Category Archives: Uncategorized
201 F Street NE
Image courtesy of Ebenezers Coffeehouse
Located in Capitol Hill just a block away from Union Station, Ebenezers Coffeehouse has been serving customers since 2006. Something they really stress is that they purchase all of their coffee for sale through fair trade. With all shows being all ages, this is one of the friendliest and cleanest venues I’ve ever been to.
The actual coffeehouse itself has a truly cozy feeling, with padded chairs, wood tables, and mood lighting located throughout the shop. Getting to a show early and having a cup of coffee with a friend is definitely recommended. Walking down some stairs opens up the space to another seating area for customers during most days; however, on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, the place transforms into a cool venue. The same warm feeling floats down from upstairs and spills into this room as well, with the twinkling lights and large antique wooden tables. The walls behind the stage are metal and industrial, almost like a classy garage. Although I would have preferred a standing venue for the show I saw, I did enjoy being able to sit in the chairs provided for the couple hours I was there. And with the stage only two feet above the ground, you still get that close response with the performers.
With a great show space and high moral standards, Ebenezers Coffeehouse is like no other. After a show ends, the space makes it super easy to go up and talk to the artists that just performed, which is great if you normally get too nervous in more grungy venues. The snug ambiance of the venue leads to the audience having a chill, friendly evening. If you have a lot of stress in your life, going to a show here would really help you forget about all of your worries for a while and maybe even feel a little bit better.
If you’re interested in booking a show, email them at email@example.com.
11/20: Ddendyl. Omnia Hegazy. 7:30. ($10-12)
12/4: Carolyn Crysdale. Duke Walker. Angela Everwood. Daniel Rivera. 7:30. ($10)
12/10: Daryl Shawn. 7:00. (Free)
12/11: Tenia Mackall CD Release Concert. 8:00. (Free).
12/17: The Brilliance [at The Miracle Theatre]. 8:00. ($12-15)
Image Courtesy of Meticulous Women
Released February 2014, Meticulous Women’s self-titled album shines with a youthful, garage-rock vibe. The rough and throaty voice of the lead vocalist is reminiscent of punk icon Joey Ramone, and refreshingly evokes in listeners an earlier era of punk music. The debut track, “Don’t Listen to Her,” is spirited and punchy and would undeniably inspire some good old head banging at a show. Yet there is little variation in the sound of many tracks. A lot of songs can be repetitive, and there is not much range in the lead vocals; the instrumentals are far from groundbreaking. When the lead vocalist uses the same growling tone of voice throughout most of the album, it is easy to overlook the subtle differences between tracks. The sixth track on the album, “Giselle,” in particular offers little vocal variation and largely plays on the same formula of preceding tracks, not introducing new musical progressions. The band resembles other current indie punk and garage rock acts such as Diarrhea Planet and JEFF the Brotherhood but does not yet have a distinctive sound. In order to set themselves apart from other acts, they need to push the creative boundaries more successfully and further expand upon their sound and themes of their music. Meticulous Women does, however, show many promising and skillful aspects to their music. As this is only their first album, Meticulous Women have room to mature. The boisterous “Officer Demins” stands out as a key track that features gritty Joe Strummer-esque vocals and clean, beach-y instrumental breaks. “Fork Horse,” the last track on the album, has a moderate tempo, played stately and solemnly. The instrumentals on this track have fullness to them, offering warmth and depth. Meticulous Women evidently aims to employs chromaticism, as they veer away from tonality and harmony and often include many sour and piercing vocal notes. The band has raw energy and enthusiasm that is especially impressive for a band new to the scene with only one independently released album. Meticulous Women has potential, but they need to better channel this energy and add more depth and dimension to their sound on a future album.
Check out the album for yourself:
600 14th Street NW
Image Courtesy of Gilt City
If you’ve been looking for a great venue to go by yourself for the first time, The Hamilton is it. I’ve been growing accustomed to solo trips as I continue my venue tour around DC, but if I had come to this venue first, it would have saved me a lot of anxiety later about going to other venues stag. The Hamilton is the perfect spot to just relax, soak in the music, and enjoy some great food.
First walking up to the venue, I wasn’t actually sure which door to enter, so I took my luck and tried the side door. Thankfully there was a sign pointing to the box office and from there, they were able to help me find my way around. Down these beautiful steps opened up to the main room, where people can reserve tables in the center to eat and watch at the same time. If you’re just there for the music or didn’t reserve a table in advance, the ushers point you to the side and back areas where the bars are located. If you’re early to the show, you’ll probably get lucky and score a seat with a perfect view of the stage. If not, you might have to lean to see around the industrial pillars scattered around the room.
Never in my life have I been to such a truly classy venue. Booking shows of almost every genre allows them to always have a great lineup of live performances. With the addition of being able to sit and eat while listening to good bands, The Hamilton might just very well be heaven on earth. Also, all of the employees are incredibly nice and very helpful. If you’re on the older side and don’t want to stand at a concert with a bunch of hyped up teenagers, go to The Hamilton. If you’re young and don’t want to deal with the same thing, go to The Hamilton. Everyone should just go to The Hamilton.
If you’re interested in booking a show, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org
11/13: Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band. Ron Holloway. Doors at 6:30. ($15-20)
11/14: Hot Rize. Todd Burge. Doors at 7. ($35-40)
11/15: Brass-A-Holics. Doors at 7. ($20-25)
11/16: Chuck Prophet& The Mission Express. John Murry. Doors at 6:30. ($17-20)
11/18: Will Hoge. Danny Burns. Doors at 6:30. ($15-20)
Courtesy of Motion City Soundtrack
Or, When the Moment You’ve Been Waiting for Since Puberty Lands on Your Computer Screen.
Here’s how it went down: it was the morning of November 10, 2014 and I was mindlessly scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed, taking half-ass notes instead of paying attention to my professor. When, in a shocking turn of events, my mundane Monday morning was transformed into THE GREATEST DAY EVER. Why is that you ask? For the first time (since my solo throwback dance party last Tuesday night, in my living room, with a bottle of sparkling peach wine) my 6th grade self was graced with the legitimate opportunity to resurface.
It was one of those beautiful, longed-for moments that happens as you’re scrolling through all the insignificant micro-happenings in the lives of your marginal friends when suddenly you spot a diamond in the rough: “Motion City Soundtrack Commit This to Memory 10 Year Anniversary Tour Announcement.”
—eyes widen—breathes deeply—reminds self not to squeal while in class—contemplates if shouting this out to the world would tarnish indie cred—shares anyway—euphoria ensues—everything is alright—
“Calm down, Maddy” they said, “they peaked 10 years ago” they said. Well, to the non-believers, I say: this is what I dreamt of while thumbing through Hot Topic band tees searching for the one freaking size small they had in stock; it’s what I fantasized about as I routinely blasted Myspace playlists on my familial computer; it’s the answer to my adolescent prayers to the demi-gods of spiked hair and leather bracelets. They understood me; they wrote the ballads to the soundtrack of my life. I was there for them, they were there for me, and we were in this crazy thing called life together.
Friends, one of the greatest—and in my opinion, most underrated—pop-punk bands of the early 2000’s has just announced that they are commemorating the 10-year anniversary of the release of their best (read: my favorite) album with a tour in which they are going to PLAY THE ALBUM IN ITS ENTIRETY. If you’re interested in reliving the most cringe-worthy, embarrassing, and beloved years of your lives, go to this show. If you want to scream in unison the melodramatic lyrics and pop hooks that defined your (read: my) middle school years as tears stream down your (read: my) face, go to this show. Commit This to Memory, not unlike Justin Pierre’s hair, has stood the test of time. GO TO THIS SHOW. Hey, at least you won’t have braces this time.
Never forget your roots; Commit This to Memory
Tickets go on sale Friday 11/14 at 10am local time.
**Bonus** Check out the opening bands for more pop-punk throwbacks
Image Courtesy of Indie88
PUP is a punk band from Toronto that has been the subject of considerable success in the past year, with a new self-titled album currently spreading across the world’s punk-rock consciousness, and a tour that has traced through nearly every major North American cultural center, and Iowa. According to Rolling Stone they’re one of Canada’s next great musical exports, while according to everyone else they already are. I will avoid talking about them in an overtly Canadian context however, as that seems to occasionally jumpstart an odd, misplaced sort of patriotism in thicker skulled Americans (An unfortunate handicap, I know). Instead I’ll describe them from a purely musical standpoint, as a talented four-piece punk act that is great at writing songs and even better at amplifying them. Their onstage presence is an organic mixture of sweat and kineticism that is still able to cultivate emotion without falling into the unforgiving cliché of angst rock; they’re loud, but artfully so. I was able to talk with ¾ of them before their show at DC9 this past Wednesday, in the veiled coziness of the venue’s sofa-laden back room. As each enjoyed an in house meal of burgers and fries, the three members in question (Stefan Babcock, Steve Sladkowski, and Nestor Chumak) led me to conduct one of the most pleasant interviews I have been a part of.
* Any mention of homicide is fictional and a reference to this music video.
What were your initial goals when you formed?
Steve: I don’t know if we really had any- we were just kind of hanging out.
Nestor: We just threw it around- worst case we’d just play a bunch of shows around Ontario.
Stefan: We didn’t start the band thinking we were going to tour all the time, it just kind of happened- and we’re very happy about it. Really though, it was a mellow beginning.
Your music video for “Guilt Trip” is rather shocking- is there any autobiographical basis for it?
Steve: Yeah, I guess Nestor, Zach, and I have all known each other for a long time; we had all been playing in bands- Nestor and Stefan met initially a few years ago, right?
Steve: But we’d all been around in Toronto playing in bands for a while- and murdering police officers.
Has touring for your new album given you all any new perspective towards future work?
Stefan: I think its going to dictate a lot about how the next record sounds, because you write about what you know, and all we’ve been doing since the last record is touring. It’ll inform a lot of the lyrics. I also think we’ve always been a live band more so than a studio band, and playing live more and more gives us a better sense of what kind of band we actually are and what kind of band we want to be.
I was actually going to ask you something similar, about if you prefer more your recorded work or your live work.
Stefan: Live. I mean I’m really proud of the record, and the guy that we recorded with –Dave Schiffman- is fucking amazing. But we’ve always made recordings so that we could play live; from the very beginnings of this band we were always like “we want to play shows, how do we play shows?”
Nestor: Even our record, Dave Schiffman said it should sound like the best show you’ve ever played. I think that that was the mentality of the recording.
Steve: They’re dependent on each other too- at least for me anyway. It can sometimes be hard to choose because there is stuff that we did on the record that I really like that we don’t do live for whatever reason. But playing live, connecting with people and sweating through your clothes every night, is great. I love it.
Do you prefer playing DIY venues, or more traditional venues?
Stefan: I think that we kind of started off as only doing DIY stuff and house shows- like a lot of bands- but we are now getting used to playing in real venues. I personally love playing in small venues where there’s no stage or the stage is low. I like to feel that I am connecting with the audience. We’ve played a fair number of shows now, mostly opening for bigger bands or festivals, where you’re playing on a massive stage in front of thousands of people and there’s a barrier. I mean, I guess I’m getting more used to it, but it’s not something I particularly love. I don’t like not being able to see people’s faces and, I like to feel people’s spit while they’re singing along. That’s what gets me off in a live setting; and on those big shows it’s really cool and fun and it gets your adrenaline pumping, but it kind of feels to me that there is much less of a personal connection.
Steve: It’s a different type of performing too. If you’re on a bigger stage your body moves differently, and you have to communicate closeness in a different way because there is more distance. That to me has been one of the challenges; learning that what works in a smaller room doesn’t always work in a bigger room, and vice versa.
Nestor: I think people are a lot more forgiving in a DIY space because shows will tend to not sound as clinical as in a bigger venue. You just go with the flow.
Stefan: One of the coolest shows we ever played was in this kid’s basement in Kingston, Ontario-it was tiny- I think two or three times the size of this room. It was fucking awesome. I was really sick that day- I couldn’t sing- and we were just like “We are just going to do PUP Karaoke”. That’s all I said before I turned the microphone around, and kids just piled on top of each other in this shitty basement and sang all of our songs.
Steve: I got elbowed in the face.
Stefan: For me one of the most fun- It was one of the smallest crowds we have every played to, but I just felt more connected to kids who like our band than I’ve ever felt in my whole life. They were part of the performance. That was really fucking cool.
I’ve heard Toronto has a good punk scene; are you happy to be in D.C. with all of its ‘punk heritage’?
Stefan: Yeah. It’s fucking awesome.
Steve: I think it’s one of my favorite cities on the east coast.
Stefan: There’s so much punk history here.
Nestor: Ryan for example- the lead singer of Typefighter- is in like three different bands, and I feel that there is a lot of happening because of that.
Steve: A lot of cross-pollination.
The DIY scene in D.C. is very interconnected.
Steve: It’s funny too in political capitals that you often find thriving punk scenes- in Ottawa it’s the same thing; there’s a thriving punk scene and there has been for many years.
Stefan: In Ottawa there are a lot of thriving punk bands, and they’re doing it because it’s fun and there’s a good scene. They’re not blowing up over there, but they put on great shows in great venues. It’s fucking amazing, a really great city.
Steve: I think part of it is that there is so much political culture, and that sometimes exists as opposition
Stefan: Ottawa has two to three times as many punk bands as Toronto; less bands that you’ve heard of, but people that are still making punk music.
Toronto must have one or two million people on Ottawa too.
Steve: It’s turned out that there there are a lot of bands, like METZ, The Flatliners, The Cancer Bats and Fucked Up-
Nestor: A couple of the of the METZ dudes, aren’t they from Ottawa?
Steve: Yeah. A lot of people come from Ottawa and other cities- Ottawa is only six hours from Toronto. There are a lot of ‘ex-pats’ so to speak, of other cities. Southern Ontario is thriving right now really, for punk. You have Single Mothers from London, Ontario, and The Dirty Nil from Hamilton. Lots of bands all over the place, and bands in Toronto that we love, like PKEW PKEW PKEW (gunshots). There’s like a pretty vital underground, and it spreads across a lot of cities.
*For more information on PUP visit http://www.puptheband.com/
1940 9th Street NW
Image Courtesy of UrbanSpoon
Being able to write about a different venue every week has forced me to really open my eyes and actually look around at my surroundings when I am in a new place. Doing so at DC9 gave me an overwhelming feeling of joy and anticipation. Every single person there felt an unspoken sense of comradery. DC9 is the perfect size: small, but not claustrophobic. With everyone dancing to the same beats, the music envelops you in the square space, creating a bubble of happiness that no one ever wants to leave.
First walking into DC9 can be pretty intimidating, just from the amount of people yelling and drinking around the bar. But the red walls and wood furniture instantly gave me a sense of comfort, which travelled all the way up the stairs into where the main entertainment happens. Walking around upstairs, I was surprised to see such a low stage, which was only about six inches above the ground. Then I realized how much it helps with the cozy ambiance, almost mimicking what a house show feels like. Before the first set started, I was able to slide into one of the many booths they have on the side to rest up before the music ensued. With such a small space and a fully stocked bar close to the stage, everyone was dancing with a drink in their hand by the second set.
Located on the eastern tip of U Street, DC9 has both location and cost working in its favor. Most shows aren’t over $12, and they book some pretty incredible local and touring bands. It’s actually pretty difficult to walk around DC9 without running into or walking past one of the bands performing. That gives you a chance to chat them up and later brag to everyone about how you made new friends with a band you love (like I did this past week with High Highs). Although a lot of the shows are 21+, this is a fantastic venue to visit if possible.
If you’re interested in booking a show, email Steve Lambert at email@example.com
Upcoming Shows: (all ages)
11/9: Walk The Plank. The Mostly Dead. The Sniffs. Doors at 8. ($8)
11/10: SAINTSENECA. LVL UP. Dead Professional. Doors at 8. ($10-12)
11/11: Alvvays. Absolutely Free. Doors at 8:30. ($10-12)
11/13: o’death. Joe Fletcher. Stone Jack Jones. Doors at 8. ($14)
11/15: Empires. Cold Fronts. Doors at 6:30. ($10-12)
Echostage was about one-third filled when Chrome Sparks took the stage, but the Young Trio- clad in all white- did not mind one bit. Jeremy Malvin, founder and front man of the group, started the set out with a bit of an electronic groove session, warming the crowd up with soft, dreamy motifs and a quiet intensity, before moving into playing songs from their newest album, Goddess. Each song seemed to flow into the other, giving the entire set a fluid and flowing motion that was dynamic and cohesive. Listening to Chrome Sparks’ newest album, or even their first album, one would expect a lone DJ behind the glow of the screen of their laptop. What Chrome Sparks had on set, however, was an elaborate array of keyboards, midi boards, microphones, electronic xylophones, and- perhaps the most impressive instrument of the night: a full drum set. So when I say this was a live performance, it was alive and kicking. Beautifully.
After a very brief break between sets, The M Machine, a duo I actually had not heard of before, came on with a bang. They stood on a very, very tall stand, with an LED screen infront of it, placing the emphasis on watching their symbolic M in swirling graphics displayed on the screen, hand in hand with the music. The duo seemed to find a great balance between the classic EDM performance, and an indie-rock feel, dipping into melodic breaks between bass heavy beats. A fun fact about the performance: many people in the front of the crowd thought that they were only wearing boxers, but later it was discovered that they were just very tight beige pants. After (not quite literally) rocking their pants off, the duo came down and greeted the crowd with high fives and handshakes.
Away with the tall DJ stand, and on with the single largest stand (if you could call it that) I have ever seen at a concert. It took the stage crew only a few minutes to move the gargantuan thing in place, still shrouded in black. The venue was now full with people and anticipation, the air buzzing with excitement. This was the band’s very last stop on the very long tour, and to put it lightly, the crowd wanted them bad. Chants of “Glitch” and “ Love, Death, Immortality” erupted multiple times, obviously ready for the Glitch Mob experience And then, it began. The power was so palpable, so real in the music, as edIT (Edward Ma) thundered on the drums behind them that looked like airplane engines, while Ooah (Josh Mayer) and Boreta (Justin Boreta) furiously worked the midi interfaces manually.
The entire act is set up to be seen by the audience, as the trio works in harmony to create their epic and unique sound, like any instrumental band. These guys literally have changed what it means to perform as an electronic music artist. When I made note of this in my interview with them, they responded “we’re not trying to be cooler than anyone else, we’re just doing our thing. Hey, if it inspires people, awesome, if it doesn’t, that’s fine too. Its all good really.” Which makes what they are doing all the more original and unique. The sound that came from that stage seemed to energize the crowd in a way that I have never seen before. It felt that their raw power was dancing effortlessly from their fingertips. “Cant Kill Us” amped the energy level of the crowd up twofold, and after coming back onto the set after finishing, they performed two of their most iconic songs, “Fortune Days” from Drink the Sea, and “We Can Make The World Stop” from their EP of the same title.
Lets just say they ended with a bang. After finishing what felt like their magnum opus of the set, they came out and greeted the crowd signing autographs, giving drumsticks away, a bittersweet end to their now 8 month tour. In an interview with the band, when I asked which crowd so far has been their favorite, Ed humbly noted that “everybody that has come out to the shows that has helped make The Glitch Mob experience, we’re extremely grateful for. Doesn’t matter if you were at the show in France with 200 people on a boat, or in Quebec with 80,000, we love and appreciate all of you.”
So that’s it. The end. This was one of the most energetic and flawless shows I have experienced, from Chrome Sparks’ beautiful electronic melodies, to The M Machines driving bass, to finishing off with The Glitch Mobs unmatched energy and passion behind epic and beautiful beats. This was one not to miss.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.
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.