by Borderstan.com November 28, 2011 at 8:00 am 1,802 1 Comment

Miss Pixies Furnishings & Whatnot, Logan Circle stores, Luis Gomez Photos

Miss Pixie’s Furnishings and Whatnot at 1626 14th Street NW. Yes, her pink Christmas Tree is up, too. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Mike Kohn. Got some news for Mike? Find him on Twitter @mike_kohn or drop him a line at [email protected].

Rest in Peace“Black Cat Bill” Very Much Alive

November 30 Update and Correction: “Black Cat Bill” is very much alive. The Washington City Paper‘s Ryan Little even paid a visit to William “Willy” Turner. Our original story is below. We regret that our information was incorrect — apologies all around, including to Mr. Turner. – The editors

We Love DC shared the sad news that Black Cat Bill had passed away a few days ago. They said it best, Bill, “the unofficial doorman for the Black Cat on 14th Street NW… was is an institution… for years and years, panhandling in front of the rock club, his signature call of ‘Black Cat, Black Cat, how bout a little change for the homeless,’ is familiar to anyone who ever caught a show at the Cat.”

Walking in Winter Wonderland

The first sign of the impending winter holidays (which looks a lot closer on this side of Thanksgiving) is here! The National Christmas Tree is up, according to the National Park Service. This year’s tree replaces a previous Colorado blue spruce that was replanted on the Ellipse after the previous tree was damaged by a wind storm in February of this year. The lighting of the tree will take place on December 1 from 5 to 6 pm, and the Pathway, featuring trees to represent US states and territories, will run from December 6 to 23, daily from 11 am to 11 pm.

Guardian (Shopping) Angels

This year, the Guardian Angels were out in force, protecting citizens during the craziness that is Black Friday, according to Washington City Paper. Not only did they hand out safety tips, but they also escorted patrons from stores to cars and public transportation and identifying criminals in action, sometimes making citizens’ arrests! We’ll all look forward to seeing the stats from this year’s holiday season. An early thank you to anyone who participated!

by Borderstan.com September 7, 2011 at 8:43 pm 1,447 3 Comments

Black Cat, Borderstan, live music, Luis Gomez Photos

It’s a big weekend for live music in Borderstan and beyond. Laura tells you what’s on tap. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Laura Herman of LauraLikesThis. Laura is also a contributor over at Brightest Young Things and you can find her on Twitter @Lmhhabs. Email her at [email protected].

Usually the word “weekend” is music to my ears, but it’s especially true this week when there’s so much music on tap over the next few days (what, did you think I was going to sing?). Here’s a roundup of local Borderstan and DC area picks for what to do, see, eat and hear this weekend.

Thursday, September 8

  • First, leave B-stan (briefly) to stop by Georgetown’s Fashion’s Night Out. More than 100 stores and restaurants will be offering specials, giveaways and other treats. Including Rue 14 (1803A 14th Street NW) in Borderstan. Swing by for outfir consultations, a DJ, finger food and champagne. Fashion’s Night Out is always a good time, so peruse the full list different participants and activities here and get ready to shop ’till you drop…
  • …Drop it like it’s hot on the dance floor, that is. Maybe I’m a little biased since I’m helping to host, but The Blaguard (2003 18th Street NW) will be the.place.to.be. on Thursday night. DJs Ben and Zach of Ridgewood Social Club will be spinning original mash-ups at this inaugural Blaguard Thursday Night fete and there will be drink specials and surprises galore. Plus, I’ll be there! 10 pm. More info and RSVP here.
  • Orrrrrr, you could go see Ghostland Observatory at 9:30 Club (7 pm doors) — one of my faves, can’t wait to see them later this weekend — or swing by U Street Music Hall for a mega dance fest featuring Titsworth and Klever (10 pm).

Friday, September 9

  • Catch a bikram yoga class after work (Jana’s review is spot on).
  • Then, swing by weekly Friday Night Frights (two eps of Tales from the Crypt and drink specials) beginning at 7 pm at Black Cat and then stick around for the Grouplove show at 9 pm. Here’s one of my faves.
  • For something slightly more chill, check out Peter Bjorn at the 9:30 Club. 8 pm doors.

Saturday, September 10

  • FreeeeeeeeeeeeFessssssst! Head out to Merriweather for Virgin Mobile FreeFest, probably the best *free* concert you’ll ever go to. The line up is seriously awesome… this is worth the trek. If you are car-less like me, BYT and some other folks are organizing a bus and spots are going fast. More info here.
  • In the evening, ChurchKey (1337 14 Street NW) is hosting a jazz benefit from 2 to 6 pm featuring North Coast Brewing Company beers and live jazz. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.
  • Then head down the street to Pearl Dive Oyster Bar‘s (1612 14th Street NW) pre-opening charity cocktail party, which begins at 6 pm and benefits juvenile diabetes. $30 advance tickets include passed snacks and support the cause. Cash bar.

Sunday, September 11

  • Pause. Do something that’s meaningful to you 10 years after September 11, 2001.
  • At night, go see Toro y Moi at Black Cat. Their last DC show was crazy sold out, so I’d recommend snagging tix in advance here. 8 pm.

Next Weekend

And finally, save the date for two more fun things happening next week…

by Borderstan.com August 26, 2011 at 10:20 am 1,653 5 Comments

DC State Fair, foodnewsie.com, Columbia Heights Day

Organizers of the DC State Fair and Columbia Heights Day were forced to postpone or cancel Saturday’s events. (Photo from Bryan at foodnewsie.com)

From Laura Herman of LauraLikesThis. Laura is also a contributor over at Brightest Young Things and you can find her on Twitter @Lmhhabs. Email her at [email protected]

It seems like we all have two options this weekend:

  1. Give in to earthquaccaneapocalypse and plan to wait out the storm (Come on, Irene) with lots of bottled water, candles and movies, or
  2. Brave the storm, get up and go this weekend, because there are still a ton of things going on.

Of course please be safe if Hurricane Irene lives up to all the hype, but I’d encourage you to grab your slicker and get on this weekend lineup:

Friday, August 26

  • Michael Jackson Birthday Celebration for the ages Celebrate MJ at 9:30 Club (815 V Street NW) presented by DJ Dredd. Doors at 9, tickets $15. Go prepared to dance.your.face.off.
  • You could also go check out weekly Friday Night Frights at Black Cat (1811 14 Street NW) and stick around for the Modern Man show at 9 pm, with openers Harper Blynn (really good) and The Dustys.

Saturday, August 27

  • UPDATE: Organizers were forced to cancel Columbia Heights Day. The good news is that the DC State Fair has only been postponed and entries for DC State Fair have been reopened. Columbia Heights Day and the DC State Fair are on todayrain or shine. Head uphill to C-Heights to celebrate the neighborhood festival featuring live music, vendors, a petting zoo (if that’s your thing?), and lots and lots of food trucks. Last year, my friend was crowned “King of Columbia Heights” and we stole his scepter later in the night. Good times, good times. Follow @ColHeightsDay for more info. Location for both events is 11th and Kenyon Streets NW on the Harriet Tubman Elementary School Field.
  • At night , it’s a pretty fair toss up between two reliably awesome dance parties: Bliss at U Street Music Hall (1115A U Street NW), or On and On at Black Cat (1811 14th Street NW).

Sunday, August 28

  • Artjamz also wraps up its summer residency at the Corcoran this weekend, so stop by and check it out. Plus, museums are always a good rainy day activity.

There you have it. What are YOU doing this weekend, Borderstan? Let us know what we missed, and stay dry out there.

by Borderstan.com April 13, 2011 at 10:19 pm 0

Borderstan, Laura's Weekend Picks, Luis Gomez Photos

See what Laura has planned for the weekend. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Laura Herman. Follow her on Twitter @Lmhhabs.

Well hello there, Borderstanis. Yet another week has flown by and the weekend is nearly upon us. Lots going on locally this weekend:

Thursday. Ever since an unseasonably warm start to the week, I’ve had sundresses on my mind. If you’re also itching to put away your sweaters and break out the spring wardrobe, start your weekend off at ReadysetDC’s fashion:district Spring/Summer 2011 show this Thursday, April 14, 2011 at the Longview Gallery (1234 9th Street NW).

The event includes a full-length runway show and pop-up shops featuring local influential and innovative designers including; ARTAYA, Clockwise Clothing, Derringer Friday, Durkl, Ginger Root Design, Hugh & Crye and SAINTCHiC. Doors open at 7 pm, the show begins at 9 pm, and tickets are still available for purchase here. Proceeds from ticket sales also benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. What a tres chic way to support local business and a good cause.

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by Borderstan.com April 13, 2011 at 10:25 am 2,027 1 Comment

Washington City Paper, Council candidate forum, Borderstan, Luis Gomez Photos

Tuesday evening: The City Paper’s forum for five candidates in the DC Council At-Large race was at the Black Cat. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Matty Rhoades

The seemingly endless long march toward the April 26 special election for an At-Large City Council seat continued Tuesday evening with yet another candidate forum. If this is Tuesday, we must be at… the Black Cat. (Okay, this was only my second forum, but the media coverage alone is wearing me down.) The difference between the candidates on a number of issues is minimal (Corruption Bad! Education Good!) and anyone would be hard pressed to compete with the antics coming from the Wilson Building right now.

Check out Borderstan’s non-political profiles of candidates Bryan Weaver and Patrick Mara… look for Josh Lopez Thursday.

Bryan Weaver, DC Council candidate forum, Black Cat, Luis Gomez Photos, Borderstan

Under the table: Council candidate Bryan Weaver’s shoes. (Luis Gomez Photos)

But onward the candidates march and last night’s forum was sponsored by The Washington City Paper — the paper’s Loose Lips column to be more specific. The requirement for an invitation was that a candidate had to have 10% support in a poll or have raised at least $10,000 in campaign contributions.

The five candidates out of the nine in the race who passed the test were Joshua Lopez, Patrick Mara, Vincent Orange, Sekou Biddle and Bryan Weaver. The questions came from CP’s Alan Suderman (the current Loose Lips), NBC Channel 4’s Tom Sherwood and “DC Politics” host Chuck Thies.

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by Borderstan.com March 31, 2011 at 11:00 pm 1,370 0

National Cherry Blossom Festival, Luis Gomez Photos, Borderstan

The cherry blossoms are in full bloom this weekend. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Laura Herman. Follow her on Twitter @Lmhhabs.

March Madness Final Four! Opening Day! Cricket World Cup! Like it or not, sporting events are everywhere you turn this weekend. So do it right, and head to your favorite local sports bar to catch a game. My pick is Touchdown at 1334 U Street NW, a relative newcomer that’s already made a splash through their unique take on the classic sports bar concept, complete with local art and international flair. You can read my review of their soft opening party here.

In and around your March Madness schedule (if you  still care), it’s worth it to wake up early on Saturday morning to head over to Touchdown for their Cricket World Cup viewing party as Sri Lanka and India face off in the final. Touchdown’s doors open at 6 am on Saturday in time for the game, and they’ll be offering a special breakfast menu until midnight. Alcoholic beverage service begins at 8 am and don’t worry, you are definitely allowed to disco nap after this one.

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by Borderstan.com March 10, 2011 at 8:27 am 0

Mid-City Shop & Save Showcase, The Capitol Deal

Saturday: Toucan Boutique on 9th Street NW is one of the participating stores in the Mid-City Shop & Save Showcase with The Capitol Deal. (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Laura Herman. You can follow Laura on Twitter @Lmhhabs.

Ahhh, the weekend in between Mardi Gras and Saint Patty’s Day. Are we going to even try to venture out this weekend, or will it be spent catching up on sleep, movies and Vitamin C?

If you’re on the fence, I’d encourage you to make it out this weekend. Here are some ideas for local, low-key fun.

If you’re going out on Friday night, check out On & On at BlackCat, featuring funky house, hip-hop, electrofunk and other disco jams courtesy of DJs Autorock and Danny Harris of Fatback fame. Doors are at 9:30 and tickets sold that night are $5.

On Saturday, March 12, make sure to check out The Capitol Deal‘s Mid-City Shop & Save Showcase from noon to 7 pm.

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by Borderstan.com January 20, 2011 at 10:26 am 1,095 1 Comment

Laura Herman.

Borderstan welcomes Laura Herman, who will be contributing local weekend picks and profiling different events, happy hours, and neighborhood spots each week. Laura is a healthcare consultant by day but a D.C. nightlife, food and drink enthusiast by night. Originally from New Jersey, she moved to town from Boston after graduation. Laura has lived in Borderstan (the Dupont part) since June 2009 and hangs out a lot in the Dupont, U Street and 14th Street areas. She enjoys sitting at the 17th Street dog park on weekends, wishing that she had a dog (which she admits creeps out the actual dog owners). Follow Laura on Twitter @Lmhhabs or send her an email.

The weekend at the end of a four-day workweek always feels like it can’t come soon enough. Even though this week was short, I found myself dreaming about Friday night while I was walking to work on Tuesday morning.

Well, good news — the weekend’s almost here! And even though we’re now in the middle of winter, there’s no shortage of fun things going on in the Borderstan ‘hood this weekend. Here are my picks for this weekend:

Weekends can start on Thursday if you’re lucky or just… motivated. Check out a new happy hour venue this Thursday night while hoping that the forecast of possible evening snow actually comes true. If you haven’t already been, I really like Veritas for a low key drink and conversation.

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by Borderstan.com January 13, 2011 at 5:30 am 2,330 10 Comments

Live music in Borderstan Luis Gomez Photos

Danny reviews the most awesome concerts of 2010. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Danny Shapiro is an avid music lover who has the good fortune to live very close the music scene on the 14th and U Street corridor. A list of his previous reviews is at the bottom of this column. Comments or questions? Send Danny an email.

Hello again music lovers!  Before we turn the page and embark on a new year of amazing shows in the District, it would behoove us to reflect on the year of great live music that was 2010.

After scouring all of my ticket stubs, Facebook updates, and calendar notes to recall my 2010 shows attended, the following is my top 10 list of the best concerts of 2010 as attended by me, Danny. (I apologize for being a bit tardy in getting this up, as everyone else in the world was doing ‘best of’ retrospective lists last month, but better late than never!)

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by Borderstan.com December 29, 2010 at 7:12 am 1,311 2 Comments

Live music in Borderstan Luis Gomez Photos

Where is Danny going this weekend for live music? (Luis Gomez Photos)

From Danny Shapiro

Happy New Year, fellow music lovers! I hope you’re all reflecting on a great year of unforgettable concerts, stellar new bands, and standout albums to keep your iPods chugging along well into 2011.

In case you’re still searching for the perfect way to spend the upcoming weekend, here are some brilliant events happening right here in the Borderstan neighborhood! See you all at the gigs in the New Year!

Friday, January 31 @ the Black Cat

Black Cat New Years Party (Doors 8 pm, $25)

Come celebrate the turn of 2011 with Peaches O’Dell and her Orchestra, offering a smorgasbord of dance tunes from the past: swing dance music, 30s-40s romance, Latin rhumbas and tangos, “jump swing,” and a stop through hits of the 1950s.

For the same entrance fee, you can also check out a second DJ dance party in the backroom with DJ Dredd and Grap Luva. Two parties in one equals a great way to count down to midnight! Twentieth century period costumes optional.

Check out our profile: Music 2010: The Passion of Danny Shapiro. Question for Danny? Send him an email.

Friday, January 31 @ 9:30 Club

Spend New Years Eve with Gogol Bordello

This show is sold out, unfortunately, but if you can find an extra ticket, grab it faster than one can say “Gogol Bordello.”

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by Borderstan.com December 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm 1,590 1 Comment

Black Cat Velvet Lounge 9:30 Club

Danny Shapiro offers up live music suggestions for the weekend at four DC venues. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Danny Shapiro is an avid music lover who has the good fortune to live very close the music scene on the 14th and U corridor. A list of his previous reviews is at the bottom of this column. Comments or questions? Send Danny an email.

• • • • • •

Music lovers, rejoice! With the incredibly rainy week behind us, the sun is now shining on a weekend chock full o’ great local gigs. I’ve painstakingly sorted through the sundry offerings and given you my top four picks below. See you at the shows!

Friday, Dec. 3: Political Scandal Begets Rock Opera Genius

Dirty Bomb ‘Welcome Back, Jack’ Release Party @ Velvet Lounge ($10)

If I told you that one of the most notorious political criminals of the past generation, Jack Abramoff, would be the inspiration and protagonist/(antagonist?) for a DC journalist-cum-musician’s entrée into the rock genre, would you believe me? Well, come see the performance of Dirty Bomb‘s rock opera ‘King of the Hill’ with your own eyes on Friday night.

‘King of the Hill’ incorporates factual details from the Abramoff scandal, with all of the emotion, drama, ambition, greed, and paranoia that only the world of the lobbyist could espouse so fondly. Launched onto the DC scene at the National Press Club’s Battle of the Bands ‘Journopalooza’ in January 2010, the performance will be every hard rock lover/politico’s dream come true.

And, for just a tenner you’ll get an action-packed triple billing; support acts Poor But Sexy (local yacht-rockers) and soul band JC Brooks & the Uptown Kids round out the night’s stellar set.

Check out more Dirty Bomb info at their official website.

Saturday, Dec. 4: Ladies, Take the Reins

Warpaint @ Rock and Roll Hotel ($12 adv/$14)

No plans yet for Saturday night? Sorted. Exploding onto the scene this year, Warpaint are a quartet of Los Angeles-based indie-rock mavens who have taken by firestorm the music scene on both sides of the pond. Gracing the District’s H Street NE corridor on the verge of embarking on a world tour in support of their debut LP, ‘Fool’ (Rough Trade Records), these ladies are not to be missed.

Warpaint shine with their lush harmonies, haunting post-punk guitar rhythms, and walking bass lines that hypnotically bring you into the focus of lead singer Emily Kokal’s unapologetic messages of austere independence. Originally gaining credence on the LA scene by scoring a #1 EP on Ameoba Records’ local artists chart with 2009’s Exquisite Corpse, Warpaint have blossomed and delivered the type of debut album that will stand the test of time.

Check out their MySpace page as well as the band’s official website for further evidence of their greatness.

Sunday, Dec. 5: Jazz Days of Yesteryear, Revisited

CapitolBop’s Jazz Loft @ Red Door, 443 I St. NW

During the Bebop era of American musical history, the Jazz Loft of New York City was a metropolitan institution; friends would gather at the top of an apartment for a trove of jazz-in-the-round treasures. Musicians across the jazz spectrum would trade off performances, culminating in a capstone sonorous jam session to end the night right.

The first-ever D.C. Jazz Loft, created by CapitolBop, is inspired by this platform, and will highlight the District’s supreme cadre of improvisational musicians, ranging from bebop, to free-jazz, to fusion, and beyond. For a truly unique night out, with free entry to boot (a small donation is requested to support the night’s fees) take a trip back in time to experience the best in jazz improv.

For an added bonus, perhaps we DC bicycle lovers can recycle our Dandies & Quaintrelles DC Tweed Ride outfits!?

Sunday, Dec. 5: Gather ‘Round the Campfire, BYOS’mores

Stornoway @ Black Cat ($10 adv/$12)

If you’re a fan of the Fleet Foxes, Travis, Liam Finn, and the Gaslight Anthem, you’ll be an instant fan of Stornoway. Taking the UK by storm, we are quite lucky to have Stornoway in our own 14th Street backyard. Their music brilliantly layers banjos, electric riffs, keyboards, and harmonic vocals into a soulful purity that sounds refreshingly and distinctly apart from their aforementioned musical peers.

I guarantee the show will be a trip back to your favorite local campsite, and the bonfire you and your friends gathered around to celebrate youth’s freedom. The indie rock influence thrives amidst their country swing, and the results are fantastic. Grab a friend or three and close the weekend right with this fantastic group. Visit the band’s MySpace page and official website to discover their catalogue of hits.

Previous Posts from Danny

by Borderstan.com November 22, 2010 at 10:43 am 6,008 3 Comments

9:30 Club Danny Shaprio

This week Danny takes you through the process of attending a concert at DC’s 9:30 Club. (Danny Shapiro)

Danny Shapiro is an avid music lover who has the good fortune to live very close the music scene on the 14th and U corridor. A list of his previous reviews is at the bottom of this column. Comments or questions? Send Danny an email.

And now, for something different.

Attending dozens and dozens (and dozens) of concerts over the past year, I’ve acquired a sharp perception of what makes a good show: where to find tickets, when to arrive, where to stand inside and how to have a supreme gig experience. I’d like to take this opportunity to pay it forward.

A story in three acts, ‘Anatomy of a Concert’ dissects the world of my three favorite venues in DC — 9:30 Club, Black Cat, Rock & Roll Hotel — and exposes the ultimate and best methods for enjoying the show, according to Danny, the resident Borderstan expert. (This is also a live forum for debate; if you disagree with me, leave a comment below and/or send me an email!)

Staying in DC for Thanksgiving? Danny’s picks for this week: Tuesday, Nov. 23 @ Black Cat (JUNIP – Jose Gonzalez, Elias Araya, Tobias Winterkorn) ($15)… Wednesday, Nov. 24 @ 9:30 Club: Carbon Leaf ($25)… Saturday, Nov. 27 @ 9:30 Club: KT Tunstall, Hurricane Bells ($25)… and Monday, Nov. 29 @ 9:30 Club: Brandon Flowers ($30). Check out Danny’s additional recs for shows through the year’s end.

Of the 1,200-capacity crowd at my favorite venue in DC (and perhaps the world), I want you to be the most well-informed, advantageously positioned, and most highly entertained patron inside the 9:30 Club. Here is my simple tripartite surgical-like procedure to follow.

Step 1, Betadine: Tickets

Finding tickets for the best shows begins the process, and this requires a certain sense of agility. All 9:30 Club shows are sold via Ticketfly, and you can also navigate the 9:30 Club’s website to purchase tickets. (I prefer the Ticketfly site).

New shows are announced on Ticketfly every Thursday (mark your calendars!). Not every show will go on sale at that time, so pay attention to ‘on-sale’ dates for hot tickets (for example, My Chemical Romance’s presale was announced on Thursday of last week, with an on-sale date for Saturday, 11/19. Within minutes on Saturday morning, the show sold out).

“But I don’t know any of the upcoming bands” — If I hear that irresponsible statement one more time, I’m going to buy a one-way ticket on the newly-minted ‘Hipster Highway’ bus from H Street NE to Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where at least those kids have the initiative to discover new music! Jump onto MySpace, YouTube, Grooveshark, etc., and scroll through the discography of some upcoming artists. If the 9:30 Club deemed them worthy of their venue, I’d say there is some talent worth seeing.

Fees (!) Whenever possible, I prefer to buy tickets at the box office in order to avoid service fee ($4.75 per ticket) and order processing ($4.00 per order). The 9:30 Club box office is open every day a show takes place, as well as during the day on the weekends. Always call ahead to double-check before you make the trek over (202-265-0930). If you can’t make it to the box office, here’s a hint: purchase multiple tickets online at once, so you pay only one processing fee. At the Ticketfly checkout page, click on the link for another gig and keep adding to your order.

Step 2, Scalpel: Arrival and Entry

Finally, the sold-out concert day has arrived. When the pre-gaming and primping ends, a true 9:30 Club connoisseur should have an arrival and entry strategy.

First, check the 9:30 Club website for the ‘doors open’ time. For sold out shows, a long line of die-hard fans will begin to accrue far prior to this time. Fear not, fellow music lovers. That long line — sometimes stretching way down V Street and around the corner–only fills about the first 1/3 of the 9:30 Club floor space. To illustrate, that initial eager crowd to fill the front 1/3 of the floor is always the most sardine-like grouping and will only detract from the night’s enjoyment. And, the quality of sound and spatial surrounding is superior starting behind this front 1/3.

For those with Will Call tickets, take note of two separate lines: (1) will call line next to the window along the brick wall (where you want to be) and (2) main entry line (where you don’t want to be), so make sure you don’t join that latter keen queue. Once collected, I sincerely recommend frequenting a nearby establishment for a pre-concert beverage or snack until the initial wave wanes.

Following this first tranche, make your move and go inside. Once past the security and ticket check, the time is ripe to stake out the best spot in the house. From my experience, the 9:30 Club floor offers best concert experience this side of the Mississippi. The balcony offers a great bird’s eye view — and may be better suited for those who fear the Tallest Man On Earth standing directly in front of him/her — but nothing compares to the floor.

Tips to make your way to the ‘sweet spot’ right in the middle of the floor: Upon getting your 8:15 or 9:30 stamp, walk past the first entrance on the right and meander down the narrow corridor ahead of you, past the bathrooms until you reach the far side of the floor (stage right). The crowd is usually thinner on this side (away from the merch table), and will allow you to meander your way to the ‘sweet spot’ of the floor, center stage 2/3 back.

Rule of thumb: always stand behind someone who is slightly shorter than you.

Step 3, Needle & Thread: Showtime & Departure

Here are a few tips once you’ve staked your claim on the floor:

Earplugs! Earplugs! Earplugs! — We concert fiends don’t want to let the experience of incredible live music leaving us audibly impaired. Therefore, earplugs are essential. The merch table sells earplugs for a buck, grab a napkin from the bar and bunch it into each ear, or buy professionally fitted earplugs. Your future self will thank you.

Eat, drink (water) and be merry! — The 9:30 Club has its own made-to-order easy access cuisine, ‘Food Food’, located stage right on the floor next to the bar. The selection of wraps, sandwiches, and snacks–with great vegetarian options–is affordable and quite tasty. If you’ve arrived to the gig on an empty stomach, make your way over to the lighted yellow & red sign. (Note: ‘Food Food’ closes about halfway through the show).

In addition to the high quality ample selection of 9:30 Club beers, every bar in the house offers free pitchers of ice water. A concertgoer must stay hydrated throughout the night, so don’t feel embarrassed to pass on the beer and just stick to the H2O. It’s a great way to save money, too!

Head-Start Out! As a New Yorker, a major pet peeve of mine is waiting in line behind slow people. Therefore, I find it prudent to make a beeline for the exit as soon as (and even get a head start towards the rear slightly before) the artist says goodnight after the final encore. You’ll save some time (and frustration) by not inching slowly outside behind the other 1,199 folks.

Don’t Leave Empty-Handed! — The 9:30 Club plasters its walls with concert posters for upcoming gigs. Patrons are not prohibited from pulling the posters off the wall and bringing them home as a souvenir. If you see your favorite band in poster form, feel free to bring it home as a free gift. It makes great room decorations; anyone who has seen my bedroom wall can attest.

Most of All: Have Fun!

My favorite memories of the past year center around 9:30 Club concerts. So many bands express gratitude for playing at the iconic venue, so wise up and take heed to my advice, readers. The greatest concerts await you.

Previous Posts from Danny

by Borderstan.com November 5, 2010 at 12:16 pm 2,345 0

14th Street NW U Street NW 9:30 Club Black Cat

Danny Shapiro has three great gigs picked out for this weekend, plus recs for the rest of the year in the 14th and U Street area. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Danny Shapiro is an avid music lover who has the good fortune to live very close the music scene on the 14th and U corridor. A list of his previous reviews is at the bottom of this column.

Concertgoers! The end of the week is upon us, which means we have three nights of work-free obligation to patronize the local live music scene. And, with no exception, this weekend’s neighborhood offerings are second to none, satiating all of your indie music hearts to the fullest.

Here are my quick picks for this weekend, Nov. 5-7.

Tonight: Friday, Nov. 5

Scouse Rockers in the District (The Anti-‘Fab Four’): Clinic @ Rock & Roll Hotel

For rock lovers looking to discover artists who dare to step outside the boundaries of four-chord progressions and sappy love songs, check out this Liverpool, England-based alternative/experimental indie band. An eclectic and enticing sound, Clinic is a mix of soft yet impassioned vocals from frontman Ade Blackburn, lush instrumentation that layers thumping electric guitar lines, keyboard, and offbeat drum arrangements.

Head out to H Street NE and make their trip across the pond worthwhile! Check them out on MySpace to hear more.

Saturday, Nov. 6

Indie Pop’s Reigning Darlings: Freelance Whales @ Black Cat

Treat yourself to a Saturday night of pure pop joy and check out this show. Strumming banjos and rhythm guitars, lush melodies to lure you into Judah Dadone’s sweet & somber lyrics, and a full cadre of backing instrumentation to cap it all (harmonium, synthesizers, glockenspiel, mandolin, percussion et al), this band is the 2010 version of the 2003 Ben Gibbard/Jenny Lewis breakthrough pairing ‘Postal Service.’

Not to be missed for the true indie lovers out there. Visit their MySpace page here for further proof.

Sunday, Nov. 7

Toe-Tapping Folk, with a Side of Broken Heart – Matt Costa @ Black Cat

Matt Costa has built his following through touring alongside fellow guitar strumming crooners Jack Johnson, Modest Mouse, Oasis, Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, G. Love and Special Sauce, and Death Cab For Cutie. However, the time is ripe for this Huntington Beach-based to grace the marquis.

Staying to the tried-and-true singer-songwriter accoutrements piano/guitar/harmonica, the breezy and instantly lovable music will give us – if just for one night – a true Indian summer escape from the 14th Street dreary weather to the sunny beaches of Cali. A full array of tunage is available on the MySpace.

On The Lookout

Upcoming Shows for the Borderstan Area

Check out my picks for the best in live gigs for the remainder of 2010:

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by Borderstan.com October 14, 2010 at 11:35 pm 2,738 2 Comments

9:30 Club The XX Danny Shapiro

The XX were at the 9:30 Club on Oct. 5. (Danny Shapiro)

From Danny Shapiro

Welcome back. Yesterday I stopped mid-way through my Oct. 5 double-header review with my take on Glasser at the Black Cat. From there it was on to the 9:30 Club…

Based on reader feedback, I’ve got an accompanying post about shows I think you should get tickets for now: On The Lookout: Danny’s Upcoming Must-See Shows.

Tuesday, Oct. 5

Indie World Double Header! Glasser/Gayngs @ Black Cat, + The XX @ 930 Club

After leaving Glasser at the Black Cat, I raced down U Street to the 930 Club. The XX were about to hit the stage in front of a sold-out (and sardine-like) crowd. I managed to squeeze in among the masses just in time for my spot at the “must-see'”show of the evening.

Over the past 12 months, The XX were the indie band that caught everyone’s attention. If you don’t have their eponymous debut, ask any of your close friends and I guarantee that at least 6 of them can lend it to you. Simplistic in structure, the band is a trio of male/female lead vocals, and accompanying electronic rhythm section, helmed by Romy Madley Croft, Oliver Sim and Jamie Smith.

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by Borderstan.com October 14, 2010 at 2:54 pm 2,719 1 Comment

Black Cat Danny Shapiro

Tuesday sound check at Black Cat. (Danny Shapiro)

From Danny Shapiro

Last week I entered a parallel dimension, an overdrive of the concert life of Danny (yes, that is possible). For 4 nights in a row, I bombarded 5 of the best gigs around town. My life revolved around the night; daytime hours only served as filler in advance of the next gig, and (minimal) sleep was but a stopping point in between the rush of it all.

Fully recovered, I can now rehash what was an incredible non-stop journey through inspiring live music.

For my fellow music lovers out there, I can only say this: however omnipresent music can be in your life – iPod, radio, TV – nothing compares to the purest energy and connection that exists between a live stage and its audience.

And last week was no exception. So, get ready for the recap in best moments from last week’s live music offerings.

Based on reader feedback, I’ve got an accompanying post about shows I think you should get tickets for now: On The Lookout: Danny’s Upcoming Must-See Shows.

Sunday, Oct. 3

English Gentleman, Minus the ‘Gentle’ – Foals @ the Black Cat

Foals rock. Plain and simple. Their groovy electric guitar riffs and lead singer Yannis Philippakis’ badass energy makes this Oxford, England-based band totally cool.

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