all photos: Jeff Martin
Most of my day on Tuesday was spent with Lemonade and Delorean playing through my headphones while I bopped around in my desk chair. Basically I was really hyped to see these label-mates play at Rock n’ Roll Hotel that night.
The opening band Light Pollution started playing to a group of about 15 of us milling around, and they played loud. Nobody seemed to know who these guys were but the band didn’t seem to care. There was a huge computer on stage doing something or other and a great deal of gesturing to turn everything up. They told us to check out their merch upstairs but they neglected to tell us their name. I was not very impressed until they introduced a song called “Drunk Kids” and seemed to hit their stride. During their set people slowly trickled in and by the end there was a pretty significant crowd.
Lemonade describes themselves as “Garage/Jungle/Neo-Soul”, which I guess is pretty accurate. After listening to them all afternoon I swear I felt like I was somebody that artistically tags bridges in Rio… or something that specific. To be honest they sound like every other chillwave band, just louder and more tropical. Not that I don’t love chillwave, its like my go-to genre right now (yes, I know how that makes me sound).
Going into it I knew nothing about this band except what they sounded like, so I just assumed that they were more than only three people. These guys have a really percussive sound which is achieved by giving both their singer and bassist a drum each to wail on occasionally. In addition to that their drummer plays STANDING UP and hopping around! This awesomeness should be enough to make me love them but something was still missing. These guys had the absolute coolest haircuts of the night but that wasn’t enough either.
Lemonade started out in San Fran but now are from Brooklyn, this explains their great early 90s throwback hair and somehow what was lacking… they weren’t really trying. It seemed a lot like they got their loud, layered sound by just pressing play on GarageBand ,then adding some indecipherable vocals, and letting their obvious cool kid reputations do the rest. Programmed track are not what people come to see live! So basically Lemonade fell short of my high hopes but was still fun to watch. Now I feel really ambivalent towards them.
Delorean was really what we were all waiting for. They ran a bit behind schedule so squeezing back from the bar before they played was a difficult and bitchy task. It took no time at all for the audience to melt right into the music and dance like nobody was watching. The atmosphere completely changed for Delorean’s set and I loved every minute of it.
For those of you unfamiliar with Delorean they are a Spanish synth-pop band that have been around for a decade, only finding their way to electronic music and the US a couple years ago. They hit it pretty big pretty fast in the states and have spawned some copycat chillwave bands, especially recently. Two songs you should check out if you are a first timer are “Deli”, their first song to hit the blogs, and “Real Love” (this one sounds sort of like they are saying my name… love it!).
Delorean’s music is full of these infectious club beats and beachy vibes that make it impossible to be still. Looking around during the faster songs I saw lots of kids with heads down, their arms in the air, and big old Xs on their hands. Its great to see crowds of people in DC let loose and have some fun! Everyone was bathed in this weird turquoise light and absolutely soaking up the sunny, sugary liquid sound. Can we listen to this on a road trip to the beach like now??
This band sometimes gets some flack for sounding too close to Merriweather Post Pavilion-era Animal Collective but I disagree with that critique and love them even more for any likeness. Delorean’s funky summertime sound could have filled a bigger location than the Rock n’ Roll Hotel but the small venue just made the experience better. Their set was outstanding, even when they started to venture away from the familiar songs. Absolutely loved this dance-fest!
Oh! And I learned something from watching all these bands play… Western shirts and cuffed jeans are required to look cool up there on stage. Its finally catching on… now where’s my imaginary band and record deal? Eh?
[PS. This whole thing is dedicated to the bartender at the RnR Hotel who understands me on a deep level… the Jameson shots level.)