Dayglow charms audiences with their performance at 9:30 Club

By Sydney Nauman
“D.C. I freaking love you,” shouted Sloan Struble, frontman of the indie-pop group Dayglow, while gazing in pure amazement at the roaring crowd surrounding him. Struble gave one of the most fun and heartfelt performances I have ever experienced. He left audience members filled with so much euphoria and energy that it was hard to say goodbye.

Dayglow performed for a packed 9:30 Club in Washington D.C. on Nov. 14 and 15 after selling out both shows. A second performance at the venue had to be added to the tour just to accommodate the influx of fans trying to get tickets - and it’s clear why. The band’s infectious, high-spirited energy created a carefree environment which made it impossible not to dance along to their set.

Dayglow released their junior album, “People In Motion,” on October 7, which takes a more experimental approach to the group’s signature upbeat, pop melodies.

Shortly after the release of the new album, Struble told MusicFeeds, “I wanted to see what would happen if I didn’t give myself any rules. I just wanted the listener to feel like dancing and to see how much fun I was having making the record.”

The singer’s enthusiasm for the album was palpable and contagious, leaving audience members on all three levels of the venue moving to the music. The use of more electronic elements in this album adapts Struble’s characteristically dreamy sound to a more crisp, retro vibe with the performance atmosphere to match. The bright, techno songs that comprise “People in Motion” are reminiscent of 80’s pop music which, when combined with Dayglow’s colorful, art-deco inspired visuals, transported viewers into what felt like an MTV video.

Jack Rutter, known by his stage name Ritt Momney, was the opener for Dayglow’s North American tour and perfectly set the tone for the evening. His chill, indie music got the audience loose for the headliner, providing mellow instrumentals with unarticulated lyrics for listeners to groove along to. The artist started off the night with his song, “Escalator,” which is backed by a punchy, techno track and smooth vocals. This opening song captured the essence of the evening by resembling the vintage, electronic appeal of Dayglow’s newest album.

The middle of the set was devoted to Rutter’s rendition of Corinne Bailey Rae’s “Put Your Records On,” the song which first gained him widespread popularity on TikTok in 2020. The audience erupted as people sang along to the nostalgic track and this energy continued for the remainder of Ritt Momney’s performance. During the last song, audience excitement for Dayglow was so high that the sound of people’s anticipatory conversations were drowning out the soft vocals of Rutter’s, “(If) the Book Doesn’t Sell.”

When Dayglow took the stage the audience came alive with enthusiasm. The band started off their set with, “Radio,” the second track of the group’s new LP. The song lended itself to the nostalgic theme of the night with meaningful lyrics, discussing the regression and idolization of childhood excitement for the future, which were masked by an upbeat melody.
Despite the release of “People In Motion,” Dayglow’s expertly designed set moved seamlessly through a variety of songs spanning their three albums. The band played crowd pleasers like “Hot Rod” from their freshman album, “Fuzzybrain,” as well as “Medicine,” from the album “Harmony House.” These songs seemed to have more of an influence on the crowd than some of the group’s newer songs, either out of sheer popularity or from the audience’s lack of familiarity with the new album.

The band kept audience members on their toes by playing classic 80’s jams like “Funky Town” by Lipps Inc. and “You Can Call Me Al,” by Paul Simon. These hits were arranged intentionally within the set to blend into some of Dayglow’s songs, like “Medicine.” The inclusion of these fun, well-known songs helped excite audience members and furthered the retro atmosphere of the show.

During the group’s performance of “Junior Varsity,'' Struble invited the audience to share an emotional moment with him after explaining that he has experienced a lot of change in his life recently and how he wanted the song to be representative of this. The relatable lyrics of “Junior Varsity,” and Struble’s heartfelt message created a genuine connection between him and the audience in that moment, which left the crowd cheering and the lead singer clutching his heart by the end of the song.

Even with these meaningful audience interactions sprinkled throughout the band’s set, Dayglow was able to maintain the audience’s energy and create a fun, easygoing atmosphere filled with the lead singer’s own excitement and quirky dance moves.

Dayglow closed out their set with a series of high-energy, danceable songs for the audience to let loose to, including, “Then It All Goes Away,” and “Turn Around,” from their new album. The crowd went crazy for “Close To You,” a hit song from the band’s sophomore album and the closing number of the show. The venue erupted with audience members cheering and singing along as Struble danced around the stage. As the song concluded the lead singer gazed at the hoard of adoring fans in front of him with sincere joy and gratitude, which could be felt by viewers, before he bowed and jogged off the stage.

However, even after this incredible, fun-loving, performance the audience was not ready to say goodbye and demanded an encore. Dayglow excitedly took the stage once again, playing more funky tunes like “Second Nature,” from “People In Motion.” Struble’s childlike innocence encouraged audience members to dance and jump along with him and just have fun.

Struble concluded the encore by literally conducting his band members to hold out the last note of the evening in an epic fermatta, representative of the audiences’ unwillingness to let the night come to an end.

Dayglow’s pure, fun-loving energy made this performance unforgettable. If the band wasn’t already a must-see in your concert wish-list, the ‘People In Motion’ North American Tour proved that they should be.