Saturday, August 31, 2013

All Ages Show Sunday Night

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

It Makes Me Wonder

Who was Jack the Ripper? What makes Taos hum? Amelia, why did your plane go down? Jimmy Hoffa, where the heck are you? 

Led Zeppelin, did you play the Wheaton Youth Center in 1969? 

Only intrepid film maker Jeff Krulik would dare to try and solve this outstanding mystery of  local rock n roll.  See for yourselves this Friday night at the AFI theater in Silver Spring at the screening of "Led Zeppelin Played Here." 

Friday, August 23, 2013


 U Street Music Hall is a rock club that you might walk right by if you didn't know it was there. (I'm not even sure it has a sign.) The club itself is in the basement and has the feel of the dark old 9:30, but it's bigger with a better space and sound.  Here's another twist: The U Street folks and the 9:30 crew partnered up a while back to swap spaces now and then. Bands that are bigger than Black Cat, but aren't quite big enough for the 9:30 Club are a better fit here where the capacity is 500.

Local rockers US Royalty are in that category- touring nationally and maybe on the brink of something bigger; they'll be at U Street on September 7. This is a rare all ages/ early rock show so if you have a musically driven kid around the house or just plain don't get out much anymore- this might be a good thing to check out.  For a chance to grab two tickets, just write me at Please put US in the subject box. Contest endsAugust 30.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fort Reno Fans Unite

What's the first Fort Reno Concert you remember? A lot of people might say Fugazi, but long before that Fort Reno was happening. For Mark Noone, it was seeing Grin:

"I remember seeing Grin at Ft Reno, it might have been 1969 or 1970. I loved Grin. It was late and dark, with possibly 1,000 people there; what a scene. The stage was at the opposite end of the park close to the foot of the hill by the tower. Hippies everywhere. That night I wondered if I would ever play there...."

He did play there- about ten years later in the early eighties with The Slickee Boys. Whether you played there or just made the scene, head down to the Shaw Library this Wednesday to dredge up old memories and possibly meet old friends at DC Music Salon's "Fort Reno- A History." The event includes concert footage of Fugazi, still photography and first hand accounts. 7 - 9 p.m.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Tiki Is A State of Mind in Maryland

August has got to be the quietest month in Washington. Everyone, but everyone is either clogging up downtown Bethany or scattered all over Maine, leaving behind only those of us that couldn't or didn't get it together enough to book a trip. Luckily there are plenty of close by tiki bars to make you feel like you've travelled afar yet most of them are an hour or less by car. A week or two ago my partner in crime and I managed to hit three in one week.  We started just across the Bay Bridge with Kentmorr. Here bands play to a beach full of happy island hoppers, and the bar is lodged right on the shore. Don't miss the freshly squeezed fruit drinks - impressive for this little out post.

Just across from Kent Island on the Narrows, you'll find my favorite marine dive: The Big Owl Tiki which is neither big nor owl like, but does provide just enough square footage to squeeze in a bar and a small band under roof while maintaining the giddy atmosphere of a floating party barge. It's as close as you can come to drinking on a boat without actually being on one.

On the Western side of the Bay, down Route 4 is Vera's White Sands. Sadly Vera herself has left only her ghost behind; the once notoriously kitschy atmosphere has turned all but sports bar. The saving grace here is a magnificent piece of property on a point on St Leonard Creek. Plus a beach side tiki bar with tables scattered right down to the water's edge. I can't recommend the Mai Tais here so stick with straight up cocktail or a beer, and enjoy the spectacular view.

A little further down the road, The Tiki Bar dominates the south end of Solomon's. This place also specializes in plenty of fresh air and is located just across from the water, but (unlike the Big Owl) it will close up in a down pour. All these places can be zooey on the weekend, but Sundays can be a little calmer for those of you looking to escape the throngs.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Thievery Rocks

Where did they come from ?
And where are they playing?
The new 9:30.
And where have you been?
(Perhaps reminiscing about shows at the old 9:30?)

Want to check out this (relatively) new guard that sells out the club on a regular basis?
DC ROCKS has a pair of tickets up for grabs for Thievery Corporation at 9:30 Club on August 17.
Just write and put "Thievery" in the subject box for your chance to win.
Contest ends August 10.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Like a Rolling Stone

Loads of local musicians are getting together this Saturday at the Fillmore in Silver Spring to pay homage to one of the longest running bands in rock: The Rolling Stones. Should be quite a party- a kind of busman's holiday for musicians- and the $25 ticket, though high for DC Rocks, is lot lower than what the real Stones charged when they rolled through here last June. The Bandhouse Tribute show is well worth the ticket price; take a look at the line up which includes Tommy Keene, Jon Carroll and loads more. 

And if you missed the Stones' show, or just want to get psyched for this weekend, here's the Holbert Report, a local fan's take on the Verizon Center concert  June 24th, 2013: 

Saw the Stones last week for maybe the 20th time and probably the last time. They ended the North American leg of their tour here in DC, maybe the last show they'll ever do on our side of the pond?  Who knows, figure they grossed 8 - 9 million on this DC show alone.  They might come back to grab some more of this crazy money. 
I had some reservations about going to the show, not wanting to pay the crazy money for a ticket being number one, but broke down and grabbed one at $250.  Close to the stage, but way high up.
Had read that they had been coming on promptly at 9.  My crew prepped appropriately, jumped into a cab and arrived around 8:30, got in, got our beers, and looked at the incredibly expensive Stones swag for sale. Only had to wait a bit before they came on.
The lights go down, the sold out crowd on their feet screaming. First a ten minute or so retrospective of their 50 year career on the video screens.  Very entertaining.  They appear.  First song, a real oldie, "Get Off My Cloud. " Don't think I have ever heard them play it before.  This version was real muddy, as most first songs are at concerts. Mick, Keith and Ronnie gather together on stage, kinda pushing each other, and they kick into "Its only Rock and Roll".  Sound still sloppy, but then, the clarity appeared.  You could hear the fantastic guitar interplay, bass and drums distinct, and man, they rocked that song.  Mick in good voice here and throughout the night. 
Next, "Paint it Black".  Amazing.  Keith playing this fill, mimicking Brian's sitar from the original, but also stamping his own style onto it.  They end the song and a second later kicked into "Gimme Shelter".  Always a highlight live.  Background singer Lisa gets a solo part singing the female lead from the original.  She still has an amazing voice.  Great job- even those of us in the cheap seats were still on their feet.
A real surprise, a song I have always admired and never heard them play live, "Worried about You" from the Tattoo You LP.  First non-famous song of the night, and many used it as "a good time to get  beer." And maybe it was. As much as I like the song, I didn't think they did a good job with it, but I appreciated them digging deep into their catalogue.  It also gave Mick a reprieve from his continual running and strutting. They parked him in front of a keyboard. (At 69 he probably can use the break.) 
When Mick did the band intros, Charlie was pulled from behind the drums to acknowledge his standing ovation. He looked bewildered about his reception.  Mick left the stage, and it's now time for that other guy to sing. Keith singing without a guitar accompanied by Ronnie on steel; they did an amazing performance of "You Got the Silver".  
Mick comes back, starts on harmonica.  Then Mick Taylor appears, the only guitarist to ever leave the Stones and live. "Midnight Rambler." And it was glorious with Mick T on scorching slide guitar.  I will always think the Stones were at their best when he was in the band.  To me, this was the highlight of the show.  Mick J asks the crowd to give Mick T some appreciation, but I kinda sensed that Mick J still resents Mick T for leaving. 
Took a walk around the concourse checking out how the other fans were doing. Saw a woman my age take a serious header. Her friends pulled her up, and she seemed to be OK. Tired of beer, I looked for the cocktail concession.  
Get back to my seat for the start of "Brown Sugar," a song I never really liked live, but it sounded fantastic tonight. Mick disappeared from the stage, and they kicked into "Sympathy." Mick comes back in a long black cloak and starts a fantastic vocal.  What can I say?  Again a great rendition. 
Mick thanks the crowd.  They all leave the stage.  Everyone knowing they would re-appear.  After maybe 10 minutes, the Washington Chorus files onstage and begins to sing the opening choir part from "You Can't always Get...."  Shivers down my spine, it was so beautiful. They continue to accompany the Stones through the song. The best live version I have ever heard. 
Now the closers, "JJ Flash" and "Satisfaction," both done really well. I sat down during those and almost started crying thinking that this was most likely the last time I would ever see them, the last time I would ever experience the rush of being with 20,000 people singing dancing and smiling through a Stones show. Show ended with a final bow of the long timers together at center stage.  Mick J, Keith, Charlie, Ronnie and Mick T.  Nice moment. 

(The Holbert Report is a semi regular feature of DC Rocks. Check out the last story covering Neil Young and Patti Smith here.)