Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Next Big Thing: DAM! Fest

Tis true. We have, in the past, heaped a pile of scorn upon the inexplicably named music site Big Yawn--DC's halfhearted stab at combining the "everyone's a WINNER (esp. us)!" ethos that makes Pitchfork intolerable with two scoops of glaring spelling and syntactic errors.

All that said, it would be stunningly unfair of us if we did not heap a twice-as-big helping of praise on the latest thing to come out of the Big Yawn camp and offer a deserving ovation to their upcoming DAM! Music Festival, coming the weekend of October 26-28. It is an unabashedly wonderful thing.

For lovers of both local music and independent rock in general, DAM! is a pre-Halloween treat that's going to leave you wanting more even if you manage to max out your involvement. This festival has been meticulously and brilliantly curated. From the local music scene, they've chosen acts that offer a real backbone of relevance, artists who can speak to DC's rock past and it's future--Len Bias, Travis Morrisson, Laura Burhenn, The Dance Party, Bleeder Resistor...

And the bands from out of town are a bunch of fantastic selections as well, and we particularly admire the fact that it's not just a bunch of bands whose throats are full of blogger jizz. Sure, there's bluzz (Cold War Kids, Cloud Cult)--but there are a lot more bands that've fallen through the cracks in the hype machine, like De Novo Dahl, Longwave, Pela, and my personal favorite, Bishop Allen. The bills are full of bands like this--they've garnered a fair-share of attention, sure--but they are the types of acts that deserve a champion other than the idle-fingered keyboardist. The whole crew behind DAM! deserve a lot of credit for stepping up behind these acts.

And that's to say nothing of stepping up to bring a festival to DC that has a whiff of relevance, and a sense of the sort of freshness that we felt during Cap Fringe, as well as positioning itself as the de facto coming out party for the part of the city that I gather we're all supposed to refer to as the Atlas District.

Where does this leave the city's other musicky festival--the one best known for inciting a famous "very special episode of the O.C." moment between its eternally aggrieved volunteer organizer and Chris from Full Minute of Mercury? Uhm...maybe forgotten about entirely. DAM! threatens to remove a phrase from our vocabulary: " what best passes for a DC music festival."

So, with humility, we offer nothing but rah-rahs. Hit up their website to get a full listing, copious band info, and lotsa samples of this-n-that. Be warned: You will have to make some hard choices. That's a good thing, and speaking personally, be glad that you don't have final dress rehearsals all weekend long and will be stuck in a dark theatre while all this is happening. Like, uhm...someone I could mention.

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