By Alex Tebeleff
Besides my intense exhaustion from going so hard for four days, I feel unbelievably proud to be a part of the creative community here in DC. This past weekend’s In It Together Fest was better than I could have imagined! All the shows I went to were packed and full of energy. The most surprising thing was to see so many new faces. Clearly, this festival brought awareness to a lot more people into what is now one of the most vibrant DIY creative cultures around.
I’ve had people from around the country contact me about this festival. Most are totally shocked at the number of houses putting on high quality sustainable shows consistently across the city. I’m not sure if all of you reading this realize, but at this point it’s pretty safe to say that DC has more active house venues that regularly put on shows than any other city in the country. It’s usually shocking when I tell this to people outside of DC, and even inside of DC, who are used to images of the political variety and people just getting wasted at bars.
What made the festival so successful and what made the cultural momentum in our community catch on to the point that this festival was even possible, was that everyone involved has made the most of their own opportunity. For the festival, what started as a great idea from the guys at The Dugout and Hole In The Sky, turned into a showcase not just for the music itself, but for how thoughtful the people running these shows really are. I’m proud to say I was able to contribute to what surely was only the first of these festivals, and I’m even more proud that so many people put so much work in on their own initiative to make this a success! There’s real passion and intelligence here in DC among the people who are putting on these shows, and among those going to the shows. It’s about more than just the music itself; it’s about creating a social community that’s not just about getting fucked up at a bar. I’m not against drinking at all, but when it’s the only focus, it certainly seems to lead to something empty more often than not to me.
After this weekend, I have no doubt that we are in the middle of something special here in DC. The reciprocal and giving relationship between quality art and a supportive community is consistent and powerful! Let’s keep getting InFested with it.
Vundabar absolutely destroyed it at Ft. Loko at last week’s In It Together Fest. If you missed them make sure to check them out at this bill!
Another great experimental bill at Union Arts.
Charlotte’s It Looks Sad is not to be missed. They put their records out on Tiny Engines, one of the best independent labels around for quality in young rock & roll bands these days. Baltimore’s Raindeer is a great fit as well for one of DC’s best, Go Cozy. Who the fuck is The Bee Life? I haven’t the slightest clue.
On a packed night of great music, this looks to be the most unique and interesting show. Future Times electronic two piece Protect U join Indian Electronic musician Charanjit Singh to perform his 1982 album, Ten Ragas To A Disco Beat, live. I’ve felt an incredible connection to Indian Classical music since I first hear Ravi Shankar as a teenager. Hearing it reinterpreted in this context is certainly an eye opening experience! Certainly a rare chance to see this music performed live.
Two days in row with great musicians at Union Arts! Layne Garrett has been a well-deserved DC creative staple for a long time with his highly original form of experimental and “instrumental” music. If you missed his set at the drone brunch at The Beehive on Saturday, make sure to catch him here.
The influence of Thee Oh Sees is so prominent that it has gotten to the point where it’s pretty clear they are one of the most influential bands of our generation. Crumms does a great job of taking that energy, combining influences of punk and psychedelic music, and making their own sound out of it. Crumms is definitely one of my favorite bands to emerge out of DC this year.
The Slam Pad is one of the newer house venues in town. Local band Swings, formally known as Anchor 3, headlines this bill with some pretty damn good guitar playing.
The fantastic Aether Art Projects presents a very high quality showcase of local artists at the new art space Studio 1469. With so much effort put into growing the creativity and community of our local music scene, it’s wonderful to see those efforts continue to be replicated in the local art scene too! This show features painting, illustration, and print making, all exploring our sensual relationship with “surface.”
8X8 returns from the fiery ashes of Looking Glass Lounge to emerge once again at The Black Cat. Every one is worth checking out at this show, but make sure to stick around till the end for Typefighter! It’s rare to find straight ahead rock done so well in DC.
A really fun local bill to mark the first release of a new DC electronic project called Me and Karen.
Folk and rock at this show at The Lab in Alexandria.
Without question one of my favorite bills I’ve ever booked at The Paperhaus. Anyone who has seen The Effects since they started playing shows this summer will tell you, they are one of the best rock bands in this city. Brooklyn’s Zula is one of the most creative acts from their neighborhood, and the debut performance of opener Stronger Sex is not to be missed, it’s the reemergence of Johnny Fantastic’s highly original electronic project under a new name featuring Johnny and local synth master Erik Sleight.
One of my favorite yearly creative events in DC! It’s great to see the Zine tradition kept alive through events like this. Something tells me we’ll be seeing more of this in DC and elsewhere in the future…anyone else out there getting burnt out by social media?
This is the second New Vintage Jazz and Wine Fest from the Petworth Jazz Project, Capital Bop, and Art Whino, three wonderful local creative instigators, as well as the Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation.
Another diverse event in DC for charity from Philly’s Get Lucid. Quality live music, DJ’s, visual art, poetry, and live screen printing to help raise money for youth photography charity Critical Exposure.
It’s rare to see a post about a 9:30 Club show on here (not that they need it!), but this one deserves it. This all-local bill absolutely kills, with Tomas Pagan Motta’s album release a highlight aspect. Vandaveer has been one of DC’s best songwriters for a decade, and The Deadmen are a powerful rock band.
Yet another new house venue emerges. Make sure to get there early for The Black Sparks!
The Sea Life are one of the best bands in town right now. They were busy playing a wedding this weekend so they couldn’t play the festival, so if you need some ‘NY Models’ in your life get to U Hall early!
Atlanta’s Places To Hide marks the second Tiny Engines band to come through DC this week at the CD Cellar in Arlington.