I was in Washington DC for a week of training and I didn’t want to waste my time in the hotel. In the end I saw two concerts the week I was in Washington. One was Charlie Hunter and Lucy Woodward at Jammin Java and the other was George Porter Jr. Trio at Gypsy Sally’s.
Honestly I have never heard for George Porter Jr. and never been to Gypsy Sally’s. I saw the concert listing on Jam Base and just wanted to watch some live music while in DC. It was a Friday show and I was flying out Saturday. Plus the venue was directly across the river from my hotel in Georgetown so an easy 15 minute walk for me. Everything told me I had to go see this show.
Let me start with the venue. When I arrive on Sunday I crossed the river and ate dinner at The Berliner. Come to find out Gypsy Sally’s is on the second floor of the same building. Right there across the river in Georgetown. Walk across the Key Bridge and head down to the water. Go upstairs to the second floor and you’re there. Not a lot of fan fair that leads you to the entrance so easy to walk past. Lots of tables in the back but it appears these are “reserved” for those wanting to eat food.
I was there early enough that I just posted up right in front of the stage. There might have been 20 people in the place but thankfully as the night wore on the place really started to fill in. By the time George Porter Jr. Trio took the stage the dance floor was reasonable packed and most of the tables were occupied. No natural light to speak of. Light setup is pretty basic and seems like the speaker system is basic as well. Sounds like there were some technical challenges setting up all the mics for the opening act, The Beats Hotel.
What a huge band for such a small ass stage. Not sure where they are from but they play New Orleans style music. Not bad, just not my taste in music to be honest. The “leader” was having a rough night. He wanted to be in control but the other band members were not having it. It was funny to watch, especially being so close to the stage. I could hear all the un-miced conversations. When their set ended I was ready for it to be over. The crowd loved them so that was good.
George Porter Jr. takes the stage and I am right in front of the drummer Terrence Houston. Now the drummer for The Beats Hotel was loud but Terrence totally blew him away. It was funny to see him take a swig of Crown Royal now and again. Terrence was going to have a good night for sure. Anyway after about 20 minutes I had to walk away. His drumming, even un-miced, was so loud. I could feel the kick drum in my check and every time he hit the cymbals my ears would ring. Just to much and I needed a break.
Besides it being extremely loud right in front of the drummer it was a good show. I was expecting more of a New Orleans vibe but that really wasn’t the bulk of the show. Only a song or two had that vibe. They played some jazz stuff but what shocked me more was all the Grateful Dead covers. Not sure what Porter’s relation to the Dead is but it must be a strong one. When George walked on stage I noticed a Grateful Dead Steal Your Face pin on his guitar strap. I tried to get a good look but I was it was to small for me to see. Certainly the Dead influence was there and it was awesome hearing the songs.
Most of the Grateful Dead songs happened near the end of the set. The encore was 2/3 Dead which was also awesome. By the time the encore rolled around the crowd had started to dwindle so only a hard core group of people remained at midnight. I thought it was a good performance. I could have done without The Beats Hotel but that is just because they are not my style of music. George and the crew did a great job. Mostly what I remember is how I felt standing in front of Terrence. So incredible loud.
After the show it was a nice walk back across the Key Bridge to the hotel. The weather had cooled but was still muggy as shit. I ended up getting a late night meal at McDonald’s and unwound for a bit. The following day I was excited to headed home to Portland. I didn’t know it at the time but that night was the last good night I would have for a while. As soon as I woke up on Saturday I new I was getting sick. I proceeded to nose dive for the next 4 days before taking about 7 days to fully recover.
My trip to DC for training was a memorable one. Not for the training which I have mostly forgotten. But for the two shows and a few key purchases I made. Even the food wasn’t bad for the most part.
George Porter Jr. Trio
Friday, October 18th 2019
Gypsy Sally’s – Washington DC
The Beats Hotel opened
George Porter Jr. – bass
Michael Lemmler – keys
Terrence Houston – drums
Set starts at 10:25pm
- They Love Each Other
- Just Kissed My Baby
Set over at 11:55pm
Encore starts at 11:57pm
- Sugaree >
- . >
- Turn on Your Love Light
House lights at 12:11am