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Discovering that the show you wanted to see at 9:30 Club has sold out before you could buy tickets is a disappointing feeling. We’ve all been there. Starting this spring, however, you won’t be forced to search YouTube for grainy clips of Father John Misty or The War on Drugs. The 35-year-old club is bringing its shows to public television audiences nationwide in the form of a new musical variety show called Live at 9:30.
Unlike Austin City Limits, which shows whole sets by artists, Live at 9:30 will feature a greater mix of programming. Along with songs, viewers will see backstage interviews with artists, short films, and comedic interludes. Each episode will be hosted by a different celebrity; the early lineup includes comedians Ralphie May and Hannibal Buress, TV writer and journalist Jill Kargman, NPR’s Bob Boilen, and former Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins. Wayne White, a set designer who created many of the puppets on Pee-wee’s Playhouse, will oversee the program’s aesthetic design. Mounted cameras, including GoPros and an airborne cable camera, will capture the action from a variety of angles.
One of the best things about 9:30 Club is its commitment to booking a variety of performers on any given week. Sure, it’s labeled a rock club but country and folk acts sound just as good there as go-go and R&B performers. Even the biggest acts in the world, like Bob Dylan and Dolly Parton, have stopped by to perform more intimate sets. The show’s announced acts, among them Garbage, Tove Lo, The Jesus and Mary Chain, and El Vy, appeal to a similarly diverse range of listeners.
The show is underwritten by website design company SquareSpace, expensive watch purveyor Shinola Detroit, and Destination DC, the District’s marketing firm. While the production announcement came as a surprise to many this morning, astute observers of the D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music, and Entertainment will notice that 9:30 Club was named January’s “Location of the Month.”
No details about premiere dates or which PBS stations will carry the program have been released, but it’s safe to assume that WETA and WHUT will broadcast it. In the meantime, check out a preview of the show below.