The 9:30 club was buzzing with excitement before Eric Hutchinson took the stage for his final concert. The independent artist had announced that this tour would be his last before taking an indefinite hiatus from touring. It was great to see so many people come to support Hutchinson. From families to couples, the young and old came out to show their love. I saw kids no older then elementary school stand next to elderly couples, which is a real testament to how universal his music is.
With his parents in the audience he took to the stage with a bang, playing the first song off his latest album “Dear Me” and the crowd was feeling it. Hutchinson’s music is playful and fun, the definition of feel good pop, but with plenty of piano and guitar to have a strong soul background. Each song tells a story of something he felt or experienced. In the middle of the show, he told the crowd a 10 minuet long story about a song he wrote while he drove to Target one night and just wanted to cry that was weirdly relatable.
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Ludovico Einaudi has established himself as one of the premier neo-classical composers of our time, fusing the traditional sound with the obscure instrument, with a range of music-making methods contributing to his performance at Lisner Auditorium. People of all ages came to listen, and he delivered, demonstrating the simple genius of each song, utilizing the piano, cello, violin, water drum, musical saw, chimes, and water phone to weave together the night’s set.
With his back to the audience, Einaudi sat at his piano surrounded by his supporting band. As the notes of the first song began to rise, a projection of primitive drawings was cast on the back wall, sloppy shapes and soft shading and hard lines. The piano was alone at first, then the cellist and violinist joined. The sketches turned to numbers, Leonardo DaVinci notebook-esque math equations were made to be the backdrop to the music, taking an increasingly complex but beautiful turn. The songs melted into the next, and with the change in sound came a change in view, colors being introduced and removed, thrown on the walls, becoming vibrant and fading with the music.
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After 15 years of touring worldwide and making music, Eric Hutchinson is taking an indefinite break from the road.
A Maryland native, Hutchinson grew up going to see artists play at 9:30, and since releasing four albums of his own has played the club a few times himself. His albums have received much acclaim, with his first, Sounds Like This, becoming the highest charting album by an unsigned artist in iTunes history. Since then he has released three others Moving Up Living Down, Pure Fiction, and his most recent Easy Street.
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Pond, the Western Australian psychedelic project with an ever-changing line-up of talented aussies, hopped over to the nation’s capital and gave a stellar performance at the Rock and Roll Hotel. The relatively minimal lighting and low stage meant that the performance was certain to be an engaging experience. I had missed the opening act, Machete Western, but was told by several people that it was something that I would regret and that I would seldom see a grown man sporting a Cash-ian pompadour strip down to a shiny jock strap. Regardless, my main interest was to see Pond deliver their oddly aggressive ethereal sounds.
It had been a while since I last listened to them so I was somewhat anxious to hear what they were going to play. Evidently they started with “Waiting Around for Grace” and “Whatever Happened to the Million Head Collide?” off of Man it Feels Like Space Again and Hobo Rocket, respectively. The between-song moments were punctuated by Shiny Joe’s banter and Nick Allbrook’s adlibs, and it felt to me that these men with their (respective) zipped-up pure white ski coat and cavernous-blue-eyed gaze were here to deliver peace.
As the show progressed, new tracks were introduced from the band’s forthcoming project, as well as some tunes from their individual efforts. Upon absolutely killing a performance of “Giant Tortoise”, they broke out into a crunchy bass groove off a track I can’t remember for the life of me. What was indeed notable about the performance of this song, however, was the ever so slight shift of the bass as Allbrook hung from the low rafters bellowing the words “your love is faded”.
Beyond that point the night descended into chaos as they began to extend the songs by several lines for the sake of bold soloing that was generously fuzzed (yet somehow melodic). Songs like “Midnight Mass”, which normally ran a decent 6 minutes, broke my concept of time.
The descent into primal soloing created some bizarre amalgam of sound complemented by smoke as the band walked off one by one. I hadn’t been aware of what had happened until they obliged the crowd with an encore.
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Eager fans of all ages packed the 9:30 Club on Tuesday night to experience the multi-dimensional musician Jack Garratt. Hailing from Buckinghamshire, Garratt grew up tinkering with the piano, drums and guitar. After coming to a realization that teaching was not the path for him, Garratt dropped out of Uni and pursued his childhood dreams. Man, are the people of DC happy he did.
After a short, but energetic trumpet-filled set from the Brooklyn, electro-pop duo Brasstracks, Jack Garratt emerged on stage wearing a self-titled athletic shirt. The crowd was quiet as the lights dimmed and Garratt calmly hit his launchpad to the beat of Syenthesia Pt. III. Once the elision hit the entire crowd jumped on their feet.
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