This Week In Music…

Picks for the week of Friday, January 6 — Thursday, January 12.

Fall is usually our show season in DC, but this Winter week kicks off 2006 with a little of everything: Salsa, Bluegrass, Reggae, Funk, Folk, and of course our famously independent DC Rock scene. Make sure to dress warm, and check our venue listings page for a more complete musical calendar.

Friday Jan 6 >>

Bio Ritmo
Bio Ritmo

Bio Ritmo is a nine-piece Latin dance band from Richmond, VA. With a sound that hearkens back to the salsa masters of the 1970s, Bio Ritmo has been engaging audiences around the country for the last 14 years. The Iota Club & Cafe has booked them Friday for an uncharacteristic solo engagement. No fan of authentic Latin music should miss this show.

Ricky Skaggs has been ruling the bluegrass roost for over thirty years. An accomplished singer and mandolin player, Skaggs joined Ralph & Carter Stanley at the age of seventeen, going on to record some of the most influential bluegrass albums ever made. Though he plays the occasional newgrass tune, Skaggs’ music is still rooted in old-time traditional gems, echoing his adage that “country rocks, but bluegrass rules!” Kentucky Thunder joins him for this two-night engagement at the Birchmere.

Soldiers of Jah Army, Washington DC’s own White Reggae outfit, are throwing a party at the State Theatre, to celebrate the release of their new album Get Wiser. The show will be recorded for a live DVD, so make sure to trim those nappy locks and wash your patchwork pants. Jah Works opens the show.

Saturday Jan 7 >>

Remember when Ska fell off in the mid 90s? The Pietasters don’t. These local skankers have been rocking steady for over 10 years, and are back with a new live DVD filmed at the 9:30 Club, where they are playing Saturday night. Joining the band will be The Slackers, 33 West, and The Rootworkers.


Saturday also brings our PICK OF THE WEEK to the Black Cat: three bands formed from the afterbirth of the Dischord roster. Ris Paul Ric is Chris Richards, who played just about every instrument at one point in his career with Q and Not U. He describes his new effort as sounding like “the quieter songs off the last two [Q and Not U] records.” Richards is touring with Black Eyes’ Dan Caldas, another member of the Dischord family, on drums. French Toast is made up of Jerry Busher (one of Fugazi’s drummers) and James Canty (Nation of Ulysses, the Make Up), two multi-instrumentalists who have been in the DC scene for years. Supersystem, the show headliners and one of my favorite live bands, is simply El Guapo with a new drummer. The band changed their name rather than step up to the copyright challenge from another “El Guapo,” based out of Chicago. Get the whole story here. If you like synth-heavy dance-pop, this show was made for you. Check out the cool poster for this show here. Free MP3: “Breakfast” by French Toast (off the Bugman EP).

If you missed Ricky Scaggs on Friday and are dying for some roots bluegrass, he is playing a second night at the Birchmere.

Finally, for all the starfuckers in the audience, Mattie Safer of the Rapture will be guest DJing at DC9’s monthly art-punk party, Electrotease. James Friedman and regular DJs Ca$$idy and People’s Champion round out the night.

Sunday Jan 8 >>

Page France
Page France

Arlington indie-poppers the Five Maseratis are playing the Black Cat on Sunday night, with local rockers the Ambitions opening up.

Page France have taken the new folk scene by storm, getting a great response from indie bloggers & press. The group hails from Maryland, and are touring now in support of their second release, Hello, Dear Wind. Opening up this show at the Galaxy Hut are DC rockers These United States, and Paleo, who describes his music as “psych folk indie lounge rock balladry.”

Get Him Eat Him
Get Him Eat Him

If not for the post-Dischord groups forming like Voltron at the Black Cat on Saturday, this show at the Warehouse Next Door would be our pick of the week. Get Him Eat Him, a five-piece from Providence, RI, is fast on its way to being the hottest band to ride a Moog since Motion City Soundtrack. Their catchy, up-tempo synth songs manage to remain interesting in a genre that seems oh so 2003. The Fake Accents, from College Park, MD, are opening the show, along with “swoon punk” outfit Drums vs. Jules. Free MP3: “Exposure” by Get Him Eat Him.

Tuesday Jan 10 >>

Page France
Travis Morrison

Tuesday sees The Travis Morrison Hellfighters headlining at the Black Cat, maybe. As Travis posted on his website: “The Black Cat show is not up in the air per se, but it is showing a tendency to unexpectedly leap, like an ill-trained Jack Russell Terrier.” We’ll keep our fingers crossed. Opening up we have locals Cataract Camp and Hand-Fed Babies.

Exotic Fever Records has two bands playing the Warehouse Next Door on Tuesday: Mudsugar Favorites Ricky Fitts, who just released a fabulous debut album. Joining them is Mustangs & Madras, from Denver.

Wednesday Jan 11 >>

Last month we told you about Mieka Pauley, the young Bostonian who came out of Harvard Square to sweep the traditional folk scene off it’s feet. She’s back in town, playing with Justin Rosolino and Harriet Street at Jammin’ Java. Free MP3: “Run” by Mieka Pauley.

Thursday Jan 12 >>

Isaac Hayes
Isaac Hayes

Isaac Hayes is a King among men. Literally. He was coronated King of the Ada coastal district in Ghana, where he built an 8,000 square-foot educational facility. That’s not why we want you to go see him at the Birchmere on Thursday. In addition to voicing “Chef” on South Park, Hayes is an Oscar and Grammy-holding musician, one of the great early soul artists off Stax Records in Memphis, the birthplace of rock & roll.

Monopoli is playing a different kind of show on Thursday, when Ducati descends on the Black Cat to show off their 2006 models. Opening up for Monopoli is the Meek, featuring former members of Blind Melon and the Squirrel Nut Zippers.


  1. This January in Swamp City kicks ass. There’s great shows all month long. There also seems to be an incredible surge of exciting new bands and music spawning from the break-ups of past great bands. Hate to see our old favorites go, but looking forward to what seems to be a rebirth of the DC music scene.

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