The Barr Brothers charm and enchant Sixth and I Synagogue in D.C. (with Nathan Moore)

The Sixth and I Historic Synagogue might have just been the perfect DC venue for what turned out to be a simplistically beautiful concert. Nathan Moore and the Barr Brothers both heavily folk based groups were able to shine and make a building with high ceilings and greater implications feel intimate and warm.

The opener for the show, Nathan Moore gave a charming performance relying on his voice, harmonica acoustic guitar and looper. His songs were anecdotal for the most part with a pretty conscious effort to address the given venue and religious implications of it all. Possibly the most entertaining part of his act was his interactions with the audience in between songs. Though he claimed to be extremely nervous at the top of his show by the end of the second song he had broken the ice with stories of mushrooms, arrests and thoughts on the American prison system. All in all, Moore did an exceptional job of setting the tone for the Barr Brothers with a similar but much more stripped down style of folk music.

The Barr Brothers are a Montreal based group started by Brad and Andrew Barr that released their first record in 2011. The band just began a US tour for its third album Queen of the Breakers which was released this past October. The songs from this album and their past albums have tended to center around the genre of folk with heavy influence from the Delta Blues movement with some bluegrass roots.

One of the most eye-catching aspects of the performance was Brad Barr’s skill on guitar. This came both from his use of five different guitars throughout the show as well as some incredible solos and riffs peppered throughout the show which were able to show his skill. Their studio albums do show quite a bit of skilled instrumentation but it was live performance that the brothers Barr and their band members gave preference to this ability more so than the lyricism which is a strongpoint of their recorded work.

Not to be outdone by Brad Barr’s performance, the wide range of instruments used by the three other members also managed to intrigue and enchant the audience. One of the more interesting instruments used was the pedal steel guitar which was used in nearly every song throughout the show and helped really present the band’s signature sound they were looking for. This is a stationary console version of a steel guitar which is popular in Delta Blues music. In addition to the pedal steel, there was both a standing and electric bass, xylophone and both traditional and nontraditional percussion instruments. Though the guitar may have stood out at points, it was the combined use of all these different instruments which created the signature sound that the audience was so fond of.

The group offered was able to show its range with a strong variance in style and song choice throughout the show. Some of the most intimate moments from the show came with folk ballads in which the whole band would gather around one mic just off center stage and sing in breathtaking harmony. Though it was a seated show there were many moments at which everyone seemed to be fighting the urge to get up to guitar and bass heavy folk rock songs that left everyone stomping their feet. Overall, the Barr Brothers along with their opener were able to effectively showcase their talent in creating music that continuously engulf the attention of their audience whether the instrument be the pedal steel or simply their voices.

Gavin Derleth

Gavin currently goes to school in Washington D.C., studying Political Science and Geography. He enjoys coffee, biking, and spending way too much of his time listening to music.

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The Barr Brothers charm and enchant Sixth and I Synagogue in D.C. (with Nathan Moore)

The Sixth and I Historic Synagogue might have just been the perfect DC venue for what turned out to be a simplistically beautiful concert. Nathan Moore and the Barr Brothers both heavily folk based groups were able to shine and make a building with high ceilings and greater implications feel intimate and warm.

The opener for the show, Nathan Moore gave a charming performance relying on his voice, harmonica acoustic guitar and looper. His songs were anecdotal for the most part with a pretty conscious effort to address the given venue and religious implications of it all. Possibly the most entertaining part of his act was his interactions with the audience in between songs. Though he claimed to be extremely nervous at the top of his show by the end of the second song he had broken the ice with stories of mushrooms, arrests and thoughts on the American prison system. All in all, Moore did an exceptional job of setting the tone for the Barr Brothers with a similar but much more stripped down style of folk music.

The Barr Brothers are a Montreal based group started by Brad and Andrew Barr that released their first record in 2011. The band just began a US tour for its third album Queen of the Breakers which was released this past October. The songs from this album and their past albums have tended to center around the genre of folk with heavy influence from the Delta Blues movement with some bluegrass roots.

One of the most eye-catching aspects of the performance was Brad Barr’s skill on guitar. This came both from his use of five different guitars throughout the show as well as some incredible solos and riffs peppered throughout the show which were able to show his skill. Their studio albums do show quite a bit of skilled instrumentation but it was live performance that the brothers Barr and their band members gave preference to this ability more so than the lyricism which is a strongpoint of their recorded work.

Not to be outdone by Brad Barr’s performance, the wide range of instruments used by the three other members also managed to intrigue and enchant the audience. One of the more interesting instruments used was the pedal steel guitar which was used in nearly every song throughout the show and helped really present the band’s signature sound they were looking for. This is a stationary console version of a steel guitar which is popular in Delta Blues music. In addition to the pedal steel, there was both a standing and electric bass, xylophone and both traditional and nontraditional percussion instruments. Though the guitar may have stood out at points, it was the combined use of all these different instruments which created the signature sound that the audience was so fond of.

The group offered was able to show its range with a strong variance in style and song choice throughout the show. Some of the most intimate moments from the show came with folk ballads in which the whole band would gather around one mic just off center stage and sing in breathtaking harmony. Though it was a seated show there were many moments at which everyone seemed to be fighting the urge to get up to guitar and bass heavy folk rock songs that left everyone stomping their feet. Overall, the Barr Brothers along with their opener were able to effectively showcase their talent in creating music that continuously engulf the attention of their audience whether the instrument be the pedal steel or simply their voices.

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