DC’s 9:30 Club turned 35 this year — 35 years total in existence and 20 years at their V St. location — and to celebrate this, they hosted the 9:30 World’s Fair. The World’s Fair was a “funhouse of interactive, jaw-dropping imagery” showcasing everything from old collage concert flyers to footage of DC hardcore bands doing groundbreaking shit in the 80s. There was a Hall of Records displaying a record or CD from every band that’s ever played at the venue, tons of memorabilia like old hospitality riders and press passes dating back to the days of boy band B2k and my boo Bow Wow (throwin’ it back to 6th grade right there!), a chance to get up on stage … And for the brave people, a tattoo artist giving out free tats of the 9:30 logo.
Seeing all of this has had me thinking of the memories I’ve made at this concert venue. I was 19 when deadmau5 hit the District with the “For Lack of A Better Name” tour. I remember watching an enormous cube of light illuminate the entire room and a giant mouse head emerge from behind it, and being so fucking amazed. It ended up being one of the most memorable nights of my life, not just because deadmau5 killed it, but because as I look back on it, I can see it was the start of my freedom as a young adult, and the start of my DC nightlife. Not to mention I had just started drinking that year, so everything just felt like some big ol’ novelty to me.
Since being that crazed 19-year-old fangirl, I’ve been to so many concerts at 9:30 Club that I can barely even remember them all, so it’s amazing to have heard people around me say they can recall a show 30+ years ago back when the venue was on F Street. What’s even more amazing was watching 80s and 90s videos back when Sonic Youth, Smashing Pumpkins and Green Day all looked like babies and were probably years away from knowing just how much they were gonna blow up.