so we are very happy to see that he is back in the saddle.)

9 p.m. / No cover.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Coming and Going

DC ROCKS, being the sentimental channel that it is, has been in mourning ever since the news last week that all of the Magruder's stores have been sold. This local grocery chain has been in business for over a hundred years, and had a damn fine liquor store to boot there at the Chevy Chase Circle. The good news is the Chevy Chase location will remain open for now, and the new owners have pledged to keep things as they are at least for now.

And more encouraging news; up in Columbia Heights The Pinch is a new little place on 14th Street which I hear has a decent stage and looks to be a cool little venue to see live music.  Psychedelic garage band Blankus Larry is having their album release party there this Saturday. The band encourages you to come see them and drink heavily.

9 p.m. No cover.

Bethesda Boys Are Back

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Cure for the Big Chill

Finally Old Man Winter has showed up in Washington, and it's about time. I'm all for the occasional balmy winter day, but the warm weather last weekend was making me nervous.  There was still  lettuce growing in my yard, and that's just not right. My son has been happily wearing shorts to school up until yesterday, and that's just plain wrong.

 So now we are back on track- cold and yes, I know, sometimes miserable, but you can shake that winter thing by catching King Soul at the Bayou this Friday night for a taste of  New Orleans and a band sure to heat up a room. I watched King Soul rock the small ball at the Tabard Inn last Monday, and they took no prisoners: the bar was deserted, the dance floor full. I even saw President Obama cutting the rug.  (Ok maybe it was Cardboard Obama, but still...)

Music starts round 10/ $7 for an 8 piece band!

King Soul guys with the Man/photo by DC ROCKS

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cheers to the Chief

Congratulations President Obama! Although the President was officially sworn in yesterday, today is the day for the Inaugeral celebration here in Washington with a public swearing in, a parade and a lots of parties. That's a lot to celebrate, and it turns out it doesn't really matter what side of the aisle you're sitting on- there's a possible cocktail for every president (and I'm sure each and  every one of them needed a stiff snort now and then.) Check out the list compiled by long time Willard Hotel bartender and drink historian, Jim Hewes in this article from the Washington Post and find a few more stories and drink recipes including one for the Blue Hawaiian here at NPR.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Were You There?

 Did they or didn't they? Rumor has it that long long ago, in our galaxy,  Led Zeppelin played a youth center far out in the suburbs of DC during their first tour of America. This Sunday, 44 years later, local intrepid film maker Jeff Krulik's film quest for truth is screening one time only at the AFI Silver theater.  Led Zeppelin Played Here explores whether this concert  did or or did not take place at the Wheaton Youth Center on January 20, 1969. Lots of people remember hearing about it, but did Jeff ever find someone who was actually there?

On the other hand, as far as we know, guitar surf band The Atomic Mosquitos and the hopelessly stranded on Fantasy Island- you gotta see 'em to believe it-  Yachtsmen are playing the Galaxy Hut this Sunday January 20, 2013. Maybe one day some kid with a camera will roam the streets of Arlington asking people if they remember the Hut and the bands and the great beer selection, and whether or not you were there, or whether you just heard about it...

Both shows are 9 p.m. Both $5

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Obamarama Alternatives

This weekend our town's all a buzz about the Inaugeration, but we probably have a different take on things than the rest of the country. For us it's all about traffic being snarled (more than usual) and the Metro schedule being screwed up, and what parts of town to avoid if you just want to hoist a beer. If you are not going to one of those swanky type balls or parties (which includes 89 percent of the people that I know) there's plenty of other things to check out like The Grandsons playing the Artisphere with Arty Hill on Saturday. Here's the scoop from Chris Watling:

"This is a fantastic venue, with great sound, lights, huge dance floor, free parking, AND we'll be sharing the night with KARL STRAUB, one of our favorite songwriters and his excellent band." $15 / 8 p.m. in the ball room. 

Plus there's a crazy new band in town jammed full of talent including Dan Hovey, Billy Price, Pete Ragusa and much more. Be the first in your school to check out Soul Serenaders at the Kenmont Swim Club in Kensington- also on Saturday night at 8 p.m. ( The pool is closed but it's still "adult swim") Click on the poster below and take a look at everybody on this gig...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Two Bands Two Bucks

This story ran neck and neck for first place in the Thievery Corporation contest and comes from long time DC resident and artist Jan Stovall:

In early December of 1980 I went with some friends to The Bayou for a bargain concert, billed as "Two Bands, Two Bucks."  The headliner was a local DC favorite The Slickee Boys with an unknown band opening for them. At the time I thought it was a clever idea to have booked the opening act for such a titled concert, since the band had the number 2 in its name. Turns out the band was none other than U2 on their first US tour, promoting their first studio album, Boy. The club was packed that night, jammed with rock and roll fans who came to hear good music but didn't realize it was history in the making. It was one of the most memorable concerts I've ever attended. I'll never forget the excitement I felt while dancing to "I Will Follow," screaming "This is a really good band!" And as much as I loved The Slickee Boys, I confess that U2 set the tone for the evening, and I wanted them to continue playing long into the night. But even if they could have performed for an extended period of time, at that point in their career their playlist was short, and apparently during the Boy Tour they had to repeat songs at each concert since their catalog was so small.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The Sitar Has It

Thank you everyone who submitted entries to this month's DC Rocks/ 9:30 Club Thievery Corporation ticket contest. Competition was really tough this time, but an independent panel of randomly picked judges went for this auspicious and pertinent tale by local musician Peter Fox:

My story is about Thievery Corporation and their talented guitarist and sitar player, Rob Myers. Rob and I have several friends in common, and both spent formative time hanging and playing music at the Betapunks warehouse on Blagden Alley in the early 1990's.
 I spent three months in India in 1996, and a large part of that time was devoted to studying Sitar. I arrived with a vague notion of finding a teacher, but didn't have anything set up until I met a rickshaw driver named Mongol in Varanasi. When I asked about a sitar teacher, he immediately took me to the house of Dr. Raj Bahn Singh, recently retired head of the music program at the local University and a renowned master of the sitar. A brief introduction was made, and Dr. Singh welcomed me into his living room. He grilled me about my musical background and level of commitment. I assured him that I was a pro and was serious, but he finally agreed to teach me by saying "You came on an auspicious day".

 I spent the next 45 days learning from him in the traditional manner. I sat at his feet and learned by repeating what he did. I eventually reached the point where I could do a few very basic things with the instrument.

After I returned to DC, I formed a jazz quartet that had a weekly gig at Twins Lounge. Rob used to come to see us play, and one night we were talking about India and sitar and his desire to learn the instrument. I told him about my experience with Dr. Singh, and encouraged him to go there and look him up. To my surprise he did so. Unlike me, he became a great sitar player, and his playing is featured on many Thievery Corporation tracks. Whenever I hear his playing I remember my small part in the chain of events that helped nurture it.

Please stay tuned for the runner up's story which came in a very close second in tomorrow's edition of DC ROCKS.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Respect Your Elders

Especially if they rock like the Vi-kings. This Saturday at Clyde's. No cover.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Procrastinator's Alert

Only 2 days left to enter DC ROCKS latest contest for Thievery Corporation tickets:

 Just write a short anecdote about a favorite DC band that made it big, or write about a little place in DC where you saw a band that went onto larger fame. Send your entry to: (Please put TC CONTEST in the subject header.)
The winner's story will be published in DC ROCKS and get a pair of tickets to their show at the 9:30 Club on January 19th. 

Contest ends at midnight on January 10!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Why DC Rocks

Childe Harold's window/Mark Noone played here
photo courtesy of DC ROCKS

Seeing a famous band early on in their career might be good for bragging rights, but even better, a concert like that can turn into a magical experience that becomes a great memory. (Maybe the acoustics weren't perfect, but at least you didn't have to watch a screen overhead just to get a glimpse of the band.) DC used to be full of small venues that saw a lot of talent come through their doors. The now gone Childe Harold near Dupont Circle once had sandwiches named after musicians that played there. I think the "Springsteen" was a crab cake and the "Emmy Lou" might have been a BLT with avocado. The Ramones and The Slickee Boys never got a sandwich named after them, but they sure made their share of memories for a lot of fans in DC playing the Childe.

On the other hand, Washington has had its share of local talent that went onto bigger things. The Thievery Corporation was born at the 18th Street Lounge. As of today they've sold out their upcoming dates at the 9:30 Club, but here's your chance to win tickets to the third show on Saturday January 19th. Just write a short anecdote about a favorite DC band that made it big, or write about a little place in DC where you saw a band that went onto larger fame.
Send your entry to: Please put TC CONTEST in the subject header.
The winner's story will be published in DC ROCKS and get a pair of tickets to the show.
Contest ends at midnight on January 10.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

We Can Eat Cake

Hey there. Welcome back to "normal" more or less. No more Tuesday holidays in sight. No more ritualistic decorating and no more excuses to put off that diet and exercise regime unless you live in a place like New Orleans. Just as Christmas and New Years are revving down, Carnival is kicking off this Sunday on Twelfth night with the first king cakes and parties of the Mardi Gras season. In that spirit, you might want to head down to the Bayou in Foggy Bottom this Friday night to take in Southern food and music provided by the very much live and kicking eight piece King Soul- Washington DC's answer to fending off the ordinary.

$7 cover set time 10ish - 12:30 am