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.
This week marks three really great DIY festivals in DC: Damaged City Fest, Salon de Libertad and Vanguard Festival.
Damaged City Fest is an annual Hardcore Punk festival in DC that is one of the best of it’s kind in the country. I always ran into people on tour who would mention this festival and was impressed with how many people travel to DC for it. With shows at St. Stephens Church (a classic venue for DIY and punk shows) and The Pinch, I think it would be difficult to find a better collection of hardcore bands. In particular, check out a chance to see Government Issue at St. Stephen’s on Friday night, Coke Bust at The Pinch that same night, Post Teens from Gainesville on Saturday at St. Stephen’s and Infest from California at The Dance Institute of Washington for the Sunday matinee show. There’s also a pre-fest show on Thursday at The Dugout that is worth your time.
If you dig hardcore and/or vegan food, this is pretty much as good as it gets.
The annual Salon de Libertad is one of the best mixed-arts events in the city. Visual art, live music, poetry, film, dance, all on hand for a fantastic way to see all that local DC artists have to offer. For more details or to participate, email lamontstreetcollective AT gmail.com.
This is a remarkably diverse progressive music festival put on by Select DC at Union Arts. There is so much good music at this festival it’s almost overwhelming! Hard to imagine a better time in DC to experience experimental, electronic, and noise music than at this festival. Definitely recommend checking out John Wiese, Ital, Protect U, and Olivia Neutron-John, though everyone participating seems to be worth your time.
Other shows going on in DC this week:
Tuesday, April 8th
I’m really excited to be playing with one of my favorite bands around, Young Rapids, at one of my favorite places to see live music in DC, Union Arts. The Hecks and Yeesh are two really badass touring bands from Chicago, can’t wait to see these guys live.
Wednesday, April 9
Raleigh’s The Love Language has had a close relationship with the DC music scene since the days of Gold Leaf Studios, and they are a band that I would highly recommend you see live. Their latest record was the strongest I’ve heard yet from them, it seems like the songwriting just gets stronger with every album. The Escape Artist is a DC band I haven’t had the opportunity to see live, but the recordings are psychedelic and atmospheric without sounding like they are consciously trying to make it sound any particular way, I’m very excited to see them live.
Thursday, April 10
Ghost Mice is a folk punk band from Bloomington, IN that is a great representation of the great songwriting with a youthful punk attitude that has come out of Bloomington for many years now. You’ve probably already heard me talk about Spoonboy and I couldn’t imagine a better fit with Ghost Mice.
The Pinch has been a welcome addition to the local scene, it’s a nice to see a bar that is consistently letting local musicians put on All Ages shows. Teething Veils is a DC band featuring Silo Halo member Greg Svitil that makes dark psychedelic chamber pop. These are some well-written, thoughtful songs, I can only hope they can convey the same emotion live. Kalamazoo’s Overly Polite Tornadoes make stripped down shoegazey rock, and DC’s Elemental Canyon opens the show with a lo-fi acoustic set.
Friday, April 11
The first of two Comet Ping Pong shows worth your time this weekend, this is another fundraiser for the family of Windian Records Founder Travis Jackson, who recently passed way. Besides this show being for a good cause worth your support, especially considering how much Travis did for the DC music community, Title Tracks and Passing Phases are two of DC’s best (spend some time with the lyrics for one of Title Track’s albums, I promise you won’t regret it!).
There isn’t a better pop band to see live in DC right now than headliner The Walking Sticks, with as strong vocals as you’ll find in any group in DC, groove-focused instrumentation that really supports rather than distracts and makes you want to dance, and some serious performance swagger. The Walking Sticks are good at what they do and they do it confidently. The Sea Life and BRNDA are two bands I’ve also written about extensively in this column in the past, and I’m glad The Walking Sticks chose these bands; it’s clearly a great bill. This show also marks the album release for BRNDA!
For those who don’t know (which I imagine is most of you), there is a huge Indian Classical music house show scene stretching from Northern Virginia to Frederick, Maryland. It’s just incredible to hear such masterful musicianship in the context of a living room! This particular show features a master of the sitar, Ustad Shahid Parvez, accompanied by Monir Hossain on the tabla.. Worth the trip to Sterling for sure!
Summer Camp makes very written indie pop with a strong dance beat, which matches perfectly with the super catchy DC indie pop band Teenage Aviation, a project from Golden Looks’ Julia Nova.
Saturday, April 12
Another great all-ages local bill at Comet Ping Pong. Humble Fire is a band I’ve seen grow and get better and better, really happy to see them gaining popularity in the city. Teen Mom puts out some of the better garage recordings in DC right now, and it’s hard to find a more fun electronic band to see in DC than Pleasure Curses.
Monday, April 14
The Lab has been helping bring All Ages shows to Alexandria for a while now, and if you are a fan of a more melodic style of Punk with influences from Ska and Reggae, this show is for you.