Venturing into DC on a Friday night is always a tedious proposition. It becomes exponentially more so when it rains. However, the gloomy traffic certainly did not stop the massive crowd that greeted me behind the curtain at Songbyrd. The show sold out so I expected some early attendance. The place was half packed and dancing to Salt Cathedral. I welcomed the loud distraction from the arduous trek I just suffered through.
Before I continue I’d like to mention some changes Songbyrd made since my last visit. Line dividers now run down both sides of the room, creating a path for traffic on the left and space for a merch table on the right. This effectively fences the crowd within, making the already narrow space narrower. The wall of vinyl that served as the backdrop for part of the stage has been replaced by a sizable logo of the venue. There appears to be more staff/security as well. In short, the Adams Morgan venue is polishing its image.
By the time Valerie, performing as Tei Shi, took the stage, the crowd had spilled over the divider which no doubt frustrated the poor staffer trying to maintain order. It was pointless halfway into the first song. Valerie’s voice sent the packed room into a frenzy. It was one hundred percent participation from the entire basement. Those not dancing with a partner were doing so alone, and those not dancing were singing along. Even those doing neither were swaying in one way
or another. Of course there were those doing all of the above.
The Brooklyn resident sang with two mics which was a nice touch. Layering her already honey-soaked vocals on top of loops evoked a heavenly sensation. Accompanied by a full band, she leveraged the shimmering sounds to craft a sexy atmosphere that bonded everyone across a wide array of demographics. Indeed, she remarked on the great diversity of the crowd and thanked us for selling out the show.