Blowoff at Five

Bob Mould and Rich Morel's ''house party'' celebrates fifth anniversary

According to indie rock musician Bob Mould, this Saturday’s Blowoff will ”probably just be the usual really good fun, the really sexy party, the great crowd that we always draw.”

In other words, nothing special — except that it marks the monthly party’s fifth anniversary to the date.

”It’s been fun watching it grow from this little monthly event at the Velvet Lounge all the way up to what it is now,” says Mould, who started the DJ-based event in 2003 with fellow musician Rich Morel. It’s been in residence at the city’s 9:30 Club since the fall of that year, first at the tiny downstairs Back Bar, then up to the main floor two years ago. The focus remains on playing mostly indie-rock and progressive house music not often heard in gay venues.

Blowoff: Morel and Mould
Blowoff: Morel and Mould

”Blowoff has had a huge impact on me,” says Morel, noting that his regular electronic remix and production work has been influenced by what he plays at Blowoff. It’s also allowed him to test mixes he’s currently working on to gauge the crowd’s response, a development he says artists and music labels encourage.

”There’s a core of people who have been there from the beginning,” says Morel. The party now attracts roughly 1,000 people a pop — compared to 100 or 200 in the early days. Since it moved upstairs, Blowoff also features live audio-visuals, mixed in time to the music, by Morel’s domestic partner Nick Lopata.

Yet Morel considers the vibe pretty much the same as it always was. ”Although now its got visuals and there’s more of it and it’s louder, it still kind of feels like you’re coming to a house party and this is a group of guys and their friends.” A house party, of course, where, in Morel’s words, ”people walk in and take their shirts off” and dance.

Last fall a bimonthly Blowoff successfully launched in New York. Though there are no definite plans for expansion into other cities, Mould notes San Francisco seems a likely possibility. In the meantime, Mould and Morel are both wrapping up solo albums, with plans for tours in support. Morel is also currently finalizing production on Cyndi Lauper’s next album, due in June.

Says Morel: ”I’m just psyched that something like [Blowoff] is doing so well in D.C. and that the community has kind of come together around it.”

The fifth anniversary Blowoff is this Saturday, Jan. 26, from 10:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. at the 9:30 Club, 815 V Street NW. Cover is $12. Visit www.blowoff.us for more information.

Doug Rule is a theater critic and contributing editor for Metro Weekly.

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