Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sounds: Joe Pug, David Wax Museum and Vandaveer @9:30 Club

The best shows are when you can leave your troubles out the door. They will still be there to haunt you on your way home, but for those couple of hours you are free. Last night was such a show. And so much more. The line up was fantastic, it started on time (a very rare occurrence), and the happy afterglow of the show is still lingering around this morning.

First up was Vandaveer, the duo of Mark Charles Heidinger and Rosie Guerin, who have been making beautiful forlorn melodies together in the DC area since 2008. The music is completely striped down, just one guitar and two voices.  There was one moment during their set where the room was completely silent. Even the annoying people that talk through every song of every show, were quiet. It was like the whole universe stopped, and it was beautiful. 

Second on the bill was David Wax Museum. How did they come up with that band name you might ask? Well, David Wax founded the band, and to quote their website: "Why do we need museums? They show us something familiar and traditional, while at the same time documenting our innovation, showing us possible directions for the future. " And that is exactly what the band does. They take Americana folk music and Mexican folk music and mix it together and what come out is this beautiful organic cadence. The instrumentation and performers on that stage was impressive and curious; maybe most notably is Suz Slezak who plays percussion on  a donkey jawbone (a traditional musical instrument in Veracruz, Mexico), but also must make her rural Virginia roots proud by the way she fiddles.  And David Wax plays with this joy that is hardly containable or resistible. They told stories of themselves and of their songs, which made the show feel not like a concert in a packed club, but a small intimate party with friends. And they get bonus points for using the word"archives" in one of the stories. That small vocabulary word drop will win me over every time.  It was my first time seeing them live, but safe to say, I've been converted! 

And then there was Joe Pug. I love when you find a performer or artist or writer and you feel that this is exactly what they were meant to be and do. And Joe is a blazing example of this. Hearing his music you know that he was meant to do this, to write these songs, and thank the stars and moon above that he shares them with us. During his set there were times that I was singing and clapping along, but there were other moments that I just stood still in perfect contentment. Joe grew up in the DC area and shared stories of going into local music stories, playing all the guitars, and wondering what it would like to be playing a show at the 9:30 club. For the lucky few, wishes do come true, as he stood on that very stage last night. And truth be told, Mr. Pug just might have the most contagious smile, ever. What a night.

Playlist, Joe Pug, 9:30 Club, Washington DC 6/2/2012
Nobody's Man
Unsophisticated Heart
Silver Harps and Violins
Hymn #76
The Great Despiser
I Do My Father's Drugs
How Good Your Are
A Gentle Few
Hymn 101
Deep Dark Wells
One of Many
Hymn #35
Nation of Heat
Speak Plainly Diana

Encore with David Wax Museum
Wayside/Back in Time (a Gillian Welch song)

To hear a little bit of what I saw last night:

(So the backing parade wasn't there last night, but I love the video and seeing members of These United States in there!) 

David Wax Museum
Joe Pug

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