They only got to play four songs, but at the 9:30 Club’s 30th Anniversary party on a sweltering D.C. Memorial Day, the Fleshtones made the most of their brief opportunity, so much more entertaining than *The Fall, The Pixies, Cracker, X, Luna, Tom Verlaine, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Calexico, Nirvana, Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, Wilco, Jesus and Mary Chain, The Mekons, Mazzy Star, The Soft Boys, The DBs, The Apples in Stereo, Lou Reed, The Jayhawks, Alejandro Escovedo, Camper Van Beethoven, Sonic Youth, Ryan Adams, The Feelies, New Pornographers, and all the rest who’ve graced the club. (*Okay, okay, not all of these bands played at the party today, but this is a representative sample of bands we’ve seen at 9:30, in its stanky ol’ F Street origins, as well as its more commodious, air conditioned, smoke free and damned near pleasant home on V Street, which it’s inhabited since the early Clinton Administration.)
It also was great seeing the Slickee Boys play today — the first band I ever saw at the old 9:30 Club, on New Years Eve 1983-84 — and though it’s been more than twenty years since they’ve regularly played together, you wouldn’t have known it from the way Kim Kane and the gang played “When I Go To The Beach.”
The ‘Tones were in excellent shape for a 6:20 PM set on a scorchingly hot holiday. Fortunately, they’d been able to get over to Tulip Frenzy World Headquarters for a hotdog and a burger each, and maybe a cooling swim.
The 9:30 Club was instantly turned into “Hitsburg USA,” and every boy and girl started to do the Frug. “Feels Good To Feel” had Ken and Keith kickin’ to Bill’s beat, and when Peter whipped out the harp, the place just swooned. ”Way Down South” was a reminder that New York’s pride was playing South of the Mason-Dixon Line. Next thing you knew, Seth Hurwitz, who says The Fleshtones were the first band he ever actually booked at the old 9:30 Club, muscled his way onto Bill’s stool to play drums to “Ride Your Pony.” Thankfully, while standing next to his kit, Bill kept the beat while Seth earnestly kept up. And then it was over, and not even the promised reunion of Creedence coulda possibly been better.
All of D.C.’s music fans cheered these American treasures — The Fleshtones and the 9:30 Club. The show may still be going on — there was a rumor the Bad Brains and Fugazi were going to reform for the occasion… okay, I started it…but thank Heaven that America’s hardest working combo set up shop on V Street to get us all in the holiday spirit. Summer’s here and its time to hear Solid Gold Sound.