For their St. Patty’s Day show on Wednesday DC9 had a showcase of local talent billed as Little Bigheart vs. St. Patrick’s Day. It promised to be a eclectic mix of genres: starting with soft folk, jumping to hiphop, then to harder guitar rock.
Unfortunately delays on the Red Line caused me to miss opener Jeremy Johnson’s set, but I was told that the Jack Johnson and DMB influences were “prominent.” Alright.
Next up was Phil Street, a local rapper fresh out of Georgetown. I can attest that hip hop influences are not nearly as present at Georgetown as this video would suggest, so I was curious to hear Street’s set. And I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed. His flow is pretty good, but the beats were rather stale and every break between songs was interrupted with arrogant banter—namely going over any clever wordplay from the previous song, point by point, in case the audience missed it. It seemed like he ran out of material during the second half of the set; we mostly heard barely-modified Radiohead beats with some half-singing-half-rapping on top.
Headliner Little Bigheart was the real highlight of the evening. They’re a relatively new act on the scene that seems to be gaining some ground locally. I would describe their sound as good old-timey rock— guitar-driven songs with catchiness to boot, mixed in with some folksy Americana and hints of the glory days of prog. They’re definitely true believers in guitar solos and vocal harmonies (and the occasional guitarmony).
I think the mix was a bit off in their set, but the stick-in-your-head guitar hooks still came through. There’s definitely a good deal of technical proficiency in the band, and the songs are generally well-crafted and well carried out, though a few of the new songs they debuted during the show seemed a little insubstantial. Also the raprock segment when Phil Street was invited back up on the stage came off as a bit random and quickly-rehearsed. All in all, though, a solid set. Keep an eye out for this one.