Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors is not exactly a band you hear on the radio. Their folk meets country meets Americana vibe does not exactly mesh with the sounds currently dominating the airways. However, their unique blend of genres lends itself perfectly to creating amazing and memorable live performances.
On Saturday night Holcomb and his backing band The Neighbors brought a positive and serene vibe to the 9:30 Club. The band focused heavily on their latest record Medicine, but made sure to play old favorites as well.
One of the first few songs the band played was a brand new track that they had only finished last night, and had only performed once before. The song captured everyone’s attention. It was made clear that once released, this song will be a sure fire hit for Holcomb.
Throughout the set Holcomb and The Neighbors played their popular songs such as “American Beauty,” “Avalanche,” and “Tennessee.” However, the highlights of the set did not come during these songs. Instead, the highlights of the set came when the band did the unexpected.
Midway through their set, Holcomb and The Neighbors went acoustic. They all stood around an old school microphone and played a fully acoustic version of “Ain’t Nobody Got It Easy.” Band members made sure to tell the audience to shut up for this to work. Once the song was over, the band members all left the stage leaving just Holcomb and his guitar. Alone, Holcomb performed a powerful version of “Fire and Dynamite.” This allowed Holcomb’s vocals to shine through. Towards the end of the song, he left the mic and walked to the front of the stage and belted the rest of the song.
Holcomb gave off a very sincere and humble aura throughout the night. Whether it was by admitting that he would have to Google the lyrics to “Rooftops” to be able to play it, or telling the audience that it was an “honor to play in this room and thanks for giving us your Saturday night” he made everyone smile with his infectious positivity.
The band closed their set with a high energy performance of “Shine Like Lightning.” This was by far the most upbeat song of the night. The guitarist began to clap along to the beat and got the audience to follow suit. As soon as the song finished and the band walked off stage, everyone in the audience was chanting for the band to come out and play a few more songs. No one wanted the night to end.
Holcomb and The Neighbors played an encore featuring “What Would I Do Without You” and “Here We Go.” Throughout the encore, Holcomb made sure to make the DC audience realize his gratitude for them coming out to the show by saying “seventeen, eighteen hundred shows but this is one we absolutely will never forget.” During their performance of “Here We Go,” the band, again, got everyone in the audience to sing along to the song and dance around. According to Holcomb, the DC crowd was way better than the crowds in Boston and New York.
Holcomb was correct when he said, during his set, that “if you are a Drew Holcomb fan you had to work for it…like it wasn’t handed to you on the radio.” Although their music is not mainstream, Holcomb and The Neighbors have a massive following; and rightfully so. They put on an amazing live performance that captured the attention of the audience and made the night a night to remember.
Photo Courtesy of Rhiannon Catalano