On February 18th at Terminal West @ King Plow, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. brought down the flippin’ house. With a magical ball of light and animation as their guide, the Detroit boys came in delicate and refreshing with “Hiding” from their 2013 album The Speed of Things. The first part of the show went by somewhat quickly and intimately, but as the spectacle went on, the energy pulsated through the entire venue. The crowd, already sufficiently spirited from the opening band, Chad Valley, swayed and rocked in place as the band made their way through their cover of Randy Newman’s “I Think It’s Gonna Rain Today”, “An Ugly Person On A Movie Screen” from their 2011 album It’s A Corporate World, “Don’t Tell Me”, and “Morning Thought”.
From there, the performance truly began to shine. Literally. Wild illuminations and flashes began to burst off the set launching the band into their more lively pieces beginning with “Run”. Daniel Zott (who looks remarkably like Kyle Newacheck of Workaholics) has an incredible presence and his hair is pretty awesome too. Joshua Epstein spoke comfortably with the audience about stage diving accidents, praised them for their sprightly dancing and high energy, and joked with a man in a banana suit. The band carried the audience into “Mesopotamia” as bubbles flew from the wings and drifted across an ocean of bobbing heads. The magic orb in the back center of the stage lit up with an adorable little Lego-like head that sang and shimmied to the music. With “War Zone”, “Skeletons” and “Vocal Chords”, the ball transitioned between all sorts of mesmerizing 8-bit, kaleidoscope, and glowing animations.
The band closed their setlist with a tribute to their hometown in a positively roof-raising performance of “Almost Lost Detroit”. They then left the scene and the lights dimmed as the crowd hooted and hollered for their return. The band encored with “A Haunting” and a magnetic performance of their single “If You Didn’t See Me” where Epstein shredded his guitar with his face and Zott hurdled into a stage dive. And finally, the boys brought us all back down to earth with “My Love Is Easy” just before they played us out with a screamin’, jammin’ finale.
This was one of the most spunky and enthusiastic performances I’ve ever seen live. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. certainly has a penchant for engaging their fans and delivering a captivating, theatrical exhibition. As soon as they make it back to Atlanta, you can expect to see me front and center.