It’s become a standard practice in the nation’s capital for avid concert goers to watch a European act on the rise in an intimate setting akin to a living room thanks to the small venues that regularly book musicians from all over the world.
As spoiled as DC might be in this regard, the experience doesn’t seem to get old as both currently operating spaces and those of the past have made the nation’s stop essentially a destination visit for any band or solo performer able to travel overseas or internationally.
Artists put their best foot forward, revel in the night with fans and share the emotion of performing in a place they could only imagine doing so when they first started out.
Oracle Sisters — a psychedelic folk-rock outfit from Paris — sold out DC9 this past Sunday night and dazzled the packed second-floor crowd with a transportive set of music that more than validated the buzz this group has generated since it began putting out singles back in 2018.
Out on tour to support the band’s first full-length album, Hydranism, Oracle Sisters began their current North American run in Montreal and will wrap it up in Los Angeles at the end of the month — a true cross-continent endeavor.
Stream Oracle Sisters’ debut studio album, Hydranism, via Spotify:
The group is comprised of longtime pals Lewis Lazar and Christopher Willatt and Finnish multi-instrumentalist Julia Johansen, and the night of Sept. 17 at DC9 represented its first headlining show in the district.
“For those of you who were there before, thanks for coming back,” Lazar smiled wide recalling this past summer’s opening appearance before Declan McKenna at The Anthem. “For those of you who weren’t, thanks for coming.”
Fans were thrilled for the opportunity to see this skyrocketing group in close quarters, enthusiastic from start to finish and more than willing to engage with the players as they lived it up across a set featuring more than half the songs on Hydranism and other favorites that have propelled Oracle Sisters this far away from home.
Lazar urged fans to sing along if they knew the words, and patrons seized the opportunity to not only call out the lyrics line for line but to lift their arms and sway in the neon shadows to songs like 2021 single “I Don’t Wanna Move,” “Hail Mary” from the new album and more.
Absorbing with shared harmonies and complimentary guitar styles, Lazar and Willatt demonstrated a marvelous synergy developed through years of playing together. And Johansen, a mesmerizing stage presence, switched into a different pair of shoes, moseyed from the drums to the front of the tiny stage and — with her voice and the acoustic guitar — allured with a drifting take on the 2020 single “High Moon.” She’d return more than once to help lift the vocals to soaring heights.
Watch the latest music video from Oracle Sisters, “Ruby On The Run” from Hydranism, via the band’s YouTube channel:
In its touring form, the group also features keyboardist Mel Chambers and Simon Hanes, who made a name for himself with Tredici Bacci and as Guerilla Toss’ buck-naked bass player before moving to Europe to pursue new projects.
On the road with another artist from France, Ryder The Eagle, Oracle Sisters invited the solo songwriter up to blow the saxophone with gusto as the group exploded through “Hot Summer,” another lasting cut from the record, which was released in April by 22Twenty.
Sharing a remarkable collection of songs in a festive manner, it was every bit a special occasion for the five touring members and those who’d filed into the small, dark DC9 space to celebrate with them.
I Don’t Wanna Move
Tramp Like You
Most of All
Plus Encore (two songs) (Modern Love and one more)