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DC
The Smithereens
Friday 06/05
The Smithereens @ The Howard Theatre
$25 / $30
The Smithereens are a rock band from Carteret, New Jersey, United States. The group formed in 1980 with members Pat DiNizio (vocals & guitar), Jim Babjak (guitar & vocals), Mike Mesaros (bass guitar & vocals), and Dennis Diken (drums & percussion). This lineup continued until 2006, when Mesaros left the band and Severo Jornacion took over on bass guitar. The Smithereens have collaborated with numerous musicians, both in the studio (Suzanne Vega and Belinda Carlisle) and live (Graham Parker and The Kinks). The band's name comes from a Yosemite Sam catchphrase, "Varmint, I'm a-gonna blow you to smithereens!" Babjak, Diken, and Mesaros are all from Carteret, New Jersey and graduated from Carteret High School in 1975. In 1980, they formed the band with DiNizio, who is from Scotch Plains, New Jersey. The Smithereens are known for writing and playing catchy 1960s-influenced power pop. The group gained publicity when a single from its first album, "Blood and Roses", was included on the soundtrack for, and as the theme song of the 1986 Albert Pyun movie, Dangerously Close, and the video got some moderately heavy rotation on MTV. "Blood and Roses" was also featured on the 1980s TV show Miami Vice during the episode 'The Savage' (first aired February 6, 1987). The group spent some time in its initial semi-celebrity phase defending itself in Rolling Stone against thinly-veiled accusations of sounding too much like The Byrds and The Beatles, pointing out that its Marshall Amplifier-heavy live sound was closer to heavy metal than it was to The Beatles. The Smithereens have always worn their inspirations proudly, but the band also influenced other musicians, most notably Kurt Cobain during the period he was writing Nevermind. Ironically, some feel the Smithereens (like many early 1990s bands) were hurt by the rise of grunge. Along with a basic Eastern-coast roots-rock sound that owed much to the inspirations of DiNizio, including Buddy Holly, The Who, The Clash, Elvis Costello, and Nick Lowe, the Smithereens deployed a uniquely retro obsession with Mod, the late British Invasion pop of John's Children and The Move, and other artifacts of fifties and sixties culture that lent its music substance. The title and lyrics of their song, "In a Lonely Place," appear to be based on the 1950 Humphrey Bogart film of the same name, including the lyrics, "I was born the day I met you, lived a while when you loved me, died a little when we broke apart." The title and artwork for the album 11 were a nod to the original 1960 Ocean's Eleven film. The Smithereens starred as themselves and were featured as the entertainment in the indoor beach party scene of the Troma film Class of Nuke 'Em High, playing the song "Much Too Much". The highest position a Smithereens album attained on the Billboard pop charts was in 1990, when 11 peaked at #41 on the strength of the single "A Girl Like You" (which hit #38). "A Girl Like You" was originally written to be the title track for the 1989 Cameron Crowe film Say Anything.... The group is still active and tours frequently. The basic tracks for their latest studio album of original material, titled 2011, were recorded in early October 2010 and the album was released on April 5, 2011.
Jerry Garcia Birthday Celebration w/ John Kadlecik & The DC Mystery Cats
Saturday 08/01
Jerry Garcia Birthday Celebration w/ John Kadlecik & The DC Mystery Cats @ The Howard Theatre
$20 / $25
John Kadlecik was born on June 28, 1969 in Council Bluffs, Iowa. His father a city manager, and his mother an artist, John's family moved every few years, and he grew up in several mid-western towns. Omaha, Nebraska; Cincinnati, Ohio; and then, in Davenport, Iowa at the age of nine, John began to study classical violin. Moving to Palatine, Illinois in the Chicago suburbs at the beginning of his high school years, John caught the rock-n-roll bug, and, on a quest to understand improvisation, began teaching himself guitar and mandolin. While still in high school, John played guitar in several bands, covering a broad spectrum of American and British "guitar rock" as well as writing songs and learning the rudiments of multi-track recording. John flirted briefly with college life, going to William Rainey Harper College as a classical guitar music major. But, he began living on his own, and found work, school, and his own local bands to be too much on his plate. It was during this time that a friend turned John onto the Grateful Dead. He fell in love instantly, and, shortly thereafter, dropped out of college. By this time, however, John was already playing out a few times a year, anywhere an underage musician could find a gig, and Chicago would be where he called home for the next fifteen years of his life. Once he turned twenty-one, John began playing regularly with several local and regional groups, most notably Hairball Willie and Uncle John's Band. While most of the bands he played with wrote their own music, in 1997 John co-founded the group, Dark Star Orchestra, a band exclusively devoted to playing the well-documented actual setlists of the Grateful Dead. Originally started as a side-project house band for some of the best local deadhead musicians, "DSO" rapidly became a nationally touring band, attracting many guests to join them onstage, including John Fishman, Mike Gordon, Sam Bush, Jorma Kaukonen John Popper, Sanjay Mishra, Tom Constanten, Vince Welnick, Donna Jean Godchaux-Mackay, Bill Kreutzmann, and Bob Weir to name a few. While spending the better part of twelve years of his life touring with DSO, John also found time for other musical projects, both live and studio. A bluegrass band, numerous short-lived original groups, and then in 2003 John began playing sporadically with Melvin Seals. Out of those shows came a group with Melvin called The Mix, also featuring Greg Anton, Jeff Pevar, and Kevin Rosen. The Mix toured nationally and went on to sign a recording contract, releasing a full length CD in 2004 titled, American Spring, but eventually disbanded for lack time in everyone's schedule to tour. And then, of course, in 2009 John departed from Dark Star Orchestra to join Furthur. John now lives near Washington, DC with his wife, Katy Gaughan, and, when not on the road with Furthur, performs in the DC area with the newly formed and simply named John K Band, as well as solo acoustic and special guest appearances.