There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
The Bluerunners are not your typical Glen Echo zydeco or Cajun dance band. On their self-titled 1991 Island Records debut, the Louisiana outfit revved up bouncy, accordion-propelled two-steps and fiddle-led waltzes to the feverish tempo of the Replacements. They are impressive live performers, and when I saw them in the early ’90s at Jazz Fest in New Orleans, they proved that classic bayou sounds and punk-inspired indie-rock have many similarities. Despite using different instruments and moving at different tempos, the two genres both offer concise three-minute songs, simple rhythmic chords, and pop melodies. Yet only the brash youngsters from Bluerunners have shown that the styles can be combined. Still, they were unable to capitalize on their unique approach. Dropped from Island, the group chose not to tour much. And after a small-label effort, 1994’s The Chateau Chuck, received little attention, the band seemed to all but disappear. In 1998, a more mature outfit emerged with the fine To the Country—and only Mark Meaux and Steve LeBlanc remaining from the original band. By adding more horns, and a drummer with jazz chops, and varying the tempos, the Bluerunners began dispensing passionate Cajun rock again—with traces of Wilco’s roots sound, upbeat Cajun numbers in French, Dylan-influenced country rock, and kinetic zydeco. Ideally, the circa-2000 Bluerunners’ live show will employ both their recent palette and their old Gulf Coast garage energy. At 9 p.m. (a Cajun dance lesson will be given at 8 p.m.) Saturday, Aug. 12, at Glen Echo Park’s Spanish Ballroom, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo. $10. (301) 309-0895. (Steve Kiviat)