Live Review: The Dig at The Paperhaus, Washington DC – 1st May 2014

By on Thursday, 8th May 2014 at 2:00 pm

I went from the first taste of summer nights here in Washington, DC, the remnants of a glorious May Day in the mid-20Cs with just a sliver of a crescent moon hanging in the sky, to the first old school sweaty, crammed, pot-smoke filled house show I had been to in years with just a step over a threshold. I had been given a mere 24 hours notice that New York City band the Dig were playing at DC’s The Paperhaus.

Running one of the city’s most active independent house venues and named after their very own local band Paperhaus, this venue is found in the upper reaches of residential DC and was crammed with a young, hip crowd carrying their Bud Light Lime-a-Ritas in a can with them, flowing in and out of the brownstone and out into the back alley. There were several bands on that night and each clearly had their own following as the crowd composition was completely different with each changeover. I got there late and was in the back, sat on the kitchen sink as it were, waiting for the Dig.

The Dig at The Paperhaus, 1st May 2014

The band opened with ‘Cold Afternoon’, the lead track from their most recent EP ‘You & I’. This song is a bit of a departure from their very dreamy, ambient fare. With strong vocals from David Baldwin, it was an excellent start to a live set. Baldwin on guitar and Emile Mosseri on bass shared vocals throughout the set, but if I could ask for one thing from the Dig, it would be that they embrace the notion of a frontman. It doesn’t hurt the flow of their live set at all, but I think it would help their recorded music.

Often they treat the vocal line as an additional instrument, muted and floating. But from their live show, it’s easy to see how the vocals could take a commanding role. Easily their best song, ‘I Already Forgot Everything You Said’ hit us mid-set with its metronome-like drums and pingy keys eliciting excited “this is my favorite!” shouts from punters on both sides of me. I must say the new songs, such as ‘You and I Lost Control’ and ‘How Can You Trust a Feeling’ translate superbly into a live setting. There was some real grit, something to get your teeth into from those new songs, there is quite a bit to like. As we came to the end, ‘Black Water’ continued the fervor with a pounding beat and a well punched up crowd, leaving us with slow burner ‘Angeline’ to take us back out into the summer night.

The Dig at The Paperhaus, 1st May 2014

I often think of the Dig as background music. Live, they do an excellent job of commanding center stage. I am looking forward to the opportunity to see them play again. Their tour calendar is not yet filled out, but I am hoping for some more dates soon.

The Dig at The Paperhaus, 1st May 2014

After the cut: the Dig’s set list.

The Dig Set List:
Cold Afternoon
Over You Again
All Tied Up
I Already Forgot Everything You Said
You and I Lost Control
Break the Silence
How Can You Trust a Feeling
Black Water

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