Black Cat History

The Black Cat has been bringing you the best in live independent music since it opened in the fall of 1993.

In the early ‘90s, DC suffered from a lack of good concert venues, especially spaces that catered to the area’s underground music scene. Hoping to revive the tradition of independent music in Washington, a group of investors (most of them musicians) opened the Black Cat in September 1993. Among the first bands to play were the Fall, Rancid, Morphine, Stereolab, Slant 6, and 9353. Since opening its doors, the Black Cat has been a home for local and national talent, thereby playing its own part in the explosion of indie rock that marked the late ‘90s and early ‘00s.

Located in the heart of the historic U Street Corridor, the Black Cat has seen some remarkable changes as the neighborhood has transformed around it. Once the hub of an active and exciting music scene in DC's jazz age, the U Street Corridor fell on hard times beginning with the '68 riots and continuing through a period of urban neglect that spanned the ‘80s. However, the 1990s found the neighborhood undergoing its own renaissance and the area has once again emerged as a nighttime hot-spot, offering a number of popular nightclubs, bars, restaurants, and retail spaces that cater to a diverse blend of DC's culture-hungry population.

The Black Cat has also managed to weather the transitions of both an ever-changing local music scene and, on a larger scale, an evolving rock music industry. In 2001, the club itself underwent a major move, relocating to a larger space only three doors down from its original spot. Nevertheless, we remain committed to our community-oriented atmosphere and our established identity as an alternative/independent music venue.

A few of the performers to grace the stage have included:

The Afghan Whigs, The Arcade Fire, Bad Religion, Beck, Belle & Sebastian, Bikini Kill, Billie Eilish, Billie Joe Armstrong, Bloc Party, Blowfly, Blur, Frank Black, Blonde Redhead, Bon Iver, The Boredoms, Bow Wow Wow, Bright Eyes, Jeff Buckley, Built to Spill, Bush Tetras, Neko Case, Childish Gambino, The Cramps, The Damned, Death Cab for Cutie, The Decemberists, Ani DiFranco, Digable Planets, Dinosaur Jr., The Dismemberment Plan, The Donnas, The Dresden Dolls, Drive–By Truckers, Echo & the Bunnymen, Elastica, John Entwhistle, The Ex, The Fall, Fantômas, Fear, The Flaming Lips, Foo Fighters, Fugazi, Zach Galifianakis, Janeane Garofalo, Garbage, The Gaslight Anthem, Girls Against Boys, Donald Glover, Kim Gordon, The Gossip, Gray Matter, Nina Hagen, Helium, The Hives, Ivy, Wanda Jackson, Jamiroquai, Jawbox, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Kelela, Kesha, Khruangbin, The Killers, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard, Kings of Leon, KMFDM, Korn, KRS–One, Talib Kweli, L7, Ted Leo/Pharmacists, Le Tigre, The Libertines, Lightning Bolt, Little Dragon, Los Amigos Invisibles, Love, Luna, Luscious Jackson, Lydia Lunch, Shane MacGowan, Madlib, The Magnetic Fields, Make-Up, Johnny Marr, Mazzy Star, Melt-Banana, Melvins, Moby, Modest Mouse, Janelle Monáe, Thurston Moore, Morphine, Mr. Bungle, My Morning Jacket, Kumail Nanjiani, The New Pornographers, The New York Dolls, Joanna Newsom, Gary Numan, The Offspring, Will Oldham, Patton Oswalt, Pavement, Pennywise, PJ Harvey, The Postal Service, Portishead, Prince Paul, Q and not U, Radiohead, Rakim, Rancid, Rilo Kiley, Rocket from the Crypt, Rocket from the Tombs, The Roots, Raphael Saadiq, Scream, Sebadoh, Pete Seeger, Shellac, The Shins, Shudder to Think, Slant 6, Sleater-Kinney, The Slits, Elliott Smith, Social Distortion, Regina Spektor, Squarepusher, Stabbing Westward, Stereolab, St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens, Stiff Little Fingers, The Strokes, Suicide, Sum 41, Sunny Day Real Estate, Superchunk, Supergrass, Tame Impala, Tegan & Sara, Thursday, Tortoise, Trans Am, Tricky, Turbonegro, Tuscadero, TV On The Radio, Unrest, Unwound, Velocity Girl, Veruca Salt, Mike Watt, Weezer, The White Stripes, Hank Williams III, X, Yaeji, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Yo La Tengo, John Zorn, and many many more.