BY SOFIA ARMANDO//
Hello and welcome back my fellow GWU community, DC dwellers, and music lovers!
I’m Sofia Armando, and on behalf of the WRGW District Radio, I welcome you to my column, “DC’s Acoustic Audit”, where I write about up-and-coming artists and explore DC’s local music scene. I first wanna thank anyone that read my pilot entry about the lovely Marielle Kraft. I’ve never been much of a writer and this is all very new to me, so your support truly means a lot! This will be my second blog post, and as soon as I submitted my first one, I was already brainstorming ideas for my next artist and concerning myself with how I would make my next entry even better. And how I think I can do that is by being as genuine as possible in my writing with the hope that it’ll transmit from writer to reader. Not every entry will be better than the last, but as long as I continue to push my limits and remain authentic, I’ll be doing something right. With that said, I hadn’t been inspired by such honest songwriting and performance in a long time until I witnessed Colony House tear the house down: a Nashville-based indie rock band of four and the next subject of my blog.
For my next concert-outing, I took an Uber southwest of the city to The Wharf, home of many of D.C. ‘s most popular restaurants and recreation sites and where I would find my next venue. Union Stage was a bigger venue than my last, with a big dance floor, a separate dining section and bar, and a slightly bigger stage than Song Byrd. Before I can talk about how Colony House rocked that stage, I need to first mention their opening act. I admittedly only got to see Fleurie perform two songs, but I was nonetheless left impacted. The alt-pop singer-songwriter had me immediately starstruck when I saw the whole stage decked out in pink props and lights (my favorite color!). She went on to teach the crowd the chorus of her latest single,“Supertropacali”, before closing off her set with it, the interaction giving me a glimpse of her lighthearted, colorful personality.
Lauren Strahm, aka Fleurie, crafted a masterful song using angelic production and her perspective on trying to fit in in Hollywood while seeking fame. The introspective lyrics paired with an infectious chorus and instrumentation give the song a perfect balance of depth and undeniable pop fun. Fleurie tells Hollywood Life, “because we live in a world where fame is accessible to pretty much anyone willing to do what it takes to acquire it, our relationship with it is relevant to everyone now.” After Fleurie said goodbye to the crowd, I went straight to her merch table to buy some memorabilia and wait for Colony House to come on.
Colony House hooked the crowd as soon as they started playing their opening number “Take It Slow”. Frontman Caleb Chapman, drummer Will Chapman, guitarist Scott Mills, and bassist Parke Cottrell had a chemistry on stage that was palpable from the very beginning, with Caleb (the best frontman I’ve ever seen live) immediately drawing the crowd to him with his magnetic charm and incredible live vocals. It was very refreshing during songs like “Waiting for My Time to Come”, “El Capitan”, and “O ya” to watch a band that was there to have a good time with the fans and include us in the concert experience, making sure we were all grooving along as opposed to them just performing at us.
Caleb further proved his undeniable performance skills by taking advantage of all the space the small stage had to offer. He even jumped on top of his brother’s drumset to start hyping up the crowd during “O Ya”, one of the band’s more rocky tunes that’s guaranteed to have your head banging. There was a very cool moment during “Silhouettes” as well, where Parke and Scott came together at a single mic with Caleb to get the us chanting the lyrics of the song’s bridge. Songs like “Julia” and “Waiting for My Time to Come” also give you a sense of Colony House’s folkish side, both of which contain vulnerable, romantic lyrics that had my heart fluttering. The whole show was a beautiful exchange between the fans and the band, where they were feeding off of the crowd’s energy and we were feeding off of theirs.
Just when I thought I’d been completely won over by the band’s musical talent, Caleb takes a moment half way through the show to talk to the fans about “Food For the Hungry”: a natural disaster relief program Colony House has partnered with to donate food to places like Haiti and Louisiana that have experienced recent hurricanes and flooding. He says to the crowd:
“When we were starting to put this tour on, there were a lot of things happening around us that made us feel like just singing some songs might follow flat. Sometimes it feels like if I could do something a little bit bigger than myself, or at least talk about it…that’s just something that became important to the band.”
With that said, Colony House proved themselves to be more than just a rock band, but a gang. They’re a group of brothers brought together by a shared commitment to music, making a difference in the world, and inspiring anyone who might relate to reach for something a little bit bigger than themselves. I encourage everyone to listen to Colony House’s latest EP Rotten Tomatoes (as well as their other stuff!), and to go watch an artist you haven’t heard of in concert. Do yourself the favor: you might just have the time of your life.