Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Once and Future 9:30 Club

The 9:30 Club kicked off the New Year last night with an impressive anniversary event looking back on 35 years- 20 in the current location and 15 on F Street. Wow. Just let those numbers sink in for a minute. I was in school the first time I walked into that old rock hole. We'd driven down in a Ford Falcon station wagon full of housemates on a drug induced field trip from College Park. The old location now houses a J. Crew, something none of us could imagine happening back then when there were peep shows and wig shops, and the rats outnumbered people on the street at night.

For those of you who wrangled a free ticket for the "9:30 World's Fair," expect a virtual walk through time starting with the original F Street back bar downstairs where sometime in the now hazy 1980s, I met so many people who would make an impact on my life including the man who would become my husband, bar manager Mark Hall, as well as the late Mark Holmes whose artwork is on the walls, and Slickee Boys' Mark Noone, the "Cal Ripken" of the 9:30 Club, he has performed on its stages a whopping 90 times.

Appropriately a squashed F Street rat from Alec MacKaye's collection is featured in a case on the bar, but here is a picture from 1990 when Mikey O and Mark ran a tight ship- at least I never saw a rat in the bar itself.

The tour takes you all over the club which has been transformed into a multi media museum of sorts full of video screens and memorabilia collections- sometimes a bit overwhelming in a Vietnam Wall sort of way, but a tremendous amount of work went into the archives and displays. You can go all the way up to the dressing room, or you can walk onto Mark Noone's stage where a virtual crowd gives you that secret thrill of being a rock star.

If you weren't able to get a ticket, a lot of the hoopla is captured in a new book 9:30: A Time and A Place available on the web site. Congratulations Dody, Seth and Rich, and thank you and all the 9:30 family for giving DC so much music and so many crazy fun memories.

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