EDM is a catch-all genre title that has caught a lot of grief over the years. Some of it well-deserved.
The genre has its share of lazy button-pressing DJs and unnecessarily over-the-top antics. But childhood friends Tom Howie and Jimmy Valance, collectively known as Bob Moses, combine the energy and structure of house music with live instrumentation and conventional songwriting, providing a solution for those longing for a mature take on house music. Performing on a spotlight-adorned stage with a full set of instruments, their performance filled the room with energy that can’t be replicated by a DJ just telling the crowd repeatedly to “put their hands in the airrrrrrrr!”
The reverb-filled guitar effortlessly intertwined with the rest of the instruments, becoming louder and louder at times as if the guitar itself was commanding the crowd to dance. Many of the songs clocked in at six minutes or more, giving songs like “All I Want” and “Talk” some time to breathe and allowing the crowd to show off their moves, from the pit all the way up to the upper balcony. There was barely a break between songs as the drummer effortlessly transitioned to the next so as not to let the dancers in the crowd catch a break.
As the start of their US tour, the hour and a half long set put their best foot forward in a city that has hosted them many times before. For those that are tired of the stereotypical big festival DJ trope, Bob Moses provides an enticing alternative. By tearing down the barriers between rock and house music, they turned the 9:30 Club into one of the best dance parties in DC alongside openers Weval and No Regular Play. And most importantly, it was a look at what the future of EDM might look like when we tire of just a bunch of buttons.
Bob Moses' debut album, Days Gone By, is out now on Domino Records.