It was a weekend I had no official plans and was completely within my rights to do nothing or everything. While reading the Post on the deck with some coffee I saw an advert for the upcoming home stretch of the Nets. I quickly checked with my peeps and unfortunately everyone was busy but that didn’t stop my. I got my ass in gear and headed to DC for an afternoon of baseball.
With Safe Track finally over my trip into the city on Metro was still a nightmare. With the new schedule trains just run fewer and far between. This meant the last stretch on the green line was nuts to butts as hundreds of baseball fans making our way to the stadium for the game. The weather was going to be rather nice with low humidity and temps in the mid-80’s. My ticket was in left field so I was in the sun for the entire game. The warmth felt good but I never got to the point of sweeting my balls off which made me happy.
Not much I can write about this game. I arrived just in time to get my seat and watch the teams take the field for the first inning. Very quickly the Nats where up to bat in the first and started putting points on the board. By the 3rd inning it was already 8 to nothing or something crazy. In the fifth inning with the Nats WAAAAY ahead and the likelihood of the Reds coming back waning, I started losing interest in the game. By the seventh I was actively looking to leave the stadium and get a head start on the green line.
In no time I was headed west towards home. It was a great day at the ballpark, finally glad I got out to see a Nats game this season. While the ticket was expensive I don’t feel it was a waste of money. I just wish the Reds could have put up a small fight and make a game out of it. Next I will have to see about a game during the week. I think leaving work a little early for a later afternoon game is in order.
Warren Haynes, what can I say. I have seen him maybe two or three times with other bands and I know he tours constantly with Gov’t Mule. Then there is his solo career and not to mention all the side projects. He has also been known to sit in with bands for their entire tour. He is just all over the place it is hard not to know who Warren Haynes is.
For years I have tried to see him but things just never worked out. Finally Gov’t Mule was playing the Warner and it was a Saturday to boot. I arranged a full day of activities for myself and it started early with a visit to Atlas Brew Works. Their beer menu is pretty impressive and this is what drew me to the brewery. It is not close to Metro but it is walk able if you are willing to hike. The location is your typical industrial neighborhood so there is little onsite parking. In the back is a large parlor with benches and corn hole next to their brewery operations. The outdoor seating situation is huge with long communal benches for people to gather around. The bar itself is surprisingly small but with plenty of space elsewhere in the brewery so its not a problem.
Beers are interesting and one that I had, If I Did It, is certainly within the top 3 of the worst beers I have ever had. It was thick as mud, literally. Tasted sorta like an orange and was thick with pulp. It was so bad I couldn’t finish the glass and had to get something else to wash the taste out of my mouth. The other beer I tasted was really good, Should I Stay or Should I Gose. The small samples I had were great and certainly worthy of a second visit to sample some more offerings. With the ever rotating taps its easy to find a new beer with every visit.
From here it was back to the center of town for cigars with Greg as Shelly’s. It has been a while since we got together so it was a great time for us to catch up. My life is a little topsy turvy and from what Greg was telling me, his life is a little up in the air as well. It was just so great hanging out with him, smoking cigars and talking. With everything else going on in my life hanging out with the Free’s is one thing I really miss. Eventually Greg had to go pickup one of his kids and for me Gov’t Mule was about to take the stage.
I was pleasantly surprised by the show. First time seeing a Mule crowd and it is certainly trended older then I am use to but not by much. I really didn’t stick out if that makes sense. Not familiar with their music so I don’t have a frame of reference but for me it was an enjoyable show. I got my ticket only a few days out so I was way up in the nose bleed section. This allowed me to sit for the entire performance and just enjoy the music. I didn’t have any problem seeing the light show they where putting on either. It was a long day in the city but I ticked a lot of boxes that day. Brewery, cigar and a concert all in the same day isn’t bad.
Saturday, May 20th 2017 Warner Theater – Washington DC
Set 1 starts at 8:40pm
1. Blind Man In The Dark
2. Mr. High & Mighty >
3. Mother Earth
4. Mr. Man *
5. Unring The Bell #
6. Endless Parade
7. Revolution Come, Revolution Go
8. Doing It To Death $
9. Soulshine $
Set over at 9:57pm
Set 2 starts at 10:27pm
1. Stone Cold Rage
2. Sarah, Surrender
3. Fell On Black Days
4. Funny Little Tragedy & >
6. Larger Than Life >
7. If 6 Was 9 >
8. Larger Than Life
9. Just Got Paid
10. 32/20 Blues @
Set over at 11:27pm
Encore starts at 11:29pm
11. Dreams & Songs
House lights at 11:36pm
* with Highway Star tease
# with Shakedown Street tease
$ with Ron Holloway
& with Message In A Bottle & The Bed’s Too Big Without You lyrics & Get Up, Stand Up tease
@ with Ron Holloway, Feats Don’t Fail Me Now lyrics & Loser tease
I love a good concert. Checking my calendar I knew Gov’t Mule was playing the Warrner on Saturday which I wanted to hit and then saw the Karl Denson show at the 9:30 Club the day before. Karl was doing his spring tour and for a few dates with Melvin Seal sitting in on keys for certain dates. Seeing the two together was enough reason for me to get my ticket.
I just saw Karl in early February. That was out in Portland for a quick Saturday show. That performance was really good. I flew out on Saturday and was back to work on time Tuesday morning. That show was really killer so I was looking forward to seeing them on my home turf.
The local opening act wasn’t half bad. Of Tomorrow had their moments of genious but I didn’t think it was as good as The Main Squeeze from Portland who in my opinion killed it lat that night. The band also had this gimmick about giving away a unicorn if you gave your email up to a mailing list. Not many people showed up to see them in the beginning but by the end of their set the place started to fill out. Never did it get to crowded during either performance which was fine with me. I spent my time up on the balcony with plenty of room to dance without worrying about the person next to me.
Alan Evans was again manning the drums and really had a good rhythm. I am glad I keep seeing him so much after all these years. Early Soulive is still some of the best music I have in my collection. With Alan continuing in these diverse rolls I think it makes him a better musician as well. All night the band did a good job of mixing the old with the new. Near the end of the set they finally played some stuff from The Bridge. KDTU was another band from that era that I fell in love with.
Karl has toured with other acts regularly in addition to his duties with his name sake KDTU. Besides Phish I can’t think of another band I have seen so quickly that wasn’t a stint at the same venue. Show was really good and I left satisfied with the performance. The show got a pretty late start and went well past what I thought it would. In the end we got a solid performance with some high lights from his early work. Throw on top of that Alan Evin and then Melvin Seals sitting in on keys for a few performances and it was a night worth remembering.
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe with Melvin Seal
Friday, May 19th 2017
9:30 Club – Washington DC
Set 1 (start at 10:50 pm)
So I am trying to knock a few things off my bucket list while I am still in the area. My long term plan is to move to the west coast but while I am still in Virginia I have been doing things I have always wanted. One thing was visiting the Air and Space Museum one last time, one last hike in the Shenandoah and going to Lickinghole Creek. This past weekend I finally made it to the National Archives to see the Charters of Freedom.
Especially here in DC over the last few years the Constitution in particular is in the news a lot. People love to talk about the freedoms granted to us by the Constitution, Bill of Rights and who doesn’t love the Declaration of Independence. These three documents are probably the most important in our nation and I had never seen them in person. The National Archive is the permanent home of these documents but they also store a huge number of other historical documents important to our nations history.
Because of Metro’s Safe Track it was not till late afternoon that I got to the city. The weather for the most part was pretty nice so tourists where out in droves enjoying the city. Walking past the Natural History museum the line stretched almost to the end of the block. I was hoping the National Archives would be less packed and for the most part I was correct. The rotunda was packed and it actually took two rounds before I could get into see the documents. Once nice thing about this exhibit is there are no lines, it is just a room you stand in to view the documents. Even the security guard said not to form a line which I didn’t. I kept “cutting” in front of people but I was following the orders of the guy with the gun.
While the Charters of Freedom are rather impressive in what they created and spelled out for all American’s, the exhibit is a little boring. The documents sit behind thick glass under constant surveillance in a perfectly controlled environment. The text is highly faded but you can still make out the signatures and the original words if you look hard enough. Thankfully the full text of all three documents has been digitized and is easily found on the internet.
What I found more impressive was all the other exhibits at the Archives. There is really just one level of exhibits and it wraps around the outside of the rotunda. There is an early version of the Magna Carta and documents on the Civil Rights movement, woman’s rights, suffrage and a ton of other important moments in US history. All these I found more fascinating. There were personal documents from people that really hit home.
The importance of the National Archives can’t be understated. As an American these documents setup all the freedoms I love and have come to expect. I would say view them all line and just visit the other exhibits in the museum. The crowds are liter and they offer more context to history.
Living in the DC area the arrival of spring is something I look forward to. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter and the snow but after months of cold, rain and wind I like everyone else looks forward to the weather turning warm. It also means the cherry blossoms are blooming around the tidal basin. I have made the trip to DC to see them several times and this year I planned ahead. I checked the NPS Bloom Watch and took Wednesday off as it was forecast to be peak bloom. Unfortunately for the cherry blossoms there was a winter storm that decided to roll through late Monday night causing all sorts of problems. Several days of freezing weather damaged buds in the puffy white stage and delayed those buds that hadn’t year started. The blooms might not be out but I was still taking the day off.
Wednesday was the day after the winter storm so I knew conditions would be horrible outside and let me tell you it was cold a crap. The temps didn’t get much above freezing that day and the constant gusty wind just made it unbearable to be outside walking around. Getting off Metro I thought about heading down to the tidal basin to see what I could but after a few minutes in the frigid weather I quickly decided against that and headed to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum instead. I haven’t been here since I was probably a teenager but more importantly it was inside.
After spending several hours walking around the museum with all the tours I gotta say, I was a little disappointed. As much as I thought the museum would have changed in 15+ years it was 90% exactly how I remember it. That’s not to say the exhibits are not great, they just have never been updated. Walking through the expansive museum it brought back memories of my childhood. I kept picking out things exactly the way I remember them so many years ago. Still worth a visit and one of these days I will make it over to the newer Udvar-Hazy Center to see what they have to offer. My understanding of this place is it is a giant warehouse with tons of planes. Sounds pretty cool to me.
Several hours later I started making my way back home. Not having eaten all day I was starving and for a while I thought about walking around DC to find a place to eat. Unfortunately the weather was just to cold to be outside so I decided to head to Tysons and find something close to the metro stop. Founding Farms is always a good place so I stopped here for some food and a well deserved Virginia craft beer. Still not wanting my day to be over I quickly found a movie to watch at the Alamo Drafthouse. So of course that meant some more beer at the bar and some snacks while I watch Kong: Skull Island. Not a bad movie I will say. Some parts are a little weird but overall very good.
For almost two weeks I was excited to walk around the tidal basin and see the cherry blossoms peak bloom. I have seen blooms before, just not sure if they have ever been peak blooms. As I write this post it officially turned into spring. Unfortunately it doesn’t feel like it at the moment. With half the buds lost to the freezing cold peak bloom is now forecast between March 19th and 22nd. If the weather cooperates maybe I will go this weekend but with half the buds destroyed and peak already occurring, it better be some really nice weather to get me out.