IAN SWEET is touring for her third album, 2021’s Show Me How You Disappear (via Polyvinyl). The stylized moniker is the stage name for Jilian Medford, from Los Angeles, who started in 2016. (Note: I’ll use her stage name below.)
Her and the two members of the band came correct to Songbyrd Music House on July 29th, giving the robust sea of young concert revelers a first-rate evening of indie rock and anecdotes.
After the openers, BNNY, left the healthy, growing crowd happy, IAN SWEET jumped started the 12-song set with “Drink the Lake”, the first of five they played from the new album. The song speaks to trying new ways to forget someone. For all the songs from the album, recording it was a way for IAN to fight through her anxieties. It was an exercise in self-forgiveness, during a time of a mental health crisis and the healing process.
The third song was “Dumb Driver”, the first song she started recording for the new album in 2018. It’s about how she gets so excited to get home driving in her car, all the while forgetting that the person she is excited to see is gone.
IAN SWEET’s leotard may have shouted ‘ready for yoga’ or ‘let’s never stop dancing’. Sadly no yoga, but she went all in on the latter. She danced and played the guitar for most of the songs. She told many a tale during the set, and was thoroughly chuffed that it was Friday night (‘Let’s absolutely rock, it’s Friday night!’), like when she asked the crowd what they were doing after the show:
IAN: “What are you doing after this?”
Rando in Crowd: “(inaudible)”
IAN: “Showtime! Showtime, is that a bar?”
Rando in Crowd: “(inaudible affirmation)”
IAN: “Dope, let’s go!”
She also spared no details in describing herself to the crowd, which we can ascribe as the primary reason she came across as relatable, and someone that you would actually want to hang out with at Showtime. Other nuggets we learned; her dog’s name is Blueberry, her dream is to open for Coldplay, and her day job is to compose music for movie trailers. But being a touring musician is her passion, which we in the crowd benefited from mightily.
As they were getting ready to perform “Die a Million Times”, IAN showed her annoyance that the crowd was holding back from the stage, leaving a huge gap. She encouraged everyone to come closer (they did) and for everyone to ‘dance a little bit’ (some did).
She closed out the main set with three songs from Show Me How You Disappear. The second one was “Get Better”, an especially powerful song for her during the healing process. As she tells it: “This song came from being stuck in an infinite loop of destructive thoughts and the only way to get out of my head was to repeat my goal over and over. By saying ‘I want to get better, better, better’ out loud, I started to feel something.”
The main set ended with “Sword”, a funky, dance number that proved to be such a flourish of rocking out that I’m sure they heard it all the way over at Showtime. I don’t know if IAN actually went to Showtime after the show, but we can believe it in our hearts.
The brief encore was appropriately her popular cover of Coldplay’s “Yellow”. She’s already auditioning to be the opener on their next tour. It was a strong rendition, so please notify Chris Martin. As the last notes faded, it was one final shiny object for the crowd to buzz and crow about as they exited, ever slightly more improved in musical experience for having attended an IAN SWEET concert at Songbyrd Music House.
Do get chuffed about purchasing Show Me How You Disappear, and keep an eye out for when she returns to DC.
- Drink the Lake
- Dumb Driver
- Die a Million Times
- Star Stuff
- All Skaters Go to Heaven
- Get Better
- Yellow (Coldplay cover)