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All photos by Katherine Gaines

Brooklyn party band AVAN LAVA is one of our favorites, so we’re not even going to try to be objectionable in this piece. In fact, we love them so much that we’ve had them perform at more than one Brightest Young Things party in the past. So, when they teamed up to play the Kick Kick Snare pop-up show at U Street Music Hall on Thursday with UK-based Bright Light Bright Light, we were in.

Avan Lava at U Street Music Hall

An AVAN LAVA show is as much of a dance experience than a concert. Fans know that they can expect lasers, lights, cheeky choreography, and the occasional white water river raft captained by the lead singer floating above the audience.

Avan Lava at U Street Music HallAvan Lava at U Street Music HallAvan Lava at U Street Music HallAvan Lava at U Street Music Hall

Before the night began, we weren’t sure what crowd the AVAN LAVA/Bright Light Bright Light show would generate.  Both groups are fronted by queer artists (yet feature straight band members) and have largely straight fan bases. Showing up for their shows can mean a fun gay-friendly straight experience, or a way-way-way-gay one. We’ve been to AVAN LAVA shows with both types of crowds, and have loved both. With this in mind, music site Kick Kick Snare did a great job curating the show to build a broad audience which included many straight couples, and lots of gay men and women. KKS enhanced this with their inclusion of Mixtape DJs Shea Van Horn and Matt Bailer (known for building parties that cater to the straight/gay crossover crowd) to spin following the performances.

Avan Lava at U Street Music HallAvan Lava at U Street Music HallAvan Lava at U Street Music Hall

UK-based Bright Light Bright Light opened the show for AVAN LAVA. We pre-gamed with their music videos before the show and wondered how the audience would react to its more dreamy, subdued numbers. Theirs is the type of wistful dance music that can easily get a crowd of 3,000 in San Francisco frantically dancing, yet isn’t always known what to do with by an East Coast audience more accustomed to higher energy dance. But, at the concert, the artist energy of Bright Light Bright Light easily had the DC audience dancing to even their more down-tempo numbers. In that respect, it worked very well as a complimentary opening number to the more hyper-energetic AVAN LAVA performances that we know. It also didn’t hurt that many in the audience found the lead singer Rod Thomas simply adorable.

Bright Light Bright Light at U Street Music HallBright Light Bright Light at U Street Music HallBright Light Bright Light at U Street Music Hall

You can catch the next Kick Kick Snare pop up show on Thursday, January 30 at the Black Cat. The show features Spirit Animal, Honest Holoway, and Motion Lines.

Bright Light Bright Light at U Street Music Hall

The Next Kick Kick Snare Pop-Up Show:
Spirit Animal

Honest Haloway
Motion Lines
Thursday, January 30
at the Black Cat
For more information, click here.

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