Home Live Review Live Review: Margaret Glaspy @ DC9 — 2/10/24

Live Review: Margaret Glaspy @ DC9 — 2/10/24

Live Review: Margaret Glaspy @ DC9 — 2/10/24
Margaret Glaspy (Photo by Josh Goleman)

DC9, one of DC’s best small independent venues, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a series of intimate concerts with big-name artists.

As part of that series on Saturday, singer, songwriter, and guitarist Margaret Glaspy took the stage to deliver new songs from her beautiful 2023 record, Echo the Diamond. Backed by an airtight three piece band, she cemented her status as one of the most consistent and underrated performers in indie rock today.

Glaspy is a unique songwriter who delights in unexpected twists and turns. Her set’s opening song “I Didn’t Think So” perfectly showcased this dynamism on Feb. 10, beginning with fingerpicked guitar and gently crooning lyrics before gradually building into a roaring chorus of cymbal crashes and crunchy guitars.

Watch Margaret Glaspy perform “I Don’t Think So” live for KEXP on YouTube:

With Scott Colberg on bass and Lee Falco on drums, Glaspy’s band operated like a delicate machine, whose tightly wound coils were ready to explode at the flick of a wrist before quickly returning to stasis. The three-piece band worked their way through the acrobatic turns of Glaspy’s songs with impressive precision and artistic grace. The brooding, noisy churn of the standalone 2018 single “One Heart and Two Arms” was a particular highlight. There was not a single note picked or snare hit out of place the whole evening.

In addition to the nimble shape of her songs, Glaspy is also a gifted lyricist who tells poetic truths through keen observations. Multiple times throughout the night I would be grooving to the beat only to be caught off guard by a particularly powerful lyric. The heartbreaking “Hammer and the Nail” includes the devastating back-to-back couplets: “It’s my wedding, but you want the veil/ Here I am, the hammer and the nail/ This song is so goddamn true/ I can hardly sing along.”

Much like her songs, Glaspy’s voice also takes unexpected swerves between gentle coos, ferocious growls, and full-throated belting, all of which only increases the power of her lyrics. Her voice was given special chance to shine during a string of solo songs near the end of the night which included “Heartbreak” as well as the as-yet-unreleased song “I Am Both.”

Watch Margaret Glaspy perform “Heartbreak” on the couch for KXT Radio on YouTube:

Although the band took the stage donning all black clothes and instruments, suggesting serious and heavy things to come, they played even the saddest songs with evident delight in making music together. “Parental Guidance,” an angsty song about the difficulties of growing up, blossomed in an extended live performance which allowed each musicians’ skills to shine through. During her own guitar solo, Glaspy grinned widely and jumped around in an expression of pure joy.

“The average person is a superhero,” she told the crowd. “And I’m honored to be a part of what makes you happy.” Glaspy closed by covering Bob Dylan’s classic love song “In the Summertime,” during which the band exulted in the song’s languid chords before inviting the audience to join in singing the chorus to a graceful fade out.

DC9 has been an integral part of the city’s music ecosystem for 20 years. Margaret Glaspy herself first played DC at the venue in support of her 2016 album Emotions and Math, and DC9 continues to be a place where you can catch amazing artists at the beginning of long and successful careers.

The celebration continued with sold-out performances by local punk heroes Loud Boyz on Monday and tonight’s show by Snail Mail!

Visit Margaret Glaspy’s website for more music and tourdates! 



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