Bayou Documentary Premieres at Georgetown's AMC Loews
"The Bayou, D.C.'s Killer Joint" premiered Jan. 31 at the AMC Loews Georgetown, only yards from where the legendary music joint stood for decades. The new documentary chronicles the story of the Bayou, the jazz venue turned rock-and-roll bar on K Street near Wisconsin Avenue. A labor of love, the project is produced by Metro Teleproductions and Dave Lilling, Bill Scanlan, Vinnie Perrone and Dave Nuttycombe.
To celebrate the film's completion, a reception was held before the Jan. 31 premiere at Georgetown's AMC Loews, the complex which covers the Bayou location. The event was catered by Wingo's and Potomac Wine & Liquor.
The venue's intimate atmosphere and big name acts were a big draw for concertgoers. The Bayou's legal capacity was 500 persons. In comparison, 9:30 Club's capacity is 1,200 persons.
"When they were getting ready to get on stage, you were breathing down their necks," said Charlie Clark, who grew up in Arlington with the Tramonte brothers, whose family owned the Bayou from 1953 to 1980.
The Bayou is famous for hosting some of the biggest acts in rock-and-roll from the 1960s until it closed New Year's Eve 1998 (Jan. 1, 1999). Foreigner's club debut was there, as well as U2's second concert in America. U2 was the opening act for D.C.-based punk group, the Slickee Boys. Mark Noone, lead singer of the Slickee Boys, was at the reception. "They were nice Irish guys," Noone said. "I had trouble understanding them." The documentary took 14 years to finish. According to producer Vinny Perrone, it was "in many respects, a tortured undertaking. It almost didn't make it," he said.
Initially, the filmmakers filmed approximately 100 interviews. They did not want to release the film until they got interviews with famous musicians who performed there like Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and U2. Those interviews were able to be secured, but other interviews with former owners, managers and other performers create an in-depth portrait of the place.
The film will be showing on Maryland Public Television Monday, Feb. 25, at 9 p.m.
Although the film has been finished, the filmmakers are still about $30,000 in debt from making the film, a non-profit project. On Feb. 17, the Hamilton is hosting The Bayou Presents "Last Call" a benefit concert featuring a long list of musicians who played there.
Visit the film's website for more information.