Mexo-Americana band David Wax Museum is pretty psyched to play U Street Music Hall on Nov. 21, but they’re definitely not above performing at a good house show. Though vocalists and instrumentalists David Wax and Susan “Suz” Slezak have roots in Boston, some of the duo’s fondest memories were forged during nights spent playing shows in D.C. living rooms.
We spoke with Wax earlier this week to preview the band’s upcoming show:
Borderstan: What are your expectations for U Street Music Hall?
David Wax: I think the sense I’ve got is that it’s like a little bit more of like a sweaty rock group than the 9:30 Club, which has a little bit of that kind of like majestic rock room feel. I think that to [perform in] a packed U Street Music Hall is going to feel really good.
Susan’s from Virginia, that’s where we live nowadays so we started coming to D.C. really early on and building up. One of the most unique ways of building up the band for us in terms of doing these 15 house concerts in D.C.
I feel like we’ve made a real personal connection with a lot of our fans there and [I] kind of really just won people over one person at a time and one living room at a time. There’s just a real special vibe when we play D.C. People who have got to see us from our earliest early stages have kind of grown along with the band.
Take me back to some of those house shows starting out. How did you get hooked up with them and what was your very first house show in D.C. like?
There was a guy I grew up with in Missouri who was living in D.C. and he organized the first one and he sat in with us. He was someone who played with us a lot when we were in D.C. And so he was kind of a real, you know, person that was super involved in community life there and was able to get 40 people together in a living room to see a band that nobody’s ever heard of.
It was kind of like a raucous party with 40 people in a room and a little house in D.C. and I think from that, three or four people that saw us there were like, oh, could you do this at my place? There was just like an instant like oh, I wanna have this at my house and have my friends come and see this.
And so it really like was this kind of viral thing that just something kind of resonated with people. And there was a high concentration of young people in their 20s that, you know, were connected and could get a bunch of people together. It really fit with what peoples’ interests were and there was just some kind of line that really clicked.
Has the comfort level changed now that you’re playing in actual music venues?
In some ways you’re almost more exposed than the house show setting. Both Susan and I have been really comfortable performing since we were little kids and that’s what really draws us to being in the band. One of the most sustaining parts of the stress is getting to perform every night. There’s lessons to be learned about what connected with people in the house concert setting and the feeling of community and intimacy that you have to work harder to create in the larger venue.
We’ve been in D.C. a couple times at the 9:30 Club where we just came out in the middle of the room and everyone sat down on the floor and I feel like we’ve been able to have that kind of intimacy in those experiences that feel like some kind of sense that there’s like a transcendence.
That’s why I play music and that’s why we go and hear music. That’s why live music is still relevant to people and matters in peoples’ lives.
This interview was edited for length and clarity. Photo by Todd Roeth.
From Willis Shawver. Follow him on Twitter at @WShawver or email him at Willis[AT]borderstan.com.
Apparently, in order to accurately describe Burning Man, you have to experience the festival first hand. Well, Borderstan, you might just get your chance this weekend.
Held in the desert of northern Nevada, this annual event features art installations, parades, a temple, and culminates in the ritual burning of a large wooden effigy. Along with the body paint, wind, and sand, another large portion of the Burning Man experience is the music. Lucky for us, a taste of that music is coming to the District this weekend.
The non-profit electronic music collective DISTRIKT is bringing the sounds of Burning Man to U Street Music Hall this Sunday night, May 26. The show will feature a selection of the latest techno, house, breaks, and electro music.
Techno/house producer Carlo Lio will headline the event along with special appearances by DJs Ben Seagren and DJ Kramer. Local DC artist Fort Knox Five will also take the stage along with Austin, Texas performer DJ Manny of Los Bandidos Cosmicos.
So if you’re not quite ready for a week out in the desert, perhaps a night out on U Street will bring you that much closer to the Burning Man experience.
UK-based D.J.s Bailey and Boca 45 will spin the music along with Thunderball, Fort Knox Five and DC’s own drum’n’bass legend DJ Slant, who will close out the night.
Throughout the evening, DC Brau will promote its “Citizen” beer, and from 10 to 11 pm will provide free DC Brau “Citizen” along with shots of Grand Marnier for the mixed “Grand Citizen.”
Brightest Young Things announces the news that U Street Music Hall and 9:30 Club formed an alliance. The agreement on paper makes a lot of sense – U Street Music Hall will feature up and coming acts in the 9:30 Club’s Back Bar; 9:30 Club will present up and coming artists and electronic acts at U Street Music Hall.
The alliance provides some revenue and street cred for 9:30 Club and the cache of the 9:30 name for acts over at U Street Music Hall. For the fans, though, it’s a win-win kind of deal. A smaller venue at U Street provides an intimate setting for people to get up close and personal with their favorite acts.
As someone that geeked out over meeting Kim from Los Campesinos! this weekend, I can relate. What is NOT mentioned is any indication this move is to counter the influence of the newly opened Fillmore in Silver Spring (previous coverage at Washingtonian).
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.
And finally, save the date for two more fun things happening next week…
- September 15: Dupont Ping Pong Dim Sum’s grand opening party, with tickets starting at $35.
- September 17: Urban Adventures Premier Party at 1612 U Street NW. RSVP for entry here.
From Michelle Lancaster. Got news for Michelle? Send her an email.
We’re leading with world news and not a local item, so go ahead and pull a Snyder and sue me. The events unfolding in Egypt are something you absolutely need to know about, particularly since today may be the largest turn out in Tahrir Square. Get up to date with this Voice of America article.
Shakeups Here in DC: WJLA Takes Over Operations of TBD
The Washington Post teased the news on Twitter and then announced that WJLA-Channel 7 would be immediately taking over operations of TBD.com on Thursday. The move seems to indicate a return to the old school, as previous names and identities will be returned to the television station, WJLA will get its own website and TBD.com will remain as is. Be on the lookout for more chatter and potential fallout as the story evolves. Allbritton Communications owns WJLA, News Channel 8 (now called TBD TV), TBD.com and Politico as well as some out-of-town media outlets.
DC-based philanthropy startup, Citizen Effect, is celebrating its first anniversary with a benefit concert to support five projects in DC, the U.S. and abroad.
“Crank Up The Cause” is Thursday, Dec. 9 at 6 pm at U Street Music Hall. Tickets are $10. Crank Up The Cause will feature live performances by DJ KC of Fatback, Will Rast and DJ Magnus Magnusson.
All guests will receive a $10 voucher at the door so that they can make a donation to the project of their choice.
Guests can choose to donate to the following causes: Dreams for Kids (DC, USA), Partners of the Americas (Latin America), Earthspark International (Haiti), Catholic Charities of New Orleans (Gulf Coast, USA) and Mekane Yesus Church (Ethiopia).
Organizers promise that your $10 voucher donation gets you a “swanky button” and a drink.
Citizen Effect will be giving away dozens of raffle prizes including a three-day, two- night deluxe package at the Long Dell Inn on Cape Cod, a six-month pass to STROGA, gift baskets from LUSH Cosmetics, and gift certificates to DC favorites including The Reef, Ben’s Chili Bowl, The DINER, Capitol Hemp and more.