Grouplove Shines During Second Night in DC
Published: Monday, October 7, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 7, 2013 21:10
For what was supposedly going to be a second, more laid back, stripped-down version of their usual set, Grouplove instead delivered an energetic, engrossing performance at The Hamilton in downtown D.C. on Wednesday, Oct. 2.
As part of its Seesaw Tour, the band has been playing with an entirely different performance style. For every date on their tour, they are spending two nights in the city and playing a different venue each evening. The first night, they play at a more traditional rock venue and perform their usual heavy, loud set — Grouplove began their D.C. stay with a sold-out show at the U Street Music Hall. The following evening, they trek out to a more unusual venue that isn’t usually known for drawing in a rock and roll crowd.
To call The Hamilton an untraditional rock venue, especially for a band like Grouplove and their fans, is a bit of an understatement. Half of the area is an upscale restaurant while the basement is a dedicated dinner theatre. This show was sold out as well and all of the tables were packed with fans while the open spaces near the bars were crowded with those who had bought standing room only tickets. The contrast of having a rock band of grungy hippies on stage set against the prim and proper backdrop of The Hamilton provided a different kind of ambience, which was exactly the band’s intention when envisioning the tour.
The release of their sophomore album gave them a larger repertoire to draw from, and they were able to play a full 75-minute set without any lag. Even though this tour is specifically for promotion of their newest album, Spreading Rumors, they balanced their newer tracks with a good amount of material from their earlier years. The set was thoughtful, well-constructed and interesting. It was nice to see a band that has been so successful recently stay true to its roots.
It was also nice to witness a truly collaborative performance. Throughout the performance, members switched with one another and took over each other’s spots on stage. They all worked together and weren’t afraid to try their hands at an instrument that they may not have been the most comfortable with. On stage, the five of them had a strong and cohesive chemistry that a lot of bands seem to be lacking these days. This was especially aided by the fact that during this specific set, they moved the drum set up to the front so that they were spread out in an arc and were able to interact among the five of them.
All of the playing during this stripped-down set was crisp, and every song sounded absolutely wonderful even without its usual electric accompaniment. Just from watching the way they all play off of each other both during and in between songs makes it obvious that Grouplove is so wonderful because of the way all of them fit together as a whole.