When most of us longtime locals think about the DC music scene, we associate with the post punk hardcore and metal scene that was popular for so long or the mainstream pop rock that blasts out of DC101 every day. Now days, it easy to see that the pop indie rock scene is making an impression on DC venues, but what you would never expect to find is a growing americana/ alt country culture. Last month, I thought the Justin Townes Earle show at DC9 was just a fluke, but it might just be a new trend in DC. Last Friday (1/14) I made the trip all the way out to H street NE to a charming two story bar/ venue with eclectic décor and old wooden floors called The Red Palace . I like H street NE because it’s hip but not in the over trendy way. Sure, you will find a healthy portion of hipsters, especially if you dine at Sticky Rice , the very popular sushi restaurant, but you won’t feel out of place not being a hipster. The revitalized section is only about three blocks on both sides of the street, but you won’t find the typical downtown DC crowd there. It has more of a college park feel, but without the oppressiveness of the college culture and the several bars/ venues located there are serious about two things at least, music and beer. Anyway, The Red Palace was a comfortable little joint with a decent venue space upstairs and on the bill for the night was Black Dog Prowl (Rock) / A Thousand Horses (alt country/ southern rock) / Truth and Salvage Co (americana/ alt country). I thought it was amazing that two of the three bands were country oriented and what was more amazing was that the show was pack, in fact sold out! This is why I say americana might be a new trend in DC, so look out country might be cool again!
All three bands were on point that night, but the surprise of the night was Black Dog Prowl a blues influences rock band from DC. I wasn’t sure DC was a home to musicians anymore, but apparently Black Dog Prowl has made DC ground zero and they aren’t a post hardcore punk band either. The winds are definitely changing DC and I hope to follow up with these cats soon, you can catch Black Dog Prowl next at Jammin Java in Vienna on Monday night (1/24). A Thousand Horses poured out all kinds of energy on stage. I hadn’t heard of them before, but the former South Carolina now Nashville boys left everyone rocked with a healthy dose of blended southern alt country rock. Truth and Salvage Co. were definitely the more mellow band of the evening, but that’s exactly what I really enjoyed about their performance and it was a nice contrast to the two openers. All though Truth and Salvage Co. technically hail from North Carolina these days, they still spend the majority of their time on the west coast, in California. Their sound and vibe is reminiscent of the Topanga Canyon folk art enclave that influenced so many greats like the Eagles and Neil Young. That Topanga sound is not something easily reproduced in an organic way, so for this reason I think the TSco. boys have something really specially. The laid back surf guitar riff half way (@ 2:00 min) through Jump The Ship were especially blissful live. They are all seriously experienced musicians who have earned their badges playing in multitudes of bands over the years and besides playing a variety of instruments on stage, the drummer pulled off the best drum solo I’ve ever seen. It’s a real treat to see these boys live. Unfortunately they won’t be back in town in the near future, but keep an eye out for them in your travels.
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