Dale_Earnhardt_ Jr._ Jr._trueblue_magazine_6 Music

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. & Chad Valley’s Dance Party Warms Up The ATL

Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein formed Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. in late 2009 outside of Detroit in Royal Oak, Michigan as a project they never really intended to go beyond Zott’s basement (hence the goofy-ass name). Fate had a welcome surprise in store however and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. basically took off immediately and has shown little to no signs of slowing since. A very large reason for that is the band’s incredibly jubilant live shows, which have gained nationwide renown in recent years for their beyond-festive atmosphere.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s recent Atlanta show with London’s Chad Valley was no different, as the gorgeously wonderful Terminal West was packed to the gills with party people dressed in neon, a fella in a banana outfit, a guy wearing that scorpion jacket from the film Drive and people in even brighter than you’d ever think possible neon. My admittedly jaded first reaction to all this unbridled jubilation was to snicker a bit, but there is genuine love in the air while Dale Jr. Jr. is onstage, and their acolyte’s devotion reminded me of something you’d see at a Phish show (I mean that in a good way). These kids, with their borrowed nostalgia for the unremembered 80’s, have the kind of visceral, unbridled passion for their band that’s hard to ignore, even for a cold, weathered, jaded vet such as myself.

I’d never seen Chad Valley before and was certainly impressed with Hugo Manuel’s slick project, which served as a perfect appetizer for the glitter-fueled dance party that was to come. It’s very easy to see Manuel taking his place along side the Twin Shadows and Active Childs of the world and in fact, Chad Valley has already collaborated with both. His 2012 debut full length Young Hunger is definitely worth a spin the next time you’re looking to get your boogie on.

By now Zott and Epstein are seasoned vets and handle the crowd like benevolent puppeteers from the stage. Even when an overly enthusiastic fan-bro jumped on stage to dance with the band mid-song, Zott shook his head disapprovingly (while still singing, leaping and bounding around the stage) and like *that* fan-bro was back down with the huddled, sweaty, neon masses. The incident was indicative of the entire experience: a professional, well polished “good time” machine that shows no signs of slowing.

All photo credit: Caitlin Webb Photography

Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s full live on KEXP performance:

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