Concert Review: Alvvays @ DC9

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Image courtesy of Consequence of Sound
Image courtesy of Consequence of Sound

As far as I’m concerned, DC9 is a no frills zone. The performance space rests a floor above what looks like a small version of Cheers, with a stage that is little more than a raised platform, maybe eight inches off the ground. Needless to say, there is no backstage, no VIP area, and no room for divas. The bands wiggle through the crowd to get to the stage, pass concert-goers in the stairwell to go out for a smoke, and always man their own dining booth converted into merch table. Indeed, I have seen incredible shows here with lights that are always on point, a couple disco balls, and (apparently) a projector they seldom utilize. In my experience, bands typically make their performances here a reflection of the DC9 vibe – they’re happy to be there, but don’t often treat it like a big, impressionable show; Alvvays was the exception.

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1940 9th Street NW

Image Courtesy of UrbanSpoon


Being able to write about a different venue every week has forced me to really open my eyes and actually look around at my surroundings when I am in a new place. Doing so at DC9 gave me an overwhelming feeling of joy and anticipation. Every single person there felt an unspoken sense of comradery. DC9 is the perfect size: small, but not claustrophobic. With everyone dancing to the same beats, the music envelops you in the square space, creating a bubble of happiness that no one ever wants to leave.

First walking into DC9 can be pretty intimidating, just from the amount of people yelling and drinking around the bar. But the red walls and wood furniture instantly gave me a sense of comfort, which travelled all the way up the stairs into where the main entertainment happens. Walking around upstairs, I was surprised to see such a low stage, which was only about six inches above the ground. Then I realized how much it helps with the cozy ambiance, almost mimicking what a house show feels like. Before the first set started, I was able to slide into one of the many booths they have on the side to rest up before the music ensued. With such a small space and a fully stocked bar close to the stage, everyone was dancing with a drink in their hand by the second set.

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An Interview with The Walking Sticks

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D.C dream pop trio The Walking Sticks (composed of Chelsea Lee and brothers Spencer and Max Ernst) are coming off the excitement of having released their album Send The Night in December of last year, and are now ready to drop a new five track EP. The band has been finding great success within The District’s music scene, having just played the 9:30 Club two weeks ago, and Black Cat previous to that. Now, amid a schedule of festival and club dates, The Walking Sticks are planning a pre-release show on September 27 at DC9, complete with a live music video shoot for their new song “One Sweet Thing”. WRGW catches up with them outside of The Library of Congress, where they are taking a break in between sets of a private gig.


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Shows We're Stoked For: Tonight – NO @ DC9

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When NO lead singer Bradley Carter, a New Zealand native, crossed paths with American bassist Sean Stenz, it was a match made in brooding heaven. Comparable to The National and White Lies, the echoey baritone vocals and dark-edged guitar make for an interesting ride.  Continue reading “Shows We're Stoked For: Tonight – NO @ DC9”

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yelstin w/ A Great Big Pile of Leaves and Joy Classic @ DC9

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Touring with their fourth LP, Fly By Wire, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yelstin returned to DC9 for the second time this year. This time accompanied by A Great Big Pile of Leaves and Joy Classic, SSLYBY headlined a night that weaved through the vibes of reverb slicked pop, emo and indie-pop rock & roll.  Add in crowd of all ages, an intimate venue, and a chance to catch up with Phil Dickey and Will Knauer of SSLYBY for a pre-show interview, it’s safe to say it wasn’t bad for a Wednesday night’s worth of rock and roll.

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