“We’re kind of known in D.C. for having really fun shows,” Jessie Strick says about her queer-identified, comedy-steeped musical act Frankie & Betty. “We have a really good stage presence I think — a really funny banter, and we interact with the audience.”
Frankie & Betty is particularly known to patrons of Phase 1, the historic lesbian bar on Capitol Hill where Strick first met singer and guitarist Rachel Bauchman four years ago. The two local part-time musicians became quick friends and eventual bandmates, another musical group nurtured through the venue’s popular monthly open-mike night. As Frankie & Betty the two also became regulars at the annual queer music festival launched at Phase 1 nearly a decade ago, a constant sell-out sensation in that small space. This year’s incarnation, renamed Phazefest and not affiliated with the bar, won’t have that problem, as the concerts will take place at the 9:30 Club on Sept. 4 and the Black Cat on Sept. 5, both roomy venues.
It’s a particularly opportune time for a bigger show with a larger audience: A few months ago drummer Judy Bad signed on to give Frankie & Betty a fuller, richer sound as a trio. “We’re electric now,” Strick says. “Rachel switched to bass. I’m on lead guitar…. We’re going to be able to rock out up there. It’s going to feel really good and sound really good.”
The band is often asked about its name. Frankie, it turns out, is the nickname Bauchman had given her guitar, while Betty is Strick’s guitar, as named by her wife. As for Bad, Strick isn’t sure her drum has a nickname — yet.
“Soon we’re going to get an ampersand sticker to put on her bass drum,” she explains. “She’s the amp between us, pulling us together.”
Frankie & Betty performs as part of Phazefest on Friday, Sept. 4. Doors at 8 p.m. 9:30 Club, 815 V St. NW. Tickets are $15. Call 202-265-0930 or visit 930.com.
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