Wednesday, November 8, 2017
Resist the cold weather coming our way. Shows are lining up this weekend like those valiant Old Dominion voters at the polls yesterday, and any one of them would be a great source of warmth. Please see DC ROCKS calendar for even more choices, but for reasons only known to the gods of Random, there are too many to write about so I'll just mention a few.
Friday night Bill Hanke recommends the free "proletarian" rock show with The Taildraggers and XMC at Hank Dietle's - a change of pace from the usual rockabilly Saturdays.
On Saturday catch up with your ancestral swing jive roots at Eric Felten's Canteen Dance in the Glen Echo Ballroom.
And last but not least, the cover charge for Cravin Dogs at El Golfo includes a free margarita or dessert. Can't beat that with a stick.
Wednesday, November 1, 2017
Getting that somber feeling that summer has finally left the building? We may have had an unusually warm October, but now Mother Earth is determined to tilt away from our dear old Sun- at least in this hemisphere. Time to head inside for warm things like steam heat, apple pies and live music. Here's your convenient and remarkably incomplete local music listings for November.
(Further suggestions and additions welcome.)
The Conrads / Vinyl Lounge
Thrillbillys @ JV
Justin Jones @ Pearl Street Warehouse
Rock A Sonics @ Hank Dietle's
Linwood Taylor @ JV
Ruthie's Jamboree @ New Deal
Owen Danoff @ Jammin' Java
Jumpin' Jupiter @ JV ( 4 pm)
Tribute to the Band @ The Hamilton
Eric Felten Canteen Dance @ Glen Echo Ballroom
Snake Farmers @ Hank Dietle's
Cravin' Dogs @ El Golfo
Thrillbillys @ JV
Jimmy Thackery @ Pearl Street
Dave Chappell/ Antony Pirog @ JV
Chuck Brown Band @ Pearl Street
Thanksgiving w/ Dave Chappell @ JV
Nighthawks/Skip Castro @ The State Theater
Jellyroll Mortals/ Dede and The DoRights @ Hank Dietle's
Patty Reese @ JV
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Friday, October 27, 2017
Looking for something musical to do this weekend?
I love the description of the next show from the Bold Deceivers, and the location is pretty spooky, too. At least from the outside.
"Mourn the passing of summer, celebrate a bitter harvest, and welcome the coming of cruel winter, in song! Join us at Hell's Bottom VFW, Saturday, October 28, 2017. It'll be a trick if it ain't a treat."
Thursday, October 26, 2017
Ten years ago a crew of motley pilgrims set forth on a beautiful fall day to attend the Ambassador Theater's 40th reunion. We were musicians, and history nerds; archivists and witnesses of the summer of 1967- the summer when Washington D.C. became experienced, and the Ambassador Theater was the epicenter of all things groovy.
Sure, we had Georgetown, and its smaller music clubs. Big name rock bands sometimes invaded the Alexandria Roller Rink, Georgetown's Gaston Hall and the Coliseum, but those venues were shared spaces. The Ambassador was opened by hippies, run by hippies and attracted hippies - which is why the Establishment did everything in its power to shut the place down.
I learned a lot that day. I learned that Washington. D.C. had its own scene which rivaled The Fillmore in San Francisco when you consider the amount of rock history compressed into the six months that the Ambassador existed in Adams Morgan. I learned that The Grateful Dead almost played there.
And that Jimi Hendrix did play there after escaping an ill thought out tour with The Monkees.
This Saturday local film maker Jeff Krulik and rock archivist/author Mark Opsasnick have organized a second reunion, and everyone is invited. It happens at the Showboat Lounge. Sorry -the Songbyrd Cafe- just across the street from The Ambassador, I mean the ugly bank plaza that took its place, at 2477 18th Street N.W. from 1-4 p.m.
Thursday, October 19, 2017
I love rock and roll piano, especially that classic boogie-woogie sound. I also love that Daryl Davis landed here. Daryl is one of DC's best bad ass piano players, and the only person I know who owns a collection of Klu Klux Klan formal wear. For many years now, Daryl has been on a remarkable one man mission to understand racists by befriending white men wearing hoods. (That is when he wasn't playing keys with Chuck Berry.) Check out Daryl's crazy amazing story here.
This Saturday Daryl will be hosting Chuck Berry's Birthday Party at one of the newest clubs in town- Pearl Street Warehouse. (Chuck would have been 91 yesterday.) If you didn't make it to last weekend's opening festivities down at the Wharf, this is a show well worth considering.
Wednesday, October 11, 2017
What's going on behind all that chain link down at the Southwest waterfront? Last night I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview when friends and I landed tickets to two of the new venues- The Anthem and Pearl Street Warehouse. We were agog (especially us DC natives) at the transformation as we walked through a surreal landscape of not yet open shops and hard hat types scurrying to finish things deep into the night.
The Anthem will remind you of the old 9:30 Club going all the way back to the F Street location with its black decor, as well as the V Street place with its movable stage, balconies, and terrific sound system. The space easily absorbed the twenty-five hundred people there last night with everyone taking advantage of all the sight points. There's even a charging wall so your date can't use the excuse that their phone died when you lose them in this six thousand capacity joint. I'm not sure there's ever been a space this size to see a rock show in our town- not to mention on the water. I was wowed.
Pearl Street is as intimate as The Anthem is grand. Now we are back on the scale of the old 9:30, but think laid back Southern roadhouse with little tables and a checkerboard floor that can be cleared for dancing. A diner complete with counter service sits just to the side of the performance space. As one of my companions said gazing at the garage doors which will open onto the promenade on nice days, it feels like we left town. This is an all day venue which will start with breakfast at 7 a.m. and serve 'til they close. At a max capacity of three hundred, there isn't a bad seat in the house.
How to get there? The funnest way would have to be by water. Check out the new Wharf water taxi line opening tomorrow with free rides throughout the day.
P.S. Update from October 11
More photos from The Anthem's Foo Fighters preview show in which case Dave "never dial it in" Grohl gave us his all.
And we discover more people can fit in here...
Tuesday, October 3, 2017
It's been a rough week already, and it's only Tuesday. Why wait around for the weekend?Break with routine tomorrow when Slash Run hosts X_X, Kohoutek, Ex-Motorcycle Couriers (XMC) and Dot Dash. My pal Bill Hanke strikes again with his precise and informed description of the bands on tap:
"Headliner Cleveland punk legends X__X feature John D. Morton from the Electric Eels which started in 1973. Band members went on to Pere Ubu and the Cramps. This is the real deal."
On the local side:
"Dot Dash brings skillfully crafted non-threatening pop music.
Kohoutek does heavy psychedelic space rock better than any. John Stanton, from dc space favorite The Redeemers, plays lead guitar.
And harDCore veterans XMC (Holy Rollers, Negative Approach) play straight up aggressive punk rock. XMC have that unique harDCore sound that sets them apart from bands that didn't come from that era. Songs that pummel the senses like a car crusher. far from mellowing after all these years, they have just gotten better. Pull the cork out and take a drink. Don't stop until the bottle is empty."
Thank you, Bill.
Monday, October 2, 2017
Takoma Park Street Fest
Ruthie & Jamboree @ New Deal Cafe
x_x/ Kahoutek/ XMC/ Dot Dash @ Slash Run
Thrillbillys @ JV
The Hall Monitors/ The Safes/ Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb @ Slash Run
Chop teeth CD Party @ The Hamilton
John Lennon Birthday Tribute @ Bethesda Blues
Little Red & Renegades @ New Deal Cafe
Ruthie & Wranglers @ JV ( 4 pm)
Mdou Moctor/The Messthetics @Comet Ping Pong
The Stents @ Slash Run
The Vi-Kings @ JV
Wayne Hancock/ Rock-A-Sonics @ Jammin Java
Tribute to Jackson Browne w/ Luke Brindley @ Jammin Java
Thrillbillys @ JV
Daryl Davis Tribute to Chuck Berry @ Pearl Street
Dan Hovey/David Kitchen Band @ JV
Dave Chappell Band
Wild Anacostias @ New Deal
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Comings and goings are a part of life, but when the days slip into years, it seems as if some places will always be the same. Fast food joints and 7/11s may reliably litter our landscape, but the more fragile local venue can fall prey to economic battering. And so away went Chick Hall's Surf Club and sadly, after this weekend, we will be adding IOTA to the "places that are gone" list. Appropriately enough Last Train Home will be playing tonight and Friday night when the Graverobbers come out of hiding.
Saturday, the show starts at noon and will feature a long list of IOTA alumni onstage and many a wistful smile deep into the night. A special shout out and thank you to Jane and Stephen Negrey who kept these doors open since 1994 and welcomed thousands of musicians and thirsty people. In particular I will miss the little back patio which was once one of my favorite hangs on a summer evening.
If IOTA wasn't on your radar, but you are still feeling nostalgic, The Allman Others are playing Gypsy Sally's with Beat Hotel on Friday night. On Saturday all axe wielders/lovers should join the pilgrimage to Bethesda Blues and Jazz for the Roy Buchanan Tribute. My friend and rock connoisseur, Bill Hanke, who faithfully occupies the trenches supporting the music scene, summed up this show most eloquently:
"Although this is a gee-tar show, I'm most excited about seeing local legend and Roy Buchanan Band alum Vince Santoro on drums. There are NONE better. He's moved on to Nashville for fame and fortune, but he's still OURS!!! I'm probably gonna cry when he comes out. No, I WILL cry. I'm not kidding."
Thursday, September 14, 2017
I'm not a fan of stadium rock. These arenas are fine for people who like to watch other people chase a ball around, but jumbo-trons just don't cut it for me. If I have to look at a screen to catch a glimpse of the band I just forked over a pile of money to see, well, you know what I'm thinking?
I'm thinking I've got a screen of my own.
Plus I'm not good about sitting in my assigned seat.
When I saw the Stones at the Cap Centre a long long time ago, I ended up sitting on the stairs for most of the show with my am around an over-served companion. We were somewhere up near the roof as I recall, while Mick Jagger strutted around on stage in a sparkly white get-up, looking about two inches high from my point of view. A memorable night, but not necessarily for the music.
But why wait for the Stones? This Saturday at the Hamilton, Newmyer Flyer presents a gaggle of local musicians recreating the sounds of "Sticky Fingers" and Tom Petty's "Damn the Torpedos." Both albums will be played in their entirety, and you could probably meet some of those talented players in real size at the bar. (And there are choices between table seats and wandering around the bar area tickets for the restless.) Beware these shows can and do sell out.
Sunday night David Kitchen will unveil his new EP at JV's out in the wilds of Falls Church. David plays constantly with the Thrillbillys and the David Kitchen band, and he's even on the Hamilton gig mentioned above. He has got the guitar playing /singing thing down, but he rarely plays his own most excellent music. Truly an original. Show starts at 8:30. Don't be late.
Speaking of screens at home check out "Rocks Off" accompanied by this Super 8 street scene montage of the Stones from 1971. An "Exile on Main Street" time capsule.
Thursday, September 7, 2017
Hank Dietle's, a tiny drinking establishment on the Pike, not only withstood the construction of White Flint Mall, but also oversaw its demise. I remember the hubbub when White Flint first opened in 1977. We flocked there just to gawk at how shiny and white everything was. We had to try this new phenomenon called a "food court" after a trip on their glass elevator. Now the mall has been razed while the little tavern across the street hunkers down- unchanged as thirsty customers come and go.
Live music is relatively new at Hank's- a product of the old Quarry House scene before a fire closed its doors. Bands play every Saturday night including this week when Cravin' Dogs shake up the usual rockabilly scene. This Friday, however, don't miss a special psychedelic/punk kind of show with Seven Door Sedan and Spidercake.
We are lucky to still have this endangered species of a honky- tonk. There is no food court- in fact no food at all, but you are welcome to bring your own sustenance as long as you belly up to the bar for liquid refreshment.
Thursday, August 31, 2017
My cousin John who lives out in Ashton, Maryland declared he saw a leaf fall yesterday, but Autumn officially doesn't actually arrive until September 22 this year, and many a warm day and beautiful night lie in between. Stave off that seasonal disorder by focusing on the positive. September starts handily on a Friday which means five weekends, people!
Kick up your heels starting with Valentine Slim who will take over the Takoma VFW this Friday night. "Slim" has a long musical history in D.C. which includes dancing for the Psychedelic Power and Light Company at the Ambassador Theater- an amazing tale there, and I could digress, but I won't so hit the link for more. Nowadays Slim concentrates on bringing out a country blues rock kind of thing, and the Hells Bottom VFW is the perfect venue for the sound.
Saturday night catch Dede and the Do-Rights in an all star line up at Hank Dietle's - another perfect little honky tonk. On a larger scale, local bands invade the 9:30 Club. Look for The Split Seconds, Thaylobleu and more at the rare night club where all ages can see live music.
Thursday, August 17, 2017
April 18, 1775. February 7, 1964. August 19, 2017. What do these dates have in common? All three mark British invasions and, like kudzu, there's no escaping their impact on our landscape. We may have repelled the Red Coats, but when The Beatles landed, they kicked open the door and in marched The Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin, and The Kinks. Cream, Elton John, Jethro Tull and The Hollies. It seems like "Long Cool Woman" was covered at every school dance I went to, but I missed seeing most of these bands in person.
But while we've been "lazing on a summer afternoon," many local musicians spent the last few months holed up in the woodshed, working on a show bent on recreating the hellacious sounds of 1967-1974 with music from all the bands listed above plus Queen, Traffic, Donovan and more. The "invasion" happens this Saturday night at The Fillmore in Silver Spring.
For those of you looking for a more intimate show, check out Jau Ocean and Boat Burning at Bossa on 18th Street. Boat Burning's last EP was produced by Roger Miller of Mission of Burma, and these psychedelic cats are ready to go. Early show 8 p.m. to 10:30 on Saturday as well.
Monday, August 7, 2017
DC's public library is archiving a lot more than books these days. A compilation of local music came out last February called "Rock the Stacks," and for those still unaware or simply curious, Songbird in Adams Morgan will be hosting an all ages listening party tomorrow from More information about that event can be found here.
And on Wednesday the DCPL Punk Archive will be host a live show on the rooftop of the Woodridge Neighborhood Library of all things. No whispering allowed.
Tuesday, August 1, 2017
|Union Station 1920s|
Look to your left.
Now look to your right.
Are you feeding your neighbor's cat?
Taking in the mail for another?
Is that a parking place right in front of the Tune Inn?
Yes, it's August in Washington when the town shrinks down to just us chickens. And the crickets. For other signs of life on Planet DC, check out the DC ROCKS' incredibly incomplete but better than nothing calendar as well as Fort Reno this Thursday. Share in the sugar love of Night of 1,000 Cakes while being serenaded by Weird Babies, Aaron Leitko and Herschel Hoover. Last show of the summer! And a hearty shout out to to Amanda MacKaye and all her volunteers for keeping this venue alive.
Friday, July 21, 2017
It's hot. Hot. Hot. Hot. Hot. Hot. Hot. It's hot at 8 a.m. It's hot at 9:30 p.m. It's hot in the car. It's So Hot I. Can't. Think. Can you?
It's July in D.C. -historically our hottest month and living up to its reputation. Go hide in the Smithsonian. (Or the dairy aisle depending on your ambition and energy level.) If outside, I recommend a personal atomizer filled with water as a constant companion and new best friend.
But kudos to WAMU for bringing us a little good news on the weather front. It may be hotter than ever, but despite the increasing density of Washington's population and the in pouring of cars, our skies are cleaner than they used to be. Blue Skies are in. Smog is out. (And as I write, so is Sean Spicer.)
This Saturday Catfish Hodge is in at JV's. Col Josh is out at Hank Dietle's for those of you looking for something to do. Cold beer can beat the heat- especially if you don't forget to bring your new best friend.
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
|Free Your Mind at Rhizome|
Takoma Park is fairly exploding with new things. New restaurants. New apartments. New bars. All are fairly cool places, but nothing really extraordinary except perhaps for RhizomeDC, a performance space and experimental arts center located in a somewhat ordinary looking house on Maple Avenue. (Just over the D.C. line) I've been driving to Takoma Park a lot lately, and the view from near the railroad bridge on Aspen made me wonder...what the heck goes on in there? So I looked it up. Concerts, workshops, a record fair, performances, book discussions, a film screening... whatever the heck artistic type individuals can dream up could possibly find a home here. And great things can happen in small spaces. A friend of mine told me he was wowed by the last concert he saw at Rhizome which would have been in what used to be an ordinary living room. Hit the link above for upcoming events to find out more.
|Rhizome: Where It's At|
Meanwhile on the other side of Takoma there's another atypical space - this one is not new but was reinvented by the commander of the Takoma VFW a.k.a. Hell's Bottom. Musical events have helped save this outpost from extinction, and patrons save big on their bar tab. This Friday the truly unorthodox Yachstmen and 7 Door Sedan will hold forth. (Please note this show starts promptly at 8 p. m.) Saturday look for Colonel Josh and friends to carry on into the night.
Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Good Morning Campers. Today I am happy to report that the Fort Reno Concerts are still alive and kicking off tomorrow with Weird Babies, TK Echo and Mock Identity. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Amanda MacKaye and her crew of volunteers, this series gives new and mostly young bands a chance to strut their stuff.
Free concerts happen at 7 p.m. every Monday and Thursday throughout July, weather permitting, and, if the gods are smiling, the ice cream truck will arrive, there'll be a decent breeze and an admirable sunset thrown in to boot. A very cool and unique venue for punk rockers of all ages
Monday, July 3, 2017
The United States was built on a big idea of liberty, but we sure have had a hard time figuring out what that actually means and who exactly is entitled to its benefits. It seems to be an ongoing struggle- especially in the name of fear. Here in my town, Pennsylvania Avenue and E Street are closed near "the People's House." We can't wander in and out of public buildings or eat lunch in the various department cafeterias anymore unless we have government business to conduct and run the gamut of security checks. (Remember when the National Aquarium was holed up in the Department of Commerce? ) I haven't gone downtown for the July 4th holiday since the snow fence corrals went up.
But out here in the sticks, near the Potomac River, the District of Columbia runs a hometown parade that is free for anyone to watch or march in. It's an equal opportunity situation for firetrucks, horses and Radio Flyer wagons. Prizes are given with creativity preferred over politics athough we get a lot of both.
The parade starts near the Safeway on MacArthur at 11 a.m. and winds down the Boulevard to Edmunds Place before dumping into Palisades Park for the prize giving announcements and a party featuring free libations and frivolity. Be on the lookout for lemonade, watermelon, and hotdogs with mustard, justice and liberty for all.
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Welcome to summertime in DC y'all. There's fireflies and flowers in the back yard tonight with an unusually cool and wonderful breeze, but tomorrow the temps are climbing up to the 90s with no end in sight. The melt down arrives just in time for the 50th Smithsonian Folklife Festival which is always hot as Hades. The festival will be celebrating its own anniversary with circuses, memories, and lots of music including The Chuck Brown Band on Friday.
The Fourth of July lands on a Tuesday this year so the upcoming holiday weekend comes with a Lego Expansion set, and a flashback. Our old pal Eric Brace is bringing Last Train Home back to IOTA. Two long sets are promised Friday and Saturday nights starting promptly at 9.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Grunge, rave and hip hop all came into their own during the 1990s while I was home with kids paying absolutely no attention to what was happening in the music world. Fortunately I had a former 9:30 deejay keeping our house current with the eclectic scene, especially bands not playing on the radio. So basically, if it happened in the 1990s, I missed it.
This Saturday local bands Getchoo, Dammit Josie and Dashing Bumpkins converge to reanimate that bygone decade with an all ages tribute show at the Rock n Roll Hotel.
On the other hand, if you want to see a band that has been playing since the '90s, check out the Ubangis' Summer Fling show at Slash Run. (For you trivia fans The Ubangis' first show was with The Wanktones in December 1990 at d.c. space.)
And for those of you who fondly remember The Wanktones- be sure to listen to Takoma Park's WOWD this Sunday morning for a trip back in time.