brings the live concert experience to your quarantine

PHOTOS: JOHN SHORE | In our time of the Coronavirus Clampdown, fans of live music are feeling the void, just as musicians have seen their livelihoods temporarily disappear. The nation’s string of music clubs reliably alive with nightly shows are shuttered and empty as the streets around them. One of the nation’s best-loved venues, the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC is attempting to fill that void by streaming a string of live shows it shot for a public television series that ran a few years back.

The 12 episodes of Live at 9:30, recorded in 2015 and 2016, features performances from nearly 60 different artists—from heritage acts like Garbage, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and The English Beat to local heroes Trouble Funk and Thievery Corporation to groups that have long since outgrown playing 1,200-capacity clubs like the 9:30: St. Paul and the Broken Bones, Grace Potter, and Lake Street Dive.

Filmed with 15 different cameras, the intent was to “capture the energy of the audience, something we unfortunately can’t reproduce at the moment,” says 9:30 spokesman Jordan Grobe. The shows, streaming free on, reflect not only the energy of the room, but the variety of its bookings.

“Each episode focuses on five different artists to show people different genres they might not be familiar with,” Grobe says. “So for instance, you might love Gogol Bordello, but not be familiar with Shakey Graves, so those are in an episode together.” “The format of it is sort of a reverse Saturday Night Live, where instead of it being 85 percent comedy, 15 percent music, it’s 85 percent music, 15 percent variety.”

The latter would include interviews conducted by Bob Boilen, the host of NPR’s All Songs Considered, or bits by visiting comedians such as Hannibal Buress. Still, the show, distributed to individual PBS stations nationwide, only lasted one season because of attention given at the same time to other projects for the overseeing company, I.M.P.

“It was the run-up to the 35th anniversary of the 9:30 Club,” Grobe says. But it was also nearing the time of two other big I.M.P. milestones—the opening of the 6,000 capacity Anthem in the city’s Southwest waterfront area, and the 50th anniversary of the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland. So subsequent seasons of the TV show didn’t occur. “We’d love to do more,” Grobe said. “But it’s all a matter of timing and capability.” What was produced is presented online with additional clips from each episode—from extra songs to interview clips from the bands involved that couldn’t fit in the original time slots.

It wasn’t clear whether the nationwide broadcasts of Live at 9:30 brought new crowds to the club from out of town when it aired. But, Grobe says, “One of the things I saw the most was that it was a really nice way for people who had moved from DC to still feel connected to the DC scene. They felt they were back seeing shows at the 9:30 Club even though they were living hundreds of miles away.”

That feeling may return for homebound locals and regulars watching now too. As with many clubs, the closing due to the Coronavirus pandemic came quickly. Dead Kennedys headlined on March 11, and the club was closed the next night, despite sold out crowds expected for Radical Face and The Motet that weekend. “Yeah, it’s definitely a change of pace for all of us,” Grobe says of the darkened venue. “We’re trying our best to take care of our coworkers who are now completely without anything to work on, all of our part time events staff.”

But mostly, Grobe says, “We’re hoping everybody comes back en masse when we have shows again.” The next live date for sale at the club is Ariel Pink on April 28—although the city-wide ban on mass gatherings may well be extended depending on the pandemic.

Until then, here’s the list of shows available at

Episode 1:
El Vy (The National’s Matt Berninger + Menomena’s Brent Knopf)
Yonder Mountain String Band

Episode 2:
The Arcs
Mariachi Flor de Toloache
Frank Turner
The Jesus and Mary Chain

Episode 3:
Cold War Kids
Trouble Funk
Youth Lagoon
Tove Lo

Episode 4:
X Ambassadors
Jess Glynne
Chicano Batman
The English Beat
Neon Indian

Episode 5:
Vance Joy
Steep Canyon Rangers
Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Lianne La Havas

Episode 6:
Miike Snow
Melanie Martinez
Pusha T
Kurt Vile

Episode 7:
St. Lucia
The Soul Rebels ft. Talib Kweli
Grace Potter
The Chris Robinson Brotherhood
Twin Peaks

Episode 8:
Ben Harper
Drive-By Truckers
Ty Segall
Ani DiFranco

Episode 9:
Troye Sivan
The Claypool Lennon Delirium
The Suffers
The Knocks

Episode 10:
Shakey Graves
Those Darlins
Gogol Bordello
Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors

Episode 11:
Leon Bridges
Lake Street Dive
Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness
Ryn Weaver

Episode 12:
St. Paul and The Broken Bones
Blind Pilot
The Lone Bellow
Josh Ritter
Thievery Corporation

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