It was a night for dreamers. If you were there, you’re going to remember this show for the rest of your life (especially me, but more on that later). The crowd slowly trickled in to fill the sold out 9:30 club to the rafters. In the stilled moments leading up to Edward Sharpe, it was ass to ankles from bar to bar. You had your spot, your beer(s) and you weren’t going anywhere.
This concert developed with an air of mystery for me. I
knew loved the hits and crushed Alex Ebert’s solo album. But beyond that, I was lost. In the end, none of that mattered. Edward Sharpe delivered an energy and sound that it is near impossible to match in a live setting. This can mostly be attributed to the twelve piece band that plays everything. Literally everything.
Together, their sound rose as a deafening crescendo that inherited the energy of everything in its path. My ears are still ringing with their sweet, beautiful melodies. The motion and power of the crowd was merely an extension of the stage itself. And I mean this quite literally. Alex came out into the crowd on multiple occasions to be with his people. The air surrounding Ebert’s performance transformed onlookers instantly.
It is becoming difficult to describe the special connection I feel towards Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. Seeing this group from Detroit tear down stage after stage will never get old. You can, and should, listen to their debut album Morning Thought every day, but you will never know the creativity, intensity, and passion in which they deliver these tracks until you witness them live.
The set from DEJJ was essentially the same from months ago back in Richmond. The sold out Red Palace offered a rocking venue. A special touch was added when they paid tribute to recently disbanded REM with an inspiring segue into Everybody Hurts. Nostalgia, yes!
In my opinion, you won’t see many other live songs that top DEJJ’s version of Gil Scott-Heron’s We Almost Lost Detroit. Repping their hometown threads, Epstein and Zott took the roof off with a performance that has, to this day, left me speechless.
The encore was… insane! I would never would have called Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody as the lead off. That whipped the DC crowd into a frenzied momentum which carried on well after the show had ended.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – We Almost Lost Detroit
Concert Pictures After the Jump…
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The Head and the Heart killed it as openers. These guys will be hitting VA several times this fall as headliners so keep an eye on Concert Pulse for a show near you. The Decemberists performed one of the more entertaining shows I have ever seen. Colin Meloy had his band laying on the stage, playing somber notes, while the crowd crouched in anticipation of the explosion. A few songs later, the entire crowd was swaying with the motion of the ocean and singing along at full pitch. Talk about stage presence; wild, unadulterated fun. This is Why We Fight and Won’t Want For Love were beyond incredible.
Here are my shitty camera picks from The Decemberists w/ The Head and the Heart @ the Charlottesville Pavilion in Virginia. I really need to start bringing my real camera to shows. For now, these will have to do.
Well, I can cross that one off of the bucket list. You know it’s going to be a good show when you have goosebumps during the three and half hour drive to the concert. Bon Iver has meant so much to me in the development of my musical sense and passion. Finally seeing them was a dream come true. It was only fitting that I returned to see them in my hometown of Richmond at The National.
Watching Bon Iver take the stage as a nine member band (with some serious horns and two drum sets) was quiet the spectacle. The stage was a modest set with about ten light towers that pulsated and flooded the stage with colors of mostly blue and red throughout the show. Immediately upon Justin Vernon taking the stage, you could feel the power of the performer and the crowd was transformed.
Bon Iver played from their full arsenal of songs while highlighting the new, self-titled album. Classics from For Emma, Forever Ago were augmented by the full band and the horns were a blazing intensity throughout the night. Re: Stacks was delivered with a deeply personal touch. The entire band exited the stage, leaving just Vernon and his acoustic to lay down a heart wrenching performance to the silent crowd. Blood Bank was a great example of the full band completely enhancing an incredible song. They covered Bjork’s Who Is It, which featured Reggie Pace (RVA! RVA!) killing it with his incredible beat boxing and Colin Stetson taking over on horns. New songs Perth and Holocene showed just how far Bon Iver has come as a band.
The close to this concert (the best show I have ever seen) has changed me. It was a surreal moment that brought together so much of what I was feeling musically. First, the main set was capped by For Emma, which left the crowd in a frenzy calling for the encore (it was damn loud!). The encore did not disappoint. The three song culmination was led off with a rowdy, jammed out performance of Beth/Rest (much better than the album version) and finished with a rousing sing-along of Wolves. Skinny Love sat in the middle and was everything I expected from one of my favorite songs of all time; Veron, his acoustic, and stomp clapping – doesn’t get any better than that.
I cannot remember ever seeing a crowd so utterly transfixed in a state of pure bliss. The sold out theater swayed and sang along through every note. Everyone around me was melting underneath Justin’s voice. Even I have to admit to my moments of eyes closed, head back, fully content with life.
Continue reading for the setlist and links to the live performance at the 9:30 club…
Peeps! My DC/VA concert list has been updated. Navigate to the ‘Concert Pulse’ page to see my recommended shows! Lots and lots of great music coming to the area. Get at me if you want to hit any of these shows.
Great news everyone, The Head and the Heart have just released dates for their fall tour in which they will be headlining with support from Thao With the Get Down Stay Down (Thao).
Tue 09/20/11 NEW ORLEANS, LA One Eyed Jacks
Wed 09/21/11 ATLANTA, GA The Variety Playhouse
Thu 09/22/11 CHAPEL HILL, NC Lincoln Theatre
Fri 09/23/11 WASHINGTON, DC 9:30 Club
Mon 09/26/11 BROOKLYN, NY Hall of Williamsburg
Tue 09/27/11 NEW YORK, NY Bowery Ballroom
Mon 10/03/11 GRAND RAPIDS, MI Calvin College
Thu 10/06/11 MILWAUKEE, WI Turner Hall
Fri 10/07/11 MADISON, WI The Majestic
Sun 10/09/11 OMAHA, NE The Waiting Room
Mon 10/10/11 DENVER, CO The Gothic
Tue 10/18/11 EUGENE, OR WOW Hall
Wed 10/19/11 PORTLAND, OR Crystal Ballroom
Thu 10/20/11 VANCOUVER BC The Commodore Ballroom
Unfortunately the DC date falls on the same day as the Fleet Foxes concert at Merriweather. I would love to do both but at least I get see The Head and the Heart in a few weeks opening for the Decemberists. I highly suggest grabbing tickets for this show at the 9:30 club. The small venue will be rocking and Thao is an amazing vocalist that brings the noise.
Listen: Thao – Know Better Learn Faster [audio http://awmusic.ca/1/mp3/thao%20nguyen-know%20better%20learn%20faster.mp3]
This year’s FreeFest @ Merriweather Post will be headlined by The Black Key, Deadmau5, TV On the Radio, and Cee Lo Green. Check out the video below for the full lineup and make sure you “Like” the page on Facebook so you can grab free tickets. The show is set for Saturday, Sept 10 and tickets go on “free” this Friday (7/15). Should be an awesome party.
I have been holding back on my devoted readers. I’ve been keeping a new favorite band secret for a few months now. For this, I am sorry, because The Head and the Heart have completely swept me to the bandwagon. What’s even worse is I am seeing these guys perform in C’ville this August, and you likely are not. Be jealous.
The Head and the Heart will give you comforting inklings of The Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons. But don’t be so quick label them as the “next” of anything. Their debut, self titled album, gives hints of a developing sound that has the potential to elevate them to the stardom spectrum. Songs Down in the Valley and Lost in My Mind give you that toe-tapping, knee-bouncing movement that is so crucial in this indie folk movement. I suggest picking up this album immediately and trying to scrape up the last remaining tickets to their summer tour. Enjoy.
Listen: The Head and the Heart – Down in the Valley [audio http://www.chromewaves.net/mp3/HeadAndTheHeart-DownInTheValley.mp3]
Lost in My Mind [audio https://www.box.net/shared/static/ib7xpii4dp.mp3]
Seeing Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. should be on every American’s bucket list. In fact, bump your date up to soonish (rapture?) and see them immediately. The show these two guys from Detroit put on at The Camel is one I will remember for some time. The stage was modest aside from the two sets of giant “JR JR” light-boards that blasted the crowd with brights during their mobilizing jams. Oh, and I can’t forget the bubble machine. Before DEJJ got up to full speed, the guys stripped out of their customary NASCAR jumpsuits, revealing baller-status business suits; an homage to the transition from A Horse Power EP. They then opened with a captivating performance of Morning Thought, the first single of their debut album, A Corporate World. *See the symbolism there??
Josh Epstein and Daniel Zott commanded the crowd like a group that has been doing this for years. Their basement crafted ingenuity translated perfectly to the intimate stage of The Camel. I really haven’t seen anything like what DEJJ offered for crowd interaction. During Skeletons, they asked for volunteers to come on stage and lead the “Skeleton Choir”. This led to three lucky individuals leading the chorus wearing skeleton masks. Each song had its own customization. There was passion, energy, raw talent and the whole thing was too enjoyable to translate to the wandering reader. You simply had to be there.
DEJJ’s set featured three cover songs; including, Steve Winwood’s Higher Love and God Only Knows by the Beach Boys. They utilized their amazing talent for remixing to spin each cover into something unique and brilliant. The entire night came to the perfect end when DEJJ closed the encore with Nothing But Our Love. They could have gone on for hours more, and I wish they had. I can’t wait to see these guys again with a full album under their belt.
I was lucky enough to meet Josh and Daniel before and after the show. Awesome dudes, wish I had been able to stick around to show them how to party in Richmond. This band has legs and you should join as they blitz the music industry.
Read my previous Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. post, here. Includes a couple of songs ripe for listening.