All Access: An Oral History of DC’s 9:30 Club

This is so cool. I’ve gone on record so many times about DC’s inextricable role (greater, I’d argue, than any other city) in underground music history. The 9:30 Club was always a key part of that. Even before I moved there, I’d heard stories about this club, and getting to see my first few shows there (Pennywise with Sick of It All and M.I.A. with Spank Rock, for the record) was an adolescent dream come true. My roommate at the time even got me backstage as his guitar tech that December (which is another story entirely). My own memories of the 9:30 Club are pretty deep and varied, and I’m not even a blip on this place’s radar. Here’s an oral history that CoS put together with most of the major icons and game-changers who helped make the club what it was.

Consequence of Sound

Walking through Washington, D.C. is akin to walking through a museum. You’d be hard-pressed to find another city in the U.S. that’s colored more vividly with history, be it the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Wall, the ceaseless light of the Eternal Flame, or the literal homestead of democracy that is the White House. But the city’s rich history extends beyond textbook fodder and tourist attractions. It also exists in its proud and thriving music scene, at the center of which stands a venue that has fostered and nurtured countless bands large and small over the course of 34 years and two locations.

The 9:30 Club isn’t just another cavernous dungeon through which bands aimlessly drift in and out night after night. It’s the nucleus of the DC music community and an institution that’s widely recognized as the gold standard of rock clubs. While so many rock clubs fall haphazardly into…

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