Last week I had the pleasure of going to see not just one but two concerts at the 9:30 Club and I have to say, the venue is quickly becoming my new favorite.
Having personally seen hundreds of concerts at countless venues, this is a bold statement, but I say it with confidence.
There’s something about 9:30 Club’s understated exterior, simplistic dark interior, and three floors of unobstructed views that set the crowd on fire and ignite something deep inside the artists. Together, this energy creates the perfect moment for a once in a lifetime performance. I’ve seen some of my favorite artist’s best live shows at the 9:30 Club and have heard the same from many of my friends.
The 9:30 Club has a long history in the area and has a special spot in the hearts of many in DC. The venue first opened its doors in the early 1980s, giving local DC and national alternative artists a place to share their musical talent. The club got its name from the original street address of the venue – 930 F St NW, and it was also their opening time – 9:30pm. In 1996, the venue moved to its current location at 815 V St. NW and was renamed “Nightclub 9:30” but many still refer to the venue by its original name.
Getting to the 9:30 Club is surprisingly easy for a concert venue. The Green Line U Street/ African American Civil War Memorial / Cardozo Metro Station is located two blocks away (exit towards 10th Street). The last train leaves the station at 11:44pm Sun-Thurs and at 2:30am on Friday and Saturday.
Street parking is available for free after 6:30pm and the venue also has a private parking lot. If you want to park in 9:30’s lot you can purchase a parking pass for 10 dollars online when you order your tickets. Tip: The private lot usually sells out before the night of the concert so if you want to guarantee a spot, purchase your parking pass in advance.
And of course, if you plan on drinking, taxi cabs are readily available outside the venue and are always a recommended “safe” option!
I’ve taken the metro and driven to the venue in the past and prefer purchasing parking or parking on the street over riding on the metro. The metro is a decent walk from the venue and I like the comfort of having my car there in case the show runs late.
Once inside the venue, you have the option of watching the show from three different levels. The main (first) floor is usually the most crowded, and if it’s a sold out show you’ll make some new very CLOSE friends in the pit area but this level does get you the closest to the band. The second level forms a U shape around the stage and has two sides with steps that many choose to sit on during more mellow shows. Finally, there is the third level that is comprised mostly of a bar and VIP seating. If you want to grab an actual seat, this is one of your few places to get one. But be sure to arrive early – they go fast! No matter where you choose to watch the show, the layout provides great views from any spot.
Last week, I saw Koo Koo Kanga Roo, Suburban Legends, Aquabats & Reel Big Fish on Monday and Carbon Leaf on Wednesday. They were two VERY different shows with VERY different audiences – but both gave their fans an incredible performance and left them extremely satisfied and cheering for more.
I was lucky enough to snag backstage passes to both shows (thanks Gabe and Carbon Leaf!) and had a chance to chat with the bands before/after their shows. All the artists seemed to agree that the 9:30 Club was one of their favorite places to play, not just because of the venue, but because of the energy the DC crowd always provides.
Carbon Leaf was also kind enough to participate in an impromptu interview with me about the 9:30 Club, their new album and what they would do on a day off in DC. Check out the video below and be sure to visit the MyLife in Metro DC Facebook page later this week for a super awesome give away from the band! These guys are always good for a laugh
At the end of both nights, I left the venue with a huge smile on my face and a slight ringing in my ears (tip: be a smart concert goer and wear Hearos … they keep your ears safe without losing the sound quality you do with regular earplugs). The 9:30 Club provided me with another two unparalleled evenings of music that I feel could not be recreated in any other venue. So if your favorite artist is in town and playing the 9:30, be sure to go and see them – I’m positive you’ll have an incredible time.
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