Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Catching Summer Before It Slips Away

Here I was feeling safely ensconced in the middle of summer, thinking July would never end, and what happens? Someone on the radio starts talking about back to school already,  and the malaise of incomplete reading assignments creeps in. O and it's almost August- as in tomorrow. That leaves just a little more than 3 weeks of vacation for DC kids and only three Fort Reno concerts left in the season including tomorrow night. The bands are: Stop Worrying and Learn to Love the Bomb, The Sniffs and Nervous Impulse.  Never heard of them? That might be because  Fort Reno is the only out door venue in DC I know of that showcases raw (sometimes never been near a frying pan) talent and attracts all ages from babies to seniors.  I was there last Monday with a gang of not so recent Wilson graduates whose rallying cry was "Why Not Fort Reno?" and I think they have a point.

Friday, July 26, 2013

DC Rocks' Garden Report and Dad's Summer Sandwich

I heard about this sandwich on the radio. It's a finalist in NPR's "Taste of Summer Contest," and the description sounded so good I had to give it a try.  Thanks to buckets of rain in July, my garden here in Washington is holding its own this year, so I had cucumbers and tomatoes ready to go on the counter, and an onion and cheese nearby. And peanut butter. Yes, crunchy peanut butter to be exact. That threw me I have to admit, but I followed the recipe exactly, having heard the stacking order makes all the difference, and yes, it's a dang good sandwich.

I still think it's a little weird, but since I have the luxury of lots of tomatoes and cukes,  I'm going to try it again today with almond butter. (although cucumber mint alcoholic concoctions are working for me, too.) Here's the recipe, but check the link above for the whole story.

4-6 thin slices white sharp cheddar cheese
Tomato, thinly sliced
Cucumber, thinly sliced
Vidalia or red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
2 slices whole grain bread
Layer the ingredients in the order given; eat with the cheese layer on top.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Saturday Night Barks

Look for a plethora of local music this Saturday with an unusual all local line up at 9:30 Club for just $15. Plus our perennial favorite 7 Door Sedan will be right down the street at the Tree house on Florida Avenue.

 Or catch the Cravin' Dogs at the tater-tot palace (aka the Quarry House) in Silver Spring.

The Cream Channel

Hey Gigahertz ! Where have you been? I hear through the grapevine (i.e. Dan Hovey) that you are making a new CD. Hope it's as good as the last one. I remember driving around Ward Circle, and Mark Noone thought I was playing a Clapton CD. (True story) Go see for yourself: Gigahertz will be alive and kicking at Rio Center this Friday 6-9 p.m. in Gaithersburg. (think 270 )

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

To WIn or Not to Win?

You could get a couple of lawn tickets to the O.A.R. show at Merriweather Post for  about $70 plus all those annoying service charges, or you could show up at the box office, drop your name, and get in for free. How?  Send an email and to enter DC ROCKS' contest hat. Just write to: Put "OAR tix" in the subject and say howdy in the message. Your chances to win are astronomically good. Contest ends July 26.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Yippee It's Free

My last posting lauded the smaller club as my favorite venue, but a close second is the great outdoors. Here in DC we have the eclectic little rock concerts at Fort Reno and the bigger shows at Carter Barron, but there are free concerts all over the place including this humdinger: Troublefunk at Strathmore coming up this Wednesday.

And speaking of things al fresco, I've got two lawn tickets to give away to the O.A.R. concert at Merriweather Post Pavillion on the first of August. I have no idea what this band is about, but they started off in Rockville and grew big enough to sell out Madison Square Garden while I wasn't looking so I might be alone on this one.  In any case whether you know the bands or not -you have nothing to lose by entering DC ROCKS' latest contest. Just write to and put OAR tix in the subject box. A winner will be picked at random on July 26.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Beer Me

I often tell people I write about small clubs and local bands because I don't like paying a forkload of money to watch a big act on an even bigger screen in a cavernous venue where I can barely see the musicians on stage. In smaller places you just might find yourself eye to eye with the performers, and most of the musicians I know would be thrilled if you went so far as to buy them a beer or say thank you for playing their asses off for an audience of three, which would be you and those two gear geeks in the corner. IOTA is the kind of bar where that can happen now and then, but this Saturday night will be more like old home week when long time local musician and song writer Karl Straub unveils his new album. (and I can literally say that, because the release will be on vinyl, though also downloadable!) 

Karl says: "It's not a re-release; rather we finished an album begun years ago, and it's sort of a reclamation project.  This album was begun in the waning days of the Graverobbers, though I didn't realize they were waning at the time. The show will be the widest cross section of Karl Straub material ever performed on a stage. There will be material from earlier Graverobbers era, a lot of music from the current album, plus a brand new song called Barbie Doll Apocalypse."

On deck for Saturday are: Karl Straub, Dave Van Allen, Kevin Cordt, Jeff Muller and Matt Tebo. Besides an intimate setting, IOTA has a great beer selection, and a lot of thirsty musicians hanging around the bar.

Monday, July 15, 2013


Sorry to say the last posting about the 9:30 Club/Loretta Lynn ticket contest had a typo in the gmail address: drocksblog should have been written (Some of you figured this out so I didn't catch it until now.)

But there's still time to win tickets to see Loretta Lynn. The contest will now end July 17 instead of July 16th. Enter today.

Friday, July 12, 2013

9:30 A Place in Time

One of the reasons I write DC ROCKS is because once upon a time I had a pal named Peter who was a regular at the old 9:30 Club. Maybe it's the company I keep, but a lot of people like to tell me how much time they spent at that grimy old rock hole, and I have to admit when I look back, I wonder, what was the attraction?

That part of town was scary. The only other night life down there besides peep shows was dc space, and you took your life in your hands running between the two clubs. The food was awful- beer nuts and pizza with sauce from a can. The music often times loud and obnoxious, (3 bands three bucks)  and the bathrooms usually lacked things like doors and toilet paper.

Yet week after week, Pete and I would have a short discussion of what we wanted to do, and week after week, like zombies on auto-pilot, we headed down to F Street.  More often than not Pete (and his little friend) got in with a nod from the door man, and a free drink or two from Fred at the back bar, but did that make up for the infamous bad smell which couldn't be ignored even under clouds of cigarette smoke?

fred and beer nuts

You bet it did.  We had the time of our lives hanging out there. We made friends for life, saw great bands and happily danced in a dark room with blackened windows and no air whatsoever- overheated by raucous music and raw energy.

The new 9:30 Club is enormous compared with the old with a very expensive sound system, a stage that rolls to fit the size of the crowd, and good views of the action. I do see one stand out similarity between the old place and the present club (besides the black decor and the back bar safely ensconced downstairs with Mark Holmes' art work.) This venue has always featured all kinds of music. From folk to go-go, hardcore to country, the variety is a huge strong point. Just this month there's a hip-hop dance party, air guitar finals (?) and Loretta Lynn. Yes, the Loretta Lynn.

One big difference? It's a rare thing to find local bands on stage, but Saturday July 27th is the exception: look for the Black Clouds and an all local line-up for just $15.  (A good night to check this local institution out if you've never been.)

And if you want to win a pair of tickets to see Loretta Lynn on July 26- write me at and put LYNN TIX in the subject box. Send me a dc club story or just say you want to go. Either way you have a good chance to win, and if you like to write you might get published, too. Contest ends July 16.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Real Guitar Rocks

Lots of rhythm and blues on stage this Friday night at IOTA when home boy Dave Chappell joins forces with Johnny Neel. This is not a drill and not an X-box. With the Kevin Ball Band and a rousing reunion of the Outpatients on the bill, this makes three bands- only $15
Please support real live musicians.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Time to Take the Fort

Sorry for the late notice, but this year's Fort Reno concert series is starting late and snuck up on me at the same time. Tonight- the first show- will feature a rare chance to see The Evens- a band that won't play clubs if they can help it and whose roots run deep under that old wooden stage to Fugazi days.

Fort Reno- close to Tenleytown metro- is the highest point in the city and rarely without a breeze. Bring your blanket, a picnic, your kids, your iguana, (on leash) but bear in mind no glass bottles or alcohol. This event is totally volunteer driven, and we need to keep the peace or lose the venue. Shows run Mondays and Thursdays from  7:15 until 9:30.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Less is More

DC Rocks hits summer mode in which we will sometimes seem less rather than more. Having said that: I really like this band.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Go Forth DC

Not Constitution Ave
Fourth of July in Washington DC.  There's the parade on Constitution Avenue. Fireworks on the mall and a huge concert on the West Lawn of the Capitol featuring all kinds of big names I would never want to see,  but that's just me. You can watch it all on TV, but if you go in person, be ready for loads of security and creative fencing to keep the crowds corralled. (I know it was a pain in the neck for the Park Service, but I miss the days when people would drag couches down to the monument grounds.)

Much of the to-do here is officially National and not the hometown parade you might think of happening in Anytown America, but Washington does have its very own hometown parade which marches right down MacArthur Boulevard at 11 a.m. It's a truly democratic affair; anyone can be in it.

After the parade everyone ends up in Palisades Park for free hot dogs and watermelon courtesy of the Lion's Club. And this year- look for our own hometown kid Owen Danoff performing under the big tent. (Someone I would like to go see, but again, that's just me.)

Happy Fourth!

Local Hero and Official Parade Judge: Mat Thorp and grandson Richard. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Postcards

Did you miss me? I just got back from a week in Florida. For the plane and to set the mood, I took the only Hemingway novel available in my branch of the DC library: To Have and Have Not.  Not my favorite title, but it did turn out to be the theme of the week.  What we did have? A great place to stay- a condo in a high rise near the beach. What had we not ? Air conditioning which was not factored into a big building's bone structure.  The have-nots also get the ugly side of Fort Lauderdale which, except for the beach, is plastered with shopping centers as far as a car can drive. But the have-nots can catch a water taxi and go see what millions of dollars can buy if you want a house facing the water ways rather than the asphalt jungle.

I also learned that the great equalizer down yonder is the drawbridge.

Whether you are gliding along sipping a Mai Tai on your forty million dollar yacht or walking back from the corner liquor store, everyone has to stop now and then and wait for the bridges to go up...or down. Unlike Washington where we are snarled up in pointless traffic jams often due to "heavy volume,"the folks on the boulevards in Fort Lauderdale at least know why they are stopped, and an uneventful walk might land you into a conversation with someone fishing from the bridge. Not a bad way to slow down, and that's a good thing to do in the summer- wherever you are.