Luke Stewart - Courtesy of the artist.
After a hiatus, the DC Punk Archive concert series returns Wednedsay June 14 on the roof of the Woodridge Library, featuring members of the Sun Ra Arkestra.
Washington, DC has a longstanding love affair with DIY music. The city's storied punk history has seen thousands of shows held in basements, churches, and even laundromats. It should come as no surprise to residents that innovative music is alive and well in our city.
This remains true even despite the ever-growing challenges of putting on DIY shows in a city that is rapidly changing in ways that eliminate public arts spaces. Last year's sale
of the cherished Union Arts building served as a grim reminder to the DC art community. Showing their residency in the city is essentially hanging by a thread. It is the rare public space that can serve as a permanent location for independent art.
One long-running space for creative music in DC has been the MLK Public Library, which was home to the DC Punk Archive series. About once a month, the library would host a free show, open to the public, featuring the best and most fascinating acts in the city. The performers made up a microcosm of the city's strongest and strangest artists, featuring everyone from free-jazz innovators like Trio OOO, to experimental noise projects like Insect Factory, to the city's punk champions Chain & The Gang.
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Chain & The Gang at MLK Public Library. Courtesy of Matt Dunn.[/caption]
DC Punk Archive's New Home
After years of hosting free shows, the MLK Public Library closed for renovations this March, putting a halt on the concert series. Now, on June 14th, the DC Punk Archive returns to the Woodridge Library, holding its first show on the roof of the building. Like others before it, this show is free and open to the public.
The rooftop show features contemporary jazz group The Elliott Levin Quartet, whose namesake member is staple of the Philadelphia scene. Levin plays with a rotating cast of the country's most accomplished and talented musicians, and his DC show is no exception. He'll be performing with guitarist David Hotep, who is a long-running member of the illustrious Sun Ra Arkestra
; Luke Stewart
, who is perhaps the hardest-working and most prominent jazz figurehead in the city; and Nate Scheible
Also performing is DC improvisational noise project Weedtree
, composed of Amanda Huron and Layne Garrett. The show begins promptly at 7pm, with doors opening at 6:30. Capacity is limited to 70 persons on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Check out the DC Punk Archive Library Rooftop Show event page
for more information.
The flier for this show is based off a 1979 D.C. space postcard in the Punk Archive's Edide Janney collection. Besides putting on shows, the Archive works to preserve and document the music scene as it evolves. You can learn more about the DC Punk Archive here
With summer in full swing, we can only hope that the Woodridge Library can continue to serve as a home for DC's creative music scene. Allowing artists to bring their music to the public is a cornerstone of a city's cultural duties. Here's to a long, fruitful season of performances that show the world how DC's punk, jazz, and experimental communities are alive and well.
DC's punk history has seen concerts happen in all sorts of interesting and unconventional spaces. What's the strangest place you've ever seen a show? Let us know in the comments!