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Thursday, December 14, 2017

We Go On and On

Dear Readers,
As of today you have officially survived almost 348 days of 2017-a remarkably dark and weird year. On the musical side of things, we lost IOTA and Tommy Keene- one of our dearest rock stars. (Ironically IOTA is the last place I saw him.) Tommy came to light here in Washington in the 1980s playing in a kick ass band called The Razz, but he soon rocketed beyond our universe on a solo career.  We will miss him deeply.

In Tommy's honor, I would like to give a shout out to a few places that have not gone, but have managed to endure the vagaries of time and circumstance. These are all venues which give local musicians a place to get their foot in the door.

First congratulations to Comet Ping Pong for braving a year of batcrap crazy attacks on the internet and in all too real life. Their consistently good food and dedication to live shows makes it easy to support this place -even if it doesn't haven't a child prostitution ring or a basement. FuzzQueen is having a CD release party here tomorrow night.

And hats off to Vietnam veteran Commander Mike Casey who saved his VFW post by having an open mind, a good heart, and the boundless energy to host live music events. Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 350 (aka "Hells Bottom") welcomes The Conrads' brand of old school rock n roll- also on Friday.

And finally kudos to Dante Ferrando, the upstart punk, who dared to challenge the old 9:30 Club's obstructed views in 1993 with another venue for independent and underground type music. The Black Cat puts on multiple live shows every week, but this Sunday check out their 20th annual "garage sale" for all your not so conventional gift needs.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Panic in Pine Needle Park

The first shot over the bow arrived in the form of a Christmas card on December One. I'd like to say I was happy to see a message from a friend, but it just reminded me of all the cards I need to send. And meant to send. Last year.

Anxiety sets in the form of a creeping pre-holiday panic which only serves to produce bad ideas like listening to music in the car while waiting in an illegal parking space for forty five minutes without jumper cables.
Or misusing a Q tip. (I won't go into the details, but if you are not supposed to stick those things in your ears, then why don't they make them a lot bigger?)

The moral to this story is don't panic about the upcoming holidays. Take time out for a little fun. Like this:

If feeling a bit more energetic, you could add ingredients.

Or better yet, don't be a weenie.  Go out, people. Dare to kick up the volume. The teeny tiny Takoma VFW will be hosting  Valentine Slim on Friday and The Nighthawks on Saturday.

And the long awaited King Soul CD Breakout Party happens at the relatively large and lush Bethesda Blues and Jazz. Also on Saturday.

But wait - there's more.
Here's the slightly behind the times DC Rocks' calendar for


Boat Burning/ Time Is Fire/Heterodyne @ VisArts

Bill Kirchen @ The Birchmere

Rock-A-Sonics @ Hill Country BBQ


Flea Bops @ Hank Dietles

Valentine Slim @ Takoma VFW

Jumping' Jupiter @ Hill Country


Nighthawks @New Deal

Grin Again Tribute @ Jammin Java (3 pm!)


Ruthie's Jamboree @ New Deal


Thrillbillys @ JVs


Valentine Slim @ Takoma VFW


King Soul CD Release Party @ Bethesda Blues

Nighthawks @ Takoma VFW

Col Josh @ Hank Dietles


Fuzzqueen/ Super! Silver! Haze!/Fake Bodies @ 
Comet Ping Pong

Conrads @ Takoma VFW


Rock-N-Shop Garage Sale @ Black Cat


Thrillbillys @ JVs


Revelator Hill w/ Ron Holloway @ Pearl Street Warehouse


Alice Despard/ Cotton Candy @ Galaxy Hut


Ron Holloway @ Gypsy Sallys

Dave Chappell @ JVs


King Soul @ Gypsy Sallys


The Delarcos/Sister Ex/ Surprise Guest @ Slash Run


Conrads @ Hank Dietles

Thievery Corporation @ Anthem

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Going Back to Rockville

Rockville 1920s

Once upon a time tiny Rockville, Maryland was a beautiful Mayberry kind of town surrounded by farmland. Then came what some call "progress."

Later still Rockville was torn up and became a mall.

Then the mall went away, and it became a "town center" again. Meanwhile, somehow, both Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald landed here, and thankfully have slept though the ruckus just across the Pike in St Mary's churchyard.

I can't help but think that they would have approved of the VisArts Center which gives Rockvillians sanctuary beyond the headlights and head aches of 355. This Friday ye weary Pilgrims of the Pike may want to beat a path to see Boat Burning and Time Is Fire collide art with music in a massed guitar psychedelic multi sensory kind of show.

And speaking of being "borne back ceaselessly into the past," on Saturday the Flea Bops will do their rockabilly thing at Hank Dietle's the perfect venue for a high energy blue suede shoe throw back kind of dance at Montgomery County's oldest surviving road house.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thanksgiving Chill Zones

I stupidly took my life in my hands last Sunday night when I made the mistake of going to the grocery store. Lost in some kind of holiday denying bubble, I was caught unawares by the cart pushing frenzy happening inside. Suddenly hunting and gathering felt dangerous again- like cave man times. Food was flying off the shelves. It was fight or flight, people! We who cringe during holiday mania need escape hatches. Thinking not too far outside the box of home and hearth,  below are places that feel like a comfortable little house party without the labor intensive in-laws rearranging your cupboards in alphabetical order. All are open on or around Thanksgiving day.

Our first little hideaway is the Galaxy Hut on Wilson Blvd. where you'll find 28 taps of craft beer crammed behind the bar.  Most of the brews are local products with names like "Atlas Silent Neighbor Stout" and "Monocacy Riot Rye." All are potently delicious and not one contains the words "light" or "bud." All ages (over 21) hang out here, and there is the comfort of tater tots or a grilled cheese if you need sustenance with your beverage. (The Hut is traditionally open by 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving night, but could not get confirmation by press time. )

Also in Virginia,  JV's Restaurant is like a big ole living room with a festively lit dance floor, and, thanks to the dedication of the tireless proprietor, Lorraine Campbell, there's live music EVERY DAY of the year.  Every day. Talk about labor intensive. Thank you, Lorraine!

This Wednesday look for Jimi Smooth and the Hit Time bringing a funked up soul vibe to Thanksgiving eve. (Wouldn't it be fun to play holiday hooky with these cats ?)

And don't worry about cooking because  turkey dinners are being served both Wednesday and Thursday with ax master Dave Chappell ably at the helm on Thanksgiving night.

Finally there's Hank Dietle's Tavern on Rockville Pike. Think man cave. There's nothing on the menu except for wine and plenty of cold beer in the fridge, featuring the usual domestic types along the lines of PBR and the lone Dogfish product. The biggest table here is for playing pool, but if there's a band playing, it's shoved aside so everyone can dance. Charlie Owen and Pocket Change play this Saturday, but Hank's will be open Thanksgiving day.

Check DC ROCKS' calendar for musical options through out the weekend and hope you have a  peaceful and wondrous holiday.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Baby It's Cold

Resist the cold weather coming our way. Shows are lining up this weekend like those valiant Old Dominion voters at the polls yesterday,  and any one of them would be a great source of warmth. Please see DC ROCKS calendar for even more choices, but for reasons only known to the gods of Random, there are too many to write about so I'll just mention a few.

Friday night Bill Hanke recommends the free "proletarian" rock show with The Taildraggers and XMC at Hank Dietle's - a change of pace from the usual rockabilly Saturdays.

On Saturday catch up with your ancestral swing jive roots at Eric Felten's Canteen Dance in the Glen Echo Ballroom.

Or lean in with old 9:30 and Dischord friends for the sights and sounds of Tone at the Rock n Roll Hotel. (Also on the bill are Cavern from Maryland and Sannhet from Brooklyn.)

And last but not least, the cover charge for Cravin Dogs at El Golfo includes a free margarita or dessert.  Can't beat that with a stick.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Winter is Coming

Getting that somber feeling that summer has finally left the building? We may have had an unusually warm October, but now Mother Earth is determined to tilt away from our dear old Sun- at least in this hemisphere. Time to head inside for warm things like steam heat, apple pies and live music. Here's your convenient and remarkably incomplete local music listings for November. 

(Further suggestions and additions welcome.)



The Conrads / Vinyl Lounge


Thrillbillys @ JV


Justin Jones @ Pearl Street Warehouse


Rock A Sonics @ Hank Dietle's

Linwood Taylor @ JV


Ruthie's Jamboree @ New Deal


Owen Danoff @ Jammin' Java


Jumpin' Jupiter @ JV ( 4 pm)

Tribute to the Band @ The Hamilton

Eric Felten Canteen Dance @ Glen Echo Ballroom

Snake Farmers @ Hank Dietle's

CravinDogs @ El Golfo


Thrillbillys @ JV


Jimmy Thackery @ Pearl Street


Dave Chappell/ Antony Pirog @ JV


Chuck Brown Band @ Pearl Street


Thanksgiving w/ Dave Chappell @ JV


Nighthawks/Skip Castro @ The State Theater


Jellyroll Mortals/ Dede and The DoRights @ Hank Dietle's


Patty Reese @ JV

Tuesday, October 31, 2017