WASHINGTON – Fourteen years in the making, the documentary on the iconic Georgetown music club, The Bayou, airs Monday at 9 p.m. on Maryland Public Television.
The Bayou, located on K Street NW, underneath the Whitehurst Freeway, hosted legendary shows from 1953 through 1998.
“The Bayou: DC’s Killer Joint” features archival footage from shows ranging from U2’s first American concert to KISS’s ear-blasting performance and the touching final performance by Maryland singer Eva Cassidy, who died from cancer soon after at the age of 33.
Two shows featured in the documentary were first appearances by England’s Dire Straits and the all-girl American band The Runaways.
In early 1979, Mark Knopfler and Dire Straits launched their first U.S. tour, in the wake of the success of their debut album, including the single ‘Sultans of Swing.’
“It was huge success, and The Bayou was one of the very first clubs they played in the U.S.,” says movie producer Bill Scanlan.
The shows on March 8 and March 9 were both sellouts.
“(Show promoter) Mike Schreibman booked them for two nights. He could have booked them for three or four,” says Scanlan.
Two years earlier, The Bayou hosted one of the the area’s most-anticipated shows – the debut of all-girl punk band The Runaways, featuring guitarist Joan Jett, of Wheaton, Md.
“The thing that made The Runaways show an instant sell-out – there was a huge photo and a screaming headline on the front of the Style section of the Post that read ‘Lock up your sons, it’s The Runaways,'” says Scanlan.
Booked to play two shows on March 20, 1977, the performances almost didn’t happen.
As show time approached, with the club doors scheduled to open, The Runaways hadn’t arrived, much to club management’s dismay.
“They got a call from the (band’s) manager on the road in Baltimore saying they were thinking of coming down,” recalls Scanlan.
The band eventually showed up, and Bayou managers decided to jam ticketholders from both shows into a single performance.
“It was a huge success,” says Scanlan.
The documentary airs on Maryland Public Television at 9 p.m. Monday. MPT is available on Comcast, Verizon, RCN and Cox cable systems.