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Sunday, 30 March 2014 12:37

Concert review: The Districts (with Cold Hearted Strangers) play from the heart at Off Broadway, Saturday, March 29

Concert review: The Districts (with Cold Hearted Strangers) play from the heart at Off Broadway, Saturday, March 29 fatpossum.com
Written by Brittany Tedder
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When I watched the Districts perform on Saturday night at Off Broadway, I noticed two things about the young folk-rock band: they are passionate about their music and they are great performers.

As April approaches, one would think it would either be a rainy or warm night for the Districts to play in St. Louis for the second time, but alas the weather refused to lighten up, even for a talented group of musicians, and it was yet another cold night. However, that did not stop patrons from enjoying truly great music. The audience included groups of friends, couples and 20-somethings to 50-somethings.

Local rock band Cold Hearted Strangers opened for the Districts. The trio took the stage while people continued to pour into the intimate venue. Bryan Hoskins on guitar gave each song life with his charming vocals, while Donny Bee, also on guitar, provided support with his back-up vocals, and Gabe Doiron rocked it on electric guitar. The audience responded well after each song performed, and the band dedicated a song to a woman in the audience who just turned 32. The venue was slowly but surely becoming full as the band performed on the dimly lit stage.

After the opening act, there was a short intermission while the Districts took the stage to set up. The audience eventually stopped their chatter and moved closer to the stage. The venue was quiet with only a few whispers when all of a sudden Rob Grote (guitar and vocals) belted "Good morning Lyla," and began the show with a bang. Grote completely lost himself in the song "Lyla"; he head banged so violently his bright red beanie fell off his head and freed his black curls. The next song performed was "Rocking Chair," and Grote's searing vocals were overpowered by the drums played by Braden Lawrence, but this fault was forgiven by the enthusiasm that each member showed while performing the song. Grote, Mark Larson (guitar) and Connor Jacobus (bass) were jumping around the stage as each chord was struck. The audience stood watching, only a couple patrons waving their hands in the air.

It is my belief that the audience was still because they wanted to devour every moment of the show and sit back and let the music speak for itself. The Districts played from the heart and it showed on all four of their young faces. After about five songs in, Grote told the audience, "We stayed in a hotel last night that had peeling baseball wallpaper." An audience member who was either very excited or simply intoxicated shouted, "It was worth it! St. Louis has big love for you, brother!" Grote joked, "It was worth it besides almost catching a disease."

The band continued playing a few more songs from their new self-titled release. After the last song performed, Grote thanked the audience for coming out, but we demanded an encore. The Districts happily provided "Call Box" to close out the night.

The Districts delivered a superb performance: vocals were strong, instruments blended well and the energy was phenomenal. I can't speak for the rest of St. Louis, but as for me, I have big love for the Districts.

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