The 9:30 Club in Washington, DC is a storied venue. Prince performed there after a sold-out show at the Capital Center in 1995 until 4 in the morning, and the thought still brings tears to my eyes. Just as mind-blowing were the Blind Melon and Smashing Pumpkins shows that produce equally as sentimental memories. All three performed at the 9:30 Club, and would soon land on the stages of the world’s arenas.
This is why to hear of the passing of Hawthorne Heights guitarist Casey Calvert, as the band was set to play the 9:30 Club, is truly tragic on so many levels. Calvert left behind his wife Ashley and a band that promises to forge ahead at the bequest of their late guitarist’s mother.
Hawthorne Heights, rocketing out of Ohio, has been one of those bands that is banging on the radar of what’s next in the world of music. Calvert died Saturday afternoon hours before the band was set to hit the 9:30 Club stage. After a relatively uneventful ride on the bus the evening before, no one in the group reported seeing any signs from their guitarist that would signify something awry.
The 26 year-old was known as “Screamer” and although Hawthorne Heights will continue, Calvert as a founding member will never be taken off of recording credits, the roar that was the rock in the band’s rock n’ roll will be a little quiet.
Which brings me back to the 9:30 Club and another gifted artist to leave us too soon. Shannon Hoon of Blind Melon made one of his last live appearances upon the 9:30 Club stage.
To think that Calvert, much as Hoon, will no longer be producing the music they and their fans adored, is indeed beyond tragic. Prince possessed electricity on that Washington DC stage, but Hoon had the mysterious “it” factor that he shares with Calvert. Both share the vibrant majesty of a lightning bug that has gone dim and whose brightness will never be replicated.