Your New Go-To Site For Planning A Night Out? DC Decibel

D.C. music fans must be radiating some excellent karma lately, because three recent college grads just blessed the city with one excellent going-out gift. DC Decibel, a live-music aggregator designed just for Washington, launched in beta earlier this year and we’ve only got one word to say in response — finally.
What does it mean for you? For starters, you’ll no longer need to keep eight browser tabs open every time you’re looking for a new show. And no more dealing with the frustration of missing out on must-see concerts or pre-sales, either. Basically, this site does what we’ve all been trying to do with Google docs and mailing lists for years — it takes all the best concerts from all the best venues, and lists them in one place. The DC Decibel team comprises co-founders David Kalikhman and Julia Senerth, plus web developer Alex Sleighter. We got the skinny on the newest addition to our Bookmarks tab from Kalikhman and Senerth, and hit them up for the intel on the shows you absolutely can't miss this summer, too.

What were you up to before DC Decibel? Any experience in the music industry?
David: "I graduated from Georgetown University in 2011 with a degree in Neuroscience. I spent most of my life in love with the arts, particularly painting, drawing, and architecture. I have been unable to reconcile my passion for art since my interests shifted to the realm of medicine and science, but DC Decibel was an outlet for a lot of that creative energy. I wanted it to be, as a journalist for The Washington Post put it, 'disarmingly simple.' The interface reflects that idea while maintaining a lot of functionality.

Julia: "I moved to D.C. in 2010, after going to college in Baltimore. In September of 2011, I elected not to apply to graduate school, and instead try to break into the music industry. I had no experience to put on my resume, no contacts in the business, and no idea, really, of where to start. I tried out a few things, like doing sound for an open mic event and writing about the shows I went to on my personal blog. Starting the web site happened really quickly, and it has by far been the most successful attempt to contribute to the live music industry and meet people who do similar things. Right now, I do research from 9 to 5 and DC Decibel from 5-to-11, so it's lucky I genuinely enjoy working on the site and have ready access to caffeine."

What inspired you to start DC Decibel?
Julia: "DC Decibel came about after I missed out on purchasing tickets to a sold out Gary Clark Jr. show at Red Palace. I have always loved going to see live music, and around here, it is so hard to keep [track] all of the different venue web sites. I decided to make a Google document of the shows that were happening that I could sort by date, venue, artist, and price. I sent it to Dave, and he made a mock-up of the front end of the site. I got in touch with Alex Sleighter, who is a friend from college, and he started programming it. Within about a month, we had a functional, albeit beta, version of DC Decibel."


What is the best show you've been to recently? And what shows are you most looking forward to?
Julia: "I went to the WU LYF show at Rock & Roll Hotel in late April. That was one of the first shows I put up on the site back in January. I had bought tickets immediately and had been counting down the days — they are a totally brilliant band, especially live. The show I am most looking forward to is My Morning Jacket with Band of Horses opening at Merriweather Post Pavilion on August 18. I like to plan ahead, and they are my favorite band of all time."

David: "I'm really looking forward to seeing Yeasayer (albeit not in the District) and Radiohead at Verizon Center in June."

What are the best popular venues in D.C.? And what about the hidden gems?
Julia: "Best well-known venue, I would say, is Black Cat. I think they do a really good job booking bands and provide a great concert experience once you’re there. Some shows I really enjoyed there: Sharon Van Etten, Grouplove, Phantogram, and Yellow Ostrich. Best hidden gem is hard — I'm not sure what counts. I think the shows that 9:30 Club is hosting at U Street Music Hall are great. I went to an Alex Winston show at 7 p.m. and it was totally amazing. Another really fun spot is the Gibson Guitar Showroom — they have showcases through All Things Go and it’s a really good time."

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