Words By Seannie Camera, Photos By Franz Mahr
What did you do for your Christmas break? Did you travel somewhere? Drink too much? See an old flame? Watch A Christmas Story a dozen times on TBS? Word. Well, by a show of hands how many of you attended the punk matinee we held at The Castle on a Sunday afternoon? None.
What is The Castle you ask? Is it a new venue I haven’t heard of somehow? Nope, it’s just my house where I live with my roommates in Logan Circle. I was coming to parties and to visit friends here for a few years before I was offered one of the coveted spots in The Castle that seem to be offered on a grandfathering basis only. It is an enigma in a sea of affluence, K street lawyers and Hill lobbyists living in 100 year-old row houses next our motley crew of service industry workers and artists. For a fraction of the rent we get to experience the beauty the neighborhood has to offer and convenience the location of the neighborhood has on our work and personal life. I like the fact that I can encourage friends that live in NOVA and MD to crash on the couch instead of possibly crashing their car and the ornate interior of the house has afforded me multiple opportunities to shoot photo sessions here as well as a few music video/short film locations.
But one of the things that most people have known it for in the past is that prior residents used to throw shows here right as the neighborhood was changing its demographic drastically and lost a lot of its roots (along with the rest of the city but that’s another rant for another time). I’ll never forget the one time I brought my friends Max (aka Buck Crown) over to chill one night and he exclaimed as we walked up the steps: “YO! I played a show here once years ago, I set my drums up in the bathroom!” So, when one of my roommates that so happens to be an actual native Washingtonian (that’s UFO rare) wanted to hearken back to the days of yore by throwing a house show in our exclusive, millennial infested area this past weekend I couldn’t have been more pleased to have been associated with it.
The first band was an amazingly energetic, man/woman duo from Baltimore called Curse. Vocalist and Keyboardist Jane Vincent’s screams shook the century old frame of our packed living room as Logan Terkelsen’s small drum rig thundered in the turret of our corner house. The mood was set perfectly for the gloomy Sunday afternoon we chose to entertain the neighborhood with a healthy blend of dark metal, techno, punk, harDCore, synth wave, and other subgenre’s I don’t feel like typing.
Barging their way through the middle slot of our little punk matinee was Orphan Crusher that is comprised of my current roommate and an ex-member of The Castle (the house, not the band) that came back to play this show and to spin at Daikaya on NYE (shameless plug). If there had been actual orphans to crush at our Castle on Sunday I’m fully confident that my living room would have turned into a crime scene. Denman Anderson’s howling and guttural bellows filled our neighbors ears and bassist John Crum’s massive amp stack boomed down the block. I think Denman passed out from screaming into the mic, can anyone confirm this?
Last and definitely not last is longstanding D.C. outfit Laughing Man that I’m pleased make their musical debut for me in my very own living room. I’d heard about LM and seen their name on flyer’s from Comet, ESL, and other venues around the city for years now but have never gotten around to seeing them live so we were blessed to have these stalwarts in such an intimate, one-time-only location for a lucky audience of 25-30 friends and fam. Each band ripped through a 20-25 minute set apiece keeping it proper short and fresh, while I let my iTunes DJ in between sets in my bedroom next door (the dining room). The bands hung around and talked with other friends for a little bit as gear was shuffled back-and-forth between the upstairs, the living room, and outside, personally I went to Satellite Room to grab a burger.
For the amount of noise that was made I’m super pleased that none of the neighbors complained even though there were looks of confusion during sound check and even more importantly the cops didn’t show up. It’s nice to see that the city that championed the DIY ethic which catapulted forward a musical genre, ideology, and lifestyle still has ties to its roots no matter how much the landscape and demographic its residents change. I hope we can continue to do things like this, and have places like The Paperhaus and its ethos continue to be sustained in a city that is as rapidly changing as it already is.