Pinegrove, Ratboys, Half Waif @ DC9, 6/29/2016


A lot happened the past few days that prompted me to resurrect my blog. Nandi’s tweet after the show was the motivation behind my wanting to see her. It highlights the prevalence of the patriarchy that my favorite band has taught me to undermine or at least, not to perpetuate.  It also helps that Half Waif makes amazing music and seeing it live made a world of difference for me.

You see, three days prior I was at the same venue for another show. I had wanted to see Half Waif over a month ago so I asked to purchase tickets to the show on Wednesday. Two bartenders, ticket guy for Sunday’s show and the bouncer later, I brutally learned that DC9 does not sell tickets on premise. Flabbergasted by this idiocy, I took to twitter where the owner tried to defend the ridiculous policy instead of taking the only sensible action of changing the draconian policy or apologize for keeping it. This was Monday so my week started really grumpy.

It all disappeared shortly after Nandi took the stage.

Her voice is immensely beautiful but then so is, say, Florence’s. I told her after the show that there’s conviction within the beauty and that makes it greater. A day later, I realize I was drawn to her desire to communicate when she sings. When her brows furrow and her throat clenches to hold a certain note, it goes beyond the grandiose of displaying art for admiration. It’s her speaking to the audience, “I have something to say.” Her gorgeous keyboard playing means it’s delivered on a pretty plate.

Ratboys played next and I am sad I am too broke* to purchase their merchandise so now I have nothing to relive the euphoria that is their set. I am also sad I was on the wrong side of stage. Looks can be deceiving and Julia is another proof of that. Relatively small in stature, she instantly dismissed any notion of the word when she turned off the house music along the lines of, “I’m ’bout to blow this out.” Her fierce nature became immediately endearing as its energy transfers from her fingers to the guitar. And it keeps growing.

I am often annoyed by bands who speak or signal to get the audience’s attention. Julia knows her music speaks louder. Amidst the loud chatter present after each song, she barely pauses before launching forward, strumming her guitar and the room would soon quiet down. Even when the other guitarist broke a string and left stage to grab a backup, she started the song while he was still tuning. Big shout out to him for tuning unaided and joining in right on time.

Actually, it’s somewhat inaccurate to say I was on the wrong side of stage with Ktoni right before me. It’s always a treat to see the lungs personified via a trumpet. It added one more layer to the band’s ferocity that propelled the crowd into overdrive.

Practically everyone sang all the words to every Pinegrove song and I am embarrassed that I did not know Nandi plays in said band. While I prefer her band, Pinegrove’s catchy music proved contagious. I am still dismayed, angry and envious that I cannot decipher three guitars but it offers a full soundscape conducive to head banging. This became easily apparent when Evan’s guitar strap came undone despite a lock.

It would be amiss to not mention that both the drummer and Nandi each played their tambourine at the same time. Percussion is my favorite instrument so that was a nice touch as is the drummer’s decision to hold one of his sticks backwards. Zack tells me afterwards that it creates a fatter sound.

Evan stated his plan for four more songs during the set but the crowd held the band hostage to a two song encore where they played older material.

As I walked to my car, I noticed that I am not even upset at the silly policy anymore. Instead I am filled with happiness only lovely music can induce.

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