Tag Archives: DC

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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The East Coast, Simplified

People from Boston are great…

    …until you get them talking.

People from New York are interesting…

    …until you get them talking about food.

People from New Jersey aren’t as bad as all that…

    …until they start talking about New Jersey.

Those corn-crackers in Delaware are nothing but a bunch of trifling toll collectors.


People from Philly are really awesome…

    …as long as no one mentions pro sports.


People from Baltimore are the best people on the face of the earth…

    …until you mention you’re from DC.

People from DC are delightful…

    …until you get them talking about their careers.

And people from Virginia are wonderful…

    …until it’s time to talk about the South.

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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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Story/Stereo @ Bethesda Writers’ Center Tonight.

Well, you’ve got us stumped Baltimore. We’re looking around for something to do tonight. Sure it’s Fall and its turning cold and gray, and we had a big weekend last weekend, but come on, it’s Friday night, and we want to go out. So we’re looking around for something to do, and we had to look all the way to Bethesda before we could find something of interest.

What we found though might actually be worth making the drive for and fighting all that Friday traffic. The Story/Stereo Series is set up for another installment at the Bethesda Writers’ Center tonight.

The Bethesda Writers' Center hosts Story/Stereo tonight. 8 pm.

The Bethesda Writers' Center hosts Story/Stereo tonight. 8 pm.

We had never heard of Story/Stereo before this week, and we’ve got to admit it looks like DC totally has a leg up on us on this one. We’ve grown used to Charm City being the place where innovative new formats take root, but the truth is that Baltimore has nothing to quite compare to Story/Stereo. The Writers’ Center brings in various and diverse writers of all stripes, both their own fellows and residents as well as others to read from their works, and pairs them with some of DC’s most talented and vital musicians.

Tonight’s program features Ugandan writer and former U of MD writer-in-residence Doreen Baingana as well as the poet Alison Pelegrin, both of whom will read from their latest works.

But perhaps the more interesting half of S/S is the stereo part. The series has previously landed some notable names in DC’s independent music scene, with past performers including Jon Davis, J. Robbins, and Asa Osborne. The organizers seem to have a talent for eliciting solo performances by musicians who have little to no experience playing solo, making for a unique experience for both the performer and the audience.

Such is the case with tonight’s featured musical guest, Devin Ocampo. When we saw Devin’s latest band, DC’s Medications earlier this year, it was a show we’d have to rank among the best we’ve seen in 2010, So we’re interested to see where he’ll go from there.

Getting artists together to combine their talents and try new things and then presenting it for free? Baltimore should be ashamed we didn’t think of this first.

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Of course, when there are cool things happening in Baltimore, you like to hear about them, which is why you should vote for the Chop in the Mobbies. We’re slipping hard in that Personal category, although we think of this as primarily a personal blog. We’re not quite ahead in the Music/Nightlife or Misfits category either, so help us out, ok? If we pull out a win, we’ll be sure to figure out some way to reward all of you Choppers who made it possible.

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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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