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Review by SawItAgaaain
The drive from NC was predictably annoying. (I-95, if you’re reading this, just…. suck less. Signed, everyone.). Had to make DC in enough time to play a set at a food fest with my cover band (pop and R&B) and be done by 5:00 to zip up to Merriweather where, incredible given the date, the weather was very merry. Perfect summer weather, which for the greater DMV is as rare as - spoiler alert -Strawberry Jam. (District, Maryland, Virginia. Not the motor office.) Tonight may have not fully sold out like tomorrow, but the venue was primed and ready to roll.
After an show-opening Sand that took itself for a senset walk on itself, the crowd let the band hear it for last night and as a dare for tonight. Boy, man, did the band take the bait. A daring two-slot If I Could was pulled off with a cooking Buried Alive right behind. This began the first of the MG Trey shots tonight. They were feeling it early with a SYSF that took 16 powerful minutes to bow out for a fast Llama that really turned up the deedeldeees from Trey. Felt vintage, but in a 4.0 way. They were really feeling a certain type of way, cause the Halfway to the Moon and Strawberry Letter 23 were both(!) the first time trotted out with type ll jams and I believe the longest versions for both. Even more, they both held their exact character and just felt so right. Especially that Strawberry ???? Jam. Blowing us up with a Lizards to end the set was clearly the right answer.
I meditated upon what happens to my life in just the last 30 hours during set break. Perhaps I am being reborn.
Firstly, a swerving First Tube complete with Guitar Simba to end it. Then they love bombed us with the jam of the night (and probable JOTY contender) Fuego that showed maturity and movement beyond its 19 minutes of tape. Some of the crunch and drive in there felt 1.0, but with the 4.0 ears for hearing each other that were all loving so much. Man, this set was stacked. The Sigma made its own moves and the Power Ballad-style Caspian was a clutch call to keep it rolling without any energy dip. Waves made me think of my whale best friend from MSG. (I wonder where she’s swimming right now? And if she ever thinks of me how I think of her?) The shout-through-the-roof Meatstick, dance and all, brought joy to every age and maturity level in the place. (Am I noticing what feels like an uptick in the very young now? Summer tour brings out the tamiles, but im loving the kiddos as well as the 20s crowd seeing what all the fuss is about. This. It’s about Meatsticks. Giggle.) Oh Kee Pa did the things and a rock and roll story called Suzy Greenberg tucked the second set in.
The cheers were loud. So, they encored! With Alumni Blues! (Shout out to all the unnecessary degrees in the DMV. We feel seen.) And Letter to Jimmy Page! (I haven’t got this much mail since before the pandemic!) And a crack-the-sky Character Zero! (Aaah aaaaaah!)
Song choice, composition, and high-personality jams make me want to call this show of the tour so far. High, high bar set by these giants.