When I was a wee lad, the Black Cat was the greatest place on Earth. Back then it was an open space where local and national musicians could play on a great stage with great sound and then hang out with their friends afterward. It was replete with sarcastic punks, artists and, for a while, even had a record store in the basement.
The Black Cat is a far different place now than when I went to my first show there in the mid 90s (a Buck-O-Nine concert), but it’s still one of DC’s premiere nightclubs for indie music. The Red Room, a no cover lounge/bar on the first floor where the aforementioned sarcastic punks and artists used to congregate, is still there, but now the clientele mostly consists of PRB drinking Generation Y Millennial hipsters in ironic t-shirt and Elvis Costello glasses. Next to that is the Food for Thought Cafe serving primarily health conscious vegan and vegetarian food, including brown rice, vegetarian lasagna, and falafel and hummus (luckily for people who hate vegetables like me, there are a handful of meat filled options to choose from). The one important thing that hasn’t changed though is the music. The Black Cat is still as committed to supporting indie artists as it was when it first opened in the early 90s. The smaller backstage spotlighting local artists every Tuesday is still on the first floor, while the second floor features the mainstage for slightly bigger national touring bands. They tend to book a pretty diverse smattering of indie artists, too, with Janelle Monae coming one night and Tallest Man on Earth the next.
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