After over a year of shooting bands live its not too often that I A) haven't heard of or listened to the entire bill AND B) haven't been to that venue. I was pleasantly surprised by both bands and by the venue itself as well.
The venue itself, Sixth & I Synagogue, was something I'm not used to as far as music venues go. Historic Sixth & I Synagogue is located on, you guessed it, the corner of Sixth & I in Washington, DC. Its history starts in 1908, taking it through several changes, almost becoming a night club, and now currently a multi-denominational cultural meeting place where the arts and culture display their musicians, artists, comedians, and other visionaries. Or as their about page states, "...identity and community intersect on your terms for a uniquely Jewish experience."
Jonny Rodgers is quite the interesting solo act that I wasn't expecting, rather was caught off guard until it all fit together being at Sixth & I. I walked in halfway through one of his first songs to a very peaceful and quiet sanctuary full of young adults sitting quietly and intently in rows of pews with their attention affixed on Rodgers, who was singing while meticulously creating haunting yet angelic harmonics from his brightly under-lit glass harp.
I can't stress how eerie yet beautiful the combination of Rodgers' voice and glass harp reverberated through the walls of the synagogue and entranced the audience as a whole. Jonny Rodgers not only charmed everyone with his vocals, lyrics, and glass harp, but with guitar and keyboard as well.
Closing out the night was Jacksonville, Florida's Radical Face. Frontman and lead singer, Ben Cooper, took time out between many of the songs to explain briefly why they were named the way they were, or what they were about. It had a very intimate storytelling feel to it that didn't detract from the performance, rather added to it in a close friendly manner. Radical Face's set varied in intensity and loudness, and even played a new song titled The Gilded Hand. The set ended, or seemed to end on their song Welcome Home; which Cooper humorously mandated the crowd to participate in the hook and later judged against past toured cities. After returning onto stage after their "last song," Radical Face played All Is Well and a cover of Disney's Robin Hood's Not In Nottingham as their encore finale. Cooper explained that Radical Face has a tradition in ending with a cover song as their very last song of the night.