Concert Review: The Autumn Defense, The Hamilton, Washington DC February 15th


You know what may be more satisfying than a heart-felt “We love your city” shout-out from a band? A cutting but kind dig at another city that you can totally relate to. The Autumn Defense scored big points with me at their show on Saturday at The Hamilton for many reasons, but the most memorable was their commentary on Schuba’s.

Schuba’s, to be clear, is not a Washington DC venue. It is a Chicago venue frequented by my sister and, on my visits, myself. As the pianist took the keys at the Hamilton’s grand piano, he looked up and smiled: “I just want to say it is so fun to be playing here tonight. We really appreciate you being here, and this beautiful grand piano. Let me tell you, this is nothing like Schuba’s. I think that place’s stage is the same size as the top of this piano.”

I love Schuba’s, but that man spoke true words. It is a very different venue than the ever-impeccable, spacious, and swanky Hamilton. Of course, the Autumn Defense can’t get high marks just for other-city-shout-outs, and the group definitely proved their worth on musical grounds as well. They played a long, leisurely set for their appreciative crowd that included Valentine’s Day couples from all generations. My favorite live tracks were “Back of my Mind,” “Huntington Fair,” and “None of this will Matter.”

The group has a very relaxed feel, both in stage presence and sound, but they also kept things lively and light. At one point, the lead singer remarked how odd it is to be watching a live feed of yourself performing (there were monitors set up in the Hamilton). “It’s like, you think you’re looking good, closing your eyes, singing your song, and then you open your eyes and you catch sight of yourself, and it’s like… oooh, probably shouldn’t try that dance move again.”

The combination of wit, strong vocals, beautiful instruments and relaxing sound make this band a pleasure to see and hear. I definitely recommend them for anytime you’re in need of something soothing in your ears.

Posted on by halley in Concerts

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