Chad Valley - I forgot which Valley was opening as I've seen a couple in my past. Sonically, Chad Valley was the more appropriate as Deep Vally is better off on a more garage rock bill. Chad Valley is actually an English guy who runs electronics and plays keyboards. He shares vocal duties with an American female, as he did on his previous DC visit. There is not much different tonight and why would there be with so much electronic backing. He has all the electronic pop moves that makes for a fitting opening set. The two of them are in fine voice as they both work more in the upper register territory. It is all good, but with people filling in, it is more of a polite response whereas this set transported to the U Street Music Hall would build up a lot of energy with that crowd.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. - I can't help thinking more about this band's name than their music. It seemed like one of those jokes they would regret after a year or two (especially with the success this duo has received). Although when you learn they are from Detroit, the automotive link does at least make sense. And they have explained themselves to NASCAR and sent music and an explanation to Dale Earnhardt Jr. who is cool with it and even a fan of theirs now (even if a majority of NASCAR fans are not present tonight). And there's no country music or southern rock here, hell, there's very little to make me think of Detroit for that matter. These guys have a modern electronic pop sound, but happily for me, treat their live show as a full pop rock experience. They have a drummer and multi instrumentalist which allows them plenty of room for guitars, bass, keyboards, and additional percussion to be combined in many different ways. I need my drums with this music and the drummer did the trick keeping the sound strong and moving. The vocal work was solid and the songs had loads of pop hooks that moved around between lush and rocking. And they had bubbles. Although more interestingly was this huge white orb hovering above the stage doing nothing for a few songs until an animated face projection filled it up with a 3D feeling. They interacted well with the crowd and it felt cozy. It may have been a little nice for me overall, but I think this band earned this sellout crowd tonight and left the crowd happy that they spent their Friday night here.
Quote of the Night... actually this is from a few years ago, but I didn't want to use it that night since the guy might read it.
"Madonna? Yeah she makes good music, but I'll never forgive her for how she dresses and how young girls now dress after her."
Keep in mind this was at a Hot Tuna show featuring two Jefferson Airplane guys and this fan follows them everywhere in the region. I chose not to ask him exactly what Grace Slick and these guys were telling youth.