There was a moment in Deep Sea Diver’s set at DC9 on February 29th, where lead singer Jessica Dobson suddenly ignited and the energy level ratcheted up to 11.
That moment came halfway through the set, in the long intro to “Wide Awake”, a song that left the crowd no doubt they were witnessing a revelationary performance. Just that short burst of rhythm and rock alone was enough to make the show.
Then from boisterous anthem to subdued, yet equally sublime, they transitioned to “Great Light”, a ballad of hopeful love, brought to life through Jessica’s lilting voice, that might break your heart if it wasn’t merely a song.
As Jessica set down her guitar (one of two used during the show) with broken strings poking in every direction, Jessica joked that this is, “literally the first song I play without an instrument in my hands.” And she did need both hands to hold the mic steady enough to take the force of the lyrics.
Deep Sea Diver is from Seattle. In addition to Jessica Dobson, other members are Peter Mansen on drums, Garrett Gue on bass, and Elliot Jackson on guitar and synth. Jessica also played guitar for The Shins, until she left to focus fully on Deep Sea Diver.
The band is touring with Radiation City (of Portland) in support of their just released second full-length album, Secrets.
They gave their new material full attention, as six songs (of the opening nine-song set) came from Secrets.
The crowd came close to packing DC9, leaving little room to move, let alone dance, although that didn’t stop the more enterprising.
After “Great Light” faded out, they continued to stay mellow with the languid and melodic, “Always Waiting”, my initial favorite song from Secrets. The album itself is pretty good (you can get yourself a copy here), but crafting the songs together on stage in front of a packed audience, without the sheen of the recorded track, highlighted how much potential Deep Sea Diver has to get a noticed in a big way.
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Deep Sea Diver ended their set with “You Go Running”, from their first album, History Speaks. They also played “Ships” and “NWO” from that album. I will have to give the whole first album a listen.
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They continue the tour through the Midwest, then make their return to the Pacific Northwest in mid-March, culminating in the Sasquatch Music Festival in George, Washington at the end of May.
Look out for them when they return to DC! Or just go join the other sasquatches at the Festival.
Setlist (February 29, 2016)
- See These Eyes
- Creatures of Comfort
- Wide Awake
- Great Light
- Always Waiting
- You Go Running