On Thursday night at 9:30 Club, Saint Motel put on a lively show as part of their tour promoting their new album, Saint Motelevision.
Injecting life into the crowd with hit single “Happy Pills,” Weathers got the crowd going early on. Hippo Campus continued the energetic mood, as the guitar-heavy four-piece indie rock band took the opportunity to play some new songs off their upcoming new album and finished up with fan favorites “Suicide Saturday” and “South.”
When it came time for Saint Motel to take the stage, the lights dimmed and the crowd erupted into raucous applause. Suddenly, a 1970’s-style television at center stage cracked to life setting the stage for what would be a set list filled with songs of their new album, Saint Motelevision.
Finally Saint Motel appeared, a wall of shining golden streamers and the album art of Saint Motelevision floating behind them, as lead vocalist, pianist and guitar player, A/J Jackson took center stage, donned in his signature wide brimmed black hat. With that, the six-piece progressive indie rock band, occasionally joined by a trumpeter and saxophonist, launched straight into their new album with the electronically infused, smooth rock song, “Local Long Distance Relationship (LA2NY).”
“Usually, I like to know all the songs so I can sing along, but I’m actually excited to hear all their new songs tonight too,” commented American University student, Melanie Velazquez. This was a common feeling amongst the audience members, as the band wove in and out of classic fan favorites and a heavy dose of new music.
After opening with a new song, Saint Motel launched right into the high-energy “Cold Cold Man” and “Feed Me Now” off their debut album, Voyeur. This got the crowd jumping, clapping, and swaying, as they dove right back into their new album with “Getaway” and “You Can Be You.”
These songs demonstrated the new pop-y background electronic sounds that Saint Motel has employed on their new album, as the heavy saxophone and trumpet use that was so common of their debut album takes a back seat.
Taking a moment to speak candidly to the crowd mid-show, A/J Jackson reminisced about how “our first show many years ago here in D.C. was in a storefront and they paid us in apparel because it was cold out. This is so amazing right here. Thank you guys for coming out.”
Continuing the pattern of new then old, they launched into a rowdy rendition of “Benny Goodman” that got the floor shaking as people danced and sang along. New songs, “For Elise” and “Sweet Talk” kept the energy going, but it was the anthemic “Puzzle Pieces” that truly brought the crowd together.
Concluding with “Move,” a groovy new song that exuded 70s disco vibes, the band then exited the stage abruptly only to return again for a rowdy three song encore highlighted by the hit, “My Type.”
While the rest of the band returned to the stage for the encore, A/J Jackson appeared on the balcony, dancing and singing along with the crowd. He then proceeded to climb on top of the bar, which really got the crowd going.
“I was just standing there waiting for the encore like everyone else and then he was just there next to me all of a sudden. I was totally shocked. It was amazing,” remarked Howard University student, Rebecca Johnson.
Closing out the show with the upbeat and emotional “Born Again” off their new album, it was the saxophonist who stole the spotlight as Saint Motel showed that even in their new album, they would never abandon the sound that truly brought them into the spotlight.
Featured Photo Credit: A/J Jackson, lead singer of Saint Motel, delivers an electric performance at 9:30 Club. (Cassie Osvatics/Bloc Photographer)
Tommy Diehl is a freshman architecture major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.