Ashcroft and friends

By the

February 1, 2001

This weekend brings a curious mix of musical talent to the area. Thursday evening will see the arrival of Richard Ashcroft at the 9:30 Club. Formerly of The Verve, Ashcroft is touring in support of his first solo record, All Alone With Everybody. As one of the few surviving members of the epic Brit-pop explosion of a few years back, Ashcroft has done a fine job of pushing this narrowly-defined sound in new directions. While his vocal tone and style is still nothing new, the record’s instrumental work is quite incredible.

Having written all the songs, Ashcroft left it up to a wide range of somewhat post-sessionship musicians to perform the material, many of whom are joining him on tour. BJ Cole, the world’s foremost steel slide guitarist, is far and away the best known and will be at the 9:30 with Ashcroft on Thursday.

Added bonus: Now, lets pretend that Richard is actually John Ashcroft’s alter ego. This is quite possible. There’s no reason to have an alter ego if it’s not completely different from one’s standard identity; these “two” men certainly qualify. Thus, John represents this entity’s more repentant side, ensuring by day that his voting record receives 100% approval from the Christian Coalition so as to atone for Richard’s rock’n’roll sins the previous night. If one finds this farce convincing, the show could prove to be especially intriguing, providing keen insight into a newly potent figure in American politics.

Friday night on the other side of town at Nation, Buzz will be hosting two of the only remaining DJs from the dying U.S. House scene, Little Louie Vega and Eric Morillo. The two inspired the UK’s Ministry of Sound (who has spent years releasing a new Ibiza album seemingly every other week) to release a double-CD featuring their material.

It’s a testament to the sad state of affairs in the U.S. that a U.K. label was the first to do this; Vega and Morillo have been some of the best-known American DJs for some time, and at least in New York they have been elevated to the dubious status of DJ stardom. Despite all this, the increasingly cocky, reactionary attitude of the U.S. House scene towards any sort of change has stifled growth and development, leaving it up to the British to take the initiative. But this weekend, D.C. will take the honor of hosting them.

Now if you’re still not interested and willing to make a trek on Saturday, a long-standing band of questionable credit will play The Birchmere in Alexandria: Average White Band. They remain devoted to their unique backwater funk style, even after years of being known only as the band that produced that song MTV always uses in their damn ads (“Picking Up the Pieces”). Of course, they also recorded “Play that Funky Music, White Boy.” So if that’s your ticket, they’ll be there just for you.

Thursday: Richard Ashcroft at the 9:30. Friday: Little Louie and Eric Morillo at Buzz. Saturday: Average White Band at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA.

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