A night at the Birchmere in Alexandria, Va.

Last month Conde Nast listed Washington, DC as the best music city. In the 23 years I have lived here, this area has become a mecca of great venues for music. Take that NYC, and Seattle and well….the rest of you.

Here’s what they said:

“Despite its staid reputation—or maybe because of it—the nation’s capital has fostered thriving underground music scenes for decades, including go-go (the funky genre’s driving force, Chuck Brown, was from D.C.) and hardcore, led by bands like Bad Brains and Fugazi. Today there are plenty of places to see live music in D.C., including legendary venues like Bohemian Caverns, where Miles Davis and John Coltrane once played; the 9:30 Club has hosted everyone from Arcade Fire to Rob Zombie. D.C.’s museums are also filled with music history: The National Museum of American History, for instance, has old cassettes and other pop-culture ephemera in its collection”

One of my favorite music venues in this area is the The Birchmere located at 3701 Mount Vernon Avenue, Alexandria VA 22305.


Not every one loves the seating arrangement they have implemented over the last several years. The box office opens at 5:00 and it’s a first come first served on getting a seating #. When the music area opens at 6:00 everyone is let in in the order of their #. Some folks don’t like it, but I think it has made things more orderly. If you want to get there at 5:00 they have a bar and some limited food items and lots of seating where you can hang out with your friends for an hour.


In the photo above I am standing in line waiting for my Blue Moon draft. Took awhile to get to the front of the line but since there wasn’t anywhere else to get to…it didn’t really matter.

What I like most about the the venue is that it is so intimate and there really isn’t a bad seat in the house. The acoustics are suprisingly good.  The Birchmere has never been known for their fabulous food.. but alot of it has actually gotten “ok” over the years. $15.00 is alot for an “ok” spinach salad but if don’t mind the carbs their flatbreads are actually pretty good.

Recently some friends said they were getting tickets to Three Dog Night. Even though they are a little piece of life starting in my preteen years.. the $69.00+ fees price tagged seemed pretty high for a bunch of old guys. Well…shame on me for my ageism. Those guys totally rocked. Unfortunately they very recently lost their original keyboardist (he was living in Potomac, Md) but his replacement didn’t miss a beat.

Here’s an early version of Shambala and a snippet from last night. I think they acquittted themselves very well.

And yes….I did sing along to Jeremiah was a Bullfrog.

See you next time at the Birchmere

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