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In many ways, Saturday’s record release show for local power-pop trio Sunwolf‘s latest album, Follow the Dreamers, felt more like a D.C. music reunion. Onstage and off, Adams Morgan’s Songbyrd Music Cafe and Record House was filled with some of the city’s longtime musical staples: Brian Baker, Rich Morel, Devin Ocampo, Davis White, Betsy Wright, Ian MacKaye, Ian Svenonius, and Joe Aronstamn, among others.
The night kicked off with Super! Silver! Haze!, a new instrumental collaboration between Brendan Canty and Doug Kallmeyer. Lit only by a projection screen, this bass/drum/loop duo creates a visceral and frantic sound so big, it’s hard to believe it’s coming from just two people.
Afterward, Brooklyn’s Savak—comprised of local expats like James Canty, Sohrab Habibion, and Geoff Sanoff—delivered a boisterous and familiar-sounding set. Think early alternative rock, but with more guitars and a harder sound, thanks to the intensity of drummer Matt Schultz. Local multi-instrumental talent Mark Cisneros joined them to play sax on a few songs as well, prompting bassist Greg Simpson to quip, “It’s not a D.C. band unless Mark Cisneros comes onstage.”
Cisneros also lent a saxophone-holding hand to Sunwolf’s mix of garage rock and Brit-pop sound. Guitarist Tom Bunnell, bassist Rob “Kalani” Tifford, and drummer Jerry Busher share singing duties, and the combination hit that middle level of shimmering grit, with endlessly catchy hooks. It had a few technical glitches with the sound mid-way through the show, but pros that Sunwolf are, the trio played it off with ease.