TVD Live: David Wax Museum with Pearl and the Beard at 9:30 Club, 9/14

The 9:30 Club was brimming with folk fans ready to hear the buzzed-about David Wax Museum—their conversations floating from Burning Man, to Newport Folk Festival, and how to most creatively tie bandanas. Surrounded by my co-folksters, I felt simultaneously at ease and excited. Turns out I live for folk.

Still flying from my high up in Newport, I was pretty excited to see David Wax Museum live, one on one with them, no dirt, no thousands upon thousands of people, good sounding venue in my own town. And I thought, they are bringing Pearl and the Beard—oh now I am most definitely switched on!

As the “ooooos” began in Pearl and the Beard’s “40K,” I got goose bumps, the sweet sound of Jeremy Styles’ guitar, Jocelyn Mackenzie’s percussion building anticipation. “You never come when you say you will/ and I overstay my welcome sitting in this windowsill/ not letting this fire build.” In this opening song, we flirt with Emily Price’s cello, not hearing her let loose both voice and strings, until “The Lament of Coronado Brown,” at which point you realize that her voice is strong and sultry. Each individual of Pearl and the Beard brings a lot to this trio.

As the crowd recovered from Pearl and The Beard, which was an exhausting set of which we all wanted more, David Wax Museum warmed up with “Beekeeper,” a little Dylanesque but solid, as David Wax found his rhythm in “Beatrice” and rolled skillfully into “The Least I Can Do.” “I’m not trying to get away, from anything, or anyone/ I’m not trying to get away from you. At least that’s what I tell myself/ It’s the least I can do.”

That one became my favorite tune where Wax took the lead, and I waited for some Suz-driven jams. An amazing saxophone solo, and one microphone-less song, and it started. “Look What You’ve Done to Me,” sung beautifully and achingly by Suz Slezak. They rounded out the set with a trip into the crowd, first with a spirited song, then a spiritual one, all surrounding fans kneeling and listening intently. It was a bit overwhelming for me, but luckily I was safely against the upper railing enjoying my birds eye view.

Overall, they struck me as talented as I’d remembered and as energizing for DC listeners as I’d hoped. I’ll keep a look out for them making their way across the country and check out Pearl and The Beard the next time I bus to Brooklyn!

Photo Credit: Lauren Jaslow, Snarky Studios

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