5 Must-See Bands Playing This Weekend’s Damaged City Fest


Illustration by Danni Parelman

Starting Thursday, D.C.’s Damaged City Fest is set to bring together the best hardcore and punk acts from around the world. This year marks a few venue changes, with the main events taking place at All Souls Unitarian Church and Calvary Methodist, both located within a quick walking distance of the Columbia Heights Metro and from Damaged City’s previous venue, St. Stephen’s Church. The after-parties on Friday and Saturday night will take place at The Pinch and the Black Cat.

This year will also see the inception of an art exhibition, which will highlight the talented work of various members of the punk community. This art show will take place on Sunday afternoon at Open Studio DC, well before the Sunday night show at the Black Cat. For those of you who are looking for a road map of what not to miss in the coming days, we’ve highlighted a few of the great acts you shouldn’t miss.


Thursday, April 7 @ The Pinch [3548 14th St NW, D.C.]
Doors 7 p.m./Show 8 p.m.
Tickets $12

For anyone assuming Damaged City Fest is a boys club, you’re totally fucking wrong. Case-in-point is NYC’s killer quartet Krimewatch, who kick off Damaged City Fest as part of the Thursday night pre-show lineup at The Pinch. As your attorney, I advise you to listen to the five or so minutes of their ass-kicking demo.


Systematic Death
Friday, April 8 @ All Souls Unitarian Church [2835 16th St NW, D.C.] and Sunday, April 10 @ Black Cat [1811 14th St NW, D.C.]
Doors 6 p.m./Show 7 p.m.
Tickets $25

Punk has long been about fostering all-ages shows just as much as it has always been reverential of its elders. Japanese punk icons Systematic Death were active from 1983-1988, and then resurfaced 20 years later with a brand new record that held true to their classic sound. Friday’s main show at All Souls Unitarian Church and Sunday’s show at Black Cat are the only two U.S. dates Systematic Death are playing, so you’d better show up and pay your respects.


Youth Avoiders
Saturday, April 9 @ Calvary Methodist Church [1459 Columbia Rd NW, D.C.]
Doors 1 p.m./Show 2 p.m.
Tickets $35

Parisian punk quintet Youth Avoiders neatly combine the aesthetics of French and punk culture. They rely on a little bit of melody and just enough guitar twang to keep them from getting lost in the largess of the punk rock shuffle–but that’s where the cultural divide ends. Youth Avoiders bring the same intensity and brevity to their songs as well as any of their Damaged City peers.


Saturday, April 9 @ The Pinch [3548 14th St NW, D.C.]
Doors 11 p.m./Show 12 a.m.
Tickets $10 DOS only

For anyone who’s into the softer side of hardcore, Pittsburgh punks EEL has got you covered. Their sound musically mimics ’80s UK punk bands and their lead singer falls in-between the confines of a drunken street preacher and a drill sergeant who’s coked up and out of his mind. So, if you’re looking to dodge the headiness of political unrest, catch these fun, crazy bastards at the Saturday night after-show at The Pinch.


The Goons
Sunday, April 10 @ Black Cat [1811 14th St NW, D.C.]
Doors 7 p.m./Show 8 p.m.
Tickets $15

Age-old D.C. punk vets The Goons reunited for a show last year after a decade-long hiatus. Now, they’re playing a show at their old stomping grounds, The Black Cat. For those of you who weren’t old enough to see The Goons in their heyday, this may be your only chance to see a legendary band that likely inspired the local punk acts you were raised on.