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All words by: Andy Hess
All photos: Bradley Portnoy

Six tambourines.

That’s how many were on stage at one point during The Phenomenal Handclap Band’s set at DC 9 last night. At this point you may be asking yourself, “why the hell would one band need six tambourines?”. The easy answer: to help you keep time when you’re dancing your ass off. The more complicated answer: any band with a live set like these guys can do whatever they want.

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Indie-disco fans you have your LCD Soundsystems and your Hercules and Love Affairs, but now you (also) have The Phenomenal Handclap Band. While the latter is not nearly as strong as the former two on tape, the PHB definitely has their live set kicking hard enough to make even the most jaded hipster dance to their unique blend of funk, disco, electro and prog rock.

Peppering their unfortunately short, but definitely entertaining set with material from their recently released self-titled debut, The Phenomenal Handclap Band make it easy to see why they had received truckloads of hype rolling into this past year’s SXSW. The eight member, brainchild of New York DJs and producers Daniel Collas and Sean Marquand enthralled the audience with dance floor ready hits such as “You’ll Disappear” and  the Rolling Stone lauded summer jam “15 to 20”.

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The band easily whipped the surprisingly large crowd at DC 9 into a frenzy, blasting through their seven song set with one goal in mind: to get everyone on the dance floor. It worked. Inhibitions were abandoned with the PHB’s future funk (though the hour long open bar before the show helped) showering the crowd through the PA system with the killer set closer “I Been Born Again” that gave the band a chance to ditch their dance heavy beats and give them a chance to improvise of that addictive refrain.

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Though I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t hear the Motown inspired “Baby” I went home satisfied.

Now it’s time to ice my feet and pray for a speedy return to the DC area from these guys.

However, the next time they’re in town you’ll probably be paying more than $6.

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