Being new to the Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. experience, I was unsure of what to expect but was pleasantly surprised at the grand spectacle that it turned out to be.
Starting out the night with a bevy of assorted synth layers and gorgeous harmonies was Chad Valley. Hugo Manuel, hailing from Oxford, fronts the electronic R+B feeling duo while Pamela Martinez adds backup vocals, percussion and some killer dance moves. The way Hugo effortlessly turns a bevy of knobs while singing his heart out and with the simplest of gestures had you feeling the music, as if you were personally invited to the show.
As the DEJJ crew set up the stage the floor filled in quickly with a young and energetic crowd donning glow sticks and ear to ear smiles.
The stage and lighting set up was a visual treat, with a projector and a large ball onstage wild light filled the hall with bouncing colors and fitting images paired perfectly with the upbeat indie-pop music.
As soon as the lights dimmed and the massive bass dropped the party was on. The energy and movement was constant, and it was a symbiotic relationship for every time Joshua Epstein or Daniel Zott jumped or flew across the stage the crowd went nuts. Three songs in Epstein jumped in the crowd and sang for a minute or two while his fans swooned, took selfies and generally lost their mind. At that point I vacated the rail and took in the gig from the back adoring the colors and rhythms while projections of smiley faces, dancing skeletons and other trippy images danced on the globe.
I’m not sure if stagediving and crowdsurfing from an amped up Zott is the norm at these gigs, but seemed fitting that he did so to close out their successful tour near the end of the set. This was a great gig and will be sure to see this impressive band again.
Article and photos by Shayne Hanley
Dale Earnhardt JR JR