The Districts begin and end with lead singer and guitarist Rob Grote. While watching him perform, one cannot help but conjure up comparisons to Deer Tick’s John McCauley. Grote uses his gravely voice to work his way through both high-energy rockers and emotional ballads the same way the McCauley has for the past decade. McCauley himself picked up on this, and has tapped The Districts to open for Deer Tick multiple times, including during their 10-year anniversary run at Brooklyn Bowl in December.The band rocked the Valentine’s Day crowd through every song from their recent album, released this past Tuesday, as well as some older fan favorites from their 2013 self-released album, Telephone. They opened with “Rocking Chair,” a good sample of what you will get out of a Districts show: some folk, some rock and roll and even some punk flair during the live show for good measure. Grote commands attention. It is impossible to take your eyes off of him throughout the show. He has a frenetic energy and a voice that surprises you every time he sings a line. His prose is mature and the melodies highly refined. These songs do not sound like they are coming from a band making their major label debut less than a couple years out of high school. Grote has mentioned in past interviews that he does not want their age to be a gimmick, but it is impossible to ignore their youth while being amazed by what they are producing.After the opener, the band transitioned into “Chlorine,” a break-up song that displays the emotion Grote’s vocals can inject into a track as he repeats “It’s such a shame, nobody’s feeling it now / It’s not that way anymore.” In a display of the diversity of their sound, the garage rock, droning “Hounds” followed. The band then broke into “Lyla” off their self-titled EP that broke the crowd into choreographed la-da-di-da’s.The middle of the set was highlighted by “Peaches” and the brooding “Suburban Smell” that Grote performed solo and could describe a glimpse into the decision the band made moving from Lancaster, PA to Philadelphia. Grote sings: “There’s 16 homes on every streetThey all of course lie in the neatest rowsCradling broken homes and dinner prayersRocking us all to sleep in bones.Which one’s mine, I can’t tell?Sick of that suburban smellThey look the same, look the same.”The band ramped up the energy for the final two songs of the set with “Long Distance” and “4th and Roebling.” The former provided the loudest crowd sing-a-long of the evening and was an indication of the admiration the crowd has for their local soon-to-be stars. During the chorus, Grote stepped back and let the crowd shout “Is it easier?” which brought a smile across his face. “We have played here a handful of times, but never did we expect anything like this,” Grote humbly told the crowd referencing the packed, sold out venue. After a quick encore break, Grote returned solo. He told the crowd that the band will not be back in the area for a while, referencing the band’s upcoming world tour (see below), and asked if they could do a few more to the crowd’s approval. Grote opened up the encore with “6AM,” an introspective ballad. “I’m scared and that’s the best that I can say,” he sings. The song moves from the singer’s own insecurities to a lost relationship: “I’m still tugging on your hand, like when I was innocent / We used to only lie when we needed sleep.” While Grote’s confident voice is shown off throughout his songs, he reverts back to his quiet, reserved self in-between songs when he talks to the crowd. It is very clear he is the most comfortable in his own skin when he is performing, which makes songs like “6AM” even more powerful, as it seems to be a true glimpse of him as a person.The song that propelled The Districts onto the scene is “Funeral Beds.” The song opens with Grote on harmonica and returned the set back to its folk-rock roots. The song is a builder. The beginning sounds like a classic Americana song, then slowly snowballs with energy until it bursts open at its apex behind the jumping crowd and Grote’s manic, yet contained vocals. The band closed with the highlight of A Flourish and A Spoil, “Young Blood.” This was the first time the band really showed off their musical chops, with an extended jam towards the end of the song; the hometown crowd feeding off of the band’s energy on stage. The song finishes with the repeated lyric: “It’s a long way down from the top to the bottom / It’s a long way back to a high from where I am.” It is a long way down from the top to the bottom, but the way that The Districts are trending, that distance is soon going to be even greater.Set List:Rocking ChairChlorineHoundsLylaHeavy BegsCall BoxSing The SongPeachesSuburban Smell (Grote solo)BoldLong Distance4th and Roebling——6AM (Grote solo)Funeral BedsYoung BloodThe Districts Tour Dates:17 Feb – Club Café –Pittsburgh, PA18 Feb – Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto, ON20 Feb – Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL21 Feb – High Noon Saloon – Madison, WI22 Feb – 7th St Entry – Minneapolis, MN24 Feb – Off Broadway – St. Louis, MO25 Feb – Record Bar – Kansas City, MO27 Feb – Larimer Lounge – Denver, CO28 Feb – Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT2 March – Doug Fir – Portland, OR3 March – Fortune – Vancouver, BC4 March – Tractor Tavern – Seattle, WA6 March – The Independent – San Francisco, CA7 March – Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA8 March – The Casbah – San Diego, CA10 March – Last Exit – Phoenix, AZ11 March- Club Congress – Tuscon, AZ13 March- The Loft – Dallas, TX14 March- Fitzgerald’s – Houston, TX15 March- Gasa Gasa – New Orleans, LA16 March- Proud Larry’s – Oxford, MS22 March- The Bottletree – Birmingham, AL23 March- Aisle 5 – Atlanta, GA24 March- The Grey Eagle – Asheville, NC26 March- Local 506 – Chapel Hill, NC27 March- Rock N Roll Hotel – Washington, DC 9 April- Rotunde – Brussels, Belgium10 April- Motel Mozaique – Rotterdam, Netherlands11 April- Luxor – Cologne, Germany13 April- Uebel & Gefahrlich – Hamburg, Germany14 April- Little Vega – Copenhagen, Denmark16 April- Lido- Berlin, Germany17 April- B72 – Vienna, Austria18 April- Strom – Munich, Germany 20 April- Hafenkneipe – Zurich, Switzerland21 April- Magnolia – Milan, Italy23 April- Zoom – Frankfurt, Germany24 April- London Calling – Amsterdam, Netherlands27 April- Green Door Store – Brighton, UK28 April- Scala- London, UK29 April- Deaf Institute – Machester, UK30 April- King Tuts – Glasgow, Scotland2 May- Academy 2 – Dublin, Ireland16 May- Hangout Festival- Gulf Shores, AL5 June- Governor’s Ball – Randall’s Island Park, NYC11-14 June- Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival- Manchester, TN21 Aug- P Stereo Festival- Trondheim, Norway Last night felt like a culmination of sorts. The Districts‘ show at Union Transfer in Philadelphia was another measure of the band’s meteoric rise in popularity. Last October, the band opened up for Temples at the same venue, putting on a rocking show that nearly eclipsed the headliners. A few months later, and the band has released their major-label debut A Flourish and A Spoil, made their national television debut on Late Night with Seth Meyers, and found themselves on many major festival lineups (Bonnaroo, Sasquatch, Hangout Fest). Now, on Valentine’s Day, The Districts returned to Union Transfer as headliners, and performed to a sold out crowd.