Venue notes: Psychedelly, Bethesda MD

Defunct punk club. Was around at least as early as 1976; date of closing unknown. Was located at 4844 Cordell Ave, later the site of the Cottonwood Cafe, then (2005-ish) the Red Heifer restaurant, and currently (2008) the site of an Irish Bar called The Harp & Fiddle.

Bill Gerber, who attended the 06 Oct 1984 Hüsker Dü show here, recalls the scene 17 years later: "There were only like 20 people at the gig -- mainly the guys from Mission Impossible, who came over from Va. (their singer was one of the kids who took over the mic), and yeah Dave Grohl was at the gig, and the guys from local Bethesda band Chouse and their friends. AWESOME show."

Paul Freedman, writing in 2005, adds:
      The Psychedelly had a connection, I think, on a social level, with WHFS that used to be housed on apartment tower-top studios also on Cordell Ave. Weasel, as I remember, used to drop by the Psychedelly in shows I attended -- I began going to the Psychedelly late in 79/80. It either started out as a 'hole' or it was in pre-remodeling in my first visits: small stage, no decor to speak of, exposed surfaces. But it got remodeled with some paneling and upgraded the stage and sound system. There may actually have been deli served -- liquor licenses down here in clubs generally require food to be served. They served beer and wine. I don't know that they ever served mixed drinks.

There were great bands who used to play there. The Slickee Boys were regulars and they were incredible -- this punk (not late-style post-Ramones Brit speed-attack but the proto-American garage band punk ethos more consciously refined aesthetically and musically)/power pop/fuzztone amalgam.

The Psychedelly also hosted more traditional rock acts. Evan John and the H-Bombs played there--straight ahead roots/traditional rock with a great beat. The Nighthawks (now regionally successful as a band and as solo performers) played convincing blues there on a regular basis. Root Boy Slim fronted a good-humored funk/rock band.

To Live and Shave in L.A.'s Tom Smith, whose then-band Peach of Immortality was on the bill with Hüsker Dü on that October night in 1984, recalls in 2008 that the crowd was a little bigger than Bill Gerber's estimate, but not much:
      I recall more than twenty people at the gig; there were at least 50, most of whom fled for the safety of the parking lot when my group, Peach of Immortality, began its performance. We were the lone proto-noise representatives on the bill, and our disdain for what we perceived as the threadbare sonics of the suburban punks was matched by their utter lack of interest in our sound. The stand-off engendered an air of near-menace, thankfully enlivened by encouraging shouts from the members of Velvet Monkees (friends of ours from the city) who had traveled to Bethesda to enjoy the culture clash. The zine Truly Needy reviewed the show in one of their subsequent issues, and they ran a photo of us (and not Hüsker Dü, surprisingly enough) with the tongue-in-cheek caption "Peach of Immortality tune up carefully before their performance." I was a fan of the earlier Hüsker Dü singles and EPs, so I enjoyed speaking to Grant and Bob after the show as they squirmed and looked nervously askance and pretended to have enjoyed our atonal scrapings. Of course, during their genuinely rapacious set the audience went bonkers.

In retrospect, one must credit the promoter, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten. Her tastes were eclectic at a monochromatic juncture in the life of DC-area music, and she gave us an important early break. Not sure whatever happened to Chouse and Mission Impossible, but in 1991 we transmogrified into To Live and Shave in L.A. and are still at it, touring the world, releasing too many goddamned albums for our own good, and pontificating as éminence grises of avant-noise....

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