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Live Review: Savoir Adore with Miracles of Modern Science and French Horn Rebellion at DC9, Washington DC – 25th September 2013

By on Friday, 27th September 2013 at 2:00 pm

Though the Sister Sledge disco anthem ‘We Are Family’ comes from the ’70s, you could argue a real 21st century version of it unfolded before our very eyes Tuesday night at DC9. Dance / dream pop duo Savoir Adore, who had just returned from a whistle stop tour of South America and their largest headline show ever just 3 nights before at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, returned to DC for the first time since October, when they played the much more difficult to get to Rock ‘n’ Roll Hotel. With them were fellow Brooklyn bands and literally family, at least for Savoir’s Deidre Muro and French Horn Rebellion’s David Perlick-Molinari and the band he has with his brother Robert, as well as Princeton University-borne band Miracles of Modern Science, whose Australian violinist explained they’ve all now decamped to Brooklyn, which is how they know the other two bands.

Miracles of Modern Science Washington live

And yes, I said violinist. Probably the most famous classical string instrument-playing musicians out there today are Patrick Wolf and the Airborne Toxic Event‘s Anna Bulbrook, but the aforementioned and oddly named (to me as a trained scientist) Miracles of Modern Science are about to turn the world on its ear. You don’t find too many bands with a violin, mandolin, and double bass this side of the music world post-Bill Black in his Elvis days. From my internet research, I learned that the group decided to blend indie with classical string quartet, which doesn’t sound like a winning combination on paper.

They have an EP out this year, ‘MEEMS’, and one of the tracks on there, ‘The Singularity’, is absolutely brilliant. An organised chaos of frenetic strings with interesting, science-related lyrics? I can get on board with that. You’d think with a cheesy band name like theirs, their songs would be uptight. Not at all. Toe-tapping and eclectic, they’ve managed to sound different, fresh and inspired. With Mumford and Sons going on hiatus, it just could be this band’s time to shine.

French Horn Rebellion Washington live

If you’ve never seen French Horn Rebellion live – and I hadn’t until Tuesday night, but former contributor Coco had in Hong Kong 2 years ago – you would never know that the French horn actually is a prominent part of their live set, and not just in gimmicky name. I really can’t remember if the mirrorballs in DC9 have always been there but if they have been and I just didn’t notice, it’s because it’s only on a night like this that they would be spinning and shining in all their glory. The brothers Perlick-Molinari put on a dance party like no other, and their live band brought the funk and warmed up the crowd for their brothers/sister in arms.

French Horn Rebellion with Deidre Muro Washington live

New song ‘California’, along with older favourites, had punters cutting a rug and at times, some bumping into me while they were doing it. I’m fine with that: I love people who are dancing, having a good time and being polite to other patrons. A surprising yet entirely giddy cover version of the Human League’s classic hit ‘Don’t You Want Me, Baby’, complete with a star turn on female vocals from Muro, went down an absolute treat. Their short set closed with ‘Love with Dangerous’, with a super sick bass line and pulse-tickling percussion, and allowed them to end on a high note.

Savoir Adore Washington 2013 live 2

After leaving New York on Saturday afternoon and feeling pretty bummed I was missing Savoir Adore, to be surrounded by all their local friends no doubt, in Williamsburg, I felt slightly better that I could catch them in my hometown instead. I’m not sure if it was sheer luck, or Savoir Adore’s equipment, but at times in the past, the sound at DC9 hasn’t been great. However, I am happy to report that on Tuesday night, Savoir sounded huge; I even told Paul Hammer that they sounded loads better than they did at RNR last year, even without lighting that was colour-coordinated by track. (Well, instead they and their live band decided to all dress in white, which looked smart and sharp.) I was expecting the set to heavily feature tracks from latest album ‘Our Nature’, but that didn’t really happen. While we were given a super energetic version of ‘Regalia’, ‘Dreamers’ and ‘Loveliest Creature’, the latter with Muro sporting a tinsel-laden cape, I was shocked that my favourite ‘Empire of Light’ was left out.

Savoir Adore Washington 2013 live

Instead, the band chose to delve further back into Hammer and Muro’s back catalogue and to songs I imagine they haven’t played all that often lately. One such decision was to include ‘Transylvanian Candy Patrol’ from their 2009 album ‘In the Wooded Forest’; with its softer moments punctuated by sections of just plain, all out rocking out, if you thought Savoir Adore was merely a dream pop band, you’d be sorely mistaken. That said, the breathy beauty that is ‘Sea of Gold’, which sounds like it could feature on an advert of any number of gorgeous island escapes, is a testament of where the duo were when ‘Our Nature’ came out. Where will they be for album #4? I can’t wait to find out. And since they live in New York and relatively close to us, I am sure they will be back to play for us soon.


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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.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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