I was thoroughly impressed with The Hamilton the first time I walked through its glistening doors Monday night for D.C. Central Kitchen‘s tribute show to its founding father, Robert Egger. In that moment, I was anxious to see what I’d discover in the downstairs area of the venue, given that I had very little knowledge of what the show would be like prior to going. Looking at the sea of attendees that were already gathered around the stage, the crowd seems polished, savvy, and definitely much more worthy than myself to be there. It made sense, given the fact that faces among the crowd included the likes of a few members of Fugazi, Thievery Corporation and other music veterans, along with some of the brightest and best that have been bred out of this city. What I thought would be just another show where I’d review the music, have some good conversation, and drift-off into the night turned into something much more unexpected.
Of course, I was very familiar with Egger and all his work with D.C. Central Kitchen, one of the biggest organizations of its kind in the country. Although, I severely underestimated just how much of an impact he’s made across the District. Once dinner was over, the tribute speakers ascended the stage in twos to pay homage to the man of the hour. The most amusing thing as this all was happening was the music, thinking-wouldn’t this be every venue’s dream to have people from Fugazi, Thievery Corporation, The Funk Ark and Sun Wolf as your house band? But it proved the point of how unique Robert Egger was-the fact that he inspired a wide spectrum of people across all different walks of life. The speakers varied between chefs, musicians, politicians-all who had genuine and very personal anecdotes about how Egger was an integral part of their lives. Fugazi drummer and Rites of Spring forefather Brendan Canty had one of the most stand out quotes of the night when speaking about him: “He never talks down to anybody-and THAT’S punk rock”.
One of the highlights of the evening was a check signed, sealed and delivered to Egger from the AARP for a cool one million dollars. The money will go towards his latest project, LA Kitchen, which he will leave D.C. to head to the West Coast for this year. When it was finally Egger’s turn to make the stage, I got a glimpse of what the speakers before him mentioned about his character. He had every right to boast about his plethora of accomplishments, but instead took the time to selflessly thank those that have helped him succeed throughout his venture with D.C. Central Kitchen. This was a pretty self-reflecting moment, but before I could do so came a tequila toast in his honor and a hearty lime to chase it all down.
Since the tribute went overtime, much of the music was cut short that night-but not if The Razz could help it. As the night descended, the band made their way to the front of the stage with a load of energy, good spirit and sharp guitar work. A dose of hard-rock was just what was needed to cap-off the night, and for a band that’s been around for decades in the scene, they were just as dynamic and powerful as they could ever be.