Milky Chance with X Ambassadors @ Echostage 7/27/15

Opening the show for Milky Chance was alternative rock group X Ambassadors. The band began its set playing for a 3/4 filled Echostage, which given the venue’s size, is not bad at all for an opening act. The band originates from Ithaca, New York with brothers Sam and Casey Harris manning vocals and keyboards respectively. During the show Sam busted out surprisingly energetic dance moves and at a few points, the tenor saxophone. Needless to say the crowd loved it. During “Gorgeous,” a song off of the band’s new album, VHS, the crowd went absolutely crazy to Sam’s falsetto and dance moves. It was not something I was expecting from the bearded rocker, but I was pleasantly surprised. The band’s music reminded me somewhat of a blend of Dave Matthews and Imagine Dragons, with elements of R&B and hip-hop infused in the music as well. On a more critical note, the band was not exceptionally better in concert than their studio album, and their bold, gritty sound that makes their music as catchy as it is was diminished in their live performance. But all in all, the band’s set was entertaining, energetic, and engaging. Between Sam’s dance moves, his saxophone solos, surprisingly good falsetto, and presence on the stage, I enjoyed the performance quite a bit.

And now, Milky Chance. The German folk duo had a killer backdrop visual of a bunch of totem looking poles with lights and dreamcatcher-esque objects hanging above them. The combination of that with excellent lighting made for a great pairing with Milky Chance’s music, which has been describedas being a combination of folk, reggae, house, and jazz. The band was incredibly comfortable on the stage, as singer Clemens Rehbein and producer/percussion Philipp Dausch were previously in a jazz ensemble in their hometown of Kassel. I had a chance to speak to Rehbein prior to the show, and he said that Flown Tones (the ensemble) was “a great experience for jamming and playing music with other people, learning rhythms and singing.” Jam indeed they did, with many songs having wonderful improv digressions that sounded as if they had been part of the original song.

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7/20: Neon Trees @ 930 with COIN, Fictionist

A Monday night is not the best night for a show, but then again, maybe it is. The crowd at the 930 Club seemed to be acting like it was a Saturday night. Perhaps it was the line up of energizing and talented bands ahead?

First up was Fictionist, hailing from, Provo, UTHA the same small town as Neon Trees. The band was comprised of five incredibly plain clothed musicians who looked like they were having the time of their life. The alternative rock group played high-energy songs, with each musician changing instruments and sharing the vocal duties. Being the opener for the opener, Fictionist was remarkably talented, good-natured, and simply down to have a good time. This video definitely sums up their playfulness, creativity, and musical talent!

8:45 pm: By now the venue had taken on the persona and energy of a venue waiting for the main act, despite only a 15 minute break between sets. Suddenly, the lights went dark, and “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson of all songs came on, and the entire crowd went straight into singing along to the music. Maybe this was COIN’s pre show song to get the crowd pumped? Regardless, it seemed to do the trick and the band bounded onto the stage to a pretty hefty amount of cheering. COIN, with about 1.3 million hits on its most popular song on Spotify, had a decent fan-base at the venue already. From Nashville, Tennessee, the band describes itself as a “product of the 90’s” that just wants “to make music that makes you feel good.” The band definitely encapsulated the energy of the 90s, with none of its songs giving up any energy, whatsoever. The band released its debut self titled album a little over a month ago, and already many in the audience knew the words. The band did a wonderful job of hyping the crowd up, and gave them a great performance. They also had a pretty nifty looking neon sign of their band name, just sayin’.

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JMSN + abhi//dijon @ U Street Music Hall

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All photos: Lotanna Obodozie

If there’s one thing I really enjoy, it’s when artists have epic intro music play before they hit the stage. It’s a great way to build up excitement for the crowd, and it’s also interesting to see what the artist chooses – a song of theirs or a song by someone else. Maryland electronic-R&B duo abhi//dijon chose to go with the latter, choosing “Know Yourself” off of Drake’s new mixtape. It had been out for less than 24 hours, but thanks to abhi//dijon, I got to hear part of it blasted through U Street Music Hall’s glorious sound system.DSC_3285

The lights were low, and the mellow R&B that had been playing through the speakers was abruptly interrupted by Drake’s voice shouting “I was running through The 6 with my woes.” Abhi//dijon then took the stage and chatted briefly with the crowd before beginning their set, mentioning that this was only their second performance ever. Despite this being the second time they’ve ever taken the stage, they played with so much heart that any rough spots (which were few and far between) were immediately forgiven by the crowd. Their music is so lush, and so good, that it speaks for itself and those in the crowd seemed to be fans of abhi//dijon since day one. This was especially apparent when abhi//dijon played some of their older songs; audience members would cheer at the sound of the opening notes and sing along to every word.

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Concert Review/Interview: Andy Suzuki & The Method @ Ebenezers Coffeehouse

Image courtesy of Capitol File Magazine 

 

Originally from the DMV area, but based in New York, Andy Suzuki & The Method have been touring around the east coast for years now, slowly building up their fan base. I had the pleasure of talking to Andy before their show on Thursday at Ebenezers Coffeehouse, where we sat immersed in the seasonal ambiance of the venue’s twinkling Christmas lights.

 

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