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DC DIT #19: Fort Reno
July 8, 2014 | 12:00PM

Words By Alex Tebeleff, Photos By James Cullum

Growing up in the DC area, I’ve had the opportunity to go to Fort Reno for over a decade. Back when I was a kid, it was a glimpse into a scene that I was only an observer of. It held mythical status in my mind, and for many years, it probably deserved that myth. It was a really important way for really good bands to get themselves seen for the first time, and for the audience to see really good bands in an extremely open communal context.

Fort Reno 2014 Opening Night

Last nights Fort Reno featured two bands I had never heard of before, Malatese and Captivators. I went anyway, knowing that Fort Reno is usually a great place to catch good bands I’d never heard before. One show that sticks out while I’m writing this is seeing SPRCSS for the first time at Fort Reno a couple years ago. I was blown away by the way Bob Doto seemed to tap in to his unconscious as his lyrics flowed in a timeless yet focused rhythm. I had no idea SPRCSS was when I went to the show, but I left feeling very affected and a permanent fan.

Fort Reno 2014 Opening Night

Opener Malatese from Harrisonburg is the kind of band I’ve come to expect going to Fort Reno. They were dynamic, aggressive, and full of youthful angst. The guitarist traded between angular, tasteful stabs and rhythmic bursts, while the well-rehearsed rhythm section held down a strong, aggressive groove the entire show. On top of it all, the singer spasmatically moved his body with the phrasing of his words, manipulating vocal effects that when used more sparingly were very effective and added an extra intensity to his performance. Occasionally, he’d also add synthesizer, which added another effective dynamic to the band’s sound. The band clearly had their heart entirely into the performance, and you could tell more and more of the audience was focused on the set as it went on.

Fort Reno 2014 Opening Night

Captivators closed out the show with a fun and tight set. Ska is a music that is at it’s best live, and although I wish people got up and danced more throughout the set, by the end of it many people were dancing. It’s hard to ask more from what this band did on stage, definitely a pleasant surprise for me as someone who isn’t a huge fan of ska. I was certainly skeptical coming into the show about the line-up for the first Fort Reno of the year, but I left very satisfied with show I’d seen.

Fort Reno 2014 Opening NightFort Reno 2014 Opening Night

With the influx of DIY shows all over DC in the past couple years, Fort Reno really isn’t as necessary as it once was, but last night’s show demonstrates why it is still really important. It’s a place where people of all ages can feel comfortable, safe, and hear some great music. You could tell there were a lot of kids so ecstatic to have the opportunity to see quality live music, and I know it must feel good for parents to bring their kids to a show with great music, where they also know they will feel comfortable having their kids there. Just as important, it’s a great place to catch new music in our community, and that’s a service that a music scene can never get too much.

Fort Reno 2014 Opening Night

TUESDAY (2)

Frick! DIY Shows Presents: Noun, Modern Hut, Derive, Two Inch Astronaut, Sitcom @ CD Cellar

Arlington’s CD Cellar hosts this bill featuring Noun, a more low-key solo project from Marissa of Screaming Females, and folk punk songwriter Modern Hut, both based out of New Jersey and currently releasing music on Don Giovanni Records. Openers are Northampton/Amherst punk band Derive, DC post-hardcore band Two Inch Astronaut, and Sitcom, a solo project of Foozle’s Jake Lazovick.

Chicano Batman, Eastwesthwy @ Haydees

Apuesta Por El Rock is a fantastic organization helping to spread the word on Latino rock in the district. I can only hope they continue to keep on putting events highlighting a segment of musical culture that tends to get ignored by the wider music community and music media here in DC. This show features the very psychedelic and soulful LA based quartet Chicano Batman, with Indie Pop band Eastwesthwy opening. Alumbra will be doing DJ sets between, before, and after bands as well.

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Marisa Nadler, Janel & Anthony @ Rock and Roll Hotel

Local ambient duo Janel & Anthony make a perfect fit as an opener for New England’s Marissa Nadler, touring behind her best album yet.

‘Chocolate City’ Film Screening @ Lamont Street Collective

Lamont Street Collective hosts this film screening on a very important film that everyone who lives in a city should watch. Ellie Walton’s documentary ‘Chocolate City’ explores the changing social climate and dynamic in our city due to gentrification and new development projects.

WEDNESDAY (3)

Pree, Wanted Man @ Rock and Roll Hotel

A really fantastic bill at Rock and Roll Hotel. Pree and Wanted Man (who just released a great new single) are two of my personal favorite bands from DC. Richmond’s Avers make fuzzed out psychedelic rock with a pop sensibility and garage rock attitude.

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Select DC presents Mondo, Jake Reid, Kanon, Jenn Devious @ Dr. Clock’s Nowhere Br

A local experimental bill from Select DC at Dr. Clock’s Nowhere Bar.

In My Eyes Photo Exhibit @ The Coup

A really wonderful event showcasing Michael Andrade’s fantastic live music photography in DC. For those of you who read last week’s column on documenting the scene, this is what I’m talking about!

Church Night @ Wonderland Ballroom

Humble Fire performs at this months’ Church Night.

Queer New York in DC presents Bruno Isakovic, John Moetress, Pussy Noir, and Kunj @ Furthermore (52 O Street)

A performance art show featuring local DC performance artists opening for Crotian performance artist Bruno Isakvoic. His piece “Dunuded, “explores physical transformation and the experience of the senses.

THURSDAY (2)

Jamaican Queens, Nite Moves, The UVF Rays @ The Paperhaus

Detroit’s Jamaican Queens are one of my favorite bands I’ve had the pleasure of hosting at The Paperhaus. They make a really organic and dynamic blend of musical influences from Trap to Art Rock. Tycho drummer Nitemoves opens with his solo electronic project, along with The UVF Rays, a psych folk project from Ryan of The Sea Life, Go Cozy, and Foozle.

Calavera Skull, Golden Looks, Peanut Butter & Dave @ Fort Reno

Fort Reno returns for it’s second installment of the summer with Calavera Skull, the always killer Golden Looks, and Peanut Butter & Dave.

Fort Reno 2014 Opening Night

Eyehategod, Iron Reagan, Vektor, Strong Intention, March To Victory, Serpent Witch @ The Pinch

NOLA punk band Eyehategod are sure to make this one impossible to get in to unless you get there early or buy tickets in advance. Richmond hardcore band Iron Reagan, Philly metal band Vektor, Maryland grindcore band Strong Intention, Lancaster death metal band March To Victory, and Maryland Doom Metal band Serpent Witch open up this really eclectic mix of heavy punk and metal music.

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FRIDAY (2)

Heavy Breathing, The Dangles, Mundy @ Capital Fringe Baldacchino Tent Bar

Though Capital Fringe Fest tends to focus more on other arts, there are some live music performances as well. Heavy Breathing the Dangles, and Mundy make for a really entertaining and engaging live bill.

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Touch of North America, The Deads, Multicult @ The Rocketship

An all punk bill featuring Detroit’s Touch of North America and Silver Spring’s The Deads. Opener Baltimore’s Multicult brings a more post-punk style to the bill.

Ensign, Supreme Commander, Walk The Plank, Tideland, Rememberables @ The Pinch

Another very strong hardcore bill at The Pinch.

Persephone @ Capital Fringe

This event actually runs through the next couple weeks as part of the Capital Fringe Fest. This weekend’s performance art pieces based on the myths of Persephone feature Jane Claire Remeick on Friday night and Kunj on Saturday night.

SATURDAY (1)

In It Together Fest presents Joy Buttons, Pinkwash, The Sniffs, Young Trynas @ The Dugout

A great punk bill at The Dugout to help benefit Infest. DC punk supergroup Joy Buttons headlines a bill that also features garage punk bands The Sniffs from DC and Young Trynas from Baltimore, and Philly punk band Pinkwash, formally from DC.

Tonstartssbandht, Cigarette, Puff Pieces, Tulsa @ Paper Sun

Say goodbye to one of DC’s best DIY spaces for many years. I’ve seen some of my favorite shows in DC here, and it’s been an important musical incubator for some of DC’s best bands of the past 5 years including Hume, Buildings, and most recently Cigarette, who are on the bill for this show.

Benefit for In It Together Fest: Ezra Mae & the Gypsy-Moon, The Butterface Effect, Baby Bry Bry & The Apologists @ Ezra Mae’s

Another benefit to help kickstart Infest, this summer’s DC DIY festival.

Select DC & Captial Fringe present FORMA, Protect-U, Nitemoves, and Collin Crowe @ Fort Fringe Baldacchino Tent Bar

Another Fringe Fest live music bill this weekend, featuring Brooklyn synth trio Forma, DC’s own Protect-U who just put out a great album on their own Future Times label, DC’s Nitemoves, and former DC resident and Buildings member Collin Crowe.

Dance For The Dying, Dead Fame, Company Calls, Light Arms @ Rock and Roll Hotel

Dance For The Dying returns to live performance at Rock and Roll Hotel.

Big Mama Shakes, The Boundry Stones @ Bathtub Republic

A really fun Americana bill at the Bathtub Republic.

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Cat You Dog You, Second Sphinx, Funk E. Monk @ Casa Girard

A fun show full of music and fire spinning to help the guys at Casa Girard raise money for a burning man project, which happens to be a Bike Cart Wood-Burning Pizza oven. Yes you read that correctly.

SUNDAY (2)

Nudes, Black Sparks @ Smash!

Seattle punk band Nudes and awesome Bethesda punk band Black Sparks make a great fit together at Smash! Records.

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Spraynard, Timeshares, Lilac Days, Sundials, Teen Death @ The Lab

The Lab in Alexandria hosts this pop punk focused bill.

MONDAY (1)

Baby Bry Bry & The Apologists, Aloners, Tiger Horse @ Fort Reno

Fort Reno continues with Baby Bry Bry & The Apologists, Aloners, and Tiger Horse.

Fort Reno 2014 Opening Night

White Suns, Cory O’Brien, Radiator Greys @ Dr. Clock’s Nowhere Bar.

Noise and experimental music hosted by Select DC at Dr. Clock’s Nowhere Bar.

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Isla, Mutilation Rites, Hexer @ The Pinch

DC’s Isla have been one of the better bands in the metal genre in DC for quite a while. This bill has them paired with black metal bands Mutilation Rites from Brooklyn and Hexer from Philly.

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