With every big anniversary comes a celebratory gesture, and Kelly Towles is delivering just that to commemorate U Street Music Hall’s eighth anniversary. He did work on the walls when the venue first opened in 2010, and things are coming full circle for their show-filled anniversary week with his extensive wrap around mural that starts at the entrance of the venue, goes down the stairwell, and into the box office.
Towles and U Hall have maintained what he describes as a “beautiful relationship” that he likens to family throughout the venues history, with him working on their anniversary t-shirts every year, and even designing the logo that’s prominently featured on the stage.
Eight years ago, Towles painted different characters on the wall along with some wood posts that were an ode to the telephone poles along New York Avenue that were once lined with go-go posters—a beloved creative feature that’s dearly missed by many. He’s planning on touching up the characters, especially the girl with the ice cream that had a hole punched through it because apparently “some asshole hates little girls with ice cream”.
There’s a lot of trust between Towles and the venue that affords him complete creative freedom, which might add some pressure that Towles seems to embrace. U Hall came to him with the idea of doing the stairwell and told him to have fun with it, “I’m like okay, my idea is kind of like a weird vortex, tunnel, thing they’re like ‘cool’”.
Anyone who sees the painting and thinks it was simple couldn’t be more wrong, Towles is meticulous even while painting something pretty abstract. He has his paints in color order so he can paint each line and come back to it due to the murals wrap around quality. Ultimately, the mural will have the “vibe” of sound waves preparing the show-goer for whatever sonic experience they’ve signed themselves up for that evening.
Check out U Street Music Hall’s eight-year anniversary shows at a few different venues around the city:
U Street Music Hall
March 14 – Oddisee w/ Ras Nebyu
March 15 – Autograf (live) w/ Ramzoid, Cofresi, and Vanniety Kills
March 16 – Moombahton Massive (w/ Nadastrom, SpydaT.E.K., Gingee)
March 17 – Breakbot & Infrane w/ Dabeull and Eau Claire
March 18 – Nightmares on Wax w/ LoveGrove
Ten Tigers Parlour
March 16 – Doc Martin w/ Buster
March 17- The Upbeats w/ Slant vs. Ken Lazee
March 16 – 1432 R with Sami%SuYung
March 17 – DMV Deep w/ Saad Ashraf, rawle night long, and more