Last night I went down to Silver Spring with some friends to see Needtobreathe in concert along with their opening at The Oh Hellos. I didn’t realize all of my friends who were planning on going to the concert until I got to the venue and some of the first people I saw were another group of my friends standing there. So that was fun and unexpected.
Although I had initially bought the concert ticket to go with my friends to see Needtobreathe I got even more excited when I realized The Oh Hellos were opening for them. You may recall that they blew me away at The Newport Folk Festival this summer. I pretty much immediately got home from Newport and looked at their tour schedule to see when I could possibly see them again. Much to my delight I discovered that I was already in possession of a ticket to their next show that would be anywhere remotely near me. They did not disappoint last night either. After their set was over I tweeted that they are pure joy because it is true. Their music, harmonies, and energy are all amazing and they just make my heart soar. They can command an audience who is composed mostly of people who have never heard of them in a way that I’ve really not seen any other band do, and you guys know I’ve seen a lot of bands live. I know I’m shouting into the wind here and that no one ever listens to me when I talk about music, but really everyone needs to go listen to this band right now. Then try and see them live because just listening to them can in no way capture the magic that they create on stage.
Here’s someone’s video on YouTube from last night of The Oh Hellos performing “The Valley”. I picked this one because they started the video title off with Crazy Good! because yes it was.
Needtobreathe was great as well. They had probably the most elaborate set/lighting set-up I have ever seen at a venue of this size. I’ve said on multiple occasions that I don’t really care about that kind of stuff. I’m at shows to hear the music and don’t really care much about stage spectacle. Sometimes I feel like bands get reliant on the spectacle to awe the audience and let the actual music fall by the wayside particularly once you start moving into large arena shows. That was not the case last night though. The band was 100% there in their performance and the fancy lights were just an added bonus. They had the crowd singing, clapping, and dancing along with them all night long. They shared about how the band almost broke up during the recording of their latest record and then the two brothers came out to sing off-mic and acoustically the song “Brother” about them coming back together. It was a lovely moment.
Here’s someone’s video of it on YouTube (actually amusingly I just noticed from the same person even though I searched them entirely separately).
My only complaint is enough with the encores already. This is the second concert I’ve been to in the past week where the band has gone off the stage for 2 encores. I know it’s a thing and people aren’t going to stop doing it, but I get so annoyed at the concept of it. It’s not like they’re really encores. Everyone knows you are coming back out. Until the lights come back and up and the pre-recorded music starts playing over the speakers you know the band is coming back. They have it built into their set list. It’s not spontaneous. Call me crotchety but the whole thing just irks me. I’m willing to put up with it for one encore, especially if the band doesn’t stay off stage for very long, but making me wait around while you go off stage twice just seems gratuitous. I want all bands to be like James Taylor was the last time I saw him. He just said I’m supposed to go off stage right now so you guys can cheer for me to come back out, so pretend we did that and I’m going to keep singing.
Overall it was an amazing night with great music and two bands that completely know how to command an audience. I can’t ask for anything more in a concert.