A half-hour before the band’s first show, D.C. foursome Near Northeast settled on their moniker, after the neighborhood that housed their first practice space. Later, they found out that the area was historically known as “Swampoodle,” a name befitting a more twee, playful or whimsical band.
Near Northeast is not that. Instead, the band — violinist-vocalist Kelly Servick, bassist Austin Blanton, guitarist Avy Mallik, drummer Antonio Skarica — explores folk-rock romanticism, first on the 2015 debut “Curios” and on the album two years later, “True Mirror.” The latter shows the growth, trust and experimentation that comes from playing together for a handful of years, and is full of electronic flourishes, ambient interludes and melodies that nod to Mallik’s Indian and Skarica’s Bosnian roots.
The band name reflects ordinal fortitude, grounded in a real place. “I’ve been thinking about the ways that people relate to their cities, and the experience of living in a big machine of an institution and finding warm personal spaces and ways to feel safe in cities,” Servick says. “We’ve been able to find a really beautiful community and a lot of spaces that are very supportive of artistry and creativity, and I think that runs underneath the giant machine of Washington, D.C., as it’s perceived from the outside.”
Although they’ve had good experiences at traditional venues, some of the band’s most meaningful shows have been in living rooms, with their friends and colleagues offering input in what often feels like an open rehearsal. In kind, the band’s latest show will be at Dwell, an off-the-grid, red-brick carriage house and recent addition to the city’s storied DIY art space tradition. Appropriately enough, Dwell is in Near Northeast.
Show: March 31 at 7:30 p.m. at Dwell D.C. $10.