I Hate the 9:30 Club

Listen to my  9:30 Club Mix Tape  while readiing this blog.

Listen to my 9:30 Club Mix Tape while readiing this blog.

I do. I hate the 9:30 Club, that mecca to live music lovers in our nation's capital, that pantheon to mournful hipsters or shimmying sorority girls or aging dads in their Bad Brains t-shirts, depending on the night. I hate that large, still-divey venue where I've seen Kings of Leon and Lykke Li and Delta Rae and Cold War Kids and Ray Lamontagne and Old 97's and Bon Iver and Neil Finn and Rhett Miller and Mumford & Sons and Django Django and Timbaland and The Afghan Whigs. 

Okay. Maybe I don't hate the 9:30 Club. Maybe I just hate those two lumbering boy-men, those big boys with scraggly beards and fuzzy hair and heavy-rimmed glasses who were trying to get around me the last time I was at the 9:30 Club. I didn't know I was blocking their way. I didn't know until I heard a, "Umm...excuse me...ma'am."


In one fell swoop, I went from feeling quite lively and chipper to feeling like someone's mom. And I AM someone's mom (more on that later). But no one wants their mom at a live music show. I knew the intrusion I used to feel when I was a high schooler at the Fillmore in San Francisco or a college student at the Bottleneck in Lawrence, Kan., and saw an "ADULT" in the crowd.

"Everything else is yours," was my sentiment. "Let this be ours."

Haim at the 9:30 Club

Haim at the 9:30 Club

But just because a couple of decades separate me from that girl doesn't mean my true, passionate love for music and the musicians who create it has dimmed. My love for sold-out shows has dimmed -- I boogie by the bar to avoid the chest-to-back crowds and keep my drink filled. And my enthusiasm for waiting until 11 p.m. for the main act to go on has certainly waned. But I think I've found a solution to that, too.

The kid

The kid

I go to early shows with my kid!

We took our teenager to see the three-sister band Haim at 7 p.m. on a Wednesday (the 9:30 Club is an all-ages venue), and I've got to tell you, passing the torch was cool. He stood with his dad in the middle of the crowd -- he can do that, he's over six feet -- and catching glimpses of the look on his face while those three strong women rocked out seemed like the best reason ever to get pregnant. We took him for the whole night-out experience -- the stroll down U Street, half-smokes at Ben's -- and we were still home by 10!

I guess it's appropriate that the night of the "ma'am" was also the night of my son's first 9:30 Club show, even though I was standing nowhere near him when the boys politely asked me to move my ancient ass. I'm not going to stop doing something that makes me thrive just because it's more appropriate for my son to be enjoying it. I've figured out how to mitigate the annoyances -- go to early shows, stand by the bar, hide behind my six-foot kid. So, no, I guess I don't hate the 9:30 Club.

Unfortunately for a venue that I'm sure is not trying to attract the over-40 crowd, I kind of love the place.

Recommended 9:30 Club Shows in June for In-Betweeners

(Some shows are sold out but try StubHub for tickets. Enjoy one aspect of being old - disposable income!)

Check out my 9:30 Club Mix Tape for In-Betweeners to hear songs from the above bands.