By Anna Walsh
To kick off August, Songbyrd Music House & Record Cafe hosted a bill of mostly local indie bands. Splashes of pop and rock resounded in the DC venue on August 1, a cheery hurrah to the last weeks of summer.
Songbyrd is a valuable part of the Adams Morgan neighborhood and of the DC music scene as a whole. The twinkling lights, heavily stickered poles, and conveniently located bar make the basement venue a great place to see a smaller act that might skip DC’s larger clubs.
In addition to the lovely basement venue, Songbyrd has a joint coffee shop and record store upstairs on one side and a restaurant with a bar on the other. It has tasty food and a relaxing vibe. I really couldn’t love it more.
The stage in the venue does have a slightly strange setup due to the fact that the back wall has an alcove (generally where a drummer goes) on one side. This doesn’t impede anything for the audience, but I imagine it is difficult for larger bands to communicate onstage with nearly non-existent sight lines.
Thursday, August 1, held a well-curated show, with all four bands that played sharing some sonic elements, each unique in their own right.
The show was billed as double headliner of Gabby’s World and Bad Moves, with openers Scorpio and Bellows. Scorpio is reasonably new to the DC music scene and plays dreamy pop-rock that sounds great and looks super fun on stage. It’s definitely a band to pay attention to. Bellows has a more chill, lo-fi sound punctuated by a duo of singers.
Gabby’s World hails from Brooklyn and plays sweet, upbeat indie pop. The crowd happily bopped along to its headlining set, with the band engaging in banter between songs.
Bad Moves released its first LP titled Tell No One late last year, which immediately hooked me. The music is a mix of power pop and a heavier rock sound. Local to DC, it heavily uses multiple vocalists to amplify the sound, which I didn’t expect to translate as well to the stage as it did.
The band was very in-sync live, and the shared spotlight among all the members made for a fun, buoyant atmosphere. Bad Moves’ hallmark vocal harmonies shone in the set, which contained a mix of songs off Tell No One and new ones. The new songs were similar but edgier than older ones, easily commanding the stage and keeping the audience’s attention.
Overall, it was a great show for showcasing local bands who are definitely on the rise.