In It Together Fest celebrates the spirit of D.C.’s DIY music scene

July 31, 2014

David Combs, aka Spoonboy, performs during In it Together Fest on Thursday. (Spoonboy)

It’s a fitting coincidence that the inaugural In It Together Fest begins on Thursday — the same night as this summer’s final Fort Reno show. Both concert series celebrate the ramshackle spirit of local DIY music, as well as the scene’s tireless promoters who are perfectly happy to have you slam dance in their basement.

“The whole ethos behind [the festival] is to cross-pollinate the various scenes within D.C.,” says Mike O’Brien, a local illustrator who helped organize In It Together with Brett Isaacoff and Geoff Shobert, the founders of DIY venue The Dougout. “[The goal is] to highlight the under-appreciated and encourage people to do their own thing, give people an outlet.”

In It Together’s schedule is packed with more than 20 showcases at many of the city’s premier DIY venues — places like Ft. Loko, Paperhaus and St. Stephen’s as well as The Dougout — from Thursday to Sunday. If you want to check out some shows but don’t know where to start, let this be your guide.

Pile

Pile hails from Boston but its sound harks back to Dischord’s golden age with its knotty guitars and noisy, post-hardcore edge. But unlike the countless groups recycling the Dischord formula, Pile is a dynamic band, oscillating mid-song between loud, pummeling rock and soft, beautiful melodies. “We’ve been trying to get [Pile] down here for a while,” Isaacoff says, “so we’re stoked to have them.”

Download This: The snaking, heavy metal-leaning “Grunt Like a Pig”

The Dougout, 1498 Douglas St. NE; Fri., 8 p.m., free with $5 badge or donation.

Spoonboy

David Combs, frontman for D.C. punk heroes The Max Levine Ensemble, performs solo as Spoonboy, opting for a stripped-down, mostly acoustic Frank Turner vibe. Even unplugged, Combs’ music is full of angst. “I think if you enjoy The Max Levine Ensemble, you’ll enjoy Spoonboy,” Shobert says. “It’s just classic David.”

Download This: “Fireball Or What I Learned From TV,” 96 glorious seconds of angry, motormouthed folk punk

Ft. Loko, 2628 Sixth St. NE; Thu., 8 p.m., free with $5 badge or donation; infestdc.bigcartel.com.


The Effects

This mysterious Washington-based punk three-piece doesn’t have any recorded music yet, but with Matt Dowling of Deleted Scenes on bass and David Ocampo from Medications on guitar and vocals, they’re what you’d call a D.C. supergroup. The Effects — headlining the festival’s only ticketed show — are also the band O’Brien’s most looking forward to seeing live. “It’s very much that post-hardcore, Dischord sound,” he says. “I’m excited to see them really rock out.”

St. Stephen’s,1525 Newton St. NW; Sat., noon, $10; 202-232-0900, infestdc.bigcartel.com. (Columbia Heights)

Two Inch Astronaut

Colesville, Md.-based Two Inch Astronaut is similar to Exploding in Sound labelmate Pile, albeit with an extra dose of J. Mascis-esque guitar sludge. “They’re a band that is literally just explosive,” Isaacoff says. “They’re super talented and just on point. Their performance hits all the spots.”

Download This: The mosh pit-ready “Spank Jail,” with its intricate layers of distorted guitar played at a breakneck, pop-punk speed.

The Dougout, 1498 Douglas St. NE; Fri., 8 p.m., free with $5 badge or donation.

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