French kisses and irony

Of course, a band as good-looking as Musical Charis would do something as clever as scratch-and-reveal album art.

Of course, a band as good-looking as Musical Charis would do something as clever as scratch-and-reveal album art.

Photo by Lindsay Calmettes

Oui, Le Sac: The Paris of America, that’s what they call Sacramento, and is it so far-fetched (besides the really obvious stuff)? After all, we’ve got multiple places to buy crepes, more independent coffee shops than Starbucks on the grid, and, for dessert, democracy. We also drink a lot of wine, though, honestly, the local stuff far outshines the imports. So, why not celebrate Bastille Day as Midtown did this past Sunday? OK, so there wasn’t as much raucous hoo-ha as usually takes place on Cinco de Mayo, but so long as we’re celebrating other nation’s holidays, let’s let it all hang out. This year’s celebration, held in The Handle District, mostly consisted of the businesses on L Street between 18th and 19th streets setting tables in front of their establishments and vending small bites in exchange for cash. Pretty American, but the possibilities are there! Maybe next year there can be a champagne garden, a Serge Gainsbourg cover band, and a fondue after-party. Also possible: Le Tour de Grid for cyclists, a pop-up Louvre installation for the artistes, baguette dueling fought three on three—or Musketeer style—for the kids. Speaking of which, since we’re not tolerating old-fashioned shootouts for Gold Rush Days, maybe we can at least spice up our Bastille party with some historically accurate reenactments, such as the beheading of our political adversaries. Vive la France!

Pay some respect: In 2007, Dirty Projectors released Rise Above as an attempt to remake Black Flag’s 1981 debut studio-album Damaged purely from memory, which, as far as I can remember, was close enough for its intention to be recognized. Whether you’re a pop fan or a punk rocker, pay respect to the legacy that continues to influence the world beyond genre lines when Black Flag itself stops by Ace of Spades (1417 R Street) on Monday, July 22. Henry Rollins has since moved on to pursuits like original poetry, but band founder and guitarist Greg Ginn is still there, along with one of the group’s many lead vocalists over the years, Ron Reyes. The group is touring with some new material off its album Down in the Dirt, which was released just a few months back. You’d think that more than 30 years would have changed up the band’s style, but nope, it still sounds like music made by 16 year olds who just barely know how to tune their instruments, though, surely, this is a ruse. Ginn was named No. 99 on Rolling Stone’s “100 Greatest Guitarists: David Fricke’s Picks.” Punk rock won’t seem to die without a fight.

Word to your papa: Speaking of catching up with acts of yesteryear, or yester-decades, the GrandMothers of Invention will make a stop at Assembly (1000 K Street) on Saturday, July 20. The lineup includes Don Preston, who played with Frank Zappa’s backing band, the Mothers of Invention from 1966 to 1974, and Napoleon Murphy Brock, who played with the band from 1974 to 1984. A few other musical guests will be on hand to flesh things out on marimba, bass, drums, synth and what the GrandMother’s website additionally lists as “magic.” Bring the irony full circle and bring your grandpa; he’s a lot hipper than he gets credit for.

Scratch and win: On Thursday, July 18, join Musical Charis for its CD-release show for Cherish the Charis at Harlow’s Restaurant & Nightclub (2708 J Street). The band’s fifth full-length album sports a special scratch-off feature requiring your efforts to reveal the 23-song track listing. The idea was to get fans interested in the tangible fruits of musicians’ labor, and in what better way than a ritual that either proves we’ve discovered a gold mine or just wasted $5? My guess is you’ll have no regrets.