Concert Review: Brothertiger, Gosh Pith, and JR JR

November 13, 2015: Royal Oak Music Theatre, Royal Oak

There’s nothing like a concert that you’ve been looking forward to for months to get you through a crappy week. It’s been a big year for JR JR as their new self-titled album has started to garner the talented duo some overdue attention on national airwaves. I’ve been a fan since the beginning, my love for the hometown duo growing exponentially upon the release of their sophomore album, The Speed of Things. I was lucky enough to be at their last headlining show at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, which is still one of my favorite concerts to date. The small set they performed at Chill on the Hill this year just wasn’t enough to sate me so I was elated when I saw they’d be heading back to the Royal Oak Music Theatre for their hometown show.

I had done very little preparation for the opening bands, deciding that a live experience would, hopefully, be a good introduction to these new-to-me artists. First up was Brooklyn’s John Jagos aka Brothertiger. He filled the venue with some tropical vibes on his opening track, which was just what I needed as I was still defrosting from the deep down cold of standing in line to get into the venue. Brothertiger’s opening set was a great way to warm the crowd up for the dance party that was to come. I couldn’t help but look around and watch the infectious synths and beats spreading throughout the venue. With a new album, Out of Touch, coming out in just a few weeks, we were lucky to get a little taste of what’s to come. His new single, “Beyond the Infinite,” is a synth laden dream that can warm you up even on the coldest of nights. Allowing myself to truly discover Brothertiger live was the right choice and I’m very excited that I only have to wait until December 4th for his new album.

I had heard Gosh Pith’s name being thrown around the local music scene more and more recently so my anticipation for finally catching the duo’s live performance was pretty high. Singer Josh Smith took the stage by storm, commanding the crowd be up and participating which was just fine with us. I struggle to find a word to describe the duo’s sound so I’ll use their own description of “cosmic trap” for the time being. More importantly, their set helped to keep the crowd up and moving for JR JR’s set. They laid down some mellow tracks that were just as contagious as the more upbeat ones. The duo themselves were a non-stop moving force with a seemingly never-ending source of energy. Their Window EP is currently available via their website for free when you signup for their mailing list, and I look forward to taking some time to listen to it and catch these dynamic hometown boys live again.

You could feel the anticipation for JR JR buzzing in the air, finally exploding when the guys took the stage and wasted no time jumping into “As Time Goes” off their new, self-titled album. I couldn’t have asked for a better crowd to experience this show with, it’s always great to be with an audience that is just as excited as you are for the band on the stage. JR JR puts on the kind of show that not only serves as a reminder as why they are one of my all time favorite bands but also of why I love attending live shows. My motivation to go to concerts this year has been seriously lacking, I always just feel tired and rundown, but all the background noise just disappeared as soon as JR JR took the stage.

The guys did a great job of mixing old and new tracks into their setlist. While I’ve listened to the new album, I still don’t know every single word so I’m happy that some old favorites were thrown into the mix so I could sing along at the top of my lungs. The crowd truly lost it when the guys jumped into a short cover of TLC’s “Waterfalls,” our voices rising to a deafening volume as we all sang and danced along. Zott, Epstein, and their backing band brought all their energy to their hometown show and talked extensively about how thankful they were to the crowd that came out and has supported them since day one. Their love for Detroit and their fans could be felt by everyone that filled that venue and it really just makes my love for JR JR grow. Of course the band’s now famous cover of Gil Scott-Heron’s “We Almost Lost Detroit” was a high point of the show, the sea of people becoming a wave of hands in the air every time the catchy chorus came up.

There’s no doubt in my mind that like the last JR JR show at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, this one will stick out on my mind as one of my all time favorite concert memories. I’m still feeling the high and energy from that night and JR JR has been blasting through my speakers ever since. I can only hope that it will continue to gratify me until the next time JR JR plays their hometown.