Happy 6 years, U Hall! Let’s revisit our first experience at the club. -ed.
Due to the U St Music Hall’s no photo policy, we decided to make some pretty pictures instead. Armed with official BYT photo watermaked paper, a handful of pens leftover from Summer Camp crafts, low lighting, and a general lack of real artistic prowess the intrepid (tipsy) BYT Staff and friends set forth in documenting the night. Thanks to everyone who helped out, thanks to Will and Titts for hosting us, and thanks for coming out and supporting Bluebrain. -cale
Washington, DC’s Bluebrain has a hit on their hands with debut album Soft Power. The indie rock duo with pop sensibilities are comprised of Capital City rock scene veterans brothers Ryan and Hays Holladay, and their intended goal is to clearly provide the listener with an emotion defined by the three e’s of economy, excellence and experience. The economy comes from a lack of frill and pomp, just two guys with instruments replete with scads of talent. The excellence comes in how solid and professional they sound, their music feeling more well-honed and crafted than many young indie acts. And experience lies in the desire to create an indelible impression on the fan with a positive sensory overload of a live set. Bluebrain’s 45 minute headline performance at Brightest Young Things’ “First Blood” event at DC’s newest shining darling, the U Street Music Hall? Solid, and a tremendous green light for the progress of the city in gaining an international foothold.
Employing dual stands with one brother handling a myriad of percussion instruments, while the other plays a synthesizer accentuating excellent pre-produced backing tracks, Bluebrain plays in front of a screen broadcasting unusual and intense visuals, from a myriad of words appearing in a manner consistent with subliminal marketing to a veritable array of Rohrshach like designs, the neurological project that shares the same name comes to mind as Bluebrain conceptually isn’t so much about musical prowess as much as they are about creating a full and enriching aural and visual experience.
Last night, tracks from Soft Power when amplified by the temple of boom that the U-Hall has become stripped some of the strength away from the both delicate and driving interaction between songwriting and melody most key to the band. Audio mixing at the venue for tracks like “Ten by Ten” which move from triumphant heavenly vocals to riff and break driven dance melodies will be one of the challenges for the venue as positively, I can tell you that Bluebrain are a well prepared and sonically sound band with deep grooves. Negatively, it wasn’t until I sat and listened to their album and learned that there is an inherent understanding of the human condition apparent in their music.
The DC area is lusting for an international breakout star to call our own. The die was cast strongly for US Royalty and Wale, and while gifted, the jury is still out on both performers. Bluebrain on the other hand brings to the table a powerful groove blended with pop dance synthesizers that never quits. Bluebrain hasn’t yet quite mastered the art of the pop hook like band they are most often compared to, MGMT. But, for being so young and so new, to be that far along on the path of mastering the technical aspects of creating hit records is more than commendable.
Opening DJs Empath from BYT’s ridiculously entertaining Summer Camp Series as well as sprightly punk pixie Molly Siegel of Bmore’s fantastic Ponytail did an acceptable job of setting the table. Siegel represented her hometown well, dropping Jimmy Jones’ legendary “Watch Out for the Big Girl” and Scottie B’s “Gimme Sum Head,” along with some harder edged breaks and dubstep, while Empath slayed with a set of electro and house remixes. Club music, with its bass, percussion and heavy breaks based style sounds particularly strong on the U-Hall’s 40,000 watt system and was a surprising yet welcomed asset to the set.
Overall, the event was a success. Bluebrain are more than worthy of their praise as of late, and while slightly daunted by a sound system that can more adequately deal with but is not fully yet aware of how to handle such a diverse blend of expressive musical devices, succeeded. Any night that ends with a crowd of happy people dancing while waving around glowing necklaces and bracelets and raving the night away abuzz over the band they just saw is a sign for me of a job well done.
BYGays just sent another batch in:
And some covert iPhone pics from Dakota: