Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Paging Back or A Very Short History

This week I have been delving deep into the past (further back than usual) uncovering people like my ancestor Page Dugan who was born in 1800 in the wilds of Tennessee.  No internet. No Hot Shoppes. No go-go. Just trees and cook fires and maybe birds singing. After Page was married he pushed even further west near Jackson where my grandmother would be born in 1898. 

But that's as far west as my family got. My grandmother ended up moving to Washington DC  in 1916, and my mother arrived on the scene in 1917. So here I am, a mere hundred years or so later, talking about the very cool sounds of Boat Burning’s CD release party tomorrow night at DC 9

not to mention Dave Chappell at JV or the Rock-A-Sonics at Hill Country. (All on Thursday for Pete's sake.) Friday night Goin' Goin' Gone is rocking JV's with guitar luminary Dan Hovey, and it's not even Saturday yet when you can take your pick between original Southern soul, punk/garage and roots with  King Soul at the Cheverly Legion, 7 Door Sedan and Color School at the Takoma VFW or Eric Brace and Peter Cooper at Jammin' Java.

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