While St. Patrick's Day revelers roamed about from bar to bar around Adams Morgan, Songbyrd alongside local music site Capitol Sound DC took concertgoers to beachier, more care-free locales, courtesy of multi-instrumentalist Soft Glas (AKA Joao Gonzalez). He recently completed a tour with Overcoats as their backing drummer, but his musical ability goes much further than that - his album Orange Earth is a textbook example of nostalgia as a mission statement. His upbringing isn't hard to discern in his music: he grew up in the South Florida suburb of Coral Springs and his father is a Grammy Award-winning Cuban jazz pianist. The album brims with sunny nostalgia and little flourishes of flutes and saxophone throughout. Gonzalez plays most of the instruments heard on the album, and his attention to detail in crafting a singular vision of dreamy, sunset-soaked music is a treat for the ears.
Gonzales’s performance at Songbyrd was an important one for him - this was his first-ever headlining show as Soft Glas. And although his turtleneck-and-chain combo set the nostalgia bar very high from the start, the layers of swooning synths and echoing guitars were just as captivating live as they are on Orange Earth. Gonzalez performed almost entirely on his own, often switching up between his sets of keys, guitars, and drum pads, giving fans a taste of his wide-ranging musical proficiency. With the help of some backing tracks, his song “The Perks of Being a Sunflower” was a hit with fans as they sang along, something that even Gonzalez wasn’t expecting to happen. Another highlight was Gonzalez inviting opener Mr. Daywalker to the keys on stage for a four-minute jam session as he improvised on the drum pads. For a night full of breezy, dreamy music that defies genre, but embraces the word ‘vibes,’ Soft Glas absolutely hits the spot.
Soft Glas’s latest album Orange Earth is out now.
Opening for Soft Glas were three up-and-coming DMV artists: producer Greenss (yes, with two s’s), solo guitarist Cramer, and keyboardist Mr. Daywalker. All three showcased some of the best up-and-coming area talent that flowed perfectly with the music of Soft Glas, and local music lovers will definitely want to give them a listen.