Who says D.C. isn’t good for music? Sure, you can’t find a club on every corner, and for the most part you’ll have to venture pretty far outside that damn “bubble” everybody’s always talking about to get there, but the District has plenty of good venues for live music and DJ sets, and here we give you a nice little rundown of where to find it:
U Street Corridor: D.C.’s fabled center for arts and music, this neighborhood, located on and around U Street in the Northwest, is home to some of our city’s best concert halls, dance clubs, and restaurants.
The biggest and most popular of the concert venues is 9:30 Club, which has upcoming shows from the likes of The Hold Steady, Bright Eyes, and Peter Bjorn and John. Bigger names are known to cost a pretty penny and sell out pretty quickly, so it’s best to get tickets early.
As for smaller concerts, Black Cat is another favorite among Georgetown students, with smaller shows and more manageable ticket prices. Black Cat is also known for its themed dance parties, which it throws virtually every night there isn’t a musician headlining.
If DJ’s and dance parties are more your thing, look no further than the still relatively new U Street Music Hall. The foremost of D.C.’s DJ-centric dance party venues, this club is dark, underground, and all about music and dancing. For the most part, shows are 21+ at the door and 18+ if you order tickets online.
Luckily not all D.C. area colleges’ programming boards are so blasé about concert planning.
George Washington University’s programing board is hosting Maroon 5 on Friday, November 13—and they’ve kindly opened the ticket sales up to students at other local universities. Tickets are on sale now and cost $30 (what can you do, everything’s more expensive at GW).
The Walkmen, a popular mainstay among the indie rock set who played at the 9:30 Club this Tuesday, is no stranger to D.C.—four of the five band members were classmates at the St. Albans School. Their latest release, 2008’s You & Me, was a stylistic departure from the group’s previous work. With more brass parts that incite visions of a far away mariachi band, the group embraced a more reflective sound. On Tuesday the band solidified this direction with a deluge of new songs featuring a more acoustic sound and horns-a-plenty.
Almost half of the set consisted of new songs, not unlike their new iTunes EP. Before the show we were able to meet with Kevin Moehringer, a member of the group’s brass section, to talk about the band’s recording process. The band’s brass section debuted on You & Me, and has played an increasingly larger role in the group’s music. This summer the Walkmen went to Gigantic Studios in Manhattan to record new material for an upcoming album.
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Starting Thursday night and rolling on through Sunday, Washington D.C. will be treated to a series of free (FREE!) concerts, courtesy of the Kia Soul Collective Tour. Yes, that KIA, better known for mediocre motorcars than music, mirth, and mayhem.
No comment on the cars, but as for the music, they brought the goods: five of the rockinest, the groovinest, and the dancinest acts in the world, including MGMT, Wale, and Dan Deacon. Just check the lineup, pick your night(s) and show up!
Tickets are free (FREE!) but, fair warning, the MGMT show may cost you your dignity: to get tix, you’ll have to test drive a KIA car. And for the Thursday show, you’ll need to RSVP and have an ID that says you’re 21. But for all the rest, just show up to 3330 New York Ave NE and get on with it!
DC Councilmembers have a long, amusing history of criminal hijinx, from Marion “Bitch Set Me Up” Barry to former At-large representative Harold Brazil’s recent dust-up at Jinxproof tattoo parlor. Not to be outdone, Jersey City, New Jersey Councilmember Steven Lipski came to DC this weekend and managed to set the bar for embarrassing criminal activity a rung lower when he peed on fellow concert-goers from the balcony of the 9:30 Club Friday night.
If the crap bands won’t come to Georgetown, Georgetown must go to the crap bands. So thinks the Georgetown Program Board, anyway. Not content to simply waste money bringing sub-standard music to Georgetown (Coolio), GPB is branching out. According to the Weekly Events email, GPB is subsidizing tickets to a Halloween show at George Mason’s Patriot Center featuring Panic! at the Disco, Dashboard Confessional, Plain White T’s, and the Cab. “Tickets are retailing for over $50, but you can go with GPB for only $10 for GU students, $5 GPB Members and $15 off-campus students,” the email reads.
So GPB is spending around $40 per student to go see four (terrible) bands 20 miles away from campus? Ridiculous. Why does GPB subsidize Top 40 concerts out in NoVa while ignoring the countless shows here in D.C. that are twice as good and one third as cheap? I can understand that not everyone dislikes bands like Panic! at the Disco, but GPB should at least provide alternatives for people who do.
Photo from Flickr userNRK P3 used under a Creative Commons license.
Kurt Cobain used to wear a T-shirt that said “Grunge is dead.” But if you saw Mudhoney—who ushered in grunge rock in the late 1980s with their EP “Superfuzz Bigmuff”—at the Rock and Roll Hotel last Monday night, you’d have to agree that it’s still alive and moaning. Read the rest of this entry »
As much as I love their music, it wasn’t The New Pornographers who brought me to this show. It was the enigmatic pull of Okkervil River and their lead singer, Will Sheff, that drew me to the 9:30 Club last Monday. But twenty minutes before they was scheduled to go on stage, the club was barely a third full. I wasn’t expecting this, especially for a show sold-out long in advance, and a man standing in front of me recalled being offered over $100 for a $13 ticket when Okkervil River played at the Rock n’ Roll Hotel in September. It seemed clear that the majority of the audience was there for The New Pornographers, as the club filled up during the beginning of Okkervil River’s set.
Watching Will Sheff strutt about the stage, I couldn’t help but think of James Brown (admittedly a strange comparison for a white kid from New Hampshire). I recently saw a video of the first time that James Brown collapsed on stage and someone came out from the wings to drape a cape on him and escort him offstage. Before Brown had made it off, he threw off the cape and gave an encore to the now-hysterical audience. There were several songs during which Sheff collapsed to the ground as he played the last few chords on his guitar. A few seconds later, he would rise and rip and roar through the next song. Was it purely for show? Likely, but that doesn’t make it any less effective, just as Brown sent audiences into a tizzy with that cape routine until his very last show.
After Okkervil River’s set, The New Pornographers took the stage. I knew before that Destroyer (aka Dan Bejar) would be absent, gearing up for his own tour in support of his new album, but when The New Pornos took the stage, there was worse news; Neko Case had fallen ill and would not be performing.
So on this night, it was really The A.C. Newman Pornographers that were performing. They were far from bad, but they just seemed to be lacking something. While the absences were strongly felt, the band still managed to make the most of A.C. Newman’s birthday and played a very strong set list with songs from Challengers, their latest album, and older hits like “The Slow Descent into Alcoholism” and “Testament To Youth In Verse.”
By the end of their set, and the two subsequent encores, it was easy to see why they were the headliners. The power-pop ballads, which they do so well, even had me dancing (a sight to be seen, I promise). But as note-perfect as their hooks were, I would still prefer the messy, enthusiastic, and infectious rendition of “Westfall” that closed the Okkervil River set any day of the week.