The following is a pale replicate of what I’d written before the shitty DSL at my house (yeah. DSL) swallowed my work. Enjoy!
As you may or may not know, I’m a little bit of a show rat. I got out of the swing of things switching from one coast to another, so for the purposes of this blog, I’m going to attempt to re-position my finger on the pulse of the DC scene.
To begin, I went to see a folk show earlier this month at the 9:30 Club. Folk, bluegrass and Americana are a somewhat recent interest of mine, maybe the last few years, so I still really get a charge out of seeing a good artist live. 9:30 Club is at my upper threshold when it comes to size of venue, and folk can be tough to connect with in such a large room, but the artists I went to see pulled it off.
In the ancient art of pre-game, a friend and I went to Quarry House Tavern before heading into the city. I had a couple lazy shots of Four Roses and thought pretty hard about indulging in some of their delicious tater-tots. Since we were already running late, I decided against it, especially since 9:30 has hot food if you want it.
We got there about halfway through David Wax Museum‘s set, having missed the local folk darlings Vandaveer. David Wax Museum is a delightful band that blends Mexican folk and Americana into a bright, lively sound. They’re a high energy, made-for-stage band that make you want to stomp your feet and clap your hands. They smack a little of Polyphonic Spree in that way. Their instrumentation is as surprising and inspired as the band itself, David Wax sometimes playing a ukulele/guitar hybrid type instrument called a jarana and Suz Slezak playing the fiddle and the quijada. The addition of Suz’s high-end harmonies is glorious. On my little soap box, I urge you to see The Museum any time they come to a city near you. You will not be disappointed.
Joe Pug took the stage in a plain t-shirt and some comfy blue jeans. He looked like a dude that rolled out of the van, picked up his guitar and walked up to the microphone, and he made the show feel just like that: informal and intimate. He has that stripped down, sock-you-in-the-gut honest style that first drew me to the folk/Americana genre. He speaks with a little drawl and told a couple stories about moving from Chicago to Austin, and when he sang I could almost feel the humidity in the air and see fireflies flashing among the silhouetted bodies around me. He was so gracious, so humble, and so talented I feel I may have been overwhelmed to see him in a smaller venue, though if there were ever a chance to do so I would take it.
A side note, Joe Pug rose to his relative fame by giving away his music for free and telling his fans to tell their friends, to pass the music along, and he steered clear of large labels, staying relentlessly indie and DIY. He’s a man after my own heart.
To close, Joe Pug had David Wax Museum and Vandaveer return to the stage so they could all sing The Museum’s joyful and most-popular song “Born With a Broken Heart” together. It truly felt like it had been a family effort to put on the best show for us they could.
So locals, go see Vandaveer, and everybody go see David Wax Museum and Joe Pug when they come to your town. I notice Joe Pug is playing Summerfest along with folk-staples Trampled by Turtles in Milwaukee. Take that ticket, y’all! Summerfest itself is dope, add in Joe Pug and Trampled by Turtles and you got yourself a great goddamn day!
Yeah. I lived in Wisconsin for a while. So what?
So again, for the second time in a couple days, folk’s what’s up.