#031; DC’s music scene is hotter than August in the swamp (Pt I)

The past week has been nonstop with great local artists and international show-stoppers hitting DC from all corners. Here’s a quick rundown of (well, half of) the last week in (what I’ve seen of) live music in DC.

Wednesday evening started it all, with a low key show featuring local U St-er Chris Grier (of Scarcity of Tanks) and Duchess Leo (out of Brooklyn) at Asylum in Adams Morgan (which celebrated it’s 18th birthday this weekend – congrats, all!). Chris’s unique use of layering and delicate touch on an otherwise outrageous guitar set the mood for a listening room in the midst of a rock and roll hall – his experimental music was both jarring and settling and I’m looking forward to see what he does next when he plays Velvet Lounge with the Bermuda Triangles on the 31st (in the midst of catching Alex ‘the red’ Parez and friends at Solly’s earlier that night, of course!). By the time Chris was winding down it was getting to midnight and the closing of the Metro got in my way of seeing Duchess Leo but I hope they come south again, I’d love to see them live!

Thursday night was the much anticipated Idea Track, Bonjour Ganesh, and Alex Parez show at DC9. Both Idea Track (with Parez as their newest addition on electric guitar) and Parez in his solo set sounded better than I’ve ever heard them before (which is going on quite a few times at this point). Alex’s cover of the Misfits set a great tone for the evening and then to close out, Idea Track’s “Radio” (which begs crowd participation to incredibly success) had the audience on their toes and really wishing for more. The show started a little bit late but that only worked for them all, getting the crowd ready to dance and have a fun night upstairs at one of the best looking venues in town.

From DC9 we hightailed it down to Black Cat, hoping to see some of John Bustine’s opener for Vandaveer, but got there just in time for the last half hour of Vandaveer’s headlining set instead. This did not disappoint (though it would’ve been great to see Bustine), Vandaveer had the air thick with tension and the crowd silent with anticipation when we walked in. Their “alt-folk” style was a great way to wind down the night – haunting harmonies between Mark Charles Heidinger and Rose Guerin seemed to keep everyone in a dreamy, thoughtful trance (yours truly included).

Needless to say, the real world calling us all back to it’s tense embrace on Friday morning wasn’t a welcome clarion, but, regrouping and charging ahead, the weekend was just as jam-packed as the week; but that’ll have to wait till next time. Coming up, reviews of Carbonleaf and Great Big Sea @ Wolf Trap, Jeff Miller @ the Bullpen, and Priscilla Ahn @ IOTA.

Till next time – what venues are you digging right now? Any great summer festivals that I’ve missed out on? Give me the rundown on what music is driving your August in the comments!

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