It was a big weekend for awesome music in DC. Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head is still going strong in their June Friday night residency at DC9, Bacardi put on a free show at Rock n Roll Hotel Saturday night, and Camera Obscura played the 9:30 club Sunday night while Phoenix played RnR. I made it to the Bacardi show (Matt & Kim and Major Lazer) Saturday and the Phoenix show Sunday. I booked a room at the RnR Hotel Saturday night to cut down on travel time.
Hot, Sweaty, Smiley Dance Party with Matt & Kim
I want you to think back to all the shows you’ve seen in small clubs. Remember them? Don’t forget when you saw the Kings of Leon under their original name, Three Brothers and a Cousin from Hendersonville. Ok, good. Now think about the most fun of all those shows. Got it? Now, tally up all of the smile-hours emitted by the audience during that show. Get out your times tables, I’ll wait. Perfect. Take that number and multiply it by two. That’s how much Matt Johnson and Kim Schilfino smiled during their set at the Rock n Roll Hotel Saturday night.
In addition to being smiling goons, Matt & Kim are very proficient, energetic, personable musicians and performers. Matt told a story about the roots of the Rock n Roll Hotel–that it had most recently been a funeral home–and suggested that they change the name to Rock n Roll Funeral Home. Sounds pretty swish if you ask me.
Moral of the story: Matt & Kim put on an awesome show and you should go see them if you every have the chance. No exceptions.
Bacardi B-Live Tour
So I mentioned M&K and Major Lazer were part of a Bacardi tour… the only thing I’ll say about this part of the night is that the mixologists Bacardi makes you wait 20 minutes for are worth it. Holy shit. Bell peppers, pineapple, cilantro, honey, jalapeno, blood orange soda, and rum makes a delicious cocktail.
Guns Don’t Kill People, LAZERS DO!
Major Lazer are Diplo and Switch, two British DJs who had nothing better to do with their summer than pretend to be a Reggaeton dance group. I used to pretend to be a DJ (look for dj sun on the imadj record label. you won’t find anything), so I dig live DJ sets. It was cool when they would get into songs that were recognizable from their album, but it was basically just a dark, sweaty, hip hop dance party with a potentially-Jamaican emcee. The visual entertainment was provided by two dancers (I’ll imagine they’re Jamaican too) and some drunk and suggestable audience members. Their photos are omitted, just in case.
Phoenix–More than just a Dot on the Map in Arizona
Phoenix are a 6-piece French band out of Versailles that the Decider calls the “un-French French band.” I don’t know what that means.
The first thing I’ll say about Phoenix is they’re all excellent musicians. Thomas Mars sounds live exactly like he sounds on studio albums. It’s really remarkable. I’m not sure if vox just generally go uncorrected with this hipster music (Matt sounded pretty spot-on Saturday), but Mars has the kind of voice that sounds like it’s totally uneffected by seasonal allergies. So clear. All said, good show, would’ve liked to have been a little better versed in their catalogue, but not knowing songs doesn’t really take away from a great performance.
If anyone when to see Camera Obscura Sunday night, I’d love to hear how the show was. Listening to French Navy for posterity's sake.