Home » A+E » Shorter name, same sound: Michigan-based JR JR set to perform in Columbus
Joshua Epstein and Daniel Zott perform on Conan O'Brien's TV show. Credit: Courtesy of JR JR

Shorter name, same sound: Michigan-based JR JR set to perform in Columbus

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The ethereal, melodic-yet-danceable blend of alternative indie duo JR JR of Detroit is heading to Columbus’ own A&R Music Bar to warm up the falling temperatures Wednesday with their synth sounds and fluid bass lines.

JR JR was formerly known as Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. but still consists of the same members: Daniel Zott and Joshua Epstein.

“The name in the beginning was almost an afterthought. But then it was like the name had become another band member. It was really just a way for us to take our voice as artists back,” Epstein said.

It’s an understandable move when the band has recalled times when NASCAR fans showed up to their shows wearing cowboy hats while looking very confused.

Regardless of what moniker they decide to go by, JR JR brings bright and happy tracks to the table. Their music gets one’s heart beating with more feeling and head bobbing along to the quick drum beats with bass parts that resound through people’s chests.

The harmonization of Epstein’s and Zott’s voices and their respective instruments complement every track, especially fancy little things like the whistling melody in the song “Gone” from their latest self-titled album.

“We hope that our fans here in Columbus embrace the name change, and we’re really trying to empower them to just come out and celebrate a new chapter in our band’s life,” Epstein said. “It will be a good mix of our older music and stuff from our new album. Like a 50-50 split I would say. “

Epstein said he is excited to play in a college town.

“I just think college kids have really open minds, and that mindset is just really in line with what we do,” he said.

CD 102.5, a Columbus alternative radio station, is is hosting the concert at A&R Music Bar, and Epstein said the band has received a lot of support from the station, which it appreciates.

“Columbus was part of the tour schedule, but the city is also in the top 25 cities in America, so it was just a natural choice,” Epstein said when asked why they picked a venue here.

The band’s electronic sounds fill a cool, at-ease place in one’s mind but keep the beat alive with the harmonics of Zott and Epstein’s voices along with an array of bass-hitting progressions and loud keyboard notes.

Songs like “James Dean” and “Run” switch the tempo up mid-song and for the choruses. Both have calm parts and singing harmonies, like pretty much all of JR JR’s songs.

JR JR plays on Wednesday at A&R Music Bar in Columbus with opener Brothertiger. Tickets are $15. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

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