Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. @ Independent, SF 5/17/13
If their onstage floral-emblazoned suits and Converse sneakers didn’t already inform you, let it be known that Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. is quite the enigmatic duo. Though the Detroit-bred pair draws from sonic influences like an eclectic pick of hometown sounds and surprise sing-alongs in European countries, they certainly also drew some energy from their San Francisco audience last Friday night at the city’s beloved Independent.
Though the band had been romping around the U.S. playing sold-out shows and spinning late-night DJ sets, Dale was nonetheless at the pinnacle of their game.
In front of a meticulously-crafted stage set (featuring two sets of boxy, light bulb-filled wooden “J” and “R” letter displays and large orbs of Japanese lanterns scattered across the stage), the band sent the sold-out San Francisco audience straight into pop reverie—bubbles and all.
It’s obvious that Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott, the group’s key members, went on this tour bent on creating a fuller sound. Enlisting the likes of the great and ever-rapt Mike Higgins on drums and the ingenious Jon Visger (of absofacto) on the keyboard, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. certainly accomplished that.
“Simple Girl,” as well as other key tracks like “Skeletons” and “Nothing But Our Love” sounded anything but elementary. The extra members added a depth undeliverable by only two members—a gauzy, but never flimsy sound.
But Zott’s and Epstein’s mastery is not demonstrated only by the addition of the supporting band members.
Moving toward their next album debut, The Speed of Things due out next year, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. found a method for delivering their most-loved tracks from both debut album It’s A Corporate World and EP Patterns while hinting at the direction of things to come. The result was a redolent, earnest foray into ebullient, uplifting pop.
Check out all the amazing photos from the show HERE.