A few minutes after JPEGMAFIA hit the stage, I rushed down the stairs of Songbyrd, still riding the high of finding a parking spot in Adams Morgan on a Saturday night. As I approached the heavy red curtains to the final stack of stairs to the basement, I could already hear the sound of 200 bodies cramming closer and closer to the stage.
JPEGMAFIA, affectionately known as Peggy, who released the self-produced Veteran earlier this year to critical acclaim, is in the midst of his Reverse Christopher Columbus tour, which started last month in Vancouver and ends in Belgium in November. The night before, he performed in Baltimore, where he came into his own as an artist and a performer. On “1539 N. Calvert,” he immortalized the now-defunct DIY arts warehouse, where he ingrained himself among a network of artists, collaborators, and friends in the city.
Peggy spent the majority of his set offstage at the center of a vortex of sweaty bodies in the middle of the humid room. In between songs, he returned to the stage to regain his breath, queue up the next instrumental from his laptop, and have conversations with fans who belted out song requests and adorations.