Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Fillmore is coming to Silver Spring

This is sort of old-ish news by now, but Silver Spring has signed a deal w/ LiveNation to bring one of their Fillmore-branded clubs to the downtown area. It will go where the Birchmere was going to go -- in the old JC Penny building on west side of Colesville Rd, across from the AFI Theater. LiveNation has several of the Fillmore clubs around the country, like in NYC and San Fran, plus they own the House of Blues clubs.

Not too long ago, the House of Blues wanted to open up shop in the newly developing 'hood of NoMa. Not sure who comes up w/ these names, but NoMa is in the area where 395 meets NY Avenue. Guess NoMa stands for North of Mass Ave... Anyway, when the House of Blues wanted to do that, many people rose a stink about it, especially because the club would directly compete w/ our own nationally-renowned local institution, the 9:30 Club. Plus, people don't like LiveNation because it's Clear Channel and a huge corporation.

Intestingly, Seth Hurwitz who owns and runs IMP productions and the 9:30 Club sent a letter to Montgomery County saying he was very interested in being considered to develop a music hall at the JC Penny site. But he was too late because MoCo had already decided they were going w/ LiveNation. That's too bad because it would've been cool, I think, to have him develop something. And this new Fillmore club definitely will compete w/ the 9:30. Hopefully, the competition will be good for everyone.

Oh yeah, and the other interesting thing is that very shortly after the LiveNation deal was announced, College Park announced that the Birchmere was gonna open up a new location in their planned new Town Center development. So PG County gets the Birchmere and MoCo gets the Fillmore. To me, it sounds maybe there's more to the story, but what do I know.

Personally, I have mixed feelings about this, but I think generally it's a good thing. On the one hand, I do have an admittedly knee jerk fear of Clear Channel because -- many people would say -- that by buyig up many many radio stations they have an unfair monopoly on radio and have homogenized radio in general. And as a local supporter of the 9:30 Club since they used to be on F Street, I would hope that nothing bad happens to their business because of the competition. But it'll be a good thing for Silver Spring. Bottom line: I probably won't spend much time there, but I think it's a good thing.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Government Re-Issue

It's taken me a little while to find the time/energy to get in front my computer to post this, but here's how the show went...

Bill and I went down to the old Rock and Roll Hotel on Sunday night to check out the John Stabb Benefit and of course catch Government Issue. I can't say I remember the last hardcore show I've been to, but it certainly did dredge up some memories for me (some good, some bad). But that was part of the point of going down there. The other part was to contribute to John Stabb's medical bills.

This is the first show for me at the RnR Hotel. Not a bad place... smaller than I expected, but fine. Guess I expected something closer to the size of the Black Cat. As an aside, boy, that neighborhood is still plenty rough. And not even rough around the edges, just rough all over. So, that's one thing that reminded me of going to the old shows back in the 80s when they were mostly held in the rougher neighborhoods. There was a good sized crowd there when I walked up, with a lot of people hangin' in front of the Hotel. I was expecting to see a mostly older crowd and was surprised by the mostly younger crowd. Both Bill and I were hoping to run into some old aquaintances, but that didn't happen. We didn't really see any familiar faces. I guess I was slightly disappointed, but fine.

There were several opening bands, all of which were hardcore and none of which I had heard of. Not surprising. One of the openers, from DC I believe, liked to introduce their songs by way of something like "this one's about the growing divide between the rich and poor and the reduction of the middle class" or "this one's about the plight of immigrants all over the world". For me that just sucks the wind right out... talk about dry. As a matter of fact when they used that first introduction, someone in the audience yelled out "Then why are you wearing a Brown t-shirt?" because the guitarist had a Brown University t-shirt on. And the singer's response: "what?" Not to get too down on these guys but that was pretty comical. I'm sure they believe in what they do, but I'm just not down with that. The irony is that you can't understand any of the lyrics. But I did enjoy seeing what hardcore was up to these days and slightly reliving some older days. The last opener was pretty decent. We also found out that 76% Uncertain had cancelled at the last minute. As we joked, guess they really were at least 76% uncertain to play.

Anyway, GI came on next. Brian Baker on bass, Tom Lyle on guitar, John Stabb on vocals, and William Knapp on drums, who I think is from 76% Uncertain. Guess the rest of the band couldn't make it down from Connecticut. So GI was a lot of fun, although it was clear that they hadn't practiced much (in fact they didn't really -- see below). I guess I was hoping for a full blown, blow the roof off show. They were definitely good, but not like I imagined/hoped for. Instead it was a loose and relaxed set that sometimes felt like a practice since they stopped songs a couple times and then restarted. To the best of my memory, here's what they played (this is not in order):

I'm James Dean
Fashionite (an a capella version)
Religious Ripoff
Sheer Terror (introduced as the song that scared Glenn Danzig)
Boots are made for walking
Teenager in a box
Circles (the Faith song)
Stepping Stone
Mad at Myself
Where You Live
Jaded Eyes

So everyone seemed to be having a great time. The crowd was into it, and danced that funny dance of theirs. Actually, I got blindsided in the back by some dudes who rushed through the crowd from the back of the room to the pit and knocked me on my ass. Hate that. I hated it when I was younger and I hate now. So that was the bad memory of the evening.

After the set, and while the crowd was trying to get an encore, Stabb came out and talked for a while telling everyone how really, really grateful he was for all the support he's had since his assault. Henry Rollins sent him a bunch of money, he said. He also explained how the reunion came together and that everyone in the band basically didn't practice as a unit until the sound check that day. They practiced their respective parts independently, but not together at the same time until the sound check. And they had only learned 15 songs and that was it. Brian Baker also came out to tell the audience that, yes, they had played all the songs they learned and that was it. But hey, if everyone wants to hear the set again, we'll do it! And so, they launched into the set again. At this point, the thing deteriorated into a bit of a sloppy affair, but nobody seemed to care. They didn't get all the way through the set again before they decided to end things. And that was it. Fun but fleeting.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Uline Arena / Washington Coliseum

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The Uline Arena (or Washington Coliseum) down by Union Station is being renovated and redeveloped by Doug Jemal. When I heard about the development, I wanted to find out more about the building since I wasn't that familiar with it in the first place. Turns out it has some kind of interesting history behind it -- I had no idea. And it's a pretty unusual looking building for DC. I've ridden past it many times while riding on the eastern leg of the Red Line to Silver Spring and always wondered what it was.

For one thing, it was the location of the first Beatles concert in the US on Feb 11, 1964! Wild. Here's a picture from that show.

The cover photo of Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits was taken at a concert at the Washington Coliseum in 1966.

In the '80s, go-go bands like Chuck Brown, Trouble Funk, and Rare Essence played there.

Here's a pretty thorough history of the facility from the Washington Business Journal.

Most recently, it has been used as a parking lot and as a waste facility. It's in pretty rough shape now, so here's hoping they do a good job in redeveloping it. Check out some pics on flickr.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Jane at 4 months

Jane turned 4 months old last week. She started up daycare and Liz started back at work, so we've had lots of new adjustments to everyone's routine. Jane's been really smiley and generally happy. Next week is the big 4 month check up at the doctor. Jane gets to have some shots so no one will be happy about that.

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Hoodoo Gurus: Teenage Head live

Here's a cool clip of the Gurus in San Fran playing Teenage Head w/ Cyril Jordan from the Flamin' Groovies on 3/31/2007. Man, I wish they had played this at the DC show! I didn't mention in the post about the show below how good Dave Faulkner's voice sounded...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Hoodoo Gurus @ Black Cat

Last night was the Hoodoo Gurus show at Black Cat. Great show! They brought it. Back in college days, me and all my friends were big Gurus fans. Since they never come here, this was a definite event. A bunch of us went: me, Bill, Greg, Marty, Jeff, and Michael. We bought tix in advance, but boy was that unnecessary. The place was not even half full. Disappointing but not surprising. BTW, Kim Kane was there from the Slickees.

We got there around 10pm and grabbed some beers. Once we were fixed up some beverages, we saw the crew starting to set up for the next band. It was about 10:15pm so we didn't think it was possible the Gurus would come on that early. But the way other people were crowding in on the stage made me think it was them. Lo and behold, the lights dropped and out they came! Wow, I can't remember the last time a headliner came on that early, especially when there were two openers.

They opened up with I Want You Back, and right away I thought there were some issues with the sound. They played the song great, but it was super loud, and the mix wasn't so hot. Later on after the show we all agreed the sound could've been better. Anyway, we were all psyched, and the Gurus delivered throughout the show. Found a setlist from another blog:

I Want You Back
Chop (?)
Waking Up Tired
The Real Deal
Come Anytime
In the Wild
Form a Circle
Miss Freelove '69
1000 Miles Away
What's My Scene
Like, Wow - Wipeout

My Girl
The Right Time (maybe)

All great stuff! Dave Faulkner and the boys were all relaxed and enjoying themselves. Brad Sheppard was especially energetic. They were even reminiscing a bit about old places they've played in DC through the years. We found out that In the Wild was originally gonna be titled In the Dry because Faulkner wrote it while traveling to the north coast of Australia during the dry season. And, Dave likes to write songs in "D" more than any other key. Our only collective complaints were the sound (as mentioned above) and the shortness of the show. They could've definitely done another encore!

We had a few beers after the show since it ended early, and I ended up back home too late. I'm super tired today... barely energy to write this up. But it was worth it. Might never see 'em again! Sorry, Joe, that you weren't able to make it!!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day and Summer come and gone

As the work week creeps up on us once again, I'm left w/ the empty feeling of really, really not wanting to go to work tomorrow. More than usual. We had a good weekend, I think. Got some house stuff done -- there's always house stuff to do. And I hung a picture in our bedroom! (You have to be proud of all the things you do, big or little. That's what I say, anyway.) But even with that level of accomplishments, it still doesn't make me feel like going back to work. It's too enjoyable spending time w/ Liz and Jane.

Life with Jane is just going really well right now. She's super smiley and happy and funny now. She just makes Liz and I laugh. She just turned 4 months old last week, and she continues to eat well and sleep well... well, except for small hiccups like below. But it's really great. We took some afternoon walks this weekend w/ the dog and Jane in the baby Bjorn, and it was just really nice. I was thinking back on our trip to Rehoboth over the Fourth of July and how we were still waking up w/ Jane every 2-3 hours to feed her and how hectic that was. And now she sleeps from basically 9pm to 6am, and it's unbelievable! I'll have some new pictures up soon.

Back to the weekend...

We got some crabs on Sunday night w/ my brother and his wife. The crabs were really good. Had to pony up for the large ones. They're def not cheap -- and haven't been for some time -- but we do it so rarely that I don't mind spending the extra cash. Funny, but I don't think Bethesda Crab House uses many Bay crabs anymore. After we had just sat down, some guys wheeled in several large boxes of crabs with "BWI" stickers on them. Guess they were flown in from Louisiana or somewhere down there on the Gulf of Mexico. Wherever they came from, they were really good.

On Sat afternoon we spent some time w/ Aunt Cathy, Gammy, Milton, and Jane's cousins, Braeden and Abby. That was fun. I haven't seen Braeden and Abby in ages, probably since Easter. They're both getting so big. Jane was a little worn out from that visit. In fact I think Jane was worn out from the weekend in general. Today we went down to Tyson's to do a little shopping (it was a bit crowded and crazy), and Jane was just waaaay over stimulated. Liz and I both agree we'll have to wait until she gets bigger to do stuff like this with her in the future. She just likes to see all the stuff going on around her too much, and she wears herself out. Doesn't seem like she can shut things out and just fall asleep like some kids. Granted, shutting out a busy day at the mall is pretty tough to do for anybody, but some kids are able to crash out in their strollers. We saw 'em.

So, now it's the symbolic end of summer. I love autumn here, but I'm definitely a summer person. I'm always sad to see it go.

Another Stabb Benefit

This one looks really interesting since there will be a GI reunion! It's on Sept. 23, and it's at the Rock n Roll Hotel down on H St. I think I'll have to make it down there on a school night. Here are some details:

Sun Sep 23 John Stabb Benefit

76% Uncertain
Government Re-Issue (Tom Lyle, William Knapp, Brian Baker, John Stabb)
No Image
Alive At Last
Pup Tent

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Tom Waits - Lie to Me

I've been listening to a fair amount of Tom Waits these days, mostly because I'm a member of emusic and they have some of his more recent stuff on there. Here's a video of "Lie to Me" from his most recent album, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers, and Bastards. It's Tom Waits doing rockabilly, and it's very cool.