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all words: Andy Johnson, all photos: Jason Dixson

Maryland-based Flying Dog Brewery, in association with the Craft Brewers Conference, hosted the Festival de Cans at the 9:30 Club Thursday night, a “beer-focused film festival,” which is exactly what it sounds like. The crowd was a mix of CBC attendees + 500 tickets open to the public — to showcase a variety of craft brews. I drink cheap beer (So what? Fuck you.), so I’m not the man to review the entrants, but my amateur taste buds were massaged by Flying Dog’s Snake Dog IPA and Revolution’s Bottom Up Wit.

Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.

Comedian Doug Powell emceed the event, introducing short films hyping the beers. The films’ quality and amusement for ranged in quality, serving as a pre-game session for beer snobs to drink up in anticipation of the evening’s main attraction: Brooklyn-based “disco orchestra” Escort.

Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.

DJ Cale (disclosure: Cale is one of the founders of  BYT/is our event managing overlord, if you couldn’t tell by his giant BRIGHESTYOUNGTHINGS banner) played an early set of deep disco and was back on for another brief set as Escort set up. Highlights included a dance remix of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” and a mash-up of Nine Inch Nails’ “Head Like a Hole” and “Call Me Maybe” that unlike many garbage mash-ups, actually works.

Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.

Escort’s premier single is called “Cocaine Blues,”  so you can kinda deduce they bring the party.  I’m contractually obliged as a music writer to drop a Studio 54 reference in a review of Escort’s live show, so consider that box checked. Jokes aside, the group consisted of a horn section, drummer, guitarist, keyboardist, bassist, two percussionists who wailed on tom-toms and cowbells, several backup singers, and lead singer Adeline Michèle, who, clad in a hair wrap and leopard print, was the evening’s star.

Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.

The normally-gargantuan Escort was down five members by my count, bringing only 12 musicians to DC for this one-off event. The band may have been formed by house music fiends Dan Balis and Eugene Cho at Vassar College, but the evening was dominated by Michèle, who immolated the dance floor with her smoldering pipes and saucy dance moves.

Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.

With all due respect to the great spectrum of music, funk is my favorite feel-good music. I’ve been to many shitty punk shows and too many poorly-produced electronic sets, but my butt has nary danced to a difficult funk set. After seeing Escort, my bad-funk show virginity remains intact.

Halfway through set-opener “Starlight,” the beerswillers in the club began gyrating, cloaked in intoxicants. By the time the group got to their shake-your-ass, watch-yourself cover of 70’s disco group Machine’s “There But For the Grace of God Go I,” bootys were literally jiggling.

It was physically impossible to not dance to “Caméleon Chameleon”: the incredible groove overrode the be-lame sensors in your medulla oblongata.  I couldn’t help but laugh watching a couple near the guardrail drunkenly mimic the dancers’ synchronized hand motions throughout “A Sailboat in the Moonlight.” You didn’t have to be yayed up to enjoy the aforementioned “Cocaine Blues”: Brooklyn Lager would suffice.

The night’s one flaw: the 9:30 Club’s mirror ball hung unilluminated above the crowd. Why?

Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.

Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.

Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.

Escort @ 9:30 Club on 3/28/13. Photo by Jason Dixson Photography.

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