Just before they embark on their next national tour, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. played another local show, this time on the Main Stage at Arts, Beats & Eats in Royal Oak. Although there was no way they could top their album release party at St. Andrew's back in June, Josh Epstein and Daniel Zott put on another energetic set for the hometown crowd.
The duo came out to a Detroit themed intro, complete with matching Detroit Tigers hats and jackets. In light of the sweltering heat, they joked it was too hot to stay in them and then ripped into their cover of "Almost Lost Detroit" to start the set off. As much as I like the album version, this song kills live. Still my favorite DEJJ song, "An Ugly Person On A Movie Screen" was next followed by the single "Morning Thought".
The two then addressed the crowd, with Zott saying he literally lives five minutes away from where they were playing, before Epstein dedicated their cover of The Beach Boys "God Only Knows" to their Detroit friends and fans. Epstein took center stage for the lead vocal on "It's A Corporate World" before they did an extended version of "Skeletons". There was no Skeleton Choir this time, but instead they made the entire crowd their choir as they got everyone singing along, with Epstein imploring people not to be shy or nervous to sing and dance.
A brand new song was played next, a dance/rock number about being lonely, perhaps the first taste of their next album? "Simple Girl" and "Vocal Chords" brought a lot of clapping along and dancing from the packed in crowd, before Epstein insisted the next song would get everyone dancing, even though it was the first time they had ever played it. The sick music geek in me recognized the drum machine intro instantly, it was a cover of the Whitney Houston smash hit "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)", complete with Zott doing spins while singing a verse. Between this and their version of Steve Winwood's "Higher Love" they've been playing live, DEJJ are fully capable of pulling off an 80's cover album.
Like it usually does, the song that first got the band attention, "Nothing But Our Love", closed the set. As their shows always seem to be, this one was very well received, even though a good portion of the crowd by the time they took the stage was filled with teenie Panic! at the Disco fans, waiting for their closing set. Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. now return to the road for a September U.S. tour before they head out for their first ever shows overseas, including stops in the UK and Iceland.