Review: BADBADNOTGOOD at 9:30 Club

"I didn't know there was a still a market for this type of music" I overheard someone say during BADBADNOTGOOD's set at 9:30 Club on Sunday. By this this "type of music" he meant jazz. But when you dive into the world of BADBADNOTGOOD, you learn that they're more than simply a "jazz band." At their core, BBNG are a jazz leaning band but their ability to incorporate everything from hip hop to psychedelic jam band grooves to their music creates a dynamic and powerful sound that must be experienced live. The diverse nature of their sound resulted in an eclectic, packed crowd at 9:30 Club last week.

Right before the band took the stage, bass player Chester Hansen lit some incense on stage, setting the mood for the show to come. As the pre-show playlist faded out and the audience's excitement began to build, the unmistakable horns from "Tequila"  by The Champs sounded from above the crowd where Leland Whitty stood on the balcony that hangs over the stage. The familiar sound of those horns immediately caught the attention of the audience and the energy in the crowd continued to swell as he disappeared while the rest of the band walked on the stage. Whitty then joined the rest of the band on the stage where he and the rest of the guys rounded out the song, which culminated in BBNG and the crowd shouting "Tequila!" in unison.


For the remainder of the night, BBNG took the crowd on a hypnotically groovy journey as they glided through their set, seamlessly transitioning from one song to the next. The set felt more like one extended jam session rather than individual songs and the guys appeared to be having a great time with each other on stage as if they were jamming in their living room and not in front of a room full of strangers.



The set focused on songs from the band's most recent album, "IV" and showed love to “III” with songs like "Triangle" and "Confessions.” Each song built upon the last as the vibe in the room shifted with each song. During "Speaking Gently" drummer Alex Sowinski told the crowd it was time to "get wavy" and had everyone's hands in the air slowly waving back and forth. Other highlights included a sprawling rendition of “Lavender” that was very well received by the boozy crowd. And when Sowinski asked the crowd to close their eyes and take some breaths during an extended slow burning intro to “Chompy’s Paradise.” He calmed the crowd for all of ten seconds before Whitty came in with the saxophone and the crowd erupted.  

BBNG closed out their set with a high energy delivery of “CS60” during which they asked the crowd to slowly get low (all the way to the floor). They did the same on stage while still playing their respective instruments before exploding into the outro of the song and commanding the crowd to jump with them. In the end, the non-believers in "this type of music" had surely changed their mind.

All photos by Xavier Dusaq for Capitol Sound DC.

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