On November 11, 2022, California based artist Field Medic made a stop at the Songbyrd Music House in Washington, DC. Accompanied by a band for the first time, fans were ecstatic to see and hear the new versions of their favorite songs! Write up by Ella Donovan with photos by Madalyn Schaller, if reposting images please credit @madalyns.photos / @almostfamouszine.
Kevin Sullivan, the name behind Field Medic, has been performing for years. The first time I had seen him was in 2018 when he opened for Wallows, and I was hooked. At that time, his stage presence was strong and his charisma showed, making both myself and photographer Madalyn Schaller fall in love with his music and style. These characteristics have only gotten stronger, as we continued to attend his shows as the years progressed. At all of these shows, Field Medic had been a solo opening act: he played his acoustic guitar and harmonica, and used a boombox for the drum beats. Now that his blend of lo-fi folk pop has spread to a larger fan base, Kevin decided it was time for his first headlining tour.
Field Medic wanted to make this tour extra special, so he asked a few of his friends to join him in his band. Drummer Nate Lich and bassist Dakota Floeter played with Kevin on most of the set, which gave many of the iconic Field Medic songs a much fuller sound. For example, during the duet song “talking johnny and june (your arms around me),” Nate played the mandolin and sang with Kevin. Their dynamic together was joyful and playful, which directly translated into the crowd. Everyone cheered and had smiles on their faces as they sang to one another. Having a combination of multiple instruments and multiple voices, and seeing the friendships present in the band made this song even better than the original.
For the first song on the setlist, Field Medic played “weekends” off of his most recent album, grow your hair long if you’re wanting to see something that you can change. Many of the songs on the setlist were from this recent album, but as the show progressed, he was sure to add many crowd favorites such as “p e g a s u s t h o t z,” “do a little dope,” “used 2 be a romantic,” and “uuu.” As you can see, Kevin chose to feature a mix of his “emo” songs and his upbeat songs.
In between each song, Kevin spoke to the crowd with a sincere and friendly tone. It felt as if we were all his close friends, and it made the show much more intimate. As he told us the stories behind each song, he gave us insight into his songwriting process. His songs often directly relate to the emotions he feels as he ventures through life. He spoke about how some songs he wrote were only ever recorded, and that some of them weren’t meant for the live stage. By hearing his thoughts about each song, Kevin revealed that sometimes his songs are meant to be written, recorded and then moved on from.
Towards the end of the show, Field Medic played “POWERFUL LOVE.” Although most of his music is mellow, Kevin enjoys when his fans open up mosh pits during his shows. During this song, a mini-pit started and we all jumped and danced around together. It was a great ending; all of the fans had a moment to connect with each other and finish the night strong.
This was not my first Field Medic show, but it was definitely my favorite. Seeing the progress that Kevin has made over these years is very exciting, and the success that he is finding is well deserved. Not only is he an amazing musician, but he is also an amazing person who cares deeply for his fans. Make sure to go listen to his recent album, grow your hair long if you’re wanting to see something that you can change, and if he is coming to a city near you, be sure to get tickets!