Inauguration Weekend in DC – Concerts We Can Believe In


The most prevalent buzz words surrounding the Inauguration here in Washington, DC are Change, Crowds, Cold, and Concerts. As this historical event of epic proportions looms in the swearing in of President-elect Barack Obama, with it brings an amazing slate of concerts and shows.

The music industry is definitely behind Obama, as evidenced by the past year of musicians and artists supporting Barack during his campaign, and this veritable dream team concert calendar that is ahead of us over the next five days. This is just a glance at the millions of Balls, Festivals, Celebrations and Shows, so take a deep breath and here – we – go:

Friday: As the craziness starts to surface and the crowds start to mount, there are a couple highlights to get your weekend started – heavy on DJ dance parties.

Nadastrom at Trinidad and Tobago Association – Dave Nada and Matt Nordstrom, two DC dance party DJ heavyweights get the weekend started with a good warm-up sweat-out at a unique venue located at 5123 Georgia Ave NW. If you are looking to get out of the cold and dance, this is your spot.

Soul Rebellion Fundraiser at Comet Ping Pong and Pizza – For reggae fans who want to support a good cause, this is the deal. Featuring Selassie I Sounds, DJ Iyah Petah and DJ Portarock. Benefits needy children in Jamaica and Comet is located at 5037 Connecticut Ave NW. Great spot for pizza, beers and pong, btw.

Other highlights include Fatback at Red Lounge, Sharkey and Darko at Jimmy Valentine’s, and Exactly at Velvet. Oh, and soft-rock stalwarts The Fray at 930 Club if you’re into that sort of thing.

Saturday: Things start to pick up with some good rock, afro funk, hip-hop and R&B.

Raveonettes at Black Cat – Solid trash can rock at the staple DC rock club.

Afro funk Inaugural Ball with Chopteeth at Rock and Roll Hotel – DC-bred Afro funk.

Songs for Presidents at Sixth and I Historic Synagogue – Local rockers Jukebox the Ghost and These United States among others at one my newest favorite live music venues in the city. Located at, er, 6th and I streets in Chinatown.

Hip-Hop Caucus at Ibiza – Mary J. Blige, Common and Nelly will perform.

Manifest Hope Exhibit at DC GalleryThis exhibit opens today and is rumored to have Santogold, De La Soul and Moby performing when it closes Monday.

Sunday: Things start to get bananas. Seriously.

Inaugural Committee Welcome Concert at Lincoln Memorial with Everyone that’s Anyone – The list is long and distinguished. Springsteen, Stevie Wonder, U2, Beyonce, John Mellencamp, Shakira, John Legend, James Taylor, Denzel Washington, Jamie Foxx, Herbie Hancock, Mary J. Blige, Josh Groban, Garth Brooks, Usher, and more. Phew.

TI, Young Jeezy and Akon at Love – The schoolkids that performed the Whatever You Like/Vote However You Like send up for Obama and McCain better be there.

URB Inaugural Party at The SpacePharoahe Monch and DJ Sterofaith rock this party for URB Magazine. They are also encouraging everyone to dress-up in bad/cheesy suits and dresses, clashing ties etc. Great, little known venue as well. Too bad it’s too cold for the roof deck. (Update: my homey just let me know this is no longer at the Space, moved to the 411 Warehouse – 411 New York Ave)

Other highlights include Moby at 930 Club at Midnight, Party House II with Chris Burns, Jamie 3:26 and Jesse Bishop at St. Ex.

Monday: Is your head spinning yet?

Rock the Vote Presents “Hey, America is Cool Again” at 930 Club – Beastie Boys (!), Sheryl Crow (?), Citizen Cope and our local guy done good Justin Jones.

Aretha Franklin at Kennedy Center – Doesn’t even need an explanation. Think.

Historic at Stussy Store – DC hip-hop rising star Wale and Bun B lay it down at this DC clothing store. Also presented by Commonwealth – one of my favorite stores in the District.

Frightened Rabbit at Rock and Roll Hotel – Not really related to the Inauguration but should be a good show from these indie pop rock upstarts.

Big Shoulders Inauguration Ball at Black Cat – Andrew Bird and Ted Leo highlight this extensive lineup. I think it’s sold out though.

Jay-Z at Warner Theatre for like a million dollars – What can I say? It’s Jay-freaking-Z. It actually might be worth the ticket cost.

Irie Inauguration at The Space – See-I, the Wednesday Reggae Night at Eighteenth Street Lounge staples and Thievery members rock the reggae with Selassie Sound (their second appearance on this list) and Sound Version.

Tuesday: The big day is all about some MAJOR parties and lots of Balls. Big Balls.

Brightest Young Things Spectacular at Bohemian Cavers/Liv – All day RAGER (yes, all day) with so much dope stuff packed in it’s not even worth getting into. Just check this. (Full disclosure – I have several friends that work at BYT).

Rock the Vote at 930 Club – Talib Kweli, Michael Franti with Spearhead and Dresden Dolls perform.

And for the big Balls – just a couple of them as there are what seems like thousands:

Homestates Ball at Washington Convention Center – Pretty cool concept with performers from both of Barack’s homestates. Jack Johnson from Hawaii and Common from Chicago, Illinois.

Neighborhood Ball at Washington Convention Center – Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Jay-Z, Alicia Keys, Stevie Wonder, and Faith Hill are all performing.

Eastern States Ball at Union Station – James Taylor and Liquid Pleasure will perform.

Heroes, Red, White, and Blue Ball at Warner Theatre – Check out this lineup to benefit military families and veterans – Nas, Josh Groban, Slash and Robert Randolph!

HOLY COW! Let me know what hundreds of shows and peformances I left off. Again this is just a glance and some of the things I plan on trying to attend/see.

Have fun, be safe, and enjoy the show! GO OBAMA!


3 Responses to “Inauguration Weekend in DC – Concerts We Can Believe In”

  1. This is a great list of things we would actually WANT TO do – no crusty balls and galas. This weekend is going to be an epic one for D.C.

    Also, to add to the list – Chester French just announced an in-store acoustic set at For the Greater Good (Commonwealth’s sister store, right next to Stussy in AdMo). Should be dope.

  2. I forgot Nappy Roots on Tuesday night at DC9. Word.

  3. URB Magazine party tonight with Pharoahe Monch just got moved (AGAIN) to LIV/Bohemian Caverns (11th & U St. NW).

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