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U Street Music Hall
1115 U Street NW
Photo Courtesy of TBD.com
Since its opening in 2010, U Street Music Hall has been booking some of the top DJs in the music business; and even if you’re not into electronic music, you’ll be into this venue. Everything about it feeds the soul with something you can only experience from live music. As an added bonus, they include a whole paragraph on their website regarding the U Street Music Foundation, highlighting the importance of music education programs for DC’s youths.
Located in the basement on the side of U Street, this venue means serious business when it comes to how they present themselves. Walking down the street looking at my phone, I almost missed it entirely. Only when I practically ran into a fence did I look up and see the black doors opening up to the black stairs leading into the black room that is U Street Music Hall. With only about 6 stools in total and three booths off to the side, the rest venue is empty space, leaving all the room in the world for dancing (something they stress considerably on their website). The main bar takes up the length of the room with a secondary bar off to the side next to the booths. The red and blue lights, disco balls, two-foot-high stage, and relatively low ceilings all add up to a close, intense feeling that makes every show here enjoyable.
U Street Music Hall houses a lot more talent than just DJs. With upcoming sold out shows such as Lo Fang, Kimbra, and Walk the Moon, this place turns every performance into an intimate connection between the audience and the artist. Walking into this venue makes you feel like you’re about to have one of the best nights of your life. The pounding acoustics make even the lamest people want to get up and dance. Before you decide to purchase tickets, make sure to check the ages for each event, because they do tend to have more 21+ shows. All in all, U Street Music Hall is definitely an important stop to make while in DC.
If you’re interested in booking a show, email them at email@example.com
10/29: Digitalism (Live). Steven Faith. Doors at 9. ($15) 18+
11/1: Derrick Garter. Juan Zapata. Joe L. Doors at 10. ($12) 18+
11/2: This Will Destroy You. Future Death. Silent Land Time Machine. Doors at 7. ($15)
11/4: Walk The Moon. Doors at 7. ($20)
11/5: Hot Since 82. Chris Nitti. Doors at 10. ($15) 18+
- Shannon Turner
815 V Street NW
Image Courtesy of Princeofpetworth.com
As one of DC’s most well-known venues, the 9:30 Club has been establishing a name for itself since its opening in 1980. During its younger years, the club hosted mainly alternative and local bands and artists, and eventually became the home for DC’s punk scene. As the years progressed, the 9:30 club became a hot spot for all types of artists, booking bigger shows for The Ramones, Bob Dylan, The Beastie Boys, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and the like.
With such a rich history in its back pocket, the 9:30 club radiates a classic ambiance. On the outside, it looks like just another brick warehouse with a couple of blue accents around the door. And if you’re visiting for the first time in the daylight, you might not actually be sure you’re in the right place. But as soon as you walk in it hits you. You’ve just stepped inside the epitome of a great venue. With standing room only, you can either stay on the main floor or go upstairs to the balcony, which borders the walls around the stage. I prefer the main floor because nothing can replace the feeling of being just a couple feet away from your favorite band. However, you can get a great view and perfect sound wherever you choose to stand.
Although the 9:30 club started out as a punk/alternative/rock hub, the venue has blossomed to envelop many more types of music. Allowing all ages to attend every show encourages both young and old alike to come and appreciate incredible bands and artists in the comfort of one of DC’s supreme venues. No other location has such musical history and character. If you haven’t been yet, go buy tickets for a show right now. Everyone who lives in the district needs to attend a performance at the 9:30 club at least once to fully experience the magic.
If you’re interested in booking a show, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
10/24: The Jayhawks. Trapper Schoepp. Doors at 5:30. ($35)
10/28: Temples. Spires. Doors at 7. ($22)
10/31: Smallpools. Magic Man. Waters. Doors at 5. ($18)
11/1: Run The Jewels. Ratking. Despot. Doors at 10. ($25)
11/7: The Budos Band. Electric Citizen. Doors at 8. ($20)
- Shannon Turner
Courtesy of Black Cat
On Friday the Foo Fighters will be returning to famed D.C. venue Black Cat to film for their new HBO series Sonic Highways. Unfortunately for the casual fan, tickets sold out within the first 90 minutes of the show’s announcement on Tuesday in a rather frantic and social media driven race to the box office.
The venue unveiled their bombshell at 2:00 this afternoon, and soon after began providing potential ticket-buyers with humorously stark play-by-play tweets outlining the next to impossible chance of one even seeing- let alone purchasing- a ticket. In response, hopefuls camped outside of Black Cat for hours in a line that spanned over a block and a half; predictably, many went home defeated.
While I have never been a Foo Fighters fan, there is no denying that Friday will be both electric and well deserved. It is only right that The Foo Fighters feature D.C. as one of the cities on their new show, which aims to highlight the evolution of American music. The District lays claim to some of the most progressive and variable punk bands of the 80’s, as well as being the birthplace of Go-go. Of mainstream musicians today, Grohl seems to be one of the more aloof in terms of appreciating music culture and the impact it has had on defining generational rifts, and I’ll guess that in addition to a spectacular show, the Black Cat will host a more somber element on Friday; one of recognition for a city that has done so much for so many.
The Howard Theatre
620 T Street NW
Image Courtesy of The Howard Theatre
The Howard Theatre is probably one of the most beautiful venues I have ever been to; it’s definitely the cleanest. People could roll around on the floor and stand up cleaner than they were before. I was almost afraid to touch anything, fearful that I would taint such a magnificent building. But even with all of the mind-blowing splendor, The Howard Theatre has an extremely grounded feel that makes you crave for more places like this.
When I first walked up to the venue, I honest-to-god thought I had travelled back in time and was about to step into the 30s. The building itself was built in 1910 and restored only a couple years ago to its full grace and beauty. The lobby and main room both have incredibly high ceilings, making you feel microscopic in the vastness of such a place. The bar is close to the main room doors so when you actually go far enough in, the venue opens up like a clam with tons of room on the floor to go crazy with dancing. The entire building is designed to look like an old-school theater, and boy do they accomplish that.
The Howard Theatre hosts so many various events, including a weekly Sunday brunch that has a great menu of real soul food- it puts Founding Farmers to shame. They aim so far to please their customers that on their website there is a tab specifically for regular people to request an artist to come and play for them at the theatre. And with all shows appropriate for every age, they know how to draw in a crowd. Everything about The Howard Theatre just screams classy. I would definitely recommend checking this venue out because nothing else even compares.
If you’re interested in booking a show, go online at thehowardtheatre.com/contact and send them a message!
10/20: Gregory Porter. Doors at 6. ($37.50-$70)
10/21: Mali Music – Jordan Bratton. Doors at 6. ($25-$40)
10/22: Cocoa Tea in Concert ft. Etana & Louie Culture. Step by Step Band. Doors at 6. ($25-$60)
10/23: Leisure Cruise. The Asteroids Galaxy Tour. Doors at 6. ($15 in advance, $17 at door)
10/24: DJ Zu. Keith Sweat. Doors at 6. ($46.50 in advance, $55 at door)
- Shannon Turner
A night of great local music, art, and comedy, DC Music Download and Raise Your City present their Autumn Spectacular to raise money for the Guitars Not Guns foundation. Their fall event celebrates and promotes local music- something that D.C. has no shortage of.
Typefighter is a garage pop band with enough teenage angst to make you want to dance in your underwear. Their punk meets glam rock vibe makes you want to bob your head along to their uptempo emo streams through you.
THE SEA LIFE
The Sea Life is bubbly dreampop band with an easy flow that makes your body sway. Their cleverly titled track “Prozac & Merlot” was recorded in their living room, proving their true indie status.
They also have a show October 18th at The Lot @ Atlantic Plumbing.
Teen Mom is like a toned-down version of Joan Jett. (Can I say this if it’s an all dude band?) They’re fuzz pop meets indie rock with the same deep vocals. They’ve got an edge and a sampling of punk they’ve managed to mix with an soft elegance.
They have a house show on October 12th as well.
lowercase letters is an R&B meets soulful indie band with female vocals to die for. Her soothing, sultry voice makes you get lost in the music. Combined with they’re sweet guitar riffs, lowercase letters is an eclectic conglomeration of indie rock and PBR&B.
On October 10 Black Cat will be hosting the album release of one of D.C.’s most innovative funk groups, The Funk Ark, accompanied by gypsy-brass act Black Masala. The Funk Ark has been a large part of the D.C. funk scene since its inception just a few years ago, and is known for its deep-driving funk and Afro-beat grooves that drip with a vivid sense of rhythm and drive. The seven-piece outfit’s upcoming release, Man is A Monster, is the next addition to an already stellar discography, which started with 2011’s spirited declaration, From The Rooftops. The band is remarkable for their technically stunning interplay that weaves through grooves that are as engaging as they are inventive, and culminate in a funk-rock vibe that hearkens back to the late sixties.
Black Masala is a D.C. outfit that has found success riding off of its own inventiveness. Experimenting with a flirtatious combination of gypsy punkiness and brass, the band can expertly churn an audience of awkward head-bobbers into a livened stew of aspirant dancers. Their big-band sound seems able to adapt to any venue; readily filling out the cavernous space of the 9:30 while simultaneously fitting to match the intimacy of Tropicalia. For them, no groove is off limits.
915 U Street NW, DC
Courtesy of Done & Done
As far as first impressions go, Velvet Lounge’s intense grunge smacks you right in the face in a surprisingly good way. With red mood lighting everywhere and all-black furniture, you automatically think about how you should go home, change into your leather jacket and combat boots, and get a new piercing. But once your eyes adjust to the light, Velvet Lounge exudes a much more cozy vibe that by the time you go a second time, you slide into the booths in the back as if you were home.
When you walk into the building, you immediately hit some stairs. But if you’re early enough to have a drink and chill before the bands start playing, you turn right and one of the guys checks your ID before you’re allowed to step into the bar. If you’re underage like me, the best way to go is walk straight past the bar and booths in the back, all the way until you’re outside staring at a bunch of graffiti, lights, plants, and have a good cigarette.
The great thing about the Velvet Lounge is how minimalistic everything is, until you get to the art. Their website only has the bare necessities, all the shows cost $8, and the location itself barely has anything other than a couple stools, booths, and the bar. Velvet Lounge lets the music do all the talking. And when no one’s playing, the graffiti keeps the artistic feel alive. If you’re looking for a great place to rock out to literally anything, this is it.
If you’re interested in booking a show, email them at email@example.com. Check the website for a list of info they need.
10/9: Dedwax, The Great Socio, Spit Dirty. Doors at 7:30. (18+)
10/11: Toxic Moxie, Makoor, Stereosleep. Doors at 9. (21+)
10/12: The Phuss, Never Wrong, Babies with Rabies, The Screws. Doors at 4. (18+)
10/13: Ilima Considine and The Sexbots, Hudson K, Buster Britches, Shocktart Vol. 2. Doors at 7:30. (18+)
10/15: Sir Eu, Dullard, Chomp Chomp. Doors at 7:30. (18+)
Image Courtesy of Chromeo
It was a Monday night at the 9:30 club in DC on September 29th, but the venue was bouncing nonetheless. Chromeo, the electro-funk duo hailing from Montreal, was rolling in their usual funky style with lead vocalist and guitarist Dave 1 (David Macklovitch) sporting a bright red leather jacket, and talk-box wielding synth man P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel) in all black, his iconic beard done up for the event in a neat braid. The duo filled the club with their iconic sound, renowned for its similarity to 80’s synth-pop — but with a bumping 21st century bass and energetic light show making for a night of dancing. The high energy but low key group made interaction with the crowd a priority, leading claps and call and response moments in their more famous songs. At one point Dave 1 requested that “more girls need to be on guys’ shoulders!,” prompting a several duos throughout the hall to comply. The group thrives not on what one might consider exceedingly complex melodies or serious musicianship, but rather on a lively, dance-oriented, retro beat that can give energy to even the quietest crowd. The key word that night was fun, and fun is what was delivered by the groovy duo.
The group recently released their newest album, White Women (an homage to Helmut Newton, as it turns out), with the single “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)” topping it off. The duo has now released 4 albums in 10 years since their conception as a band in 2002. Dave 1 even mentioned that the first time they played in DC had been 10 years ago, which made us feel old as hell. Since when is Chromeo a decade-old group? Nonetheless the group’s staying power is a force to be reckoned with. Their worldwide club hit “Needy Girl” from the 2004 debut album, She’s In Control, has survived as a crowd favorite for the past ten years, so when the 10-year-old hit found its way back into the 9:30 club as the closing song of the set we danced our pants off.
Where can you find music from Vampire Weekend, The 1975, CHVRCHES, Grouplove, Foals, The Naked and Famous and Bloc Party together on one disc? On a playlist that I burned for long car rides? Yes. But, that’s not the only place. These bands were all also featured on the soundtrack of one of the most popular video games today, Fifa. Read the rest of this entry
Image Courtesy of Cherub
If you can imagine what the hybrid of 80’s pop and the setlist from your favorite urban dance club would sound like, you can imagine how Cherub’s latest release, Year of the Caprese, sounds. The duo, comprised of Jordan Kelley and Jason Huber, aimed to give fans what they perceive as the best of both musical worlds. However, being an enthusiast of either of the two aforementioned genres may provide a better context for appreciating Year of the Caprese.
What’s immediately impressive about this album is that each song seems to have been carefully ordered to maximize the listening pleasure of anyone who plays this album start to finish interrupted. The balance between the two slightly opposing genres can sometimes seem tacky and sharp, but when the balance is right, there is no denying the eargasm that ensues. The transition from Simple, the opening track, into Disco Sh*t is typical of how a seasoned DJ may rally a tiring audience. The song then unexpectedly launches into a tune that probably just missed the cut from Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The consistent synthesizer beat carries throughout the entirety of the album with little variations in tempo, which does start to feel dull.
Year of the Caprese is unique in how it blends- or rather fails to blend- the melodic components of two different genres; though one area where the album is fairly consistent is in the content of its lyrics. On almost all of the tracks, the lyrics read like a textbook on how to abuse various substances. If this isn’t the case, the lyrics can also be too NSFW for your parents, who may be initially drawn in by the 80’s disco vibe given off by these same songs. One example of this is on the track “Strip to This,” where the chorus is comprised of “Watch my money go up & down, pick it up/ Is this LOVE? Or I am drunk?/ It’s the only night I’m in town, then I’m gone/ This is lust, I wanna f-.” Does this kind of songwriting abandon some of Cherub’s fans? Or does it just allow a specific subset of ravers who subsquently enjoy disco music to be completely fulfilled? Regardless of the answer, Cherub is breaking new ground in whatever scene they consider themselves a part of, which is setting the bar high for what they decide to release next.