The Districts Bring New Energy To Bottom Lounge- 3/15/22

The Districts Bring New Energy To Bottom Lounge- 3/15/22

The Districts filled the Bottom Lounge with a new energy that seems to have come from a few key lineup changes. Drummer Braden Lawrence has shifted to keyboards and bass, after the departure of longtime bass player Connor Jacobus, while Alex Held has taken over drumming duties.

These changes have reinvigorated the band, pushing a new sound forward, that could be heard most distinctly on “Cheap Regrets,” where Lawrence lays down a bed of ground-shaking keyboards. Grote fingerpicks against the layered backdrop, and Cassidy drops a tub-thumping bass line, that elicits a floor stomping jam session with Held at the helm. “Cheap Regrets” is a banger, live, and I now have a new appreciation for this song. As I watch them rock-the-fuck-out, I can’t help but think, “Is this the future of The Districts?

Another standout was “Hey Jo,” wherein Grote’s vocal prowess really shined. He teetered between a bass and a soprano, sounding downright angelic on the hook singing, “Fuck my head/Take it back/It’s dirty to you.” Again, the keyboard took precedence here hovering over the top of the sparsely strummed guitars creating a big sound as the instruments lightly bounced off one another.

At times it felt like You Know I’m Not Going Anywhere was the new record, as much of what they played was pulled from it, including “Descend,” “My Only Ghost,” “Sidecar,” and “Velour and Velcro,” which turned out to be hauntingly anthemic. I assume the band didn’t get a chance to play a lot of this material live, and many of us didn’t get the chance to hear it due to the pandemic.

Other highlights included set opener, “Violet,” which had the whole audience chanting, “What doesn’t last gets swallowed whole,” by song’s end. “Ordinary Day,” “Fat Kiddo,” and “Salt,” from Popular Manipulations, were also played.

I was patiently waiting to hear “Revival Psalm” all night, which, sadly, didn’t happen. They did introduce us to Great American Painting through “White Devil, “Do It Over,” and the “Long End” which were sprinkled throughout the set. “White Devil” has a 90s sound that harkens back to The Cult’s “Fire Woman.” Grote, without using any names or descriptors, mentioned that this song was about a white devil…with fake red hair.

“Long Game” hints at My Morning Jacket and Kings Of Leon but ends up a modest love affair between The Cure and The Districts. It showcases a modern band with a penchant for nostalgia. “Do It Over” is like nothing The Districts have done yet. It’s focused, passionate, pop music that could be a gigantic hit if ever given radio play.

There was something in this set for everyone, as the band picked songs from their entire catalog, including crowd favorite “Funeral Beds.” While I love their older rock and roll, I can’t wait to hear them play the synth-laden, 80s pop that makes up, the incredible, Great American Painting.

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