Friday Night Eclectic

Indie
'

Editorial Review

2011 schedule:

Jan. 21 -- X.O. and RAtheMC f. AB the Pro

Jan. 28 -- Great Noise Ensemble: Paranoid Cheese

Feb. 4 -- Ra Ra Rasputin and Hume

Feb. 11 -- Daddy Lion, Bellflur and Screen Vinyl Image

Feb. 18 -- Incwell

Feb. 25 -- Funk Ark

March 4 -- Junior League Band

March 11 -- First Name Basis with Bo Jankans and Educated Consumers

March 18 -- Subcontinental Drift: A South Asian Salon featuring Fourth Stream and U.S. Department of Bhangra

March 25 -- Scrapomatic

April 1 -- ilyAIMY and Primitivity

April 8 -- Sin Miedo

Strathmore goes indie at Friday Night Eclectic concert series
By Lavanya Ramanathan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 5, 2010

If you're a music fan and live in Montgomery County, seeing an indie band such as Exit Clov or getting your go-go and hip-hop fix at a Mambo Sauce show means a trek: to the Black Cat or 9:30 club downtown or to Whitlow's or Iota in Arlington.

But last Friday night, 20- and 30-somethings from Rockville, Bethesda and Derwood chatted with friends, sipped on PBRs and watched Exit Clov and fellow indie-pop band True Womanhood somewhere a little closer to home: Strathmore.

Yes, you read that correctly.

The arts center in North Bethesda is making a go at becoming a nighttime destination with its new concert series, Friday Night Eclectic, which kicked off last week and continues through April 2 in its intimate mansion venue. Expect the series to stay true to its name, with rock, go-go, dance music and more on the schedule.

On Friday, the seven-member group Gato & the Palenke Music Co. brings Latin music to the nearly 115-year-old mansion. Other highlights: On Feb. 19, the hip-hop artist Incwell takes the stage, and on March 26, alt-rock band U.S. Royalty teams up with the duo Dastardly, which performs a strange brew of dance music, hip-hop and soul (think Gnarls Barkley).

On the first night, more than 150 people -- near capacity -- came through the multi-room space, which was lit in mood-setting purple-blue and orange hues. The bar was selling can after can of Pabst and Heineken, and in a back room, artist Stephanie Potter snapped pics of partygoers, instantly turning the digital shots into photo-booth-style strips she would e-mail after the show.

Strathmore programmers Mac Campbell and Georgina Javor are behind the series and are part of the same young demographic they hope to draw to Friday Night Eclectic.

"Mac and I wanted to do something a little more casual and a little more relaxed that would attract people that were more of our age," Javor said.

The bands are excited about reaching new crowds, too.

"It's like Montgomery County's Kennedy Center," said "Black Boo" Duncan, lead singer for Mambo Sauce, who guessed that his band had performed in the county only once before. "For us to play there, that's our whole agenda: to play music for diverse crowds. This gives us an opportunity to be in front of a crowd we probably wouldn't normally be in front of."

"We just jumped on it, because when you play the kind of music we play, usually you're playing a rectangular brick room that's part of a rowhouse or a warehouse," said True Womanhood's Thomas Redmond. "It's completely different than a mansion where you usually hear chamber music or jazz."

Longtime Montgomery County resident Jeffrey Everett, who was selling his rock posters at Friday Night Eclectic, said he was excited to see such a good response to the inaugural show.

"All my friends who live in D.C. always go, 'Why do you live in Rockville? There's nothing cool in Rockville,' " Everett said.

"Now I can say, 'Aha, but there's Strathmore!' They're putting on all these great shows, they have all this great art, and artists coming in. It's really lending credibility to the suburbs."