The Districts | photo by Emma Silverstone for WXPN
Free At Noon Flashback: The Districts redefine “explosive” at World Cafe Live
I had long resigned myself to the bittersweet fact that since I’ve always been unlucky in catching The Districts live, the first time I’d finally see them would be in some large, sold out venue given the skyrocketing trajectory of their career and fanbase around the world that will only grow once their newest release Popular Manipulations reaches the ears and hearts of the masses.
Fortunately, this was not the case. A week after the crazy sold out Union Transfer record release show (read our review here) found The Districts back in Philadelphia to perform for XPN’s Free At Noon series at the smaller, more intimate World Cafe Live. It appeared that the rareness of this opportunity was not lost on fans, as the line stretched up the stairs and out onto the sidewalk long before doors opened and filled the venue to capacity by the ten-minute mark.
The Districts rolled on to the stage with what can only be called indie rock swag and went right to it with one of the leading Popular Manipulations singles “If Before I Wake.” It was a thunderous beginning to a show that was insanely energetic and powerful from start to finish, making me regret every other time I’ve used “explosive” as a descriptor when The Districts should really just claim the word as their own. They perform how they sound, rarely standing still and giving me secondhand whiplash as they threw their whole beings into every note (the seriously strong #flow game in the four piece made the head-banging that much crazier). Lead singer Rob Grote fell into each chord with a flailing grace, completely consumed and moved by the music.
When the performance ended, Helen Leicht’s voice could barely be heard over the roaring crowd and, if it wasn’t already a given with a local favorite like The Districts, they quickly came back out for an encore. The main set largely featured new material, but for the last song they brought out “Long Distance,” an old favorite from their 2013 debut Telephone.
The Districts have two more shows in the US before heading to Europe. The next time you can see them in Philly will be on October 4th when they perform with Modern Baseball as the backing band for Daniel Johnston at the Tower Theater. Click here for more information.
If Before I Wake
4th & Roebling