Since the days of Black Broadway and DC punk, Washington, DC has always provided loads of options to catch up-and-coming acts. But in 2017, it seems like the options are limitless, whether it is in someone's house (Bathtub Republic, Casa Fulano, Paperhaus), a hollowed-out former restaurant (Uptown Art House), or any random spot across town (Sofar Sounds). And then, of course, you have the heavy hitters like Merriweather Post Pavilion and 9:30 Club. So it was surprising to hear that 9:30 Club offered a platform to Mount Pleasant DIY space OTHERFEELS - a prime Friday night slot, too. James Scott, who has worked at 9:30 Club in the past, curated a super-sized showcase of R&B, rap, and synth-rock coming straight from the DMV. It's the kind of show he would have put on anyway in his rowhouse's basement, but with the backing of DC's most venerated music venue, it confirmed what many OTHERFEELS attendees already knew: that the scene is full of unique and vibrant musicians with something different to offer from the usual suspects playing 9:30 Club. Though the showcase could have done with a shorter overall length (the show lasted more than four hours, and the crowd peaked about 2/3 of the way through), it was still a unique opportunity for everyone involved: for local music enthusiasts to see their neighbors represented at the 9:30 Club, and for the bands to fulfill their dreams of playing such a well-known space.
Dreamcast has doubled down on the 'singing from a couch' brand that the Washington Post story on him led with a few months back. Aside from podcasters, there aren't many people that will lug a couch onto the 9:30 Club stage, let alone sing on it for a majority of the set. His laid-back vocals had to be a bit more powerful to account for the huge space, but still, there aren't many singers in the DMV occupying the R&B space as well as he is.
OG Lullabies is undoubtedly a talented multi-instrumentalist. While on stage, she claimed that her goal is to mix every genre she's ever listened to. It's not hard to hear that in her music. In addition to covering Phoenix's "Lisztomania," she performed unique intricate pieces on the violin, and later bass and synthesizers, as electronic music blared. Her music wasn’t as catchy as the rest of the music that night, but for those into free-form, jazz-inspired rhythms and improvisational violins, it was a nice change of pace.
The rapper-slash-clothing-designer had some bouncy raps and beats in her repertoire. She definitely brought a lot more energy into the room and added some interesting vocal manipulation into her music too.
St Clair Castro
The CMPVTR CLVB-associated producer got the crowd moving with his blend of hip hop and electronic beats. A drummer accompanied him as he manipulated beats on his laptop. Adding to the intrigue was a dancer who interpreted the rhythms into a captivating dance routine during the performance, and a guitarist utilizing a multitude of effect pedals to turn guitar licks into something completely unrecognizable.
This DC-by-way-of-Senegal R&B singer professed to the crowd that her truest self is portrayed through her music. Her voice was captivating, the backing beats had many bobbing along, and her lyrics about love and lust were relatable to many in the crowd. It didn’t hurt that she threw in a cover of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” either.
The band has a unique blend of rock, electronic, and R&B that made them stand out amongst the stable of musicians performing that night. The amount of space that the 9:30 Club stage allowed them gave them a bit more room to experiment - the bandmembers performed a majority of the show sitting on the ground, messing with guitar effects throughout their set.
We’ve reported on FootsXColes before, but with each performance, they change up their lineup in subtle but interesting ways. The core duo of Foots on drums and Coles on keys augmented their stable of songs with some keytar, something that wasn’t a part of their set opening for Mattson 2 at Songbyrd. They're a great addition to the local R&B scene in DC, and their continued new output ensures that they'll continue to be a DC staple for the near future.