It’s a Friday at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. and as someone who had never seen The Lone Bellow live, it’s always a good sign when you hear the fans in the audience before the show talking about this being their fourth or fifth show. The energy before the opening band was beautiful but once the show started, it was euphoric.
Bailen, a band made up of siblings, was the opening band and they were a great way to know the kind of show you were about to get from The Lone Bellow. They have a beautiful, melodic, and folksy sound that occasionally borders on alt-rock. They gave a very early 90’s grunge scene vibe, which is honestly my favorite since that’s what I grew up on.
The Lone Bellow promptly started their show at 7:30 with the song “Wherever Your Heart Is” off their new album, Love Songs for Losers. Now, if you don’t know the band, it’s comprised of members Zach Williams, Kanene Donehey Pipkin, and Brian Elmquist with Tyler James and Julian Doris joining on piano and drums. They’re folksy and Americana at its best with music that will both rip your heart out and stitch it back together.
I don’t mean to be clichè but the concert was like a religious experience. Maybe it was the lights, maybe it was the way they spoke and sang to the audience only to have the audience sing back, or maybe it was just how beautiful the lyrics were that you felt seen. I think that’s why so many of the fans keep coming back to see them live because once you feel that type of energy, you want to keep experiencing it over and over again.
As a concert photographer, I tend to show up, take the pictures and leave. Sometimes I’ll stay for a few songs if I’m really into the band, but part of the fun for me at concerts is taking photos. So, if I’m not taking pictures after the first 3 songs, it becomes less fun. Well, The Lone Bellow show completely changed my usual game plan. The show was so good that I didn’t want to leave. The band’s energy was so magical and the audience was so clearly in love with the music and people on the stage, the entire room felt like an experience you couldn’t miss out on and so I didn’t.
The Lone Bellow’s new album, Love Songs for Losers, is out now and can be found anywhere you download music. They have more tour dates coming up, and you can find out more info here.