Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Cool Cause Rocks

Benefit your ears, and help the Cancer Can Rock folks capture solace at JV's this Wednesday.
Too many top local musicians /"special" guests to name (from the Thrillbilly gang to Martha Hull, too!)  You never know who will show up or what will happen at events like this. All good.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Rumble in Georgetown

Sometimes I wonder whatever happened to Georgetown? Since the 1980s so many night clubs have fallen right and left, morphing into clothing stores and chains. The Bayou on K Street. A movie house.  Cellar Door at 34th and M a sandwich shop. And Desperados was just across the street - next to Sunny's Surplus where all the hippies used to shop.  My friend Shelley was recently reminiscing about being at Despos the night that John Lennon died. Billy and the Shakes was playing and, after absorbing the shock,  the band began covering Beatles tunes for the rest of the night.
Sure, the neighborhood is a lot quieter now.
And a lot duller.

But there is a (relatively) new venue called Gypsy Sally's in a super secret location down on K Street near the Key Bridge. The club has great bones with numerous tables, a dance floor and a decent sound system. Plus there's a funky little auxiliary bar slung along one side called the Vinyl Lounge. This Friday night's shoot out show between the Texas Chainsaw Horns and King Soul means only one thing. A really fun time. The Chainsaw gang leans more toward Tower of Power, and King Soul seamlessly stacks originals with B sides Memphis style. Both bands will be throwing it down in a crazy ass "blue eyed battle,"  a post Pope Frankie dance party taylor made to set your soul free.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Places and People That Aren't Gone

Fall is in the air, and with it comes a certain slant of light which reminds me of a Slickees Boys' song called "Your Autumn Eyes," a melancholy little ballad unlike the usual frantic beat of this gone away band. But before you Summer People plummet into Seasonal Despair, there's plenty of opportunity to get your nostalgia fix this temperate weekend. For instance homeboy favorite Tommy Keene is back in town for one night only at IOTA on Friday.

And Saturday Marshall Keith (ex-Slickee) and company will be up at the slightly spooky historic Hyattstown Mill for an annual shindig they like to call "Revolve." Then back here, in the no man's land between Bethesda and Rockville, the original folks of  Goin' Goin' Gone will be holding forth at one of the area's last standing honky-tonks Hank Dietles on the Pike with the almighty guitar slinger Dan Hovey on board for the evening.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Feast Your Ears Once More

I feel my little news black out is slowly winding down partially due to sheer soul crunching boredom in my car which is not set up for satellite or fancy things. For weeks now I've trolled through the musical wasteland on my radio only to come up with, at best, an exhausted Springsteen tune shoehorned between endless commercials.

It didn't used to be this way. Once upon a time DC had a panoply of good straight ahead rock, soul and college stations, although the penultimate sweet spot for many of us was 102.3 FM. 'HFS.
 This "Home grown radio" station was born in Bethesda and featured complicated on air personalities bent on tuning us in to the music that turned them on, not some corporate cat's play list.  Even the weather was delivered by someone who perhaps got wet on the way to the studio, thus inspiring a whole queue of rain songs for their first set.

No one was yelling at us to buy things.  Unlike the cold calculations of corporations based on sales, both local and national musicians liked to drop by the studio for an impromptu chat. These radio people were our cohorts and companions whether it was during the day when they alleviated the tedium of a drive round the Beltway, or deep into the night when Weasel, muttering and chattering through his late shift, let us know we weren't alone in those sometimes woebegone wee hours.

Wish you could go back? Jay Schlossburg does- so much so that he is making a documentary which he and his crew hope will capture those crazy times atop the Triangle Towers. This Saturday night, there's a big kick starter party at Villain and Saints back in the hood where it all began featuring the Rhodes Tavern Troubadours playing with their original guitar hero Dave Chappell, plus Marti Jones and Don Dixon, Jon Carroll, original WHFS staff and more. You can choose to schmooze or just come for the show. It's not a huge place so get your tickets ahead of time to guarantee entry and help make this film dream become a reality.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

What Good Is Life in the Jet Age Without Music?

Right in tune with my ongoing news and talking heads blackout, a rather appropriate press release flew across my desk this morning like a miniature missile:

"It's been another shitty year in America, another year where I have to really wonder what the hell I've gotten my kids into," says Eric Tischler, songwriter, guitarist and singer for The Jet Age, about the inspiration behind his band's latest record, Destroy. Rebuild." 

I'm listening to the new CD now. (instead of the usual NPR Morning Edition)  The songs are dark and mesmerizing, but not depressing, and this DC born and bred project bottles up a crazy mad energy which emerged straight out of Eric Tischler's home studio. Fortunately for us The Jet Age will be unleashing that genie this Saturday night at Villain and Saints in Bethesda.

Also on Saturday, across the river at IOTA, Herschel Hoover has set up another crazy line up of bands he loves to turn people onto while playing a rather mean set himself with his group the Chess Club Romeos. The last euphonX event Herschel threw was so much fun that I stayed out past my bed time.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Punk Still Kicking

Gina Harlow and the Cutthroats used to play joints like CBGB in the hey day of that scene, but Gina's reformed and relocated to our burg. Give 'em a warm slamming kind of welcome this Thursday at the Treehouse Lounge. The Cutthroats share the bill with cow punks and shore punks-so don't look for guitar solos here.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Curate Your Weekend

Hello there, dear readers. This reporter is still blissing out in a self imposed news ban bubble, but I've heard things here and there. None of them good, of course- some even horrifying- so I think I'll linger off the grid a little longer this last weekend of summer.

Instead I'm thinking about my friends both past and present. I'm thinking how lucky I am to have so many close relationships with fellow earthlings, although too often the natural consequence of these connections can lead to abrupt heartbreak due to that dude the Grim Reaper. Throw in limiting time factors- things like jobs and other commitments, and our companions can fall by the wayside. Perhaps an extra day tacked on to this weekend is a good chance to curate your crew, so why not call up a friend or two and go get crabs?  (Ha. I'll bet you thought I was going to say go see live music. Right? Did I get you?)

Down at Maine Avenue the construction cranes might out number the boats, but you can still find Captain White and his neighbors peddling seafood on their floating barges- at least for now. The master plan for waterfront development calls for these anachronistic markets to stay, but eviction rumors are flying, and when push comes to shove we all know who tends to lose. In the meantime make your protest loud and clear by getting your Chesapeake crustacean fix at this DC institution. And speaking of native life, Trouble Funk, EU and more will be playing The Howard this Sunday. If you call yourself a music lover, and you don't know who Big Tony is, do NOT miss this show. And if you do know, then you already know you want to go-go.
Take a friend.