Home Live Review Live Review: Oh He Dead @ 9:30 Club — 9/2/23

Live Review: Oh He Dead @ 9:30 Club — 9/2/23

Live Review: Oh He Dead @ 9:30 Club — 9/2/23
Oh He Dead performs at 9:30 Club on Sept. 2, 2023. (Photo by Marc Shea)

Right in the middle of a long Labor Day weekend, 9:30 Club hosted local DC favorites Oh He Dead. And what a homecoming party it was. In a move that matches the fun, retro vibe of the music, five of the six band members entered the stage wearing white jump suits, led by guitarist Andy Valenti.

It was very reminiscent of Devo, but looser.

At 9:30 Club on Sept. 2, the band began playing when singer CJ Johnson entered the stage. Unlike her bandmates, she came out wearing a black and white jumpsuit. They wasted no time, tearing right into the latest single, “Lightning Drunk,” from their upcoming album Pretty. The band’s sound contains bits of soul, folk, funk, and rock; and “Lightning Drunk” is no exception. The club was packed and as soon as the first song started, there was singing and dancing everywhere. Everyone knew the song and it set the perfect tone for the rest of the show.

It was obvious that the entire band was having a lot of fun. CJ smiled throughout almost the entire set. And that mood was infectious. It helps when the songs are so much fun. After “Lightning Drunk,” the band played “Bottle It Up,” “Garden Song,” and “Small Talk” before surprising at least me with a Radiohead cover. When the chords of Just from the 1994 release “The Bends” rang out, I had to smile. They really did a great job and definitely made the song their own.

Watch a lyric video for “Lightning Drunk” by Oh He Dead on YouTube:

After Just, the band reached back to their 2015 debut and pulled out the song “Lonely (Sometimes).” It’s a great choice to slow things down a little. Right after that, they dove right back into the new album with “California,” “Is It My Love,” and “Summer Madness.”

“Do You Ever Wonder” flowed right into “The Night Shift (9-5).” That’s not a Dolly Parton cover. But what it is is a great representation of Oh He Dead’s sound — ’70s funky wah guitar, the right amount of ’80s synths, and CJ’s vocals are reminiscent of Macy Gray. “Strange Love,” “Hey Love,” “More Time,” and “All Night” wrapped up the first part of the show. And there was plenty of vamping and banter in between songs. They even brought someone’s vinyl copy of their debut on stage to promote their merch table.

But the show wasn’t over yet. They invited a horn section to come up and join them for three songs — “Show Me Love,” “Street Player,” and “This Time Around.” But the band decided to keep it going for the hometown crowd. They returned for a two song encore of “Foreigner” and “Moonshine.”

Oh He Dead played such a carefree and infectiously fun show. If you haven’t seen them live or aren’t familiar with their music, it is highly recommended that you check them out. The band interplay is as fun to watch as the music is to hear. See them live when you can and grab their album, Pretty, when it comes out on Sept. 15. If you’re looking for a live show to help you feel happy, Oh He Dead is definitely for you.


  • Intro
  • Lightning Drunk
  • Bottle It Up
  • Garden Song
  • Small Talk
  • Just (Radiohead cover)
  • Lonely 
  • California
  • Is It My Love/Summer Madness
  • Do You Ever Wonder?
  • The Night Shift (9-5)
  • Strange Love/Hey Love
  • More Time
  • All Night
  • Show Me Love (w/Horn Section)
  • Street Player (w/Horn Section)
  • This Time Around (w/Horn Section)


  • Foreigner
  • Moonshine

Here are some more photos of Oh He Dead performing at 9:30 Club on Sept. 2, 2023. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Marc Shea.


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