A young, hip and colorful crowd gathered on the patio of Warner Brothers Records in Burbank this Friday. This is the third year that Warner Brothers Records has put on their Summer Sessions Concert Series. For a few Fridays this summer, Warner Brothers Records will showcase one of their different and upcoming artists in their own “backyard.” The event was nothing short of a weekend barbeque, complete with the gathering of smiling faces, free booze and pulled-pork sandwiches catered from Smokin’ Willies BBQ food truck. It was enough fun to make one wonder if any of these Warner Brothers Records employees actually gets any work done.
In this week’s showcase, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. performed a most lively set. This was their second appearance at the Summer Sessions Concert Series. The four-piece band from Detroit certainly embodies the indie-pop/synth-pop/electro-pop genres, but they do so with style and perfection. They clearly draw influence from Detroit’s Motown scene through the use of multiple high-register singers, effeminate falsetto tones, and those classic bluesy vocal runs. The integration of that Detroit soul sound sets them apart from most of the modern, and often generic sounding indie/synth/electro-pop bands (bands in the same vane as M83 or Passion Pit).
What was most surprising about Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. (and the most common thing that their peers lack) was their musicianship. Everyone except the drummer traded instruments at one point. The melodic core of the band were each able to keep up on guitars, bass, keyboards, samplers, percussion and MIDI controllers and one of the singers even wailed on a saxophone at one point. All the while, each of the singers nailed impeccable three part harmonies. There is no lack of skill in this band.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. seem like crowd-pleasing performers at heart. They make jokes in between songs (“Our managers tells us the eyes are the windows to our souls,”) and they are eccentric and lively; they dance to their own music on stage in hopes that the crowd will get down too. As of late, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. has been circulating around the late night talk shows. They have shows coming up back in their home state of Michigan. But nothing on their website indicates any sign of a tour or new release any time soon.
Their newest release, Patterns, came out in April on Warner Brothers Records.
Don’t turn down a chance to go to the Summer Sessions Concert Series. But if you can’t make it, you can stream it on YouTube, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71LoRfqsSv8″>here.
Don’t Tell Me
We Almost Lost Detroit
If You Didn’t See Me (Then You Weren’t on the Dancefloor)
Nothing But Our Love
Other artists performing in the Summer Sessions Concert Series include Surfer Blood, Atlas Genius, Bad Things, The Rubens, and Andra Day.