10 Jun 2011

The Hill is Rocking

New guest post series by Kevin Hill and ChunkyGlasses.com

Three years ago, the words “music scene” and “Capitol Hill” might have garnered a chuckle, yet here we are in the middle of 2011 with not one but TWO first rate music clubs servicing the H Street Corridor. Between the Rock and Roll Hotel and its scrappy DIY cousin, The Red Palace, The Hill finally has what could be considered a scene with live music happening almost every night! In fact,The Red Palace is quickly becoming one of the best music venues not just in Capitol Hill, but in the entire city. Just in the past few months, acts such as TuNe-YarDs, Phosphorescent, Sharon Van Etten, Apex Manor and OFF! have performed there. These are big names in indie rock today, and the roster of Red Palace alumni just keeps on growing. Crazy, I know, but that’s what happens when you bring a real live rock club into a community of music lovers. And you are music lovers, right? Of course you are. Music can be many things to many people but if there is one universal truth it’s that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE loves music. So rejoice! We have a scene at last! There will always be a great show at the 9:30 (I was there last night) but there’s something about walking out of your door and heading down the street to catch your favorite artist that’s always going to be just a little bit sweeter.

My goal here is to let you know what’s coming up and what you shouldn’t miss. Sure, the more of you that come out, the more packed these clubs will get, but the bands never mind and neither should you. Also, for the time being I’m mostly going to be covering the H Street side of things, but as more clubs open up you can be sure they’ll be on the list. There’s definitely room, and demand for more live music venues on the Hill (I’m looking at you 7th St/Eastern Market) but we’re just not there yet. It’s going to take a little bit more time and a lot more hands in the air at the shows. But we’ll get there.

So how about we get down to business. Want to rock this weekend? Well you’re going to have to decide exactly how because H Street is packed with good music this Friday and Saturday.

First up there’s the band Other Lives at The Red Palace. Hailing from Oklahoma the band mixes folk, Fleet Foxian harmonies and orchestral arrangements into a sound that can best be described as “country and Western Radiohead”. They are on the road supporting the release of their excellent new album Tamer Animals right now, and you should make it a point to catch them in a venue this size while you still can.

Feel like dancing instead? How about the band Cults playing at the Rock and Roll hotel the very same night. This duo from New York takes 50’s girl rock and moves straight into the future without losing any of what made those do-wops and hand claps so good in the first place. Their latest record, Cults, only came out this past Tuesday, but already it’s earned a permanent place in my playlist and threatens to be one of the most fun records of the year. This should be a great show that I’ll sadly be missing, but hey, more dancing room for you, right?

Moving on to Saturday you’ll be faced with an equally challenging choice. Like your indie rock punky, with a slightly British flair? Well then you’ll love The Postelles. They too are touring in support of their self titled album. And fans of bands like The Strokes or Elvis Costello and the Attractions should run, not walk to The Red Palace Saturday night.

Thinking to yourself that this is just not my thing? How about red hot (volcanic) salsa from Richmond, VA of all places. The band Bio Ritmo will be taking over the Rock and Roll Hotel and it’s unclear whether the place will be left standing when their finished. In a previous life I spent about 10 years down in Richmond, and I mean to tell you that these guys are the best of the best, so if you feel like dancing, want to impress your lady/man or just see some damn fine musicians doing what they do, make sure that your are safe inside 1353 H Street NE when the party gets started at 9:30 pm sharp.

So that’s it for this week. Hope to see everyone out at the show!


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