When people think of Washington, D.C., they generally focus on the current state of politics, the various monuments, and maybe some of the more famous museums. However, exploring beyond that veneer reveals a wildly diverse city, especially evident when delving through the layers of the vibrant music scene. D.C. music traditions span a wide gamut, from staple genres like punk and go-go to more recent additions of genre-bending Americana/pop.
Sub-Radio are D.C. area natives and a perfect example of the new musical traditions taking root. A sextet composed of Adam Bradley, Matt Prodanovich, Michael Pereira, John Fengya, Barry Siford, and Kyle Cochran, Sub-Radio’s sound wanders through bits of electronica, americana, funk/soul, all while firmly keeping planted in an infectious modern pop sound.
I was lucky enough to shoot their packed hometown show at DC9 Nightclub in the U Street neighborhood after the band finished a breakneck cross-country tour of 33 dates across 22 states. Beyond ecstatic that they sold out this hometown finale, Sub-Radio put on a performance that tore the house down.
Diving into the set with 2018’s aptly named “Headfirst,” they wasted no time grabbing the crowd’s attention and setting them in motion. Despite being at the end of a grueling tour, there was no lull in energy as the guys ripped through a mix of recent 2017/2018 tracks like “Flashback,” “Emotional,” and “Was It Good For You?,” as well as new material off 2019’s Dog Years EP and some surprising covers of modern classics like The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside” and Fall Out Boy’s “Sugar, We’re Going Down.”
LIVING LIFE FEARLESS first covered Sub-Radio just two short years ago in the summer of 2017. This time around, their growth as performers and artists was evident in every bit of their show at DC9. They carried the same energy and personality, but with the addition of a subtle confidence and entertaining swagger. Unlike some bands who manage to perfect a stage show but leave songwriting lacking, one of the many highlights of the night came in “Dreamcatcher” off the Dog Years EP: a softer track that started as a demo and grew into something more; a ballad showcasing their growing talents as songsmiths with accessible love song lyrics and beautiful pop vocal harmonies.
All in dog yearsEvery minute never lasts too long Fall down, stay here Feels like fiction We get this one
I like looking at you looking at me, oh and you’re my Dreamcatcher You love me better than I love myself and you’re my Dreamcatcher, dreamcatcher
– “Dreamcatcher” off Dog Years EP (2019)
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but unfortunately these pictures can’t capture the addictive energy present in every moment of a Sub-Radio show. They have a genuine love for their music, their fans, and their performance that is a rare find—a one-of-a-kind performance.