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I’ll admit, there are a few bands that I wouldn’t mind sending to jail. But while our country may not be able to provide the majority of its musicians with health care, a decent living, or an audience, at least bands don’t have to do time in the gulag—unless it’s gulag of their own creation built under the recommendation of a PR firm for promotional purposes.

This was not the case for the Czech Republic’s Plastic People of the Universe. Throughout its career (1968-1989) the band suffered at the hands of the Communist regime, which imprisoned or deported numerous members of the band after their Zappa-influenced jams were found to be an “Organized Disturbance of the Peace.” In Soviet Russia Hot Rats plays youin prison.

The surviving original members reunited the band in 1997 and have performed slightly jazzier mellower post-Velvet Revolution material ever since that is well loved by the current Czech government.

The last time they played in D.C. (in 2003?) a band that I was in somehow got to open for them—which put us in the surreal situation of performing on the Black Cat’s main stage in front of Madeleine Albright and Vaclav Havel. I can’t promise they’ll be there this time. I only mention it because I’m no doubt the only person who remembers…

Anyway, The Plastic People of The Universe return to Black Cat:

Tue Sept 25- THE PLASTIC PEOPLE OF THE UNIVERSE $15 Mainstage 8:00

Birchmere offers two interesting performances: Mon. Sept. 17: NICK LOWE $25.00 Mon/Tue. Oct. 1&2: HENRY ROLLINS $25.00

The 9:30 welcomes ex-Weezer-bassist-4-life Matt Sharp‘s band The Rentals as they return from the grave with a new EP. “Friends of P” was pretty catchy—but $25!? Sun., Aug. 26: The Rentals $25

Finally, the Cure will perform at the Patriot Center, Wed., Sept. 14, The Cure $57.50. Tickets go on sale tomorrow at 10 a.m.