Outside the storied 9:30 Club on V Street NW (Photo by Avie Schneider)
To observe its 35th anniversary, and the 20th anniversary of its location on V Street NW, the 9:30 Club has turned itself into an exhibition hall where you can explore the club’s history as you walk through from the downstairs Back Bar to the main stage.
I checked out the proclaimed 9:30 World’s Fair, a Double Anniversary Exhibition Celebration, on Tuesday evening, and I rather enjoyed the opportunity to look around the entire club and reflect upon the totality of modern musical acts that have passed through its doors at 930 F Street NW and 930 V Street NW since 1980 and 1995, respectively.
Dan Auerbach of The Arcs (Photo Credit: Monelle Chiti)
When a band features two drummers, a keyboardist, a bassist, a chorus line from an all female mariachi band, and a lead singer who shreds his guitar in a state of estatic bliss, you know you’re in for something more. Something alive. Something visceral.
Dan Auerbach’s project, The Arcs, because it is clearly no one else’s, is raucous and funky and unique in ways that are not just about music, but about life. Living to the fullest. Not giving a shit what anyone else thinks. Crying out “this is who I am, thank you coming, but I’ll still enjoy what I do, whether you do or not.”
That The Arcs exist, is a testament to Auerbach’s need to create, to express himself passionately, to find outlets where he can bare his soul, and experiment musically outside of The Black Keys.
And The Black Keys are great. I’ve seen them three times already (unfortunately, most recently at the first Firefly Music Festival), so I was intrigued to discover what The Arcs were all about. What they represented in comparison and in contrast.
The Arcs still have Auerbach’s garage rock and blues sensibility, with his unmistakable voice. It would not be a stretch to mistake The Arcs’ sound for The Black Keys.
Four members of Mariachi Flor de Toloache perform at the US Consulate in Chennai, India, on Nov. 13, 2013. (Photo courtesy US Consulate Chennai)
Four women of Mariachi Flor de Toloache brought brightness *and* efficiency to bear at the 9:30 Club Monday as openers for The Arcs — a new band from The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach of which they also are members.
The all-female mariachi band from New York City toured in a slimmed down line-up (which can involve up to 13 rotating members) of four, including vocalist and violinist Mireya Ramos, vocalist and guitarist Shae Fiol, trumpet player Julie Acosta, and a fourth member who I am sadly unable to identify for you. The four talented women sang songs from their self-titled debut album, and they brought spunk and spirit to the stage as an effective warm-up for The Arcs — well, effectively for themselves as well as the four blended seamlessly into The Arcs, providing vocals, strings, and horns as members of the 10-person collective.
Band founder Mireya engaged the audience with style and grace, asking Spanish speakers in the sold-out crowd to identify themselves. Although there were many delightful “Woo’s!” in the house in response, those with mastery of only the English language like myself need not have worried. Flor de Toloache played universally appealing material, and they led the audience along in several singalongs with cool aplomb.
Ed Schrader and Devlin Rice of Ed Schrader’s Music Beat (Photo courtesy Infinity Cat Recordings)
Ed Schrader was switched on.
“I wanna give it up for Stoli,” he proclaimed at the 9:30 Club Thursday night, raising his glass. He pauses for a beat. “Oh, I mean Crystal Geyser.”
As he continued to have fun with things he’s “not supposed to do,” he flipped off his shirt, noting he was stopped from doing so in Texas, and introduced “a song about joining the military.”
Ed Schrader and his partner in crime Devlin Rice form Ed Schrader’s Music Beat, and the band were in DC to open for hometown heroes Ex Hex. With the lively pace of a human metronome, Ed dove into his songs with gusto, playing 90 second bursts of punk songs that were distinguished by their surprisingly engaging rhythms.
The Arcs (Photo Credit: thearcs.com)
The Arcs come to the 9:30 Club for two shows, December 14 and 15th, touring in support of their first album, Yours, Dreamily,.
The band is composed of Dan Auerbach, as a side-project of the Black Keys, on lead vocals (and many other instruments) with a slew of other members, like Leon Michels, Nick Movshon, Homer Steimweiss, Richard Swift and Kenny Vaughan. The ladies from Flor de Toloache also contribute. No less than four members contribute to drums and percussion, so the R in their brand of R&B is well established.
“Outta My Mind” reminds me of the Black Keys’ energetic garage rock, with Dan’s unmistakable voice a powerful force beyond the song. It also hints at something psychedelic, as do many of the songs on their first album.
“Stay In My Corner” is a slow, fuzzy jam that soulfully pleads for two people to stay together and fight for each other.
Tonight’s show is sold out (Editor’s correction: There are still tickets available for December 14 here), but there are tickets available for the Tuesday, December 15 show. Find them here.
w/ Mariachi Flor de Toloache (see our preview here)
Monday, December 14
Tuesday, December 15
Doors @ 7:00pm
Laura Harris, Betsy Wright, and Mary Timony of Ex Hex. (Photo courtesy Merge Records)
Somehow in mid-’90s, friends of mine were clued into some good female-fronted indie rock bands — quite a few of them from Boston (including the likes of the Blake Babies and Belly).
Ed Schrader’s Music Beat perform at Cause in Minneapolis, Minn., on April 8, 2013. (Photo by Sharyn Morrow)
If you’ve heard DC power pop trio Ex Hex, a favorite band of us here at Parklife DC, you know the ladies occasionally capture an early punk vibe from the mid-’70s a la Blondie. While not a punk band per se, Ex Hex are certainly “punk friendly.”