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.


  1. I think I may have been the doorman giving you the nod. ;-)

  2. Well, here's a really belated thank you. Do you remember Pete?