IN STUDIO: The Districts

Their name is The Districts, and if you haven’t listened to them yet, you should probably start now.

The 4-man band stopped by the WERS 88.9 studio today to play a couple of songs in honor of Live Music Week. This past January, The Districts released a self-titled EP featuring five tracks. The EP included some older songs as well as some new ones and was released through Fat Possum Records. Their current tour called for two stops in Boston, and our radio station was excited to have them come in and perform.

Sporting pullovers and jeans, the band sat down with their respective instruments and made themselves at home. A ‘rock, paper, scissors’ match was held to determine who got the last water bottle (drummer Braden Lawrence did, despite doing a thumbs-up instead of a rock symbol). The members all joked and smiled with one another as they warmed up.

This cheery atmosphere transferred over to their music as The Districts began their performance. Lead singer Rob Grote described their sound as a “mash-up of blues, folk, and rock.” The first song they played, “Rocking Chair,” began with sweet sounding guitar strokes. After a few seconds, Grote’s vocals kicked in, taking the room by storm. The sounds of “Rocking Chair” were transcending and dream-like, elevating beyond expectation. The band joined in harmony for a series of “oooo”s and upbeat “wooo!”s between verses. Maracas and bells accompanied the more traditional instruments, making for a unique sound. 

Surprisingly, this was the first time the members of The Districts had visited Boston, let alone WERS. Being from a small town in Pennsylvania, the band agreed that getting to travel to new places and do what they love has been truly rewarding. They were excited to get out and tour and noted that “Waking up in a different place every day keeps you on your toes. There’s no time to dwell, only to move forward.”

The second song the band played was titled “Stay Open.” Guitarist Mark Larson joined in with Grote on vocals for this one, their voices harmonizing and creating soaring melodies as they sang lines such as “Stay open / To catch my fall / … Won’t give my love for free / Please, take it from me.” Grote writes the lyrics for the band’s music and draws inspiration from “reflections on experiences and their emotional impacts.” The live acoustic version of the song was reminiscent of a wildflower blooming in the desert, a warmth strong enough to thaw the bitter cold of this winter day.

The band has been enjoying their current tour with White Denim, playing packed shows with positive audience responses. Their favorite song to perform on stage is actually a new one titled “Chlorine.” The band loves playing new music live, stating that it “feels fresh” and is a nice change of pace. This is good news to fans who are eagerly anticipating new music from The Districts. The band has a busy next few months ahead of them, making stops all across the country and even the UK. They will be touring with Dr. Dog this summer and playing at big name music festivals such as Sasquatch, Shaky Knees, and Boston’s very own Boston Calling.

At the end of their performance, The Districts thanked WERS and quietly packed up. Still lingering in the studio was the impact of their glorious acoustic session. The band was almost ready to leave, but not without a mutual declaration of “Boston rocks!”

Be sure to keep up with The Districts and listen to Live Music Week on 88.9 WERS.

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