While upstairs on a cold night at the Rock n’ Roll Hotel, waiting for nachos in between sets, Christo Bowman, vocalist for Bad Suns posed for photos with a few dedicated fans before rushing down stairs to perform. The California natives brought a breezy warmth with them and rocked the evening with pop-y lyrics and punchy beats on Feb. 18.
Maudlin Strangers and Coasts performed opening sets. L.A. natives Maudlin Strangers are a chill bunch with electronic undertones and heady voices. Coasts, a Bristol, U.K.-based britpop band enchanted a small but menacing crew of teeny boppers. Reminiscent of a less drug-addled Matty Healy, of The 1975, main vocalist Chris Caines led the band through a bright and danceable set. “Rush of Blood,” “Stay” and “Oceans” were crowd favorites.
Bad Suns captured the audience immediately with “Transpose,” a popular track off its 2014 EP of the same name. They followed with “Take My Love and Run,” a song with repetitive but extremely catchy lyrics. “Dancing on Quicksand,” and “Matthew James” off of the band’s 2014 album “Language and Perspective” kept the audience dancing and singing.
Bad Suns was quick to thank the audience for coming to see the show. Calling Twitter “bullshit,” the band expressed how happy it was to be with their audience in person. Not quick to smile, Bowman shared a touching moment with the audience during a bout of crowd surfing.
“20 Years,” “Time, Time, Time” and “Pretend” were all received well. With a definitively California sound, the band was able to bring summer energy to snowy D.C. “Learn to Trust” and “Sleep Paralysis” offered introspective lyrics and steady beats while highlighting Bowman’s incredible vocal range.
It was impossible not to smile and dance to the classic “Cardiac Arrest,” before the band left the stage. With chants of “Encore!” Bad Suns was quick to return to the stage and finish with a one-two punch of “We Move Like the Ocean” and “Salt.” “We Move Like the Ocean” was played through a thick haze of pink smoke. “Salt” is impossible not to sing along too, especially with the band smiling and bouncing on stage.
Bad Suns’ set was full of infectious energy, catchy lyrics and summer vibes. Combined with a rockin’ venue, the show was impassioned and pop-y in the best way.