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At a recent show at La Casa in Mount Pleasant, several local bands played in front of a row of plants. At least the greenery helped fill the room out: The space was too hot and the crowd too small for the amount of energy going on. A woman chugged away on her guitar­, all optimism and noise; another singer stomped through the audience and railed against Ken Lay. Except for the Lay reference, the scene could have been 1995 or 1992 or 1982: hyperliterate creativity meets a city that thinks it has better things to do. The only thing missing at La Casa was photographer Pat Graham. As much as anybody, the lanky, soft-spoken photographer—who moved to London in 2001—recognized the importance of such shows even if they were staged in a school classroom before 50 people. He was always one of the 50, camera in hand, ready to commit it to Kodak. It was at these shows that Graham captured bands peaking, slumping, drunk, sad, confused, angry, graying, or just collapsing in a sweaty heap—a series of tiny victories and defeats. His new book, Silent Pictures, contains some shots that have become iconic—whether it’s his photo of Bikini Kill splayed on stage or Circus Lupus singer Chris Thomson clutching a walker as he belts one out. If you’d never caught Bratmobile or the Warmers or Lungfish or Fugazi, Graham’s pictures are the next best thing. It is to Graham’s credit that his shots don’t have a you-had-to-be-there-to-appreciate-them quality. You’ll just wish you had been there. Graham discusses his work at 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23, at Olsson’s Books & Records, 1307 19th St. NW. Free. (202) 785-1133.