This is the second year in a row Homeshake, solo project of Montreal, Canada-based Peter Sagar, performs for a sold out crowd in DC. His show last year, which we also covered, was at Union Stage on the Wharf and next year, he should probably play the legendary 9:30 Club.
Much like yesteryear’s show, the crowd is generally young. (However, there are some old heads spaced throughout the room.) Maybe that’s why they wouldn’t shut up during the opener. To be fair, Jarvis didn’t set himself up for success. There was little indication that he was going to be playing, and he performed most of his songs on an acoustic guitar.
There’s little wrong with an acoustic guitar, but there’s a also a time and place for it. Like the Best Damn Open Mic night at Boundary Stone. (Disclaimer: I work there.)
Anyway, he gets off the stage at some point. Nobody knows when, and Homeshake comes on sometime after. Finally, the crowd tunes in.
Helium has a similar feel of the first Homeshake record In the Shower (2014), but with the hi-fi quality of Fresh Air (2017). It also has some standout singles, e.g. “Like Mariah,” which literally slaps, and “Nothing Could Be Better.”
The record was panned by Pitchfork, though some might call this a badge of honor. The reviewer gave the record a 3.5/10, reasoning that it has the “snap of limp celery.” He’s right actually, but I still listen to the record. It’s “cat in your lap” type music, a morning go-to alongside the infinite bisous‘ record period (2019).
In admitting that I like the music, I’ll concede that the live show is not worth going to. I should have known this because I was in the Union Stage crowd last year, when Homeshake played and I didn’t like the show then either.
The formula: is open with a track off the latest record, move into singles off of the previous record and then move back to selections from the latest record, all while playing songs exactly as they were recorded.
This is to say that beyond a joke or two, the live show doesn’t add much to the experience of the music. If you’ve heard the record, then you’ve heard the live show. Nothing will surprise you.
Some people enjoy concerts like that, and that’s fine. Sunday night at Black Cat, the crowd ate it up, much like they did last February at Union Stage. However, I like to be surprised by a live show.
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