Show Review: Daughter Makes Seattle All Emotional

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“Indie Folk” is the genre label often tossed on British band
Daughter. But labels never do anything justice. Daughter’s music, to quote
someone I hardly know, is mildly terrifying and deeply liberating. Its
bleakness threatens to eat the world up, but it also radiates hope. Gun to my eye, I’d label Daughter’s music as Indie Emotional. Yup.

Halfway through their set last night, a fan in the
crowd said, loud but respectful, “Thanks for what you give us.”

The Neptune was sold out, and we all stood shoulder to
shoulder feeling emotional as Daughter blessed us. Back
to back heat. Their music is relatable in an embarrassing way. It exposes our
inner natures, our unspoken thoughts, our underlying values, and all the associated darkness.

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The set list comprised a lot of songs from latest album “Not
to Disappear,” but made room for fan favorites. The opening chords of Youth, by and far Daughter’s most
popular song, met with an immense cheer. Masterpiece.

The light show kept pace with the music, flashing-exploding at
the violent parts and glowing at the low-key parts. Various shades of purple and
blue played a dominant role, and oddly embodied Daughter’s whole vibe pretty
perfectly.

Frontwoman Elena Tonra’s voice sounded just
as rich and beautiful in person. I know, impossible right? Throughout the show
I stood staring astounded. Emotion dripped like honey from every word. The
memory haunts me, but in a good way.

I started listening to Daughter at the emotional age of 15.
Yeah, it was totally hardcore. “The Wild Youth EP” soundtracked most of my adolescent
conundrums and setbacks and victories. I didn’t have a beard back then. Woah.

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Well, here I am now, five years later, bearded, a couple
inches taller, and I love Daughter even more. I grew with their music. I grew
to their music. Seeing them live, wow. What a privilege. I went to high school
in a small town up on a secluded hill in South India. I never ever even dreamed
I’d see Daughter live. They were just another option on my iPod Touch.

They’re so much better live. The music, unbounded by a
recording, burst forth wild and triumphant. Yeah, triumphant. Plus, the guitars
resonate. Arena music in an intimate environment. Outer space guitars, man.
Outer space vocals, man. Outer space, man. Seeing them all up there, doing
their thing, perfectly on time with every element, holy cow.

Listening to Daughter on Spotify will never be the same—The
divine memory of their live sound will forever haunt and augment.

I’m so emotional.

~Pranav Shivanna

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Live Review: Loud Rock Reigns at Showbox SoDo

On Thursday night I had the opportunity to see a show at the Showbox SoDo featuring indie rock titans Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Death From Above 1979.  The spacious converted warehouse provided a nice backdrop to one of the loudest concert experiences I’ve ever had.  Seriously, if you’re seeing a show here any time soon, bite the bullet and spring for some earplugs.  You’ll regret it if you don’t.  I tend to prefer more intimate concert experiences; smaller, sweatier venues are really more my style.  The SoDo isn’t that at all, with its high ceilings and air-conditioned floor.  Still, the show was a good one.

The openers for the two main acts were L.A. punk duo Deap Vally, who brought a lot of energy into a raucous, noisy set.  Featuring Karen O-like wails from lead singer Lindsey Troy, the band crashed through a tight set, capped with standout closer “Royal Jelly”.  Deap Vally is touring behind their sophomore LP, Femejism, and they injected a lot of life into the smaller crowd, as people clearly there for one headliner or another started to trickle onto the main floor.  There were plenty of reminders that they were an opener; they played in front of a looming DFA1979 graphic, and mentioned their opener status multiple times.  However, they did a great job in that role.

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The second act of the night was Death From Above 1979, another duo, but this time one from Toronto.  These two have been revered in the indie scene since the release of their debut LP, 2004’s You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine (which I would absolutely recommend giving a listen), and even though they’re both well into their thirties, they brought an incredible energy to the set.  Drummer and vocalist Sebastien Grainger screamed his heart out and thrashed his kit, and bassist Jesse Keeler kept an unreal air of cool as he tore through some very technical and challenging riffs on his heavily distorted and booming bass.  Though it was during these guys’ set that I started to notice exactly how loud it was in the venue, I didn’t really care: they absolutely killed it.  They put an extended middle section into You’re a Woman… single “Romantic Rights”, which turned out to be probably the highlight of the night, as they built the anticipation up for almost two minutes before laying into another incredible minute of the track.  As they left to an impressive light display, it was clear that the bar for the next band was set very high.

Finally, out stepped the true veterans of the night.  Around since their formation in 1998, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were the elder statesmen of the evening, and their set started to show signs of fatigue.  The band hasn’t released a new album since 2013’s The Spectre at the Feast, and although that record is a decent one, it has started to become apparent that they need some new material.  Though they did well at the start (with the highlight track from Spectre, “Let the Day Begin”, breathing some life into the set), the rest of the set was less than inspiring.  Noise fatigue had started to settle in for me, and going from the incredible energy of DFA1979 to the more subdued, bluesy BRMC set was not a great transition for the latter band.  They put on a brave face, but their set, and likely their audience as well, are starting to get tired.

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The show was punctuated with some great lighting as well, setting an ominous tone for BRMC’s set that works well for their style.  It was a good show in a big venue, and even though I felt the SoDo’s size for every second of every set, I had a blast.

A good show for listeners of: The Black Keys, The Dead Weather, Japandroids, Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Sample Tracks:

Deap Vally: “Royal Jelly”

Death From Above 1979: “Right On, Frankenstein!”  “Romantic Rights”

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: “Let the Day Begin”  “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo”

John Morse

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Live Review: Panama Wedding, Griswolds and Magic Man bring down Neumos

The other night I saw three electro-pop bands that, if you so choose to listen to, might make you break out in a happy dance. Yes, the good vibes were all around the other night at the Neumos when I was able to see Panama Wedding, The Griswolds and Magic Man. The stop in Cap Hill was part of their “Hotline Spring Tour” and I was little disappointed that it included no Drake covers. Truth be told, I hadn’t done much listening to these acts but what I got was pretty much what I expected. Throughout the show, the bands delivered high-tempo tunes that made everyone hop around.

First we had the synth-heavy, melodic guys from Brooklyn, NY and honestly I thought they out-performed everyone else that would later come on that stage. Panama Wedding hasn’t really released that much music, but they’ve done pretty well with their two EPs. What makes this band really fun to see is their frontman, Peter Kirk, who’s voice is just really purely beautiful. Their music isn’t too complicated but it doesn’t feel like it has to be. The highlight of the show for me was “Uma”, a song that is just way too fun to sing along to and one that’s been stuck in my head since the other night.

Next we had a couple of Aussies who did their best to follow P-Wed. The Griswolds have done pretty well with their debut album Be Impressive that was released last year. Frontman Christopher Whitehall has got electric pink hair that tells you right away that this guy gets freaky with it. This band seems like they’re going to become bigger and bigger because their songs are just like really fun, guilt-free, cruelty-free pop music.

Headlining this mutha was Magic Man, a band out of BOSTON (MY HOMETOWN!) that has a way bigger following than I was aware of. Their frontman, Alex Caplow, was not about to be out-hyped by the Griswolds. He came out fiery and made this band go. Sonically, they don’t differ too much from the other bands, which I guess makes sense because they were touring with them… Huh. Anyways, fun show that you didn’t really need to think about. Just dance!

At the end we got a surprise crossover of all three bands who did a joyous rendition of R. Kelly’s “Ignition (remix)”. This was a lot of fun that featured one mysterious band member spitting absolute fire emojis. After the bands had left the stage, my face was covered in smiles so I’d say the whole thing was a good experience. Overall, this show was great fun but like not really life changing, you know? I’d check these bands out if you aren’t afraid to admit that you like pop. 

Similar to CHVRCHES, Walk the Moon or St. Lucia.

Winslow Lewis is a first-time guest blogger who also DJs for Rainy Dawg Radio. Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Years & Years first Seattle show: sells out the Neptune

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For a British electronica band that was founded in 2010, released
their first single in 2012, and signed to Polydor Records in 2015, releasing
their debut album just this past July, we expected Years & Years to
have a pretty humble audience size.

But when we walked into Neptune Theatre for Years & Years’
first show in Seattle, we were shocked. Every nook and cranny was packed with a
person. There was hardly room to breathe, let alone dance, but the crowd was
there for a reason and that was to groove all night.

With a upbeat, dance vibe, the British trio ties together their
90s R&B influences with modern dance pop, reminiscent of fellow contemporaries,
Ben Khan, Kwabs, and
Iyes
. You catch the more somber tempo with songs like “Take Shelter” and “Real”
that have a James Blake balladry to
the melody and R&B hint to them—songs that have a great visceral feeling to
the lyricism and background beat. And using their set time to play the entirety
of their debut album Communion¸ that
visceral feeling lasted the entire night.

But where Years & Years thrives is in frontman Olly Alexander’s high pitched, well
controlled vocals in tracks like “Worship”, “Ties”, and “Border”—songs that are
subtle in their background instrumentals and hints of synth. They’re songs that
focus solely on the act of listening to his voice smoothly sing every lyric,
and although aren’t explicit in working as a dance pop song, they cause your
body to move.

The song that Alexander executes best is a wild card on the
album, “Foundation”. Not a dance song at all, but also not a soft ballad, this
song has overlaying synth and a mystical, almost surreal instrumental overlay.
Yet, it’s even better life with Alexander’s yearning, almost pleading vocals
that give you chills as he bends over his microphone on stage in front of a
packed theatre of wide-eyed fans.

In a live show, the trio flows well, leaving a brilliant
stage presence–making it no surprise that just in the past year, the band has
been nominated and won a handful of awards and topping charts across the UK. The
synthesis and connected energy between the performers and audience was almost
electric, everyone on-stage and off moving together in synchrony.

There’s something about this trio’s music that is unlike any other electronic-pop artist. Perhaps it’s the ‘90′s R&B influences, perhaps it’s the subtle way
the dreamy synth and smooth vocals work to make you dance almost subconsciously—
or maybe it’s the way the artists are compassionate and human enough to pull
two men up on stage to watch a marriage proposal play out, bonding the
community within the theatre ever more so.

Whatever it is, we were honored to see a band keep the
energy up among their fans for the entire set as that’s a feat in itself, and
when they finished their last encore, we were sad to see them go.

But we’re excited to see what they have for us next.

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Ariana Rivera



Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Ben Rector : Neptune Theater sells out

When we were offered the opportunity to cover a Ben Rector
show, we couldn’t pass up the chance. Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the 29 year-old
musician began playing piano at a young age, picking up guitar additionally
later in high school. After becoming the youngest person to win a pop award
Grand Prize of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest due to a self-titled EP in
2006, Rector knew he had a shot. After playing 200 shows and releasing two
full-length albums during his college career, Rector made the transition to Nashville
to give his career the full effort.

And it’s worked: releasing three more albums after that,
Rector has recently topped Billboard 200 charts and has sold out shows across
the country.

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But what makes Ben Rector so likeable and so popular? His
music stylistically is simplistic and predictable with expected catchy tunes
and lyrics we can all relate to. And within the last 10 years Rector has been
in the industry, he hasn’t made waves of unique change among the pop
singer-songwriter genre. With a pretty standard voice that can sometimes reach
heights in his range (in tracks like “Paris” on the most recent Brand New album), Rector is a
boy-next-door sort of artist.

What makes him memorable, however, seems to be just that. His
ability to combine American folk rock, jazzy soul, and piano pop into one
feel-good pie of feelings for the heart is exactly
what makes Rector top the charts. Versatile in terms of range and skills, the
Tennessee-based musician is able to switch easily from catchy pop tunes with
echo-ey vocals, like popular song “Let the Good Times Roll,” to more heart felt
ballads, like new track “The Men Who Drive Me Places.”  

And his versatility and heart shows. When Ben Rector steps onto
the stage at a sold out Neptune Theatre,
the crowd roars. When we looked around the famous Seattle venue, we couldn’t
believe our eyes to see a completely jam packed theatre, with each crowd member
joyously grinning from ear to ear at the sight of the Nashville artist.

Beginning the show on the piano, the indie pop singer-songwriter
plays renown track, ”Brand New,” a piano pump-up song that hypes up the entire audience.
Throughout the entire show, Rector switches back and forth between guitar and
piano, moving around the stage, and engaging the crowd the entire time,
grateful and in awe of so many people in front of him singing his songs.

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“It’s awesome that you’re singing my songs,” he says
grinning. “These aren’t on the radio, which means you had to go out yourself and
find my music. Thank you for that.”

And it’s true, track after track, both slow and fast,
everyone joins in on lyrics. He plays a repertoire of songs on his setlist,
including popular songs, “The Beat,” “Make Something Beautiful,” “Fear,” and of
course “Let the Good Times Roll.”

It isn’t just originals however, Rector, with his boyish
preference for jazz sneaks cover songs into his performance, stating, “I get
bored doing my own stuff after a while, sometimes I like to mix it up.” Yet, regardless
of whether he plays own music or not, he is still loved among the crowd of
listeners before him, and he reciprocates that love fully. As he plays, both
guitar and piano, we see the passion and joy he derives, not just from the
music, but from performing. And as he engages his audience members, teasing,
laughing, and exchanging jokes, we see an artist who is driven by the love of
performance. At the end of the show, as Rector discusses how impatient he gets
at encores because he just wants to be back out with the audience, we almost
feel enveloped by his presence, as if in this hour of time with him and in an
theater full of other people, we’ve become close friends with the artist
himself.

Rector dances his way out of the crowd, leaving everyone on
a high, joyful in anticipation of his next album to come.

And although this artist isn’t experimental in his
composition or melodies or lyrics, we have come to the conclusion he does
create feeling for the listener, and since that’s good for everyone
else who’s helped him top charts, that’s good enough for us to give him a
thumbs up.

Take a listen to his latest album Brand New and follow his tour now.

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Ariana Rivera



Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!