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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Bureaucracy Versus Analog Tape

Just the mention of the numbers 1099 and W-2 make my head hurt which is why a place like Rhizome in Takoma Park is a haven and a safe space for those of us who puzzle our way through most sensible things. After the filing frenzy, allow yourself to relax this Thursday evening when a collaboration of music, film and interesting people collide. Check out  "Music for Amplified Violin, Guitar, and Analog Tape," plus a rare screening of "Film" with live accompaniment.

Here's the word from Andras Fekete:

"Robin Diamond and Andras Fekete of Boat Burning, a Washington DC-based "maximum minimalist" collective, explores unexpected connections between classical music, experimental and punk. Diamond and Fekete will accompany Mia Zabelka a sound artist, violinist and vocalist on guitar, tape and keys. 

In 1964, Samuel Beckett traveled from Paris to New York City to shoot "Film," a 24 minute short starring silent film legend Buster Keaton.  It would be Beckett's only screenplay, and Keaton's final film appearance. 

British multi-instrumentalist and film composer Tim Carless will perform a live score to the screening.   Music starts 8pm with DC improvisational combo Low Ways, featuring Mark Cisneros on sax and Ian McColm on drums."

For more traditional fare please check the DC ROCKS' calendar which is overflowing this weekend with the uber talented likes of  Dan Hovey, Dave Chappell, Patty Reese, The Thrillbillys and Valentine Slim. Plus check out a new venue with an old favorite... The Nighthawks are playing Union Stage- Jammin Java's sister venue at the Wharf. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

The Past Isn't

Art by Mark Holmes
Everyone loves harkening back to the bad ole days of 9:30 and d.c. space where much loved bands like The Beatnik Flies, The Slickee Boys and later Fugazi were a regular thing. Indeed, people I meet now tell me they hung out at the old 9:30 Cub on F Street "all of the time," and if you were then you probably remember my friend Stewart Schmallbach who could redefine that term. He was there night after night and sometimes during the day.

His bar stool was at the back bar right next to the service area, and his drink was a screwdriver.  An artist in his own right, he often painted the walls to defray his bar bill-especially when there was an event.  A lot of people remember the club in monochrome, but actually the color would sometimes change for anniversary parties.

Fred! Photo by Marie Broussard
This weekend put your money where your memories are. Come out and support live music with people who are still on the scene. On Friday night The Messthetics, a true power trio and comprised of Fugazi's Joe Lally and Brendan Canty plus guitar master Anthony Pirog, are throwing  a CD release party at Black Cat with Sarah Hughes and Kid Claws.  Please note this is a rare all ages venue, and a show not to be missed if you are a music fan.

Saturday The Vi-Kings, who usually do their magical throwback psychedelic thing in Maryland, will pilgrimage across the river to JV's in Falls Church. The line up includes  Joe Dolan (Beatnik Flies) Bob Berberich (Rosslyn Mountain Boys) and Bill Craig of (the) Razz.

On the other side of everything The Rhodes Tavern Troubadours, with Mark Noone of Slickee Boy fame on bass, will be rocking the Takoma VFW. This is a cool and crazy little venue where you can grandly buy your friends a round and still have change from a twenty.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

No Foolin'

Not just a few of you remarked on the last DC ROCKS calendar which I put up in honor of my father who loved a good prank. Whether it was a goofy phone call or the always reliable "what did you spill on your shirt?" gag he would always roar APRIL FOOL afterwards at top volume and then laugh uproariously even if you didn't think it was funny.

For you curious cats, my April Fools' list was au current in 1979, and I plucked only a handful of items from the incredibly extensive calendar in an old Unicorn Times. Now almost all of the bands and every one of those venues are long gone except Columbia Station which is in a different place and only has the same name. (The original closed in 1984.)

Nevertheless a lot of those dates and bands were real and alive and need feeding.  The Beanstalk Library and Throwing Plates are at Pearl Street Warehouse tomorrow night.

On Saturday the Leon Russel Tribute happens at the Barns of Wolf Trap another Newmyer Flyer event with a panoply of local talent, but it may be sold out already. If you are feeling less extravaganza and more come as you are, the Bold Deceivers will liven things up at the Takoma VFW.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Spring Is Coming

Staying home for Spring break last week meant exploring parts of the city I don't recognize anymore like "Eye" Street NW. The people in the picture above are actually sitting in the middle of the street. What was the street. Now there's a trendy waterfall fountain and a daffodil at each table. Go figure.

Despite the cold weather hanging around like a cheap suit,  the tourists are here for the cherry blossoms in droves.  Don't go anywhere near the Tidal Basin for the next couple of weeks unless your plan is to see the blooms through the car window while stuck in traffic which is a beautiful thing just as long as you don't have to be anywhere anytime soon. On the other hand there are other things to do,  and here's what I've got for April so far:

Grits @ Columbia Station

Snake Farmers @ New Deal

Thrillbillys @ JV

Insect Surfers @

Beanstalk Library /Throwing Plates @ Pearl Street

Leon Russell Tribute @ Barns of Wolf Trap

Bold Deceivers @ Takoma VFW

Razz @ Bayou

DC Music Salon/ DC's Streets Talk @Shaw Library

The Messthetics /Sarah Hughs / Kid Claws @ Black Cat

Rhodes Tavern Troubadours @ Takoma VFW

The Vi-Kings @ JV

Slickee Boys @ Psyche Delly

Thrillbillys @ JV

Dan Hovey/ Dave Chappell Happy Hour @ JV

The Nighthawks @ Union Stage

Patty Reese/ Dave Chappell 1 pm @ JV

Pegasus @ Italian Gardens

Dave Chappell (yes, again!) @ JV

Goin Goin Gone @ JV

King Soul @ Cheverly Legion

Eric Brace/ Peter Cooper and Thomm Jutz Trio @ Jammin Java

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Make Love Not War

I've written about my neighbor Doug Dupin many times. He is always up to something interesting, and last Monday proved to be no exception. I was lucky enough to accompany him on an expedition which included transporting an eight by six foot space gun via pickup truck through the streets of Washington.

We  installed said project in the window of Upshur Books just in time for the Equinox and an upcoming art show.

Behold if you will.  "Baby with Deathray"  

But Doug is not alone. Over fifty participants are getting ready for Artists Against GunViolence- an event which will compliment the upcoming march this weekend. The opening reception happens this Thursday at Third Floor (above Slim's Diner) and runs from 6:00- 9:00 p.m.  Hit the link above for more details. The art show, made possible by the Ruppert family, will run through April 9th.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Tots Are Back in Town

With the recent loss of Hank Dietle's, it was nice to see the Quarry House reopen last weekend. (In case you haven't been paying attention, both of these small venues were ravaged by fire- Dietle's last month and The Quarry House three years ago.) Except for the peculiar smell which (thankfully) is gone, the dive bar atmosphere remains remarkably in tact along with their extensive beer and bourbon menu of beverages to wash down those burgers and tater tots. The juke box is back, but for now live music is a thing of the past.

Kudos to Jackie Greenbaum for saving this little piece of local bar fly history in Silver Spring.

On the musical front, axe man Dan Hovey will be having a busy week. Thursday night he'll be playing with the David Kitchen Band at JVs. I saw them a couple of weeks ago and was bowled over. Again. That unassuming shopping center always tricks me into complacency, but open the door, and it's a pre-weekend throw down with excellent chops here.

Saturday, if you want to avoid those amateur green beer drinking leprechauns, head over to the Takoma VFW for Goin Goin Gone's old school style of rock and roll. Hopefully Dan will have rested up by then, because he's on this gig, too. Please note that the gracious lads of the band will be donating most of the ten dollar cover back to restoring Hank Dietle's.

And finally on Sunday - NOT Dan Hovey but Dave Chappell and Anthony Pirog will burn down the stage at JV. Wait. Poor choice of words. How about tear up the stage?  Shred? In any case, if you call yourself a guitar connoisseur and haven't caught these two in action, then you ain't seen nothing yet.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Dispatch From DC Rocks

Three shows this Friday. Zero time to write. Here we go.

Parthenon Huxley at Jammin Java. Google him then ask yourself did I read that right? He's at a little club in Vienna? Consider this a huge opportunity.

King Soul at the Takoma VFW. Open a can of sardines and jump in. The entire joint turns into a joyful mosh pit of cheap booze and kickass music when this band takes the stage. Not for the claustrophobic.

The Laurel Canyon Tribute at the Birchmere. If you are a sucker for a time and place like no other in California, Newmyer Flyer always puts on a great show with a truck load of local talent. Worth seeing even if you do have to sit down and shut up here.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Pretty In Pink

The Park Service made its Cherry Blossom Prediction today. Peak blooms will most likely happen March 17- 20. The earliest peak on record was March 15 in 1990 and the latest April 18 in 1958 so feeling like we are a bit ahead of ourselves. Judging by my yard, things are rolling along at least a few weeks early. A bit disturbingly early at that. Hold tight you Star Magnolias. Jump the gun on Jack Frost, and those pretty white blossoms will brown out much to the dismay of my neighbor Mary and myself.

While we are waiting for the tidal basin to go pink, here's local musical considerations for the month. Please hit me up with additions. (For some reason the text size varies which is unintentional and beyond my html ken. Apologies.)

David Kitchen Band @ JV
Justin Jones/ Beanstalk Library @ The Hamilton
Music all Day n Night @ JVs:
Patty Reese/ Dave Chappell
Linwood Taylor
Goin Goin Gone @ Republic
Ruthie Jamboree @ New Deal Cafe
Parthenon Huxley @ Jammin Java
King Soul @ Takoma VFW
Laurel Canyon Tribute @ Birchmere
Fuzz queen/Candy Ambulance @ Galaxy Hut
David Kitchen Band @ JV
Goin Goin Gone @ Takoma VFW
Dave Chappell And Anthony Pirog @ JV
Tom Petty Tribute @ JV
Dave Chappel Band @ JV

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Original Rock

Nostalgia is in the air this week. Tomorrow night film makers Richard Taylor and Jeff Krulik will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Razz's first single with an early peek at their new documentary about the band. DC Salon hosts this free event at the Shaw Library at 7 p.m. Razz played back in the day when live music bars were sprinkled all over this town-places like Desperados, Columbia Station, The Far Inn, The Keg and The Bayou. Back then the Unicorn Times listed bands in categories which included "original rock," and we had a wealth of talent to choose from. Here's a Unicorn Times ad from October 1979 created by Razz's truly creative front man Michael Reidy.

On Saturday night Ruthie and the Wranglers will open for what remains of NRBQ. Although NRBQ is not from here, the band had a big following in DC, and weirdly enough, this ad appeared in the same October issue of the Unicorn Times.

Ruthie and NRBQ will be at the Hamilton which is a great place to see a show.  Once upon a time this used to be Washington's own Garfinckel's Department Store which catered to the white and wealthy. The eight story flagship emporium was built in 1929, but many decades later our friend and local rock connoisseur Patty Ferry worked there as a sales girl. She remembers when the cashiers sent money around in space age plastic tubes which travelled through vacuum powered chutes. Now three floors of this massive building are devoted to eating and drinking plus two music venues. One of these is a small club on the third floor, and the other is a state-of-the-art performance space in the basement.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Anybody Lose A Shoe?

DC ROCKS has flown the coop and migrated South for Mardi Gras which got under way this week with parades including the wonderful women of Muses last night.

Many years ago options for Mardi Gras in Washington were far and few between, but for those who can't make it to New Orleans come Tuesday, you might want to make your way down to the new Wharf in SW.  Their parade starts around 6 p.m. followed by a dance party on District Pier and fireworks of all things which reminds us we are still in the District after all.  Look for our friends The Grandsons in the parade and playing a free after party at Pearl Street Warehouse.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Get Your Gras On

Hey y'all. We are deep into carnival season which started January 6th and will end on February 13th. If you haven't got your beads on yet, kick off the celebration with a Cajun kind of New Orleans swamp party at New Deal Cafe this Saturday with Little Red and the Renegades.  Also on Saturday, the rambunctious fellows of King Soul will lay down their own Southern groove. If you want to get into their Villain and Saint show, better get tickets in advance or show up early as this is a small place for a big band.

Here's what else is going down this month...please hit me up with missing gigs....



Thrillbillys @ JV


Black Masala @ Pearl Street Warehouse


Little Red @ New Deal

King Soul @ Villain and Saint

Heavy Breathing/ TK Echo @ Comet Ping Pong

Sunday shows!

Rock A Sonics @ JV ( 1 pm)

Linwood Taylor @ JV (night)


Ruthie's Jamboree @ New Deal


Dan Hovey & the Tall Boys @ JV


Red Dress Ball W/ Eric Felten @ Glen Echo

Beatles Love Songs @ The Hamilton

(It's not just Tuesday - It's MARDI GRAS !)

Grandsons @ Pearl Street Warehouse 


Thrillbillys @ JV


Nighthawks @ Hank Dietle's

Valentine Slim @ Takoma VFW


Buddy Holly Tribute @ Bethesda Blues


DC Music Salon about Razz @ Shaw Library 7pm

Dave Chappell Band @ JV

Thursday, January 25, 2018

When Georgetown Rocked

Who hasn't met someone here under this clock? Before we had cell phones, we made plans in advance and stuck to them. If you were meeting your comrades in Georgetown, the corner of Wisconsin and M was the place to find each other - the epicenter of the neighborhood.

My extraordinarily talented friend Alan Kresse took these pictures in the mid 1970s.

Whatever happened to the Georgetown scene?  The one full of live music venues?  I think we can thank the Georgetown Moratorium Zone- the oldest and largest ban on liquor licenses which went into effect in 1989. Yes, the noise and trash went away, but so did the music. Blues Alley may be the only true survivor of those times with sold out shows this weekend. The ban was lifted somewhat in 2016, but not so you can tell except perhaps for Gypsy Sally's tucked in there under the Whitehurst Freeway. Beat Hotel will be there this Friday. If you are more into the post punk psychedelic scene Seven Door Sedan is at Rhizome with Celestial Pincushion.

Saturday the choices are myriad. Tone will blow your mind while Ruthie and the Wranglers, Jimmy Smooth and the Hit Time and the Rock-A-Sonics all have the dance scene covered. Too bad they aren't all in one neighborhood:

Tone @ DC9 (early show 7 pm)

Ruthie and the Wranglers @ Pearl Street Warehouse

Jimmy Smooth And the Hit Time @ JVs

Rock-A-Sonics @ Hank Dietle’s

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Let It Snow

According to the Capital Weather Gang, we are in a "snow hole" this year which does not mean we are living like polar bears. Our cumulative total so far tops out at 3.1 inches here in DC - slightly less than Baton Rouge and an inch less than Atlanta. What gives?!

I am a big fan of snow. Snow flakes mean snow days and snow days mean pancakes.  Even if I haven't been in school for a long time, I still get amped up when flakes are in the forecast.  Maybe my big brother imprinted this appreciation on me. He made me this snow giant when I was a baby.

Musicians, however, freak out when they hear the "S" word. To them it means scraping and shoveling and limited parking. They have to navigate slushy streets, slog through the ice, hump gear- all in the freezing cold with white stuff falling on their heads. Worst of all many of their fans won't be showing up at the gig since they are at home making pancakes.

Fortunately for the music scene, the weather this weekend promises to be unseasonably warm, and this Friday night the irrepressible Rhodes Tavern Troubadours are sure to rock Villain and Saint. If you remember the Quarry House- this place is similar in size, long and narrow, but at least this venue has a stage and a very long bar in the room. You can walk from the Metro or find ample parking behind the club. Show starts at 9 pm no matter what you've heard.

Saturday evening catch the all ages punk rock benefit for DC Legal Posse at St Stephen's. Fugazi /guitar/ prog rock fans won't want to miss this show which includes The Messthetics. Please note this is a really early show.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Toys in the Attic

When my grandmother died, we had a yard sale, but I don’t think it went very well considering how much stuff landed up in my parents’ attic. We kept things like blue mason jars, numerous pronged frogs for flower arranging days and an ancient cracked wash basin.  My mother was always after me and my sister to help get rid of things, but we never made much progress. The space did look tidier after an afternoon’s work, but within six months or so my mother would start to fret again. Finally it dawned on me. How many times had I tried to get rid of the not one, but three very lumpy “spare” electric blankets? And what about that old wash basin? Mom would look at it, sigh, and put it back in the keep section. Many years went by before I pried it out of her that this gigantic bowl wasn’t even my Grandmother’s- not exactly anyway. Grandmother had rescued it from someone else's trash heap in 1962. 

That’s when I realized my mother was not the poster child for organization that she appeared to be. She was actually a minor hoarder. Dad might have been even worse. Having grown up during the Depression, he never threw away a broken lamp cord or a leaky garden hose. Or a piece of string. Or a thumb tack. Although their ranch house was spotless and clutter free, George had a major junk problem in the basement. The lumber pile down there was at least four feet tall and had moved with him more than once.  I used to climb it as a kid long before the words helicopter and parent were put together. 

Now I look at my basement. Here are the things my kids will have to deal with which include camping stuff, rock posters and bar gear from the old 9:30 Club.  Blue mason jars and that cracked wash basin.  Yep. One and the same. 

If you are like me, then you will be happy to know that this long weekend is overstuffed with opportunities to escape from those endless decluttering projects.
Let's start with Friday when The Rock-A-Sonics and The Judy Chops take over Pearl Street Warehouse downtown or head uptown where Little Red and the Renegades remind us that it is indeed Mardi Gras season up at Haydees

If you miss Little Red on Friday- they reappear Saturday night at JVs after Jumpin' Jupiter starts the evening off with a free show at 4 p.m. For those of you who love the slipstream of the psychedelic sixties, The Vi-Kings will do their groovy thing at Bethesda Blues. Also on Saturday.

And even if you don't have Monday off, everyone will be acting like you did, so why not go out Sunday night and cut the rug with Chopteeth at Gypsy Sally's?  

All that stuff will still be there when you get home. 

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Wind Chill Factor

Move over Mister Groundhog. With polar "bomb cyclones" dropping in on D.C., we ought to be smart like you and burrow underground. But I'll bet it's dark and lonely down there-doing the hibernating thing. Overeating. Not getting out of bed for three months or so. Up here we call that "depression." Do you have candles and an X-box? Bourbon? Maybe it's worth staying above ground just in case the sun comes out.

Plus it's not too long until Sunday when the big warm up happens with a projected high of 26 degrees on your mercury dial. Time to eat your young or get them out for a show. "Music for 100 Guitars," hosted by Boat Burning, promises to be an unusual musical event as well as a benefit for Bread For The City

Here is the skinny from my trusty music man Bill Hanke:

"The "Music for 100 Guitars" at 9:30 Club is an organized musical tsunami! The guitarists will be loosely divided into four groups- playing on the FLOOR! Each group will have a conductor, who follows a main conductor.  The audience walks around amongst the musicians as the music seeps and swirls around them, encouraging the listeners to open up their minds and let everything come through like LSD, without the drug! A transcendent experience. You REALLY should make it to this one."

Anyone who has lived here longer than the present administration is bound to know someone playing or going. Click on the poster to get a better look.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year Lunacy

Happy New Year Dear Readers.

Things are looking brighter this year- literally- starting with this month's magical light show. January will be featuring two super moons, one tonight and a "blue"moon at the other end of the month. There'll be a behind the scenes lunar eclipse, too which we may not be able to see, but it's kind of cool knowing it's happening all the same.

Meanwhile - plenty of live music to light up the calendar. Please hit me up with more suggestions.

Full Moon #1


Thrillbillys @ JV

Herschel Hoover and more @ Velvet Lounge

Cinema Hearts/ Coy Pond and more @ Comet Ping Pong

Daryl Davis @ Spanish Ballroom Glen Echo


Boat Burning/ Music for 100 Guitars w/ Trinary System @ 9:30 Club

Junk Yard Band @ U Street Music Hall


Rock-A-Sonics @ Pearl Street

Little Red and The Renegades @ Haydees


Jumpin Jupiter 4 pm @ JV

Little Red & Renegades @ JV

Books to Prison Project Benefit @ The Pinch


Thrillbillys @ JVs


Rhodes Tavern Troubadours @ Villain n Saint


Dan Hovey and the Tall Boys @ JVs


Dave Chappell @ JVs


Ruthie and the Wranglers @ Pearl Street

Jimmy Smooth And the Hit Time @ JVs

Rock-A-Sonics @ Hank Dietle’s


Conrads @ Jus


Full Moon #2