by Taylar Kobylas
If you’ve ever seen JR JR live, you know that their shows in Detroit are unlike any other. Between the marquis lighting, and zeal for the people of their hometown, the energy just couldn’t be matched. This go around, however, they accompanied the usual jams with support of a good cause: The Second Annual Gigs for Digs benefit.
Abandoning the flash of an extensive lighting design or stage setup, JR JR stripped down a little for their set. They took to the stage in, what I can only describe as, Technicolor dream coats. An awkwardly small dance floor emerged near the stage, engulfing the formal dining tables set up for the event.
The group ended up playing the full spectrum of their work, opening with cult classic “We Almost Lost Detroit.” Also, they showcased the more recent “James Dean” and played everything from “Simple Girl” to “War Zone” to “Run”. JR JR even laid down their own rendition of TLC’s “Waterfalls“. Front man Daniel Zott leapt off the stage to open up a dance circle with the energized fans below.
JR JR added a layer of humor with their super random Beatles song game. The band started playing the music of one Beatles song and someone else would sing lyrics from a different Beatles song to match the melody. Joshua Epstein, the co-front man, eventually invited his mom on stage to play the game, which she met with gusto. A goofy nugget in an otherwise well preformed show that reinforced their remaining ties to Detroit, as well as their continued sense of not taking themselves too seriously
I’ve been a bit indifferent about these guys since they opted to go more mainstream. They changed their playful and humorous band name/vibe from “Dale Earnhardt. Jr. Jr.”, to the less quirky “JR JR”. But, it’s evident that they’re still strong, from music to lyrics to the Detroit roots they represent with pride.