Live Review: Everything Everything with Savoir Adore at Black Cat, Washington, DC – 14th October 2017

By on Monday, 16th October 2017 at 2:00 pm
 

When several lovely things happen at once, it seems less a coincidence and more like the stars aligning thanks to fate. Saturday night definitely felt like one of those times. The ever eclectic Everything Everything returned for a third time to Washington, DC, as part of their campaign to tour current album for RCA, ‘A Fever Dream’. (Unveiled in August, you can read my review from back then through this link.) Amazingly, they were supported Savoir Adore, by an American synthpop band I’ve followed and loved for years. In short, this show was a most excellent double-header, like a fantasy come to life.

My most recent experience seeing Brooklyn’s Savoir Adore live was at SXSW 2016, at the Neon Gold showcase on a rainy Friday night. Despite the delay and trying conditions, Savoir Adore’s catchy, synth-led tunes shone through the darkness. I found out during a conversation after this show at the Black Cat that the SXSW 2016 appearance was one of co-lead singer Lauren Zettler’s first shows with the band following Deidre Muro’s departure in 2014. Talk about baptism by fire! Fast forward a year and a half later, and Savoir Adore now have a third album to show off, summer 2016’s ‘The Love That Remains’, out now on Nettwork Records. It’s another great collection of sometimes dreamy, sometimes funky synthpop, made more special by the strength of Zettler and group founder Paul Hammer’s beautifully complementary voices.

Savoir Adore October 2017 Washington 2

With three albums under their belt, they have quite a bit of material to choose from for live performances. The uber lovely ‘Dreamers’ and the bass thumping ‘Regalia’ recalled the glory of the 2013 ‘Our Nature’ era. Newer songs ‘Savages’ and ‘Crowded Streets’ are a nice step in their evolution, the latter with an added nice, anthemic, The Naked and the Famous-esque oomph to their production. They closed their set with single ‘Giants’, an uplifting number about getting back on your feet after every of life’s stumbles. Savoir Adore are one of the best band examples of how to do life-affirming, feel good synthpop right. Leaving everyone in the Black Cat pumped up for the main event, I only wished they could have played longer.

For sure, I chose the right place to stand for this show. Stage right, I was surrounded by a nice mix of guys and girls, all massive fans excited for the show and ranging from near to full breathlessness in their devotion to Everything Everything. One girl with her sister warned us she might faint if they played ‘Distant Past’. (Spoiler: they did. I can report that thankfully, no fainting occurred.) At a venue like the Black Cat, there is a special kind of intimacy and interaction that the stars onstage can have with their audience. Except for title track ‘A Fever Dream’ that saw Jonathan Higgs sat down at the piano for a brief, quiet moment, the onslaught of the Everything Everything sound that we have come to know, all the weird and the wonderful words and music they have gifted to us, never let up.


Everything Everything October 2017 Washington 1

It’s testament to their continued inventiveness and pop songwriting approach that over a decade and four albums that they have maintained a cult status in the upper echelons of indie rock cool. They are revered and envied widely in this business, and for good reason. The first tracks for their first and latest albums, the herky-jerky ‘MY KZ, UR BF’ and ‘The Night of the Long Knives’, respectively, can stand beside in a live set, proof they have kept pushing the envelope with their sound. And intelligent fans respond to that. When Higgs pointed his mike towards the Black Cat audience on ‘Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread’ and ‘Can’t Do’ (see them perform the song appearing at the 10-year anniversary of BBC Introducing below), they answered with near-deafening shouts back to him.

If you ever get caught up in the booming sing-alongs to ‘Desire’, ‘Cough Cough’, ‘Regret’ and ‘Kemosabe’, join in, you’ll never regret it. To be surrounded by smiling, happy people who all know exactly when to sing the flute-like, high-pitched “do-do-DO-do” parts of ‘Get to Heaven’ is a moment I won’t soon forget. Clear highlights from ‘A Fever Dream’ included the brilliantly executed bursts of guitar on ‘Run the Numbers’, followed by the noodley freneticism of ‘Ivory Tower’ in the encore. The audience’s demand for “Ten more songs!” wasn’t honoured, true, but when a call like that comes through and so emphatically, you know the band must be doing a lot of things so right.

Everything Everything October 2017 Washington 2

Some of Everything Everything’s upcoming live appearances include closing out Liverpool Music Week 2017 on the 4th of November and then heading to Australia in late December into early January, performing at their summer festivals and headline shows at Sydney Metro and Thornbury Croxton Ballroom. They also have an UK/Irish tour for late February into March 2018. Check out their full list of live dates on their Facebook, and enjoy the entirety of our extensive archive on Everything Everything through here.

After the cut: Everything Everything’s set list.

Everything Everything’s Set List:
The Night of the Long Knives
Desire
Cough Cough
Get to Heaven
MY KZ, UR BF
Regret
Run the Numbers
Big Game
Choice Mountain
A Fever Dream
Kemosabe
Spring/Sun/Winter/Dread
Don’t Try
Can’t Do
Distant Past
//
Ivory Tower
No Reptiles

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There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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TGTF is edited by Mary Chang, who is based in Washington, DC. She is joined by writers in England, America and Ireland. It began as a UK music blog by Phil Singer in 2005.

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