By Alex Tebeleff
Hey everyone, my name is Alex and this column is called DC DIT. I find the DIT mantra of Do It Together exemplifies more of what I hope my participation in the DC music scene will contribute as opposed to Do it Yourself. My goal is to connect people with creative ideas and interests and help grow a scene that features a remarkable amount of intelligent and talented musicians.
I went on a much needed non-music related trip to Montreal this past weekend, but of course my musical life found a way to sneak into the picture. I called my friend Phil from the Montreal band Wake Island to see if he was in town. Unfortunately he wasn’t, but he surprisingly asked if I was in town with one of my favorite bands, Deleted Scenes. Lo and behold, I looked at their tour schedule, and I happily discovered that they are playing in Montreal that night, my last night in town!
I’ve seen Deleted Scenes more than almost any other band from DC and they continue to impress. I’d venture to say that there isn’t a better band from DC over the past decade, and that it’s one of the most creative and emotionally powerful contemporary rock bands from anywhere. Their new album, Lithium Burn, has proved to be polarizing, but I find it to be a remarkable album. Many of you probably have read the rather strange and lazy review from Pitchfork, but talk to people who’ve actually given the album more than one halfhearted listen, and their reaction seems uniformly positive. To me, it’s the first album they’ve made that properly captures their live energy, and that’s what makes them stand out from most other bands.
There was a solid crowd at the venue and the show was extremely impressive. The band played with a very high level of emotion and precision. They mostly played songs from their new album, but old favorite “Mortal Sin,” which they performed as an encore, left a particularly strong impression as well. It was clear that the passion for the music is there in a way that really connects with any open-minded listener. I was there with mostly non-musicians who first timers at a Deleted Scenes show and they all had the same reaction, “How have I not seen this band before?” It was a lesson on the realities of how hard it is to get your music out there, even when the quality of the music is exceptional and creative.
Deleted Scenes has been playing a lot less in DC these days, as the band members have become spread across the country. So I have to particularly recommend you come check out their show in DC this Thursday at Rock and Roll Hotel. There are few bands out there right now who I feel are more worth your time to see live. The fact that all the members live in different cities, yet they still manage to make records and tour, shows just how much passion there is in them for this music. Openers Celestial Shore and Laughing Man are also worth your time. Few bands from Brooklyn right now show as much potential as the very uniquely musically gifted Celestial Shore. Laughing Man has also been one of DC’s most creative bands for years. It’s also great to continue to see local music media outlet DC Music Download continue to be so involved with great shows in DC! They are sponsoring this show as well.
So, in short, this one is clearly my favorite show of the week. Here are some other shows worth checking out:
This show is a single release celebration and tour kick off for Lies About, one of my favorite bands to have emerged over the past year. They specialize in angular rock that fits particularly well in DC. They have a bit of the newer more psychedelic yet song focused DC sound, but also remind me a of some of the classic DC bands from the later Dischord era, like Medications or Q and Not U. Krill quickly became one of my favorite bands in the country after their incredible and emotional set at The Dunes last winter. You readers from Brooklyn can also catch them with the aforementioned Deleted Scenes on Wednesday night at Baby’s All Right, one of the newer venues up there that seems to be attracting really high quality bands regularly. Their last EP is easily one of the best alternativerRock recordings from last year. New local Anchor 3 opens the bill.
Locals The Dead Women open for one of Memphis’ best Rock bands, Ex-Cult, at this all ages show at DC9.
Straight up rock & roll show at Comet Ping Pong with garage and surf taking center stage.
An all metal, all ages show put together by on of DC’s top resident metal gurus, Simon Callahan.
Japanese grindcore band Unholy Grave headlines this great hardcore bill at Union Arts, along with Texas’ War Master, DC’s D.O.C., and Baltimore’s Bestial Evil.
I’m fairly confident I already said most of what I need to say about this one. Deleted Scenes album release show. DC Music Download, Celestial Shore, Laughing Man. You should go.
Avant-garde Egyptian guitarist Ayman Fanous and Violinist Kao Hwang mix an incredible array of musical styles from around the world into their wonderfully idiosyncratic brand of experimental music. Jazz trumpeter Jaimie Branch and avant-noise duo Lab Mice open this fantastic bill.
This is really a great night for DC music. Trans Am are definitely DC legends and Heavy Breathing is a project featuring 2/3 of the also legendary DC band The Apes. If you haven’t seen Heavy Breathing yet, I’d highly recommend coming early to check them out. They put on a really fun and energetic show.
Keep ‘em coming Beehive! One of my favorite places to see a show in DC, this intimate house venue has been putting on more shows than ever, though it’s been around for years. This particular show features Nashville’s very interesting Body of Light, with Jersey Psychedelic band Dollys and the always wonderful Go Cozy opening the bill.
Give local Blues revivalist and guitarist Johnny Grave some credit, he’s got some serious ambition and he isn’t afraid to do something about it. No surprise to see him put together such and eclectic and extensive show. This show is just nuts and looks to be one of the most fun events in the city for the week. Make sure to check out Titles Tracks front man and songwriter John Davis’ DJ set at the Backstage afterwards.
The inaugural show at this new house venue in Columbia Heights! Richmond’s My Darling Fury and DC’s Stranger In the Alps and Sean Barna make for a very eclectic and artistically worthy opening bill.
Another all ages regional bill put together in a series presented by DC Deli. This is unfortunately DC post rock band Bearshark’s last show, but every band on the bill is also worth your time. Richmond’s Black Girls in particular are a very fun band live.
Carpark Records band Teen headline this all ages show at U Hall, with increasingly busy locals The Sea Life opening.
House venue operators Ezra Mae and the Gypsy-Moon open for two touring Jersey bands at this fantastic record store in Silver Spring, MD.
A very heavy bill presented by Deep Space Arts at Union Arts.
Killer Punk bill at The Dugout. Definitely go to this one! Locals Gouge Away and The Fordists both rule, and Brooklyn’s Nuclear Santa Claust and Beasty are a perfect compliment. Nuclear Santa Claust do the classic punk sound as well as anyone right now.
This show isn’t all ages, but I’ll make an exception for the last instance of 8×8. This event hosted by Brandon Wetherbee has been one of my regular favorite performance variety shows in DC for the past few years, and I’ll be very sad to see it go. I’ve witnessed both some of the best and worst performances in my time in DC here, in comedy, music, storytelling, and other random indescribably strange forms of performance. At the very least, I was never bored.