The advertisement for this show was casually announced through the 9:30 club’s webmail service. When I saw it I immediately got excited. There’s been a nostalgic resurgence surrounding DC’s hardcore scene that thrived in the 80’s. Coincidentally, I too had been doing a bit of research on the scene on my own that seemed to be almost in tandem with this revival:attending the Pump Me Up exhibit a few years ago at the Corcoran, digging around for any footage of 80′s hardcore shows I could find, studying up on the individuals, bands, labels (Dischord), and generally learning about this genre that thrived in Washington DC and eventually inspired a whole movement. It’s really eye opening to see how many musicians that played in DCHC groups that went on to play in other bands that were commercially successful in the 90’s. One of these artists is Dave Grohl, who we all know played drums for Nirvana and is the front man for the Foo Fighters. So naturally, this show was kind of a big deal being that the bill featured Trouble Funk, The Don’t Need It’s featuring Darryl Jenifer, Dr. Know, Pete Stahl, Dave Grohl, plus a Special Guest…
It was a toss up whether I was going to attend the show until a friend mine said, “go to the 9:30 club and pick up tickets today” (They could only be purchased at the box office). The excitement only grew with rumors that the “special guest” was going to be the Foo Fighters. Quickly, I drove to the box office and waited in line for about 25 minutes before securing two tickets (the maximum for one individual to purchase). The event quickly sold out a day later. It was now a date in my calendar.
We arrived at the club just before The Don’t Need It’s took the stage. A fusion of former band members Pete Stahl and Dave Grohl (Scream) with Darryl Jenifer and Dr. Know (Bad Brains) covering classic Bad Brains tunes. They ripped through a 45 minute set with Pete Stahl as the front man in absence of H.R., Jenifer on Bass, Dr. Know on Guitar, and Dave Grohl on drums. Pete dropped subtle hints through out the performance that the four of them had been in the studio working on new songs.
The birthday boy Big Tony and his band Trouble Funk performed for well over an hour and the performance lived up to the legacy. It kept going and going. At one point Seth Hurwitz, the owner of the 9:30 club joined the band on stage for a rendition of “Play that Funky Music White Boy” with Hurwitz on the drum kit. I’d never been to a Go-Go concert before. I recall Go-Go seeping into the suburbs of Washington DC (Annandale specifically) around 1992. Two of my college roommates from Herndon VA where heavy into it. Having a nice collection of tapes circa 1991 – 1995 from Neko’s. Rumored to be a white van that was parked on 9th and F that sold live PA tapes from the shows. Once in high school I recall very much considering going to a Trouble Funk show at the old 9:30 club (9th &F). When I asked a neighbor of mine if I should go, she handed me a cassette tape and said, “listen to this before you go”. At the time I was into punk and independent rock. So as you can imagine, the tape was nothing like I had expected. Especially coming from my hippy/goth/punk rock neighbor.
The moment of truth was upon us. Were the rumors about the Foo Fighters performing true? Roadies scampered instruments on and off the stage in a furry then… Foo Fighters appear on stage. I’m not going to pretend to be a Foo Fighters fan. Their music is very good and I had a blast at this intimate concert (I mean these guys would sell out the Verizon Center). So, this was up close and personal to a Rock and Roll legend. It was quite amazing. What I really took away from this performance was that a) Dave Grohl always wanted to a picture of his face on a GLOBE Go-Go poster, b) this man just did 2 set in one night with two different bands. One as the drummer and another as the front man, c) practice your instruments, work hard, and have fun BUT, you will probably never be able to perform a guitar solo while walking across the top of the 9:30 club’s bar and have the bartenders reward you with a shot of Jägermeister.