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Kali Uchis at 9:30 Club

Kali Uchis played her hometown twice this week on October 9 and 10, electrifying the crowd at 9:30 Club during sold-out shows. Touring on her debut album Isolation, Uchis brought her angelic voice and diva presence to the famed stage. Her set was filled with songs the crowd wanted to sing along to, such as “Tyrant,” “Just a Stranger” and “After the Storm.” Photo/write-up: Mike Kim

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Nine Inch Nails and The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Anthem

Nine Inch Nails performed twice at The Anthem this week on October 9 and 10, treating fans to nearly two hours of music each time. Both sets included well-known favorites and songs only true hardcore NIN fans would know. Trent Reznor and his band also treated fans to a few surprises, including “Home,” which had not been performed live since 2009, a guitar-filled version of “Closer” and an excellent cover of David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid of Americans.” Jesus and Mary Chain opened for NIN both evenings; their 12-song set opened with “Honey” and ended with the loud guitars of “Reverence.” Photos/write-up: Shantel Mitchell Breen

Photo: Dan Ball
Photo: Dan Ball

Unheralded Lucero Soldiers on through 9:30 Club

Lucero‘s upcoming concert at 9:30 Club will hopefully serve as a reminder of how hard longevity is for rock bands and why the accomplishment is worth celebrating. Returning to their “home away from home,” Lucero will feature new literary songs fashioned by solo singer and lyricist, Ben Nichols, who has written their heartbreaking hits since the band’s inception in 1998.

For 20 years, Lucero has toured under the radar, serenading listeners across the country. Even with 12 albums under their belt, Lucero sometimes sees blank expressions when their name is mentioned. Fortunately, this does not deter them from traveling year-round for an ever-growing following throughout the U.S., U.K. and Australia.

The band’s current lifespan was unexpected for the four-piece band.

“I didn’t think it would last, but I had this romanticized idea of starting a rock and roll band and piling in a van and traveling the country,” Nichols says. “I never planned on changing the world or becoming The Beatles. I just wanted to be one of those garage bands that get in a van and play punk rock shows.”

Despite playing for two decades, the band doesn’t lament mainstream notoriety, as Nichols humbly insists, “we are not a slick, professional-type band. We have shot ourselves in the foot numerous times, probably. Poor decision making here and there.”

“I think there are only certain music listeners that are going to appreciate what we do,” he continues. “It’s not for the general public, even though our crowds keep growing. It’s never going to be mainstream; we don’t want to be.”

Content with their status in the music industry, Lucero prides themselves on maintaining artistic integrity.

“We are a small business, a working band,” Nichols says. “We’re not rich and famous, but we get to do what we love doing, and we’re paying the bills [while] doing it. We ended up exactly where we wanted to be.”

Nichols’ life has traditionally provided much of the inspiration for the band’s often emotional music. However, the latest album Among the Ghosts features a generally fictional narrative drawn from books and old war letters.

“I wanted to become a better songwriter,” Nichols says. “It’s easy to write down a diary entry and have raw emotions spill out on the page, which works sometimes, but we’ve done a lot of that in the past.”

The reach of the new LP is broader, meant to connect with different listeners.

“There’s a song, ‘To My Dearest Wife,’ [and] it’s kind of about a soldier being far from home and writing back home to his wife,” Nichols explains. “There’s an impending battle, and he doesn’t know what’s going to happen. He says [in the letter] kiss our baby girls.”

“There are things I can relate to in this song that aren’t about me,” he continues. “Obviously, I’m not a soldier. I’m not in a war anywhere, but being gone from home is tough. I have a two year-old baby daughter back home, and it’s a different kind of heartbreak being on tour now.”

For a time, Lucero was touring 200-250 shows a year, but has recently scaled back to an average of about 140 per year.

Though the style and years have changed Lucero, their tone has largely remained unchanged.

“I like old rock and roll songs,” Nichols says. “There’s nothing wrong with songs about girls, songs about having a good time. I do a little bit of that, but I like dark, sad songs too.”

To engage their following, Nichols constantly strives for consistent resonance between the band and fans.

“Writing these songs have really gotten me through some tough times,” Nichols says. “To hear from those who have been through tough times and hearing that our music helps [is] big. Hearing about soldiers in Afghanistan… and it helps get them through, those are very nice stories to hear.”

Even though Lucero has accomplished more than they originally set out to, the band still has more goals for the future.

“I would love to have Stevie Nicks’ voice on some of the stuff we’ve written,” Nichols says. “Especially with the Among the Ghost record, her voice would actually fit right in there perfectly. That would be a dream come true.”

Lucero will perform at 9:30 Club on October 14. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets cost $25 and can be purchased at www.930.com.

Learn more about the band here and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @luceromusic.

9:30 Club: 815 V St NW, DC; 202-265-0930; www.930.com

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Thrice at Fillmore Silver Spring

On Thursday, October 4, American rock band Thrice played at the Fillmore Silver Spring in Maryland. Photos: Mike Kim

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Hemlines at Black Cat

In their farewell show, Hemlines played at Black Cat on Friday, September 28. The group is known for their raucous punk sound. Photos: K. Gabrielle Photography

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Blood Orange at The Lincoln Theatre

Blood Orange serenaded the sold out crowd at The Lincoln Theater on Friday, September 28. Dev Haynes, aka Blood Orange, is currently touring on his new critically acclaimed album, Negro Swan. The new album explores Haynes’s emotions on many types of black depression and the ongoing anxieties of people with minority backgrounds. At the Lincoln Theatre, Haynes showed his versatile talents whether playing the keys for “Orlando” or shredding guitar on “Charcoal Baby.”The Friday night show proves Blood Orange has only just began his ascent into stardom. Yves Tumor opened the evening. Photos: Mike Kim

Castle Hill

Celebrating Cider: On Tap’s Guide to Local Cideries

Autumn is just around the corner, and if you’re like us, your taste buds are ready for all things fall: pumpkin spice, cinnamon and apple-flavored everything. If you’re ready to trade in your wheat and fruit beers for something a little more seasonal, try a hard cider from one of the numerous cideries scattered around the DMV (or just a day trip away) in our 2018 Cider Guide. With Virginia growing some of the best apples in the country, you can’t go wrong. From the classic Virginia countryside views at Coyote Hole Ciderworks to the farmhouse-style cider at Willow Oaks Craft Cider, there’s something for everyone.


Albemarle CiderWorks: 2545 Rural Ridge Ln. North Garden, VA; www.albemarleciderworks.com

ANXO Cidery & Tasting Room: 711 Kennedy St. NW, DC; www.anxodc.com

Big Fish Cider Co.: 59 Spruce St. Monterey, VA; www.bigfishcider.com

Blue Bee Cider: 1320 Summit Ave. Richmond, VA; www.bluebeecider.com

Blue Toad Hard Cider: 462 Winery Ln. Roseland, VA; www.bluetoadhardcider.com

Bold Rock Hard Cider: 1020 Rockfish Valley Hwy. Nellysford, VA; www.boldrock.com

Bryant’s Cider: 3224 East Branch Loop, Roseland, VA; www.bryantscider.com

Buskey Cider: 2910 W. Leigh St. Richmond, VA; www.buskeycider.com


Castle Hill

Castle Hill Cider
6065 Turkey Sag Rd. Keswick, VA
434-296-0047 | www.castlehillcider.com

Castle Hill Cider blends time-honored traditions with modern techniques to bring you refreshing and award-winning Virginia cider. Their world-class cider makers use time-tested and cutting-edge practices, working to renovate an 80-year-old orchard while collaborating with growers of prime apple varieties. Visit them at their tasting room, open every day of the week from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Winter hours (January to March) are 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursday to Monday.


Capitol Cider House: 3930 Georgia Ave. NW, DC; www.capitolciderhouse.com

Cobbler Mountain Cider: 5909 Long Fall Ln. Delaplane, VA; www.cobblermountain.com

Corcoran Vineyards & Cider: 14635 Corkys Farm Ln. Waterford, VA; www.corcorancider.com

Courthouse Creek Cider: 1581 Maidens Rd. Maidens, VA; www.courthousecreek.com

Distillery Lane Ciderworks: 5533 Gapland Rd. Jefferson, MD; www.distillerylaneciderworks.com

Fabbioli Cellars: 15669 Limestone School Rd. Leesburg, VA; www.fabbioliwines.com

Faulkner Branch Cidery & Distillery Co.: 4822 Preston Rd. Federalsburg, MD; www.faulknerbranch.com

Foggy Ridge Cider: 1328 Pine View Rd. Dugspur, VA; www.foggyridgecider.com

Great Shoals Winery: 7050 Carroll Ave. Takoma Park, MD; www.greatshoalstakoma.com


Coyote Hole

Coyote Hole Ciderworks
225 Oak Grove Dr. Lake Anna, VA
540-894-1053 | www.coyotehole.com

Find Coyote Hole Ciderworks in the heart of Virginia at Lake Anna on 37 beautiful acres. Their hard ciders are produced with 100 percent Virginia apples and pears, gluten-free and never made from concentrate. Ranging in sweetness levels from dry to sweet with a minimum of 6.5 percent ABV, their ciders rise above the pack and are true Virginia craft ciders. They encourage a friendly and relaxing atmosphere at their tasting room where you can enjoy their flagship ciders, Oma Smith’s, Opa Smith’s and HPA (Hopped Pressed Apple), along with a variety of seasonal ciders.


Mt. Defiance Cidery & Distillery: 495 E. Washington St. Middleburg, VA; www.mtdefiance.com

Old Hill Cider: 17768 Honeyville Rd. Timberville, VA; www.oldhillcider.com

Old Trade Brewery & Cidery: 13270 Alanthus Rd. Brandy Station, VA; www.oldtradebrewery.com

Potter’s Craft Cider: 4699 Catterton Rd. Free Union, VA; www.potterscraftcider.com

Red Shedman Farm Brewery: 13601 Glissans Mill Rd. Mt. Airy, VA; www.redshedman.com

Supreme Core Cider: 2400 T St. NE, DC; www.supremecorecider.com

Wild Hare Hard Cider: 106A South St. SE, Leesburg, VA; www.wildharecider.com

Winchester Ciderworks: 2504 N. Frederick Pk. Winchester, VA; www.winchesterciderworks.com

The Winery at Kindred Pointe: 3575 Conicville Rd. Mt. Jackson, VA; www.kindredpointe.com


Willow Oaks

Willow Oaks Craft Cider
6219 Harley Rd. Middletown, MD
301-371-4814 | www.willowoakscraftcider.com

Willow Oaks crafts their farmhouse-style cider from certified organic, American heirloom apples on their 35-acre farm. But they also use organic pears, blueberries, black currants and other fruits to make tasty additions to Willow Oaks’ ciders. Fabulous fruit, unique terroir and small-batch barrel fermentation let the flavors and aroma of the fruit shine through for a crisp, dry finish. While you sip on some cider, visit the Willow Oaks barn tasting room, farm stand and art gallery. Their tasting room is open April to December on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., and January to March by appointment.

Photo: Courtesy of Pisco y Nazca
Photo: Courtesy of Pisco y Nazca

New and Notable: Le Kon, Little Sesame, Pisco y Nazca and more

On Tap keeps locals in the know about the hottest new food and drink spots around town and the top culinary happenings of the month. Read on to get the inside scoop on what’s new and notable in the DC area.

New

Le Kon
Open: September 1
Location: Clarendon
Lowdown: Top Chef alum Katsuji Tanabe, who has roots in Mexico and Japan, expanded his restaurant portfolio to DC with a new Mexican restaurant that draws inspiration from Asia. Springfield native Patrick Tanyag oversees the kitchen, which delivers playful and eye-catching creations with bright ingredients like watermelon radish, pickled red onions and cucumber kimchi providing splashes of color. It’s almost like the menu was made for Instagram: an entire roasted pig head is presented tableside before being broken down into carnitas for tacos, and cotton candy is piled on a Fruity Pebbles tres leches cake. Portions are generous, with massive grilled steaks and tacos served in family-style platters so guests can build their own bites. The large dining room is accented with navy wainscoting, marble tile mosaic table tops and an industrial concrete bar. A purple and red ombre corn husk wall hanging stands out above the booths and fanciful Day of the Dead scenes play out on the wallpaper. Le Kon: 3227 Washington Blvd. Arlington, VA; www.lekonrestaurant.com

Little Sesame
Open: August 28
Location: Golden Triangle
Lowdown: The original iteration of Little Sesame was an instant hit, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the first standalone location opened with a line out the door that has continued to form each day during the lunch rush. Ronen Tenne, Nick Wiseman and David Wiseman are behind this wildly popular fast-casual hummus shop that serves up hummus bowls, pita sandwiches and seasonal salatim (vegetable sides). The three formed a vision for their bright and airy restaurant by traveling – both across the U.S. and in Israel, where Tenne was born – and exploring the diversity of food and design in various kitchens. Nick Wiseman says the menu pulls from the food traditions of Middle Eastern countries like Yemen, Lebanon and Iran, all of which are reflected in Israel’s cuisine. The hummus quite literally holds it all together, so its recipe was tweaked to perfection. With only a handful of ingredients, the hummus is made daily with the highest quality chickpeas and tahini. Then, it’s enhanced by additions ranging from whole roasted vegetables and fresh produce to herbs and spices. Items like the classic bowl with chickpeas, tahini and schug and the chicken shawarma with tahini, amba and smashed cucumber salad will always be on the menu, while other offerings will change with the seasons. Expect squash, celery root, broccoli, brassicas and more this fall. Little Sesame: 1828 L St. NW, DC; www.eatlittlesesame.com

Pisco y Nazca
Open: September 3
Location: Dupont Circle
Lowdown: The Miami-based Pisco y Nazca has brought a new option for modern Peruvian cuisine to DC. Like its sister restaurants, the bar at the latest location welcomes guests with a chandelier-like bottle display, and the rest of the dining room is spacious and open. The menu has an impressive array of ceviches, including a Japanese variation, a traditional preparation and a version with mushrooms. Starters include expected items like empanadas, anticucho carne and grilled octopus. The entrée selection plays on tradition as well, with arroz con mariscos, lomo saltado and a braised lamb shank with cilantro sauce. Of course, you can pair these dishes with Peruvian cocktails like a pisco sour or a Chilcano. Pisco y Nazca: 1823 L St. NW, DC; www.piscoynazca.com/dc

St. Anselm
Open: September 17
Location: NoMa
Lowdown: Joe Carroll, the man behind St. Anselm in Brooklyn, has teamed up with restaurateur Stephen Starr and Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley to bring the grill-centric restaurant to the Union Market neighborhood. While it’s often hailed as a steakhouse, St. Anselm is about more than beef. The cooking relies heavily on fire, with everything from Spanish octopus to Romano beans, a rack of lamb and a pork porterhouse hitting the grill that sits in the center of the open kitchen. When it comes to beef, the cuts are on the unusual side, like hanger steak and flat iron. The wine list also bucks convention, featuring light, high-acid red wines over heavy oaky ones. Plus, there will be a select few ciders, craft beers and cocktails. The surroundings straddle distinguished and whimsical, with snug private booths and vintage plates juxtaposed with embroidered banners from fraternal organizations and a taxidermied raccoon. There’s also a beefsteak room where the restaurant will host special events modeled after beefsteak dinners, which were political fundraising events common in the 1850s. St. Anselm: 1250 5th St. NE, DC; www.stanselmdc.com

Notable

Mr Lee’s Pop-up at Succotash
Location: Penn Quarter
Lowdown: Chef Edward Lee is transforming the upstairs bar and lounge of his Penn Quarter restaurant into a pop-up called Mr Lee’s. The concept is inspired by Asian night markets, with bold flavors in dishes like spicy pork belly and kimchi or duck confit, snow pea and basil dumplings. The menu will change weekly but will put an emphasis on ingredients from the neighboring farmers market. Signature cocktails complement the food, like the Miss Korea made with Soju, melon syrup, yuzu and egg white. Asian beers and spirits are also available. Mr Lee’s will run through the end of 2018. Mr Lee’s: 915 F St. NW, DC; www.facebook.com/mrleesatsuccotash or www.succotashrestaurant.com


Budweiser Marks Repeal of Prohibition Anniversary with Reserve Copper Lager

To mark the 85th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, Budweiser has partnered with Jim Beam bourbon to release a specially crafted Reserve Copper Lager brew. Brewed with two-row barley and aged on barrel staves once housing Jim Beam bourbon, the special beer features a delicious nutty taste, with notes of vanilla and caramel rye. Unlike other beers that are aged in the bourbon barrels, Budweiser chose to use the staves to give a more subtle bourbon taste and a slightly sweeter finish. The collaboration between two beverage makers that survived the Prohibition era has produced a terrifically tasty beer that will be available in bars and retail locations through the holiday season. Learn more about Budweiser’s Reserve Copper Lager at Budweiser.com.


New Culinary Team at Mirabelle
Location: Downtown
Lowdown: This chic upscale restaurant recently brought on a new culinary team and reopened in August with a new menu and a new identity in the kitchen. General manager and beverage director Jennifer Knowles has returned, and she’s joined by Executive Chef Keith Bombaugh and Pastry Chef Zoe Ezrailson. The menu features dishes that evoke memories of Knowles and Bombaugh’s experiences growing up on the South Shore of Boston, along with French cuisine marked by global influences. Lunch is served a la carte, but during dinner, there is the option to order a four-, five- or 12-course prix fixe menu. Wine pairings are available upon request. Many of the offerings are as fascinating to look at as they are to eat, like the grilled abalone with green curry tapioca served in a vibrantly blue polished abalone shell. Desserts follow suit – the lemon honey beehive is an artistic dome of Meyer lemon curd surrounded by toasted honey meringue. Mirabelle: 900 16th St. NW, DC; www.mirabelledc.com

Photo: Courtesy of Washington Capitals
Photo: Courtesy of Washington Capitals

Capitals’ New Head Coach Todd Reirden Enters Unique Situation

Championship teams are hard to keep together. Whether it’s players leaving for bigger contracts, veterans retiring or staffers jetting for more lucrative opportunities, the likelihood of a carbon copy from year to year is nearly impossible.

An obvious cog for any sports team is the head coach, and though it’s unusual for a championship organization to hire a new leader months after tasting absolute victory, the Capitals are now in the midst of this transition.

Out is Barry Trotz, the man who directed the team to last year’s Stanley Cup championship, as he resigned shortly after hoisting the trophy earlier this summer. While the team could have rocked the boat and brought in an outside candidate, the front office instead opted for continuity, promoting former assistant coach Todd Reirden. The 47-year-old was given a unique set of circumstances surrounding his first National Hockey League head coaching gig.

“This is an extremely unique one,” Reirden tells me in his office adorned with more Capitals gear than a stadium gift shop. “More often than not, you see an assistant coach take over because it went poorly. In this situation where you’ve won the ultimate prize in your sport, it’s obviously different. I had no ill will or misgivings to Barry. It was his choice not to return. It had nothing to do with my situation.”

Officially hired on June 29, Reirden touched base with Trotz to thank him for the opportunity. Four years ago, Trotz hired him as the assistant coach, bringing him into the organization where he’s now charged to lead.

“It’s been a real comfortable situation thus far,” he says. “Two years ago, I ran the training camp. So this is not new to me as far as where we’re at right now – only thoughts of excitement and opportunity for this group, who for the most part is returning.”

Those returning include legend and Stanley Cup MVP Alex Ovechkin, forward T.J. Oshie and defenseman John Carlson, to name a few.

“Every season is a little bit different, so it’s tough to totally forecast where your team is going to have success or [what they’ll] struggle with,” Reirden says. “[Because of] what we were able to do last year, there won’t be a lot of changes. We’re just trying to emphasize the speed with some of our young players.”

One group of people happy to see him instituted as head coach was the players, who had firsthand experience as he helped guide the team to a championship last season. Though he has a different role, the team believes he can help them achieve a title repeat.

“First of all, he’s very smart,” says veteran center Nicklas Backstrom. “He’s very good at adjusting during the game and making sure you’re screwing with the other team a bit, which I think is positive. People don’t notice that. He’s alert. He’s on top of his game, every game. That’s what you need in this league.”

Along with his mind for the game, Reirden is a great communicator, which is something he’s using to help the Capitals avoid
a title hangover.

“My strengths are in communication and developing relationships with the players,” he says. “I was in constant contact with them and let them know a clear vision of what I expected the camp to look like. They’ve all come back in excellent shape and ready to work. The response from the veteran players and everyone right through is a high energy level and an even higher conditional level than in the past. You have to communicate with the players, you have to talk to them, you have to connect with them. They have to be able to come to you about good things, bad things, whatever it is, and you have to have them trust you and believe in you.”

With a new coach comes new philosophies and tendencies, which carries the possibility of a slow start. However, with Reirden being on staff for the past few years, players aren’t worried about the prospect.

“Potentially,” right defenseman Matt Niskanen says of Reirden’s coaching style. “You get used to a coach’s tendencies – his feel for how he runs the bench, runs your scheme, your practices. So far in camp, there’s been the same types of drills just to get people moving again because everyone’s familiar with them. But we’re going to start filtering new stuff, tweaking the system and details as we go. It should be a pretty seamless transition.”

Though it’s early, everything out of Capitals camp sounds so far, so good. And as the season opener against the Boston Bruins on October 3 approaches, all Reirden and the team can do is put their heads down, get to work and enjoy the journey.

“My goal doesn’t have anything to do with a set number of wins or losses, or this or that,” Reirden says. “I want to create an environment that’s challenging for our players. I want them to enjoy coming to work every day. They need to enjoy coming to the rink and being challenged that way to get back to what we accomplished last year.”

Don’t miss the Caps’ home opener on Wednesday, October 3 at 7:30 p.m. against the Bruins. For more information on the team and their 2018-2019 season, visit www.nhl.com/capitals.

Capital One Arena: 601 F St. NW, DC; www.nhl.com/capitals