This is not my alter ego, this really is my attorney, a degenerate but my attorney nonetheless. As you may have guessed, this feature is in part a tribute to the late great Hunter S. Thompson. To answer his question up front – Drive by Truckers from July 2006 was the greatest show I’ve ever caught at 9:30 club. Add your favorite shows in the comments section.
So I’m sitting here enjoying a fine glass of Powers and
sorting through a week’s worth of emailed gibberish…it seems last
week was “What White People Like” week since every other fool with an
email account sent me a link to that site or passed along their
favorite one. But, it got me thinking and laughing about a list of
“What DC People Like” which, of course, led to the obligatory
political jokes and some thoughts about the sweating, jabbering hordes
of perpetually lost tourists that descend on our fair city around this
time of year.
But as I thought about it further — and maybe it was at least helped
by the whiskey — my mind kind of drifted into some reminiscing and
more serious thoughts about what I really liked about DC. So allow me
to bend your ear (er, eye?) for a minute on this since one thing in
particular kept floating up to the top of my thoughts: the 9:30 Club.
As a self-confessed and unrepentant music addict, I feel qualified to
sing the praises of what I consider to be the single best spot for
live music in the city. The sound in that place is simply unrivaled.
They pull in great bands that just seem to really enjoy playing in
that place. I’d love to know the secret to the sound in there and
what bands actually think of it. Praise for 9:30 Club Continues After the Jump
I can remember my first 9:30 Club experience…back in the fall of
1998 as a wet-behind-the-ears, first-year law student just getting
acclimated to DC. Me and a couple of intrepid music fans ventured up
to the place to see Widespread Panic…and they put on a great show
even though the place was nowhere near capacity. I can still see in
my mind’s eye the late Mike Houser (seated due to the battle with
cancer that eventually took his life) just hammering away at the
guitar as he jammed through the set list. Of course, we were more
than a bit nervous when we left the place and found ourselves a bit
lost in what were then pretty desolate and deserted
streets…searching for a cab with little luck and trying get our
bearings in a new city with a bad reputation. We kept our spirits up
by talking about the show and what an incredible find that place
was…or at least a find to us.
Over the years, I’ve caught some great shows at 9:30 and have never
left disappointed. A few Wilco shows come to mind…as does that
Drive-by Truckers show the other July, when it was hotter than hell
and it seemed as if the Truckers were going to blow the roof off the
place…I think I lost 10 pounds from sweating, along with my voice
(and probably a couple of months off my life)! We rolled into that
place with a roving band of drunken degenerates, most of them in town
from various parts of the hinterlands…all of us turned loose with
heads full of booze and enough energy to light up the eastern seaboard
for a few hours. The boys from Alabama didn’t disappoint and neither
did the 9:30 Club!
And one more for the record (and one to rub in since you missed the
show): My Morning Jacket last year. Of all the concerts I’ve ever
seen at 9:30 no band has ever filled the place with more sound than
MMJ. It was easily the loudest concert I’ve experienced…but not a
loud based purely on volume…no sir, that night the speakers went to
eleven! It felt like they had somehow managed to occupy every cubic
centimeter of air in the place with their driving, soaring music. It
was simply incredible and, I dare say, the best I’ve heard the sound
there. It almost seemed like the place wasn’t big enough to hold what
we were hearing.
Well, I’ve probably rambled on long enough…but as the neighborhood
around it has changed substantially and for the better, it is great to
know that the 9:30 Club remains and continues to offer up incredible
live music. If I had to pull together a list of my favorite things
about DC, I might just have to kick it off with the 9:30 Club. What
about you? What shows stick out in your mind?
I see the hour is late and my eyelids have grown heavy. So enough of
this jabbering for now…but I thought I’d pass it along…for what
Res Ipsa Loquitor.
Photos by Michele Banks Thanks to Michele for sending these beautiful shots from Kalorama:
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