Thursday, June 30, 2016

Embrace Your Inner Weird

God bless the Misfit. Only artists are unafraid to go out there and shamelessly create a scene just for the sake of spectacle. Hank Dietle's Tavern will be stranger than fiction this Saturday night when Atomic Mosquitos and The Yachtsmen take over the space between the pool table and the front door.  Appearances aside, expect original surf music and kick ass rock and roll. Giant fly swatters and ascots encouraged.  No cover.

photo by Peter Krogh

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Once Upon a Moon

The Summer Solstice arrived this week by the light of a full Strawberry Moon, and I hope you all were paying attention because this phenomenon might not happen again until the year 2062. Poking around cyber space though, I am learning that calculating the direct hits and near misses seems to be a tricky business. The folks at Earth/Sky indicate the last occurrence was during the Summer of Love in 1967.

while the  Old Farmer's Almanac points to 1948 which seems to be the Summer of the Polaroid Land Camera.

In any case it's a seldom seen event which reminds me... The Seldom Scene - DC's answer to non-traditional bluegrass-will be out and about tonight at Nottaway Park and throughout the summer. (Check their website for schedule.)

Although all of the original members of the band have moved onto different realms or phases in their lives, the torch is being carried forward by top flight musicians devoted to preserving a DC institution.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Hazy Cosmic Jive

I confess. I tuned out of commercial radio many moons ago when the increasingly frequent ads started driving me up a tree. Now I rarely stray from WAMU or WPFW because I am an old dog that can adapt to only so many new tricks. Like computers.  I know you can get a subscription or some other device in your car, but my radio is so old it has a cassette player.
Hey, remember the days when you pulled the button on your car radio all the way out, dialed in your favorite station, then pushed it back in to keep it there? I could handle that. Of course when you borrowed your parents' car you had to leave it on their stations like WMAL with Harden and Weaver or WTOP with Paul Harvey.  Or maybe WINX. All on the AM dial, of course. But coming of age for many of us meant WHFS, the radio station we might miss the most here in DC ROCKS land. Back then radio employees (and sometimes friends)  were allowed to bring out their "on air" personalities and musical preferences. If a band was coming through town, they would drop in for a chat. Now there are still listening choices- maybe more than ever- but I'm a bit slow to catch on to things like "streaming" and "pod casts."

This week though DC ROCKS reader Bill Wachtell turned me on to a pod cast called the "Last Gasp Radio" which features music and interviews from a former denizen of WTGB. (Right now- thanks to the miracle of technology- I'm listening to Abaad Behram tell true tall tales of his life with Razz and Reidy.) Also, if you want to rocket yourself further back in time, this Wednesday down at Shaw Library, some of the 'HFS deejays, including Cerphe and Weasel, will be slinging stories and showing  clips of the "Feast Your Ears" movie at this month's meeting of the DC Music Salon.

P.S. Reader Debbie Deb reminded me you can catch Weasel onWTMD 89.7 on Friday evenings at 7 p.m. with encore broadcast on Saturday at noon. She also recommends the Dirty Soul Party on Saturday nights at 9 p.m.

Friday, June 3, 2016

The New Way Back Machine

Always a party waiting to happen, the Vi-Kings bring their psychedelic and groovy vibes to Villain and Saint this Saturday night on the edge of the planet known as Bethesda.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

C and O Rocks

The C and O Canal has always been a part of my life. When I was two or three years old, my mother used to take me to feed bread crusts to the ducks near Great Falls.  These weren't wild birds but gynormous white creatures which definitely added a fear factor to the thrill of the expedition.

On winter days my friends and I kept a close eye on the thermometer studying the stats like the scores in a ball game. Below freezing for a few days? Then time to cruise along Canal Road or out to Swain's Lock to check out how thick the ice was for skating. And in summer you could rent a row boat or a canoe.

Our canal has been around since George Washington wanted to float things upriver in 1785. After much hemming and hawing, ground breaking finally happened July 4, 1828,  replete with John Quincy Adams attending, but the project was a goner from the git go.  The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad would reach Cumberland first demoting the canal to obsolete though it took quite a while to wind down.

The Swain family of Swain's Lock lived in the lock house until relatively recently- surviving both the Johnstown flood in 1889,  Hurricane Agnes in 1972, and the transition of the canal to the National Park service in 1938 which looks after the towpath we know today.

The C & O  Canal also strikes a chord with former hometown boys Eric Brace and Peter Cooper- so much so they named their latest project after it. The album is a tribute to this area's rich vein of songwriting and music clubs and covers a lot of local history- geographical as well as social. Emmy Lou Harris, Bill Danoff, the Seldom Scene and the Rosslyn Mountain Boys are all represented bringing back memories of places like the Red Fox Inn, Gallagher's, the Cellar Door and the Birchmere. All scenes where Eric and Peter found their spark. Come see what it's all about at their CD release party at  Jammin Java this Friday. All ages $15.