Home Live Review Live Review: Broke Royals w/ Dear Daria and Milo in the Doldrums @ Songbyrd Music House — 1/27/24

Live Review: Broke Royals w/ Dear Daria and Milo in the Doldrums @ Songbyrd Music House — 1/27/24

Live Review: Broke Royals w/ Dear Daria and Milo in the Doldrums @ Songbyrd Music House — 1/27/24
Broke Royals perform at Songbyrd Music House on Jan. 27, 2024. (Photo by Mickey McCarter)

Philip Basnight is the kinda guy you don’t want to disappoint. He’s perpetually bright and upbeat with a presence that illuminates a room. He’s got a can-do attitude and an easygoing manner that put you at ease. The gregarious frontman of Broke Royals also is a pretty talented chap who sings, writes, and plays with earnest feeling.

And so a few weeks ago, I told Philip I would like to check out the Broke Royals record release show at Songbyrd Music House with the caveat that I wouldn’t be able to write about it right away because I was going away to muck about in Florida and Georgia for a few weeks soon after the show.

It was a pretty darn good show, where local DC bands Broke Royals and openers Dear Dear and Milo in the Doldrums — all of whom have new music — sold out the venue and rocked the night away. And so I’m motivated to keep my promise to Philip and tell you a bit about it!

Longtime readers of Parklife hopefully are not strangers to Broke Royals, who actually have won our annual readers poll for best local DC band twice times — the inaugural 2018 poll and again in 2020. Since we last caught Broke Royals live, Philip Basnight (vocals, guitar), Colin Cross (drums), Taimir Gore (bass), and Ben Wilson (guitar) have augmented their lineup with the addition of Rebecca Basnight (keys).

My understanding is that Rebecca became a fan of Broke Royals and married Philip and joined the band because of course Philip’s authenticity and hardworking nature lend themselves to all of these things coming together for him! On Jan. 27 at Songbyrd Music House, the quintet celebrated the release of new EP Big Dream, a five-track album dropped on the previous day. Broke Royals opened their show with the buoyant title track, and the audience lit up right away.

Jumping through 14 songs, Broke Royals kept the earworms flowing and the crowd grooving. They performed a few more songs from the Big Dream EP, including “No Time for Love” and “One Look.” On “One Look,” Rebecca took lead vocal in a rare departure for the band, adding a dash of blues to the tone of the music.

Stream “One Look” by Broke Royals on YouTube:

Broke Royals also performed several songs from the excellent album Local Support, released by Byrdland Records, Songbyrd’s sister label, in 2022. Notably, they played “Local Support” the song toward the end of the show and the closed with “Postcard.”

Full of smiles, the band play a lot of uplifting heartland rock although some of their recent numbers reveal some grit and a willingness to break genre. The five members of the band are naturals on stage, and they were full of smiles and gratitude for their audience at Songbyrd. Rebecca, who is pregnant, was particularly luminous, and Colin Cross — Philip’s original partner in crime — was a civilized beast on drums, equal parts ready to rampage but also to repose.

The Broke Royals crew overall is an appealing bunch, and they’ll inspire you to put your best face forward as a member of the audience, even if you’re not a blogger struggling with deadlines!

As I mentioned, Broke Royals brought along two openers who also shared new music: Dear Daria and Milo in the Doldrums. Dear Daria are up for Best Rock Artist, Group, at the 2024 Wammie Awards! The band released a new EP, Solastalgia, on Jan. 26, and frontwoman Mary Mattea was honest about releasing new song “Tino” in time for qualifying for the Wammies. I’m glad they did, as it’s a worthy song that got them that deserving nod for best rock group.

Stream Solastalgia by Dear Daria on Spotify:

Maryjo Mattea (vocals, guitar), Joshua Hunter (guitar), Eamonn Donnelly (bass), and Dan ABH (drums) played through their new album at Songbyrd on Jan. 27, bearing their teeth for some protest anthems. Dear Daria stormed across “Empire” with lyrics “Do you think this story is already written/ Or could a courageous act change the course of history.” And they rumbled through “Avalanche,” leveling criticism at the MAGA ball-cap sporting mob: “There is such a thing as truth and it cannot be debated/ Swapping out reality for the narrative they created.”

Totally comfortable on stage, Maryjo alternated between heartfelt yearning and determined roaring from song to song, showing both the grace and fortitude that have made her a staple of the DC indie rock music scene.

Catch Dear Daria opening for 5th of Four on May 4 at Pearl Street Warehouse. 

I came into the concert knowing nothing about Milo in the Doldrums but came away impressed by their energy. Milo in the Doldrums is a rock trio who apparently take their name from the 1961 children’s book, The Phantom Tollbooth. The book is an adventure fantasy where the lead character Milo at one point gets lost in “the Doldrums,” a lost land lacking motivation. Fittingly, the band have a mission statement: “Tinged with melancholia and uplifted by a love of life, Milo in the Doldrums harnesses the power of music to overcome the despondency of the modern world… and, y’know, do stuff!”

Frontman Rob Mays has been the consistent face of Milo in the Doldrums, which has undergone lineup changes over the years. Rob has a good thing going right now with Milo as a trio including Samantha Collins on drums and Dallas Smith on bass.

Milo in the Doldrums released two new songs in 2023 — “Younger Generation” and “Rattlesnakes,” which followed singles in 2022 and 201 as well as Eps in 2016 and 2018. The band is said to be working with producer Ben Green on their debut full-length album.

Stream “Younger Generation” by Milo in the Doldrums on Spotify:

Carrying a crisp post-grunge sound with a jangly lightness, Milo in the Doldrums were thoroughly spirited at Songbyrd Music House in their set opening Broke Royals. Rob is a transcendent guitarist who actually crosses genres. Milo in the Doldrums next perform at The Pocket on Feb. 29, opening Rigometrics. 

Here are some photos of Broke Royals performing at Songbyrd Music House on Jan. 27, 2024. All photos by Mickey McCarter.


Here are some photos of Dear Daria opening Broke Royals at Songbyrd Music House on Jan. 27, 2024. All photos by Mickey McCarter.


Here are some photos of Milo in the Doldrums opening Broke Royals at Songbyrd Music House on Jan. 27, 2024. All photos by Mickey McCarter.



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