America has a lot to thank Sweden for. The Scandinavian land across the Atlantic to the northeast brought us everything from the modern-day zipper and the three-point seatbelt to the TetraPak and ABBA. The neutral European country also introduced us to the dream pop outfit known as The Radio Dept. The band performed to a crowded house at the Black Cat in Washington, D.C. this past Wednesday in support of their new album “Running Out of Love.” It’s the fourth studio album release and their first LP since 2010’s “Clinging to a Scheme.”
They couldn’t have picked a better time to come to Washington, D.C. given the current state of affairs in the nation’s capital.
Once fans made it through the long line to get in to the venue on 14th Street, they were greeted with warmth and excitement, both literally and figuratively. While not sold out, it was a large and receptive audience. One fan chanted “Sweden” several times after the band finished their first song, which was “Sloboda Narodu,” the first track off of “Love.” There was no question about the lead singer and co-founder Johan Duncanson’s gratitude for those in attendance. Not only did he say “Thanks for coming out” to the second show of the 2017 tour, but he followed each of the night’s 15 songs with some form of “thanks.”
Johan was joined onstage by Daniel Tjäder (keyboards, piano, and synthesizer) and Martin Carlberg (bass and drums).
The lighting of the show matched the vocals — just as bright as it was loud — occasionally hushed with haze.
Half of the hour and 15 minute set featured new material with “Swedish Guns” and “Teach Me to Forget” receiving loud cheers and applause. Hit songs like “Heaven’s on Fire” and “The New and Improved Hypocrisy” filled the remainder. It’s no coincidence the track “Death to Fascism” garnered the most applause of the show, given the club’s proximity to the White House. The song samples a famous Croatian-language protest phrase that translates to “Freedom to the People.”
If the group was really running out of anything that night, it was time. There certainly wasn’t a lack of content or love. After finishing 13 songs and stating “Occupied” would be the last song of the night, everyone shared a collective and audible frown. One guy said: “You just started!” Another declared: “Don’t make us sad!” And almost everyone yelled: “Please come back to D.C.”
After exiting the stage for about three minutes, Johan and Martin returned to play “1995” as their encore.
Watch a video of The Radio Dept. performing “1995” at Black Cat on Wednesday:
While the Radio Dept.’s new album is “about all things that are moving in the wrong direction,” the band couldn’t be headed on more of a positive trajectory.
- Sloboda Narodu
- Committed to the Cause
- We Got Game
- Never Follow Suit
- The New Improved Hypocrisy
- Running Out of Love
- Worst Taste In Music
- Heaven’s on Fire
- Death to Fascism
- Swedish Guns
- Teach Me to Forget
Here are some pictures of The Radio Dept. performing at Black Cat on Feb. 15, 2017.