Dinosaur Jr. (Photo by Cara Totman)
For nearly 40 years, Dinosaur Jr. has established a reputation as one of the best, most innovative alternative rock bands — and one of the loudest. On Tuesday evening, they lived up to that reputation when they appeared at a sold-out 9:30 Club, with Chicago guitarist Ryley Walker opening.
Thundercat performs at 9:30 Club on Nov. 2, 2021. (Photo by Will Colbert)
On Tuesday, Thundercat’s red logo emblazoned a huge drape at the rear of DC’s 9:30 club stage. The repeating symbol recalled not only the ‘80s cartoon, and namesake of multi-grammy award-winning bassist/singer Stephen Bruner, but also an emblematic crest. An insignia representing a diverse family that loves music, Dragon Ball Z, and yes… cats.
Stepping into the legendary DC venue I was geeked for a night of funky synth-laced progressive R&B paired with Thundercat’s Bee Gees-like falsetto vocals. Yes, that box was checked, but the performance proved to be so much more.
Lucy Dacus performs at 9:30 Club in Washington DC on Oct. 22, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)
One of the most remarkable feats of touring musicians today is keeping their sound fresh while staying true to the style that initially attracted a fanbase. A celebration of independent folk and rock music, Lucy Dacus is one of the most thoughtfully creative touring singer-songwriters today.
And, at just 26 years old, she’s an amazing success story — she’s already released three critically acclaimed albums, given unforgettable performances at events like the Newport Folk Festival, and formed a power-trio known as boygenius with fellow stars Phoebe Bridgers and Julien Baker. Her Twitter prowess — close to 100,000 followers — speaks to the level of embrace and support by fans.
Lucero (Photo by Bob Bayne)
The genre of alt-country was well represented at the 9:30 recently when Memphis, Tennessee’s Lucero performed with newcomer Morgan Wade and her band opening. It was an evening full of loud, twanging guitars and southern accents, with raucous songs about love, life, family, and drinking.
IDLES perform at 9:30 Club on Oct. 17, 2021. (Photo by Kyle Gustafson)
You’d be hard pressed to name a better or more electrifying live band right now than Bristol, England’s IDLES. Hard and fast enough for the punk fans, heavy enough for the metal fans and progressive enough for the indie fans, IDLES hit a sweet spot that no other band can touch right now at 9:30 Club in the first of two-sold out nights on Sunday. Their songs address a wide range of topics such as politics, depression, and toxic masculinity and more importantly give listeners the release that great live music demands.
Adam Weiner of Low Cut Connie leads a performance at 9:30 Club in DC on Oct. 13, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)
If you’re looking for an emotionally advanced live music experience, you might need to roll up your sleeves to actually enjoy it once you get there. Hell, you might need to just take your shirt right off.
And if you’ve been lucky enough to see the Philadelphia-based sensation Low Cut Connie in the flesh, you know you’ll witness sweaty clothes torn to shreds, scantily clad dancers, spilled drinks, middle fingers pointed at innocent bystanders and cuss words flung in all directions. Sex, drugs, rage, grief, pain, joy, lust, love, jealousy — no topic is off limits, no subject too risqué. That’s the mentality head singer and pianist Adam Weiner brings to the keyboard, and within that kind of environment is where his crew has been groomed to thrive.
Adam and Low Cut Connie brought their best to 9:30 Club recently, delivering a dripping set of music that was uncensored, remorseless, and lasting, even in a venue that hosts as much talent as this one.
Bahamas perform at 9:30 Club on Oct. 12, 2021. (Photo by Casey Vock)
Some recording artists deserve to be admired for their commitment to enhancing their songbook, continually challenging themselves to dive deeper into a creative process that the average person can’t even begin to imagine.
A gentleman out of Ontario named Afie Jurvanen has proven himself to be exceptionally dedicated to his craft, and he recently brought his musical vehicle, Bahamas, to the 9:30 Club for what was an impressive, charming weeknight reminder that he’s one of the best individual performers hailing from north of the border — some might argue on the whole darn continent, and his collection of Juno awards and nominations supports that notion.
Low Cut Connie (Photo by Cait Brady)
This past March, Low Cut Connie celebrated the 1-year anniversary of their acclaimed livestream show Tough Cookies, and in May released a new album to commemorate it called Tough Cookies: The Best of The Quarantine Broadcasts.
You can now see the high-energy rock ‘n’ roll act led by Adam Weiner in person at 9:30 Club on Wednesday, Oct. 13.
Oh He Dead perform at 9:30 Club on Sept. 25, 2021. (Photos by Mark Caicedo)
“Poppy enough for ya…bitch?”
Those words, spoken in jest years ago between Oh He Dead’s CJ Johnson and Andy Valenti, actually signaled a dogged determination to never compromise on their dream. Saturday night, during their headlining 9:30 Club debut, the two Oh He Dead (OHD) founders related the story of demoing one of their new songs, only to be told that it wasn’t “pop” enough. That long ago, unnamed producer might be a little humbled to find that OHD has amassed an exhaustive repertoire of original and cover songs, has legions of fans around the world, and this past Saturday played to a packed 9:30 Club (only the first, no doubt, of many such appearances to come).
And judging by the crowd of swaying, dancing, and singing fans, not a single one would accuse OHD of not being “poppy” enough.
If you didn’t know better, Soccer Mommy, the stage name for singer-songwriter Sophia (Sophie) Allison, may bring about visions of minivans, orange slices, and participation trophies. Suburban tedium at its best. That couldn’t be further from the truth. During a recent show at 9:30 Club, Sophie and her indie rock band performed a set that was far from pedestrian.