Long live rock, I need it every night

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


There’s a DJ on WOXY who is partial to the song “Metal Mickey,” by Suede. He played it a few weeks ago and Sacklunch called me and we reminisced about the old days. Suede was the last band that we saw at the old 9:30 Club, at its original location on 9th and F NW. I can’t remember the year exactly but it must have been around 1994-95.

Some people wax nostalgic about how great DC was before gentrification. These people are full of shit. Regarding the old 9:30 Club, specifically—the place was a dump. It was way too small, and no matter where I moved, there was always a pillar blocking my view. The whole place smelled like a evil chemist’s mix of essence of vomit, piss and BO.

In general, the neighborhood around the club was sketchy as fuck—there was nothing down there but wig shops and liquor stores. Across the street were the Vault and Fifth Column nightclubs. We suburban kids used to sneak out of the house and go disco to Depeche Mode, Bronski Beat and whatever gay Eurodisco the DJ felt like spinning. Sacklunch had a fake ID with the name “Jay Gatsby.” We always counted on the club doormen and the Korean liquor store owners not being well-read sorts of fellows. We always got in.

It wasn’t just the neighborhood around 9th and F NW that looked like Escape From New York. 14th Street was the same way. I lived in Mount Pleasant from 1995-97 and depending on what block you were on your Spidey-sense would often kick in and you’d pick up your pace. When you were that far north you didn’t bother to go east of 16th without a good reason. Even parts of Adams-Morgan could be Indian country—ask Sacklunch and Potsy about living on Seaton Street.

I don’t mean to tear it all down although I know it sounds like I am. We all had a blast back then but things are better now. WHFS is long gone but there’s a ton of places on the internet where you can hear great music. There are way more restaurants and bars to hang out in. All the girls dress like sluts now, as opposed to the 1990s, when they dressed like lumberjacks.

And most of all, there’s now a bunch of venues of various sizes to see live music. We had to go to the shitty 9:30, or maybe to spectacularly misnamed DC Space, which was very small and akin to trying to hang out in the space between a midget’s sack and bunghole. Beyond that it was the Cap Centre, or the Patriot Center at George Mason. Poor us.

Anyway, here’s the video for "Metal Mickey." Suede had a cool glam sound that was driven by lead singer Brett Anderson’s unique voice—screechy and femme, but it worked. To bring things full circle, Bernard Butler played guitar for Suede, until leaving the band in 1994. He’s since moved into production, and was the producer for Cookies by Rock Club favorites 1990s.


Jimbromski said...

Man, listening to this sound again, I think Of Montreal's got some 'splaining to do.

Wait, in the spirit of the 90s, I'll paraphrase David Spade: "I listened to Of Montreal, but I liked them better the first time I heard them, when they called Suede."

Potsy said...

Wow. You commented first on your own post. Ah, well, good quote. I liked David Spade's Hollywood Minute on SNL (especially the one with Terri Hatcher).

Potsy said...

Oh, and as for the old 9:30 club, aside from that big pole in the middle of the floor (blocking the view all round), there were the closed circuit tvs up on either side of the stage...

The 5th Column was great. They had chicks dancing in cages elevated above the crowd!

Beyond the 9:30 club, the Black Cat, there was also the Bayou in Georgetown. They had concerts there, although most of them were crap.

Don't forget about the Barrel House on 14th Street. That place rocked/rocks. Yeah, I said rocks.

I also recall driving up 14th Street with my dad when I was like 8 years old, and there were all kinds of hookers up and down the street. Gee dad, thanks for the quality time.

It was a wonderful city back in the day.

Jimbromski said...

The Bayou always had bands like Eddie Money, the Road Ducks, Seldom Scene, that type of classic rock shit.

I remember being confused when I moved back from NY in 2004 about the Black Cat being three doors down from where I remembered it. It was such a short distance that I wasn't really sure it had moved at all.

I know we talked about this last week but I'm still trying to remember the name of that place on 14th, I think it was on the west side of the street, just south of Church St. I saw Remy Zero there--that was the guy that was banging Jennifer Love Hewitt, and I also saw Buckcherry. That was a good place. There was also a place just across Church to the north, they eventually shut down b/c there was all sorts of Latino gang fights going down.

We used to hit Neuman's Liquor on 14th when we were in HS, it was just south of Barrel House.

Jumbo Slice said...

I didn't grow up in the area so I didn't visit most of these places. I went to a bunch of shows at the old Black Cat but only one at the old 9:30 Club (Drivin' N' Cryin') and one at the Bayou (The Ramones).

I also went to Tracks a few times. I was probably there the same time Jimbromski was "cold twinkin'" and looking like a cross between Morrissey and Roger Federer.

sacklunch said...

Actually the full name on that fake ID was James Charles Gatsby. I thought Jay Gatsby would be much too obvious....

Speaking of Tracks, remember they had that volleyball net out back. Jimbromski and I saw an awesome matchup of buff gay men vs. surly goth/indie kids. You can probably guess who won.

Jimbromski said...

The Goth kids kept it close. The gay dudes couldn't unleash their full power because it was cold and they thus were unable to strip down to spandex/speedo attire.