Friday, June 29, 2018

Just Need Another Shot of Rock and Roll

As the political atmosphere continues to heat up along with the weather here in town,  I can hardly listen to the news anymore without feeling like this.

The Fourth of July lands right smack in the middle of the work week extending the weekend and giving all a good excuse to choose music and mayhem over the usual grind. Start the week out with the Fort Reno Concert series which kicks off on Monday July 2nd with Lotion Princess, Time Is Fire and Desdemonas. 

On Tuesday help bail out Vinyl Acres, the record store, owned by longtime DC musical legends Martha Hull and Bob Berberich. The shop flooded again this spring during yet another historic rain storm. The old school benefit at Villain and Saint is shaping up to be quite the event and will feature Grin Again- joined by none other than DC's own Nils Lofgren!! Holy crap!
(I just found that part out and am still excited)

Plus Rock- A- Sonics- The Sidleys, DC Ratso, surprise guests and more. In a time when things seem overwhelmingly sad and bad, here's a little piece of the world that we can try to fix.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Summer Distractions Like Camp and Other Things

Little Feat had quite the cult following here in DC back in the day, and my friends at WHFS got us all whipped up into a frenzy whenever they came to town. Much of the album "Waiting for Columbus" was recorded live at the Lisner in 1977- probably because of all the enthusiasm. (I wonder if we trashed the place because it doesn't seem like they have rock concerts like that there anymore.) Two short years later, on June 29, 1979, Lowell George died after playing a concert at the same hall.  He was only 34.

I remember that summer.  I was working in the stable of a somewhat downtrodden camp in the wilds of Mitchellville, Maryland. We had sixteen horses and ponies to look after with names like "Champ," "Red" and "Buck." After the news broke, I promptly renamed "Taffy," one of my favorite ponies, and made all of the kids call him Lowell. I don't have a picture of him, but above you can see my comrades hanging around the barn.

This Friday the Newmyer Flyer crew will bring back some of those memories with A Tribute to Little Feat Tribute at Bethesda Blues and Jazz.

On Saturday- Lunch with Bob takes its old school scene over to JV in Virginia on the self proclaimed "Let's Get Drunk and Be Somebody" tour while The Split Seconds celebrate their new release with a high energy party at the Back Room of the Black Cat. Opening bands include Canker Blossoms and Board Room Heroes. (Gotta love that name. )

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Sun Stand Still DC

The June Solstice always comes too soon in my mind. Seems like we are just delving into summer time things when the longest day arrives. How can this be Midsummer already? I looked it up, and here are a few things I didn't know about the June Solstice:

Number One

Solstice translated means "sun stand still" which I think is a highly romantic turn of phrase and am not sure how I got this far in life not knowing this except I didn't take Latin in school.

Number Two

Due to the vagaries of sundials and time pieces, the earliest sunrise and the latest sunset do not happen in most places (including Washington D.C.) on the solstice itself. This year our earliest sunrises start happening on June 7th at 5:42 a.m. And the latest sunsets begin on June 22 at 8:37 p.m. And yet, June 21st is officially our longest day of the year clocking in at twelve hours and some change depending on where you live. Trying to understand this makes my head hurt, but let's just say time is not a precise science when applied to Nature and leave it at that. I can live with this.

Number Three

The solstice technically occurs at the same time all over the world when the sun is above the Tropic of Cancer.

WHAT? Now my head hurts again.

Number Four

June Twenty-first will sport fourteen hours and fifty four minutes of daylight- five hours and twenty-eight more than the December solstice so at least there's that to be happy about unless you are a slug or some such creature of the night.

 Celebrate the Solstice itself- all twelve plus hours of it-topping off your light filled day with The Thrillbillys at JV on Thursday evening. These guys never disappoint. The band is an ass kicking well oiled machine, and JV is a scene in itself where Christmas lights crisscross above the dance floor all year long.

Friday night we've got one of DC's best songwriting roots rocking bands- The Rhodes Tavern Troubadours opening for The Iguanas at Pearl Street Warehouse which is just the right size for seeing music and has an excellent sound system, too. It's a pain in the ass to find any kind of parking at the new waterfront, but there is a Metro shuttle and new water taxi routes to try besides car services.  If you want parking, go out to the suburbs where Goin' Goin' Gone is throwing down their boogie blues thing at JV -also on Friday

And for those of you who really want to buck the work week, The Beanstalk Library and Bal Boheme play the Galaxy Hut on Monday.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Capitals Fan Chris

In light of hockey fever, I feel compelled to remember my irracible and ever loyal friend Chris who was a Washington native and, literally, a die hard Capitals fan. His sons grew up breathing hockey with a goal perennially set up in their front yard in Silver Spring.

Chris and his wife Adele religiously attended the boys' games, and months would go by in which the entire family was consumed by all things hockey. Practices. Hockey at school. Hockey on TV. I would text Chris to come to a rock show, and his one word answer would be "game." Even after the boys stopped playing and moved onto college and other things, the family stayed in touch, cheering and screaming through every Capitals season that came to a not so happy ending.

In April of 2015, Chris died suddenly while watching a game on TV, at home in his own living room. This is why I couldn't help but think of him all through the playoffs. And when the team finally declared a long sought victory for Washington, I know Adele and his sons couldn't have been happier except for that enormous hole in their lives that only Chris could fill.

Now that I've thoroughly bummed you all out, let me go on to say that Chris was also a huge music fan and a total gear head.  He left behind a massive vinyl and CD collection which reflected his eclectic and inclusive taste, and he was a booster for local rock. He would have loved the whole idea of Rhizome - that crazy place on the hill in Takoma Park for events outside the box. This Saturday look for another installment of Seventh Stanine, an all ages music festival with bands starting at 2 and rolling through 11 o' clock in the evening. Here's a link to the schedule. Elsewhere JV is jam packed with music all day and night, too,  including Patty Reese with Dave Chappell rocking away the afternoon and The Thrillbillys throwing it down at night.

Friday night  Ruthie and the Wranglers will be honky-tonking at Pearl Street Warehouse. Valentine Slim is mixing things up at the Takoma VFW, and The Nighthawks rock JV.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

No More Pencils No More Books

I started school again in September of 1995, and even though I was ready, with all the supplies and a cute little outfit picked out, it was still kind of scary. My daughter was four years old, and I was supposed to leave her there all day. ALL day.  This seemed very strange to me. I grew up when kindergarten was the starting line, and we only went until lunchtime.

 At first it was a relief to have her socked away in school, but then all the old anxiety triggers came rushing back. Homework. Especially math homework. Deadlines. Boring textbooks.  And don't get me started on the horrors of science projects.

When Zoe started school, I didn't stop to think about just how long I was going to be involved with DCPS which oftentimes felt like Mr Toad's Wild Ride.  Turns out it was from 1995 until this upcoming weekend, when my son will graduate from Wilson High as long as he has turned in all of his textbooks (as of today one is still missing) and if he hasn't been classified as a truant. (That might be a close one, too, with all the new restrictions. If you miss a class- you miss the day.)

I was pretty dang organized back in the Pre- K era, but this year... let's just say little things fell between the cracks. Like teacher conferences and ordering a yearbook. And getting the boy into college. Right about now I am grateful to hear Doris Day singing in my head. You know the one.

Speaking of music here's a few "school's out for summer" parties for those of you counting the days. All are good choices, and all land on Friday night because that's just the way life is. Old school prog rockers should check out The Messthetics opening for Ted Leo and the Pharmacists at the Black Cat. Or kickback to the 80s at JV's with Pile of Rocks, a Nick Lowe/ Dave Edmunds tribute kind of band with The Yachtsmen on board to warm things up first set.

And for anyone in a Cajun frame of mind, Little Red and the Renegades will throw it down at Haydees in Mount Pleasant.