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Photos By Miranda Hontz, Words By Alana Wise

Until the night of the show, I had been a pretty big fan of DEJJ (do people call them that? Let’s call them that.), but had never even heard of Mini Mansions. I failed to do my homework on their catalogue, and effing-a, was that ever my fault.

I arrived at the show shortly after the doors opened– either because I want people to assume I’m a NARC, or because I want them to think I’m too young to purchase alcohol– in either event, suffice it to say I had plenty of time to scope the venue. The crowd was a decent mix of people who have no idea what they were doing when the news broke that JT and Britney Spears had split and the people who had inevitably driven their learner’s permit-holding asses to the venue.

Jack and Eliza are the type of artists that the 9:30 Club is made for. Their simple sound and folksy delivery benefit from an intimate setting like the 9:30. The pair had a solid stage presence and a quirky quality that made them terribly likable.

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The set they chose seemed to register with the audience, playing tracks like “Hold the Line” and “Secrets” in preparation for the following acts.

As the hour neared for the bigger names to take the stage, the young and bubbly folk quickly sardnined their way to the front, and judging by their level of applause, either they already knew who Mini Mansions were and had prepared themselves for the band’s completely amazing set, or they were as floored as I was by bassist Zach Dawes’ completely brilliant, patterned suit.

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In addition to impressive clothing choices– lead singer/drummer/everyman and former Queens of the Stone Age bassist Michael Shuman wore a white suit, and keyboardist Tyler Parkford wore a rather dashing black number– the band’s musical chops were completely amazing, too. Like I said before, until the show I had never heard of them, but I became so enamored with their sound that I went home and immediately (totally legally) downloaded their entire catalogue to-date, which is admittedly fairly small, but so worth a listen.

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Listening to them perform live is one of the rare instances where the live sound is even better than the studio cut, not just because of ambiance or any other hoopla, but in terms of general sound. The raw soul the trio managed to relay to the audience seared itself into my consciousness that few other opening acts can achieve. Far too often, I find myself longing for whoever isn’t the opener to shut up and get off stage, but I honestly could’ve listened to them perform a full set– not that they didn’t come close. The band, much to my delight, performed for nearly a full hour. If you’re interested in checking out their sound, might I recommend “Monk” for all of your samplin’ needs.

After Mini Mansions cleared the stage– like, literally cleared the stage. No roadies or managers or other strong-armers carrying that gear– DEJJ readied the stage for their performance. Seriously, how are neither of these acts big enough to have crew yet??

Anyway, all of that heavy lifting has done nothing to dampen the strength of their performance. I’ve been a fan of the duo since I first heard their cover of “We Almost Lost Detroit” a few years back, but with time, their sound has developed into an even more soulful experience.

Listening to the pair strum their guitars and strum their guitars and bare their all into the microphone is amazing. All of their hard work shines through in their performances, and it really seems like they’re up there doing what they love. Their sound is uncomplicated and down-to-earth.

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Actually, maybe it’s better these acts are doing it all for themselves. They don’t need anybody adulterating their sound.

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