Tag Archives: Black Cat

Tomorrow: Buffalo Tom @ Black Cat

It’s strange when you grow up punk. Your musical tastes have to evolve eventually. At least a little bit. Three chords alone can’t sustain anyone forever. Over time, even the kid with the spikiest hair or the dirtiest pants will start looking to explore decidedly non-punk records, and those explorations can take people in some very different directions. HR, Daniel Higgs, and Tim Barry were all playing straight-up punk songs when they got their start, yet they’ve ended up scattered widely across the musical spectrum.

For us what came after punk hasn’t been such a long journey, we just went back to the exact same records we liked before we discovered punk rock.

Buffalo Tom *may* look significantly different from this photo when they play the Black Cat tomorrow. 9 pm Doors.

There were a few happy accidents that all occurred right around 1993 which led to our developing really, really good taste in music at a very early age. They were these:

  • CD’s were becoming wildly popular. They’d been around a couple years, but ’93 was when a critical mass of people finally owned CD players and everyone was collecting music voraciously. Programs like Columbia House were very popular nationwide.
  • Because of that, the music industry was actually putting out great records. It’s hard to imagine, but at one point major labels would seek out and sign indie bands and just let them continue to be great bands. It didn’t always work out for the best, but it was a damn sight better for everyone than the way the majors operate today.
  • Tapes were still in too. CD to tape dubbing was sort of revolutionary. People passed mixtapes hand to hand. They were serious business to make too, since they literally took hours to finish. No drag and drop. The quality was a reflection of that.
  • We owned the No Alternative Compilation and the Singles Soundtrack. Imagine being 13 years old and being able to know about all those bands without the benefit of the internet.
  • WHFS Was a thing. Anyone who is old enough to remember listening to HFS still misses it terribly. To this day we have trouble believing that there was a commercial radio station that was just that cool. They played Morrissey. They played Fugazi. They played the Replacements. Not late at night… at noon.
  • MTV Didn’t totally suck yet either. When you’re 12 you can’t really do anything cool. You ride your bike until dark, then watch 120 Minutes with your face about 6 inches from the screen. We never had cable at home, but at friends’ houses that’s exactly what we’d do.
  • We went to a very small school. When the school is that small, you get to hang out with kids who are a year or two older. Without the benefit of an older sibling, this is crucial for the development of musical taste.

Because of all these reasons, the first bands we were ever introduced to were actually some of the most incredible, creative, and influential bands in our lifetime. And as soon as we discovered the Misfits, all of that went out the window and we listened to nothing but punk for the next 10 years. Oi! Oi! Oi!

So once we reached a point in our own musical development where it became kind of absurd to keep listening to Jello Biafra make Ronald Reagan references, it was only natural to look back to some of these bands who, at 13, we knew about, but were ultimately way too young to appreciate fully. The Catherine Wheel, Dinosaur Jr, The Afghan Whigs, Pavement, Love Spit Love, Mazzy Star, American Music Club, The Breeders, The Lemonheads, and of course, Buffalo Tom.

Buffalo Tom is still a band. They’re not just ‘that band from My So-Called Life.‘ They’ve been a working rock band for a quarter century and what’s more, they’re as good as they’ve ever been. Some things never change.

Indeed, some things never change. They play the Black Cat tomorrow, and just like in 1993, we can’t go.

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Black Cat is at 1811 14th Street NW in DC. Mean Creek also plays.

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Rocky Votolato, Matt Pond @ Black Cat Tonight

So there’s a good show going on tonight. It’s Rocky Votolato and Matt Pond at the Black Cat.

But it’s Tuesday, which means you’ve got to ask yourself the same question you always have to ask when there are good shows in DC during the week, namely: Do I really feel like driving all the way down there on a weeknight? It can be a tough one. On one hand, you might have a blast and see a great show. On the other hand, you might have to wait around so long for doors that you get bored and go home before the show starts and get a parking ticket for your trouble, which happened to us when we went to see Grant Hart recently.

So instead of explaining the pros and cons of driving, and of these two particular artists, we’ve drawn up a handy infographic using some of the bands about which we’ve blogged previously. Using these bands as fixed graduations, you can find where any other band will fit in the scale, and determine whether they’re worth driving to DC for.

As you can see, we wouldn’t trouble to drive that far for a Matt Pond show, but we like Rocky Votolato enough to make the trek, so it’s a go for tonight. Being a west-coaster with a wife and kids in a time when singer songwriters are decidedly out of fashion, Rocky V doesn’t come around too often. We say catch him while you can.

And if you want to wear a knit cap and a knapsack and rock on your heels and tap your chest in the back and be reminded of that girl you were really into who dumped you during that crummy year back in community college, well, go ahead. We won’t tell anybody.

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The Queers, Sick Sick Birds @ Black Cat Tonight

We’ve never been very big into the Queers. There was a point in time, early high school, when we should have been a huge Queers fan. It was all there on paper: they’ve got songs about drinking, girls, farts, pranks, the suburbs, hating school, etc, etc. When we were a 15 year old suburban terror getting kicked out of the mall, engaging in minor vandalism, trying to make out with girls in parking lots and being as misanthropic as we could before curfew we should have been really into the Queers.

We never were though. Every time someone mentioned the Queers, it was just a reminder to listen to some other band. The Dead Milkmen, NOFX, Screeching Weasel… we liked a lot of bands better than the Queers. That said, it’s not like we don’t like them at all, and these days there’s a distinct lack of lighthearted pop punk goofball music in our collection. The Queers are at least better than watching TV, and for $12 at the Black Cat backstage, it’s hard not to want to go.

The Queers play the Black Cat tonight. 8:30 doors.

Opening up tonight is Baltimore garage/punk supergroup Sick Sick Birds who we’ve recommended a bunch of times before, and who have recently been in the studio recording some new stuff. Presumably, they will be playing some of said new stuff, so if you can’t make it to DC tonight you should at least come out to their next show this Saturday at Metro Gallery. According to that link, it’s their last one before Melissa goes on maternity leave from the band. Yeah. That’s a thing that old punks do apparently. Welcome to the new reality.

Also playing tonight are Dutch punk rockers The Apers who are touring with the Queers, as well as being their Asian Man Records label-mates. These guys are another punk band that sounds fourteen and looks 40, so they ought to fit right in. Hide your patches, hide your spikes, AND hide your Docs. At the Black Cat tonight they’re punking errybody.

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Black Cat is located at 1811 14th Street NW in Washington DC. Metro accessible from green/ yellow lines to U St/ Cardozo Station.

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Grant Hart @ Black Cat Tonight

When we went to the Obits show the other day, we mentioned that sometimes we’re too cool for things, and sometimes we’re too old for things. Seldom is it both, but if you thought there was any chance at all we were going to go back there tonight and see Das Racist, well then you don’t know us too well, do you?

The cool kids may eat it up with a spoon, but nope… tonight the Chop is both too old and too cool for school. We’re staying as far away from that as possible. So far, in fact, that we’re leaving Baltimore entirely. You mixtape and DJ set types can keep your Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bells. We’d rather listen to rock and roll.

Grant Hart plays the Black Cat tonight. 9 pm doors.

You don’t need us to tell you who Grant Hart is. Grant Hart is a fucking legend. Once or twice in a generation someone comes along and changes the game entirely… and those people are relatively unimportant. In our book, Grant Hart and Bob Mould invented the game. As far as we’re concerned, they’re right up there with Joe Strummer & Mick Jones, Keith Morris & Greg Ginn, Joey & Johnny Ramone, Brett Gurewitz & Greg Graffin, Ian MacKaye & Guy Picciotto, or Richard Hell & Tom Verlaine.

If any of those guys play within an hour of your house and you don’t go, well, you’re just not that cool. We’re saying that for the record.

Opening up tonight is Chapel Hill power-pop outfit The Venables. Just the fact that we describe them as “power pop” is a good indication that they learned everything they know from guess who… Grant Hart. Their most recent 7 song recording Grab Bag is also available as a free download on their bandcamp site. Two great acts for $12 on the back stage is as cool as it gets for grumpy old rockers on a weeknight.

Now get the hell off of our lawn!

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Black Cat is located at 1811 14th Street NW in Washington DC. Metro accessible from green/ yellow lines to U St/ Cardozo Station. Grant Hart’s website is granthart.com

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Bikes, Bands and Burritos @ Charm City Art Space Today

So, the Baltimore Chop has already gone on record as giving brunch our seal of approval, but if there’s one thing we like more than fancy hotel brunch, it’s gotta be DIY punk rock brunch- which is exactly what we’re doing today.

This is late-breaking developments, Baltimore! We were tentatively planning to do the day-tripping thing today, and check out the DC Record Fair at the Black Cat before taking the metro down to Nationals Park to see our O’s reign victorious in the Battle of the Beltways, but when we suggested this to Roommate he say “No way Jose! Domingo esta los Bicycletas, Mariachis, y Burritos!!!” or something to that effect.

Bikes, Bands and Burritos is at Charm City Art Space today. Doors= too early.

Yes Baltimore, today is the annual celebration of Bikes, Bands, and Burritos at Charm City Art Space. We’re going to treat this as brunch since we’re lazy and won’t be rolling out of bed until noon, but to a lot of other people, it means much more than that.

This week was National Bike to Work Week and as we all know, North Baltimore loves bikes. In addition to being a worthy cause on its own, Bike to Work Week has been endorsed by some of the Chop’s favorite blogs, namely the Magnificent Bastard and Kempt. Although the Chop recommends you follow local custom and throw your bike in the back of a co-worker’s car and go to happy hour on the way home from the office.

In an extra little bit of kismet, today’s show also coincides with the Baltimore Bike Jam and Kelly Cup, and if you pedal fast enough you can even do both.

But down to brass tacks: if you want to buy, sell, or trade a bicycle or some bicycle parts, show up at 10 am. If you want to participate in a punkrock group ride around the city, show up by 10:30. And if you want to do like the Chop does and see Tiny Bombs and Fires and nosh on tasty veggie Mexican food (swap napa cabbage for kale there) show up at noon sharp, because that’s what time they’re playing.

It’s all pot luck, and the Chop loves to wow ’em with the veggie pot luck surprise, so we’re definitely bringing a dish. We even made a trip to the Upper Fells’ Point supermercado the other day, so we’ve got some authentic ingredients cold chillin’ in our fridge.

And if you’re still unsatisfied with that, you can always walk around the corner and get a proper brunch at Joe Squared (who knew?) and go authentico with one of their many tequilas like we just might.

Ole!

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Double Secret Island Swans @ The Windup Cat Tonight

Well, isn’t this something. It’s already Earth Day and we still haven’t figured out what we’re doing tonight. There are two shows on the Chop’s radar this evening, and unlike we sometimes do we can’t try being in two places at once tonight. It’s a tough call. We’ll give you the facts and let you sort it out.

Double Dagger/ Future Islands/ Ed Schrader Play the Black Cat tonight. 9pm.

Baltimore is taking over DC tonight when Double Dagger invades the Black Cat back stage with Ed Schrader and the superheated Future Islands who are so hot right now you’d think they were the next Joy Division or something. Seriously, they’ve been setting the internet on fire with that Tin Man Video and when In Evening Air comes out on May 4th it’s going to sell about a million copies and they’ll probably end up on Saturday Night Live. (And remember, you heard that prediction here first. SNL. For real.)

This is clearly a great show, and one of the last opportunities to see both these bands before they both undertake a long touring schedule and get rich and world famous and snort caviar off of Suicide Girls. It’s also a very good chance to go down and thumb our nose at DC a little and remind them that we really are cooler than they are at the end of the day.

There are two very compelling reasons to skip it though, cause who wants to drive to DC anyway? Also: We’re planning on seeing both of these bands at Floristree next week.

Secret Mountains, Soft Cat play the Windup Space tonight. 9 pm.

Our other, equally enticing option for tonight is to keep it local and low-key and check out the Earth Day show at the Windup Space headlined by Secret Mountains. We’ve blogged about SM before, and they’re another Baltimore band that we basically cannot get tired of listening to or seeing live.

They’re supported by fellow locals Soft Cat, who seem to have an awful lot of members for such a pared down sound; New Jersey’s European Swans, who sound pretty good, but who’d definitely fit in over at LATFH, and Shaun David Gould.

Like we said, we’re torn. So in an unprecedented and exclusive first ever world premiere, we’re going to let you, the Reader, decide which show we check out tonight. Don’t steer us wrong.

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