Twin Sister & Oberhofer at Black Cat/Medeski, Martin and Wood at 9:30 Club

Friday night I had my first two-fer since coming into the DC area, seeing Twin Sister and Oberhofer at Black Cat before walking five blocks over to 9:30 Club for a late show with Medeski, Martin and Wood. My good friend Benn joined me for the journey and he was the main reason for heading up to 9:30. I was originally planning to stay for The Morning Benders when I made the plan to come to this show, but when Benn said he’d be coming down from New York for the night, I adjusted accordingly.

Going into the night, I knew one Oberhofer song and had been trying to get into Twin Sister because of all the hype emanating from Marc and Anna about this band. I knew “Milk & Honey,” “Lady Daydream,” and “Daniel,” my personal favorite, but it was mostly going to be a new experience for me.

Oberhofer jumped off to a great start. I was impressed with how tight the band was and the music had a British feel to it that I picked up on immediately. Brad Oberhofer used catchy vocal melodies to grab attention and supplemented them with short and audible vocal lines. Songs like “I Could Go,” “Don’tneedya,” and “Haus” were the most notable of the night.

Another aspect I took to immediately in Oberhofer’s music was the addition of a xylophone as another layer of instrumentation. It replaced the single-note riffs we’ve become accustomed to hearing and just sounded so much warmer. On the one song I actually knew, “Away FRM U,” the different instrument made the song so much more fun and interesting. Oberhofer really, really impressed me with their youthful energy (Brad Oberhofer had Xs on his hands) and overall enthusiasm.

Twin Sister, up next, blew me away. Andrea Estella’s voice was reminiscent of Beach House’s Victoria Legrand except quirkier and with more variety. Eric Cardona’s backing vocals were a notable addition to the aesthetic while his guitar faded in and out of consciousness.

I’m really bad with particulars for this band — I know they played “Daniel,” “Milk & Honey,” and “Ginger” while I was there — so I can’t quite place a good number of the songs that they played. Blogger friend Jimmy from Head Underwater said that the band covered Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” as well.  However, each song was priceless and Benn and I found ourselves staying later and later as the set went on, not quite ready to leave for 9:30 because we wanted to see what would happen next. The performance was incredibly solid and puts Twin Sister on the list of bands I need to see again on their next time through. And maybe Morning Benders too, but we’ll see about that.

After about seven songs of Twin Sister’s set, Benn and I walked over to 9:30 Club to catch the jazz trio of John Medeski, Billy Martin and Chris Wood. The three skilled musicians started playing at around 11 p.m. and were just getting into their encore by the time Benn and I had to call it a night at 1:30 a.m. The jams laid down that night/early morning were some of the best I’ve heard in a while and gave me a newfound appreciation for American jazz.

The only real specifics are that the trio jammed hard all night, with Medeski on keyboards and organ, Martin on drums and percussion and Wood on bass. Everything seemed relatively freeform, but the trio was able to keep the main idea going throughout the entire song, something I found to be just really cool. It was arguably one of the coolest musical experiences I have every had because it was different.

Stay tuned for something from Kevin, as he had the privilege of seeing Deakin (yet again) Friday night at Floristree.


EDIT: I misinterpreted my conversation with Jimmy, and Morning Benders covered Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” not Twin Sister. Although that makes me wish I had stuck around a little bit.


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