Oberhofer @ U Street Music Hall

Oberhofer is a matchless, energetic group that deserves a rise to fame on the mainstream airwaves. Chronovision, their second full-length studio album, dropped on October 9th and is simply stellar. I found myself lucky enough to see a smaller, pre-release performance by the band at U Street Music Hall on the 6th of the month. Even though the concert happened to be the night before my biggest midterm, I regret nothing. Oberhofer’s set was less than an hour in length; However, they undoubtedly jump into my All-time top 5 concerts alongside METRIC, Foster the People, Cage the Elephant, and Childish Gambino—not to mention knocking off a Linkin Park/ Incubus show from 2012.

To start off the night, I found myself having an elaborate conversation with the band’s bassist, Dylan Treleven, as he manned merchandise sales. Though very casual, Treleven communicated high hopes for the band’s future, indicating that more shows will optimally lead to more listeners, as they haven’t toured in a couple of years.

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Though there may be no unique xylophone melodies on Chronovision, Oberhofer continues with the same wistfully dreamlike sound. “Memory Remains” is an epic, guitar heavy, adventure for a live crowd. It is simply too easy to feed off the raw energy of the band as they pour their souls into their art. Brad Oberhofer, lead singer and guitarist, continues to explore the potential of his baby blue Fender on the new track “Someone Take Me Home,” as he discovers a delicate balance between intense and soft, even playful, strumming. The intricate chemistry and passion of the band is highlighted as they rock out to older songs like “Earplugs” and “Haus.” That build-up helps to make newer songs, like “White Horse, Black River” stand out for the crowd.

Amidst all of this greatness, Brad Oberhofer’s curious antics really pushed the band’s live performance to a new level. Out of nowhere, Brad dropped off of the stage with guitar and microphone, ran around the room, then stood up on a railing to sing a little. This curiously fun improvisation led up beautifully to a body-moving performance of their biggest song, “Away Frm U.”

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As the concert waned, Brad shared, “You guys are as beautiful as a vibrant sunset,” as the band began their conclusion–a performance of one of their older songs, “Gold.” However, the eccentricity of the band was not quite ready to die down. As a colossal grand finale, Brad stood up on equipment boxes whilst playing the guitar with his mic rather than his pick and then dropped the microphone as a final exclamation point. He again jumped down from the stage and ran over to the merchandise stand to meet the fans and sign purchases.

It is not about the name value of a band. It is not about how popular the venue is. I have found, over my escapades to countless concerts, that it is the energy and the sound that make a performance truly spectacular. All of the shows I keep in my top 5 feature those crucial aspects. Popular artists like Drake can rest on their laurels while letting a DJ play half of their set; however, bands like Oberhofer clearly give 100% to their shows. That is truly something worth seeing, and if the group comes back to DC in the future, I would heartily encourage you to give them a try.

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