Sunday, December 31, 2017

What Are You Doing New Year's New Year's Eve?

Going to a party? Laying low listening to Ella? If you want to do something out of the ordinary consider the Irish tradition of banging bread against the wall or eating grapes for every chime of midnight like they do in Spain. In Denmark,  people break plates for fun, and in South Africa they throw old furniture out the window. ( I've got some candidates for that one.)
The Swiss like to drop ice-cream on the floor which must make the dogs and cats very happy, but my favorite might be the Romanian tradition of dressing up like bears and dancing around. (Anyone going out on this extra cold night might want to consider this one.)

For last minute frivolity- Hank Dietle's will be warm and cozy with music from The Conrads and a trio of Rock-a Sonics tonight, and, if you really want to whoop it up, tickets are still available for Thievery CorporationGogol Bardello and Troublefunk down yonder at The Anthem on the wharf.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Exit Strategy

I'm not complaining, but does this holiday week seem extra long to you? Need to vacate the house, despite the big chill? If so, get on your long john groove and head down to the new Wharf. You'll find burning towers and bonfires creating warmth for those who need to get out, no matter what the weather, and a waterfront neighborhood deliberately curated to rock with restaurants, bars and three live music venues.

Everybody seems to have heard of The Anthem which is big enough to relieve the 9:30 Club of mega crowded rock shows, but intimate it's not. Pearl Street Warehouse, which is just a block or so over from Anthem, feels more down home with working garage doors and a diner hooked onto one end.

Lisa White, former long time music wrangler for the 9:30 Club empire, will be booking, so be on the look out for an eclectic mix of good music, including DC's own wild n crazy in a good way King Soul tomorrow night.

And the newest kid in town - just across the way from Pearl Street- is Union Stage, brought to you by the Brindley Brothers of Jammin' Java. The venue is about the same size as Pearl Street and will hold roughly 400 people- which is double the size of their Vienna location. This Friday's show includes three bands from Virginia: Kid Brother, MILO in the Doldrums and Dusk Whale. Both venues will feature affordable shows.

And for those of you who want to hunker down on the progressive side don't miss The Messthetics and Dan Joesph at Rhizome in Takoma Park. (What's with all the Friday night happenings?)

Of course what I write about here is only the tip of the iceberg of what's going on in this town. Check the DC ROCKS calendar for more options this weekend.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Out of It

I have been  feeling a bit isolated and out of it this week which doesn't help with the upcoming holiday prep.  First off my cell phone somehow landed in the cat's water bowl and remained there unnoticed for quite some time. (I wonder if there's a Guiness Book of Records for a phone dying in the smallest possible body of water?)

Second  the news was so bad,  I wasn't able to listen to the radio like I usually do without catapulting into depression, and I couldn't call anyone to commiserate because my cell phone was languishing in a bag of rice.

As I reported a couple of weeks ago I perennially struggle with the mail in December.  I have a Jewish friend who religiously sends me a Christmas card EVERY year and, of course, Hanukkah is usually over and the candles are out by the time I dig up a card to send back.

And so,  as per my usual advice, I would like to take this moment to quote the great King Arthur via Monty Python.
"Run away!!" ( find a local watering hole)
"Bring up the holy hand grenade!"  (also known as booze)

Musical distractions this weekend include H.R. and the Captivators at Songbyrd and Revelator Hill with Ron Holloway at Pearl Street Warehouse. Both on Friday. Jimmy and the Blue Dogs invade Hank Dietle's on Saturday. Good ole JVs will be rocking both Christmas eve and Christmas night. Last but certainly not least, the Alice Despard Group, Marshall Keith and Mary Battiata are banding together (ha) for a Sparklehorse tribute at Galaxy Hut after the dust settles on Boxing Day.  Definitely a highlight of the month.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

We Go On and On

Dear Readers,
As of today you have officially survived almost 348 days of 2017-a remarkably dark and weird year. On the musical side of things, we lost IOTA and Tommy Keene- one of our dearest rock stars. (Ironically IOTA is the last place I saw him.) Tommy came to light here in Washington in the 1980s playing in a kick ass band called The Razz, but he soon rocketed beyond our universe on a solo career.  We will miss him deeply.

In Tommy's honor, I would like to give a shout out to a few places that have not gone, but have managed to endure the vagaries of time and circumstance. These are all venues which give local musicians a place to get their foot in the door.

First congratulations to Comet Ping Pong for braving a year of batcrap crazy attacks on the internet and in all too real life. Their consistently good food and dedication to live shows makes it easy to support this place -even if it doesn't haven't a child prostitution ring or a basement. FuzzQueen is having a CD release party here tomorrow night.

And hats off to Vietnam veteran Commander Mike Casey who saved his VFW post by having an open mind, a good heart, and the boundless energy to host live music events. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 350 (aka "Hells Bottom") welcomes The Conrads' brand of old school rock n roll- also on Friday.

And finally kudos to Dante Ferrando, the upstart punk, who dared to challenge the old 9:30 Club's obstructed views in 1993 with another venue for independent and underground type music. The Black Cat puts on multiple live shows every week, but this Sunday check out their 20th annual "garage sale" for all your not so conventional gift needs.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Panic in Pine Needle Park

The first shot over the bow arrived in the form of a Christmas card on December One. I'd like to say I was happy to see a message from a friend, but it just reminded me of all the cards I need to send. And meant to send. Last year.

Anxiety sets in the form of a creeping pre-holiday panic which only serves to produce bad ideas like listening to music in the car while waiting in an illegal parking space for forty five minutes without jumper cables.
Or misusing a Q tip. (I won't go into the details, but if you are not supposed to stick those things in your ears, then why don't they make them a lot bigger?)

The moral to this story is don't panic about the upcoming holidays. Take time out for a little fun. Like this:

If feeling a bit more energetic, you could add ingredients.

Or better yet, don't be a weenie.  Go out, people. Dare to kick up the volume. The teeny tiny Takoma VFW will be hosting  Valentine Slim on Friday and The Nighthawks on Saturday.

And the long awaited King Soul CD Breakout Party happens at the relatively large and lush Bethesda Blues and Jazz. Also on Saturday.

But wait - there's more.
Here's the slightly behind the times DC Rocks' calendar for


Boat Burning/ Time Is Fire/Heterodyne @ VisArts

Bill Kirchen @ The Birchmere

Rock-A-Sonics @ Hill Country BBQ


Flea Bops @ Hank Dietles

Valentine Slim @ Takoma VFW

Jumping' Jupiter @ Hill Country


Nighthawks @New Deal

Grin Again Tribute @ Jammin Java (3 pm!)


Ruthie's Jamboree @ New Deal


Thrillbillys @ JVs


Valentine Slim @ Takoma VFW


King Soul CD Release Party @ Bethesda Blues

Nighthawks @ Takoma VFW

Col Josh @ Hank Dietles


Fuzzqueen/ Super! Silver! Haze!/Fake Bodies @ 
Comet Ping Pong

Conrads @ Takoma VFW


Rock-N-Shop Garage Sale @ Black Cat


Thrillbillys @ JVs


Revelator Hill w/ Ron Holloway @ Pearl Street Warehouse


Alice Despard/ Cotton Candy @ Galaxy Hut


Ron Holloway @ Gypsy Sallys

Dave Chappell @ JVs


King Soul @ Gypsy Sallys


The Delarcos/Sister Ex/ Surprise Guest @ Slash Run


Conrads @ Hank Dietles

Thievery Corporation @ Anthem