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Posted at 3:04 PM ET, 12/15/2010

DC9 set to reopen tonight -- without live music

By Fritz Hahn

Tonight, DC9 opens its doors for the first time since Oct. 15, when five club employees were charged with second-degree murder. (All charges were later dropped.)

But things won't be the same at the club near Ninth and U streets NW. After tonight, DC9 will be open on only Friday and Saturday nights for the next few months, said Steve Lambert, who books performers for DC9 and its sister venues the Rock and Roll Hotel and the Red Palace. DC9 isn't likely to host concerts until March. "We're taking it very, very slowly out of respect for everything that happened," Lambert said.

There are financial reasons, too.

When the members of the governing board of the city's Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration voted to allow DC9 to reopen on Dec. 1, they imposed several conditions on the club. One of them is that DC9 has pay for a detail of two officers and a police car whenever it's open. Lambert says this costs around $400 each time, "so we can only afford to be open on Friday and Saturday night." (This provision, and others, will be reviewed at a ABRA meeting on Jan. 19.)

Although DC9 made its reputation as a live music venue, there will be only DJ nights for the next few months, including the weekly Friday night Liberation Dance Party. (Bill Spieler, a co-owner of DC9 and resident DJ at Liberation who was charged in the Oct. 15 incident, has since disassociated himself from the club and won't be spinning; ABRA ordered DC9 not to employ any of the men who were charged until further notice.)

Upcoming events include the annual Fez and Mustache Party on Saturday (featuring DJs spinning "Romani rock, twisted klezmer, Slavic soul and Balkan beats" and free moustaches for early attendees), DJ Stereofaith on Jan. 15 and the return of the '90s hip-hop night Kids on Feb. 5.

All concerts were moved or canceled when DC9 closed in October, and the uncertainty about whether DC9 could reopen meant that the club couldn't book major touring bands for December or January, Lambert says, because "nationally, everything is booked four to six months out." Once the club can reopen on weeknights, Lambert plans to start by hosting local music.

Before its closing, DC9 was booking acts on the verge of moving on to much bigger venues: Beach Fossils, Dum Dum Girls, Free Energy, Casiokids and Women all performed there this year. (And, as my colleague David Malitz points out, DC9 was "running [the shows] on time and making them sound good.")

Lambert guesses that "there will be some" bands who will be wary of playing the club after all that happened, but after years of working with the Rock and Roll Hotel, DC9 and the Red and the Black, he says, "I have a great relationship with certain booking agents. They trust me. That's how it works. It might not be an immediate slam dunk, but I plan to get it back to exactly where it was."

By Fritz Hahn  | December 15, 2010; 3:04 PM ET
Categories:  Bars and Clubs  
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no one throw any bricks. just sayin'...

Posted by: funkey | December 15, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

So long as there are easy women, the men will show up. How long will it take until someone is shot/stabbed & police are called? Not long. Some people can't behave in a mature, polite, civilized manner. It's not in them.

Posted by: TaxiDriver | December 15, 2010 5:30 PM | Report abuse

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