The Dip performs at 9:30 Club on Feb. 28, 2023. (Photo by Casey Vock)
With a natural synergy, some bands can sound like they’ve been making music together for decades.
The Dip, an uplifting and superbly talented R&B group out of Seattle, hasn’t been together for quite 10 years yet, but somehow its already developed an aura, character, and pizazz that most bands can only hope to achieve in whatever time they might have together.
With three studio albums under its belt but boasting an irresistible sound and the promise of a good time, this charming outfit sold out 9:30 Club the night of Feb. 28 in what was an unforgettable showing in the nation’s capital and a sure indication that this is a band rapidly endearing new listeners with its winning recipe.
Making up for lost time on the road during the pandemic, The Dip hit it hard in 2022 and is currently in the midst of an ambitious national run dubbed the “Stuck On You” tour. In expressing its gratitude and charming ticketholders from venue to venue, The Dip is turning every night into a celebration of affection, optimism, and of course the human soul.
Stream The Dip’s 2022 studio album, Sticking With It, via Spotify:
The Dip’s ingredients came together by chance in Seattle when two different groups met at regularly held neighborhood cook-offs, where they bonded through impromptu jam sessions that would persist as the brisket smoke billowed.
Vocalist and guitarist Tom Eddy, bassist Mark Hunter and drummer Jarred Katz were jazz students and housemates at the University of Washington at the time. They’d just begun playing with guitarist Jacob Lundgren when they were joined at one of these friendly gatherings by a brass trio they’d actually heard practicing across the way but had yet to meet.
The hyper-potent section comprised of Brennan Carter on trumpet, Levi Gillis on tenor saxophone, and Evan Smith on baritone saxophone was already a group on its own, but together with their new pals the collective unit conjured a vitality and fortitude that was uncommon for any sort of backyard hangout.
As their outdoor sessions became more regular, the group received invitations to play all around campus and performing as a septet would ultimately provide the members with an outlet for music beyond the jazz they were studying in school. Before long, it was an EP, two years later a self-titled album. By 2019, the band was playing gigs in Europe and Japan and had released its second album, The Dip Delivers, featuring some of its most beloved tracks and garnering critical acclaim.
Watch The Dip perform live on KEXP via YouTube:
The nation’s capital was treated to a convincing sample of The Dip’s very best, including the dreamy “Sleep On It” to start the night. This number, like so many of The Dip’s, is built on warm vibes, adoring lyrics and lush, piping depictions from the explosive brass posse, angled just to the left on the 9:30 Club stage.
“Atlas,” a highlight from The Dip Delivers, sparkled and strolled, and here Eddy’s voice was simply undeniable — rich, seasoned, and impassioning the presentation. For many new fans, it put a face with the arresting, satisfying voice that characterizes The Dip, and as the entire room seemed entranced by him, Eddy was endearing, classy, and selfless at the front of the stage.
“Look at this place,” he let the audience bask as he took it in and appreciated the scene before him. “This is crazy. Nice spot you guys got here.”
Though his voice implores and effuses to such remarkable effect, a large part of Tom’s duties included spreading the love to his bandmates, ensuring the audience had a clear understanding of how crucial each member is to the equation.
Eddy made eye contact with the entire group in every song, and while any listener might have wondered where such an expansive sound can come from, they’d see plainly that Hunter and Katz are meticulous, diligent players who create the pulse of these amorous offerings.
Though it appears Lundgren is not currently touring with The Dip, Cole Schuster handled the lead guitar responsibilities in DC, and the band carried itself like veteran team through a precisely designed and thrilling set.
Also part of The Dip’s current lineup, Dasha Chadwick and Vanessa Bryan are two incredible vocalists who were vital in adding the rousing chorus to last year’s Sticking With It. Their presence on the album helped make it arguably The Dip’s best overall offering so far. Joining the septet on stage at 9:30 Club, these wonderful ladies helped lift each song to bliss. They added a particular fervor to “Vacation,” another winner from the latest Dip record, and Dasha decorated numerous songs with the tambourine, too.
Eddy told the audience that Chadwick and Bryan’s presence on Sticking With It was what he hopes is the start of a long friendship in music. “We love you,” he told them, and the audience clearly shared the sentiment.
The set moved along and the party intensified with it as the selections seemed to become more fervent, more evidence that this band has dialed in its sound, which goes beyond “revivalist” to have created something more refreshing and, along with it, a runway to keep refining this uncommon style and sound.
As much as he doesn’t seem to seek the spotlight, Eddy’s inflection reminds us how key a special a voice can be to a band — even in one as polished as The Dip, he glows among the razor-sharp instrumentalists and vocalists.
After observing and listening to Eddy for a moment, one 9:30 Club staff member commented: “Some people just have that soul down in them, and they know how to get it out.”
The set examined most of the band’s releases, including the dazzling “New King” recorded to one of two must-hear instrumental albums The Dip’s put out — effectively showing off the chops of the band, especially its brass.
Stream The Dip’s second instrumental EP, The Dip Plays It Cool, via Spotify:
As hoped, the night in D.C. would deliver some of the most well-known songs too, including rewarding takes on “When You Love Someone” and one of the sweetest, most enduring songs the group’s made thus far, “Paddle to the Stars.”
The brass would shine in its own eventual solo exhibition, and Eddy and Hunter would take a moment to perform a song as just a duo, a stunning rendition of “Real Pretender.”
Tom would lift a drink — a tiny cup — and toast the room several times, taking an extra moment to praise the night’s opening act, Kaleta & Super Yamba Band. By the end of the night, he was likely speaking for the whole band in expressing his excitement to sell out one of the most established music venues in all the land.
“I just want to say cheers for coming out and selling out this show,” Tom said. “It’s fucking incredible.”
The set would close with The Dip’s most popular track, “Sure Don’t Miss You,” first released as a single and, later, on The Dip Delivers, and the entire venue sang along as it segued into a proper set bookend, the outro version of “Sleep On It.”
The nine performers took little time to collect themselves before walking right back onto the stage, and the volume, the enthusiasm of the audience, was far beyond what could be expected of a typical Tuesday night.
“Thank you all so very much,” Tom reiterated.
“Adeline,” drifting, longing, and truly beautiful, capped the night as patrons swayed, gazing at the twirling lights, and taking in this promising group.
A band with so much positive momentum, The Dip was born out of coincidental encounters. But it has flourished on a shared appreciation for songs that gush emotion, evoke timelessness and lift spirits high.
Sleep On It
Ready To Go
Slow Sipper (Bb)
When You Love Someone
Paddle To The Stars
Beautiful Stranger (Madonna cover)
She Gave Me The Keys
Sure Don’t Miss You
Sleep On It Outro
Here are images of The Dip along with the night’s opening act, Kaleta & Super Yamba Band, performing at 9:30 Club on Feb. 28, 2023. All photos copyright and courtesy of Casey Vock.
Kaleta & Super Yamba Band