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