Fresh off their performance at the Austin City Limits festival and perhaps a bit less fresh after the long drive straight over from Austin… Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. found themselves very well-loved in the intimate environs of the Drunken Unicorn. The duo, with their audience-tested, “more attractive” drummer, Mike, brought some of the special light of Detroit to the LED-lit cellar that is the Unicorn. Dropping their famous race suits for a nod to the Detroit Tigers, with matching Tigers jackets and shirts featuring their album, Esptein and Zott brought the crowd to a fever pitch almost from the get-go, throwing energy into every one of the album cuts from It’s A Corporate World they slung to a both packed and energetic crowd.
A highlight of the evening included an over-the-top rendition of We Almost Lost Detroit, played to an appreciative Michigan-heavy, stage-side crowd. Perhaps the most soulful and also frenetic moment of the night came with their amazing cover of Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody.
Jr. Jr followed the bulk of the set with an encore lit by blacklight and their requisite glow-in-the-dark patchwork “JR” jackets, taking us to the close on a surreal and wonderfully ridiculous note. Alternating between soulful pop vocals, dance breakdowns, copious bubbles, and a thoroughly bro-mantic stage presence, the chemistry and fun-loving garage origins of the group could not be more evident… or lovable.