Detroit, Mich.-based band Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. gets it.
They get catchy songwriting, production value and negative space being as important as tones. They get being serious and goofy at the same time. And most of all, they get that live performance isn't just playing the music they've written, but that it's a separate and unique presentation that deserves the same amount of thought and creativity that goes into writing a song.
DEJJ's spacious pop music sounds retro and futuristic all at once, imbuing peppy indie and electro-pop chops with the spirit of experimentation that came with early advances in recording technology. It's no surprise they cover The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows." If Brian Wilson were a product of the modern era, there's a good chance he'd sound like Jr. Jr.
And when DEJJ steps onstage, they bring costumes, lights, bubble-machines and a grip of skeleton masks—they invite the audience to wear the masks and join them onstage.
"The only reason you get to play the show is because people came to it, and that inherently makes it their show. So if the people want to get onstage and sing, they have the right to do that, I think," said DEJJ guitarist Joshua Epstein.
If you want to see what it all looks like, check out Episode 30 of Scenes From a Scene, Boise Weekly's continuing and award-winning video music series.