Dark Sunglasses – An Electrifying Event at Showbox SoDo (Show Review)

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RAC lights up with a live band at ShowBox SoDo on Tuesday, Nov. 24th

Light keyboard filled the air and a soft beat emitted from the over-leveled speakers. With only half the room filled, the music blasted through the Showbox, piercing the silence until the crowd settled into the sound. The first opener, filous pulled out his guitar, bowed his head slightly and riffed over a reverberating female vocalist. The two instruments together, a midi setup and fx-ed guitar sounded like a chorus of chilled-out house music.

“Hey Seattle,” the beanie-sporting artist spoke before returning to his instruments. A faint cheer could be heard from the bar in the back.

Not phased by the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm, Filous strummed along to dance-worthy tracks. Smiling all the while, the casually-dressed multi-instrumentalist switched between MIDI controllers, keyboards and his various guitars. As he slammed on the bass, the crowd swayed and lights flashed before us.

Filous introduced himself as an artist from Vienna. Over a few spouts of laughter, he further explained his adventures at Jack in The Box before playing his next song, “Coming Over” – a synth-heavy sound featuring the same summery guitar riffs that had been heard frequently throughout the set.

Light lyrics sprinkled throughout the song and the line, “All I can think about is coming over” repeated into a somewhat-tropical instrumental chorus. The hook brought many to the dance floor and the strobes shimmered among us. With all of his talents, I got to wondering why the microphone was placed so properly as if it’d be used whilst playing. All my questions were answered in a single breath as Filous pulled out a harmonica for his last track – blowing us away with his breath-induced harmonies.

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filous wowed us with flawless multi-instrumentalism

After a short break, two musicians approached the stage. Both on drums, the two multi-instrumentalists represented the Portland-based Karl Kling. Arpeggios filled the air and a dimly lit duo sang indulgent lyrics over two sets of electronic instruments. A light up set of tools stood adjacent to a traditional drumset as the two musicians harmonized with one another.

We moved our bodies back and forth and a few other audience members joined us. Although I wasn’t there alone, I couldn’t help but notice the sheer amount of standing that took place during this show. Of course, I could chalk it up to the fact that we were watching an opener, but since this is my last post for Rainy Dawg Radio, I thought I’d mention something that’s been bothering me since I moved into this city and began participating in the music scene:

Why don’t Seattle Concert-goers ever dance during openers?!

Their music is good. The dance floor is ready! If anybody has an answer to this question, myself and all of the touring artists in our area would like to know… Synced beneath the falsettos as the two men expressed themselves among a sea of careless Seattleites. Catchy riffs soared beneath existential lyricism as the band showed off their chops, from drums to loops and electric guitars, the multi-talented Portland band never ceased to amaze us.

Yet most of the audience remained unfazed while my date and I swayed just the same. Harder now. Deeper now. The harmonies seemed to strike nearer than before. Perhaps the volume kept increasing but something about the atmosphere above us kept me present as the fog filled the air and the band requested a dimming of the lights.

“Alright Seattle. This is dance time,” Karl attempted to work the crowd. But only a few cheers could be heard in response as many audience members lingered in the back – bobbing their head to the rhythm instead of shaking what their mamas gave them.

“So dust of your regrets” Kling sang, “Cus there goes the day again. Born into this world.”

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Karl Kling sported two drummers and a sounded like Death Cab in a dance club

80s melodies and melancholy choruses led from one song into the next as the opening set came and went. During their last song, “Careful” the duo smiled as they witnessed some energy beginning to emit from the evening’s underwhelming attendees. As Big Data prepared their set, I prayed for a miracle that the dance floor would pick up.

Fog filled the air and screams rang out in support of the surreal visuals that began to appear so subtly behind a coordinated set of electronic musicians. A robotic voice could be heard from the pumped-up speakers and the band members began to move in tandem to a static beat. Almost inaudible, a set of muted vocals began to sing the opening lines of “Dangerous” and the crowd finally moved in-tow to the enthralling rhythm.

The two vocalists played off of one another flawlessly. Each computerized run ran into the next as the lights glimmered among us. The music enticed us to engage as Big Data entertained with alluring visuals above driving drums and guitars; all the while the two frontmen acted as conductors of the crowd below them.

Bobbing their heads back and forth to the ephemeral sound of their own creation, the crashes and clangs of the live instrumentation filled the set beneath layers of enchanting lyricism. All the while, the audience followed along in a daze, drunk in the sound of a presented simulation.

References to a computerized system filled the breaks between songs until the word, “Imagination” broke the sequence, “Your simulation is now complete.” The robotic voice complimented our enthusiasm as the lights reflected off the band-member’s florescent sunglasses.

As the lights continued to dim, the combination of the visual and musical performances pulled us in to a videogame-like trance – complete with the sounds of dial-up modems and mid-2000s internet references. Throughout the set, Big Data did nothing but entertain as our eyes reflected the shimmering stage above us.

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With flashing lights and surreal digital visuals, Big Data drew the crowd ever-closer in a existential haze

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Members of the other bands and backstage crew joined the band as they repeated their hit track, “Dangerous”

The crowd cheered and familiar faces replaced the physical places of Big Data’s digital revolution. Karl Kling and André Anjos (RAC) stood left and right of a headband-wearing frontman. Behind them, Pink Feathers (aka Liz Anjos) rocked out on a keyboard while a full-sized drumset stood lit and elevated above.

We moved in waves as the live band played covers and originals frequently associated with RAC’s collection of (re)mixes. Hiding behind a telecaster, André occasionally sang along and smiled all the while Pink Feathers and Karl Kling led the upbeat performance. The collection of Portland artists did not disappoint as the crowd sang along to their favorite tracks. From Odesza to The Postal Service, local hits were met with more energy from the audience as the four-piece band reworked popular songs with their disco-inspired beats.

“Hollywood” and “Let it Go” were met with thunderous applause as André stepped out into the center to wail over the beat with his electric guitars. The foursome played off each other splendidly, cracking jokes and smiling along to the energy brought from playing their songs live.

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André Anjos leads his live band, shredding along with a pulsating performance

After seeing RAC in the past and wondering when he would break out from behind his turntables, I was inspired and impressed by the entire performance! Altogether, the variety of bands made for an excellent combination of Portland sounds that was able to break through the ever-famous Seattle Freeze.

Check out Pink Feathers, filous, Karl Kling, Big Data and RAC on their respective social medias and don’t forget to check out RAC’s website for the latest and greatest from the Portland music scene!

For more on RAC and his eclectic sets and sounds, check out my interview with him right here!

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DJ Desman

Show Preview: Destroyer at the Neptune – TONIGHT (10/16)

This Friday brings a recent discovery for me to the nearby Neptune Theater. Destroyer, fronted by Dan Bejar of the Canadian indie band The New Pornographers, will be bringing his unique voice to fill the rafters of the local theater. 

Poison Season is a showcase for a variety of lush instrumentals behind Bejar’s often imploring and questioning vocals. Ranging from golden trumpets to strings, sax, piano, flute, (yes, flute) and your standard guitar and bass, I am sure his live show will sound as beautiful live as they do on record, if not more so.

And while you’re at it, watch his amusing and oddly fitting stop-motion video for ‘Times Square’. It’s not what you would expect!

Opening will be Frog Eyes, with doors at 8 and the show starting at 9. Get your tickets here if you haven’t yet.

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DJ Holmes

Show Review: Shlohmo in Seattle

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I’ve
been a Shlohmo fan for years now,
so I bought tickets to his show as soon as he announced a tour. That was way back around
the start of the year.

I whiled away the months
leading to the show by revisiting his impressive discography. I’ve long
considered his Laid Out EP to be a
masterpiece.

In March, Shlohmo dropped his new album, Dark Red. The
album was a stunning departure from his previous releases. But it still had all
those classic Shlohmo elements, like menacing basslines and warped notes.
Definitely an album worth checking out.

Shlohmo’s electronic
music isn’t the dance-y kind. His music reminds me of dark basements and scary
nights and pain and zombie apocalypses. It’s pretty great. That’s why I was
surprised when I started dancing at the show. Everyone was dancing. It was
probably because Shlohmo’s basslines were even more immense on Neumos’s bumping sound system. Shout
out my ear drums for not exploding.

I love it when electronic
artists bring out a band. Shlohmo brought out a drummer and a guitarist and
also occasionally wielded a guitar himself.

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The light show was crazy
intense. The lights and the music complemented each other beautifully, surging
and receding in harmony. At times, shrouded by the spotlights, Shlohmo seemed angelic.

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He mostly played cuts off
his new album, but didn’t forget fan favorites like Places and Later. Later is my favorite Shlohmo song ever.
I cried sweet tears of joy when it came on. Well, maybe not. Nonetheless, I was
super happy.

About an hour into the
set, Shlohmo and the band just ran off the stage without warning. “Is that it?”
I wondered.

Hell no. The lights flared
up and Shlohmo ran back up on stage. He grabbed the microphone and reassured us,
“That was a joke. This is real life now!” He played us one last amazing song.
Then, unfortunately, it was over.

My one beef with the show
was that the two openers, Purple and
Nick Melons, had sets that lasted
about an hour each. That’s a bit long, as openers go. I was restless, standing
on sore feet waiting for Shlohmo to come out. But the openers were pretty tight
so it was cool I guess.

Definitely a night to
remember.  

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Pranav Shivanna

I’m talkin bout French house

Annnddddddd we’re back. I’m sorry for such a long sabbatical but I was just researching music.
And being lazy.
So who wants to talk about French deep house?

Gonna be honest, I’m SO NOT an expert on house music, but because deep house has elements of soul and 1980s jazz-funk and this specific musician uses a lot of piano and saxophone, I’m going to say that I somewhat know what I’m talking about.

Should we meet Klingande

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A French duo composed of musicians Cédric Steinmyller and Edgar Catry, these guys don’t give the vibe of what you think of when you think of house music: electronic, boring, repetitive. They dig honest sound, and true jazz, funk, and soul. With three solid singles out, deubting in in 2013, these guys are beautiful in their sound.

There are house beats, but there are also funky basslines, eclectic vocal samples, excellent percussion and hypnotic, just straight-jamming grooves of saxophone solos that distinguish Klingande’s sound.

The two boys themselves label their music as “melodic sound,” and for sure they have this vibe of sunny beaches and the strange juxtaposition of classy, classy saxophone jazz and more modern dance pop.

I mean, take a listen to “Jubel.” You’ve got these straight up dope saxophone melodies (thank you fantastic Mr. Snake Davis) running throughout the entire track of lovely Lucie Decarne’s vocals. Reaching number one on the charts in Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia and Switzerland, this track also hit #3 on the UK Singles chart.

We start out slow with bongo-drums and light layering of keys, yeah? Then a bassline melody, still good, right? Then a build up to the vocals, and you’re like, “Hmm, pretty good.” But then we hit the sax, and you’ve got to just stop and smile.

And then look at his first single ever released, “Punga.” The vocals are phenomenal combined with the saxophone layered on piano. And to be honest, the sax on this track is better than the sax on Jubel, but the standard of excellence here is just so high that either way, any of Klingande’s tracks are going to exceed any of our expectation for musical innovation.

If you like Avicii, if you like Bakermat, if you like saxophone, if you like grooves, please. Do yourself a favor. Check out his Soundcloud here, trust me, he’s worth your time.

And sweet deal because if you fall in love enough, go and check out his show at The Crocodile on May 20th.
You can bet I’m gonna be there.

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Ariana Rivera

Cyborgs, Puppies, and Steak: Meet BakuBakuDokin

Tokyo is the definition of sensory overload. The smell of neon lights burning fist sized insects. The touch of a drunk salary man sleeping on you, while you suffer the long journey home on the last train. The taste of the convenience store, because that’s pretty much the only place in Japan that will take your debit card. If you are in need of the sights and sounds BakuBakuDokin (バクバクドキン) is an electronic hip hop duo that provides all that and more; maybe more than you would want.

Yui and Naoko, like most best friends, became close because Yui never brought her own book to Psych class. Their relationship soon expanded past the classroom and they ended up spending every waking second with one another listening to CDs in Yui’s brother’s room, having sleepovers at love hotels, or just people watching from said love hotels. It wasn’t long before Naoko and Yui combined their musical talents and formed BakuBakuDokin. Their first show was at an old folk’s home in Setagaya. Since then, BakuBakuDokin has become a darling of Tokyo’s underground music scene.

A BakuBakuDokin concert is close to a religious experience, if your religion was some sort of cult that worshipped aliens that sort of resemble a mix between puppies and frightening computer generated cyborgs. A song about how fun haircuts are is played in the same set as a song about alien invasions. The beats are consistently funky. High energy dance synths meet chilled rap rhythms. The videos playing on screen call you back to your favorite early 90’s cartoon, but only after they have come back from hell as shells of their former selves. They aren’t afraid to jump into the crowd, point at you, and make you dance by the pure force of their own grotesque cuteness. The only thing you know you are going to get out of a BakuBakuDokin concert is that you never know what you are going to get out of a BakuBakuDokin concert. That chaos however, is extremely polished, like a diamond in a minefield.

Some of BakuBakuDokin’s most notable works are actually collaborations with some of Japan’s biggest names. They have been sources of inspiration for big names in Japanese music production like hip-hop greats “RIP-SLYME” and “Towa-Tei.” As part of their early career they even appeared internationally in the very Japanese video game “Touch My Katamari” as guest vocalists. “I’ve known I wanted to work in music ever since I was a little girl.” It’s no surprise that Yui, who works on the music production side of the group, has had musical aspirations from a young age. Aside from producing for “BakuBakuDokin” she has also recently acted as a producer for the Idol group “Ebisu Private Middle School” (私立恵比寿中学) with the song “Chupacabra” on their new single. “I think we originally attracted fans that were interested in cute and fun songs, but I think lately the crowds we are getting are also becoming very interested in the technical side of our music as well.”

Check out one of their music videos here:

Japan far and wide is known for its outlandish commercials, brightly colored cartoons and sexual eccentricity but few people realize just how much of this is considered subculture against the very conservative mainstream culture of Japan. By the standards of Japanese society these qualities are not often seen or acknowledged in the day in the life of an average salaryman, housewife or student. In fact these subcultural qualities are seen as quite deviant by the mainstream. That’s what make BakuBakuDokin, and other bands like it, hard to swallow for many people in the East Asian country.

However that’s where BakuBakuDokin draws much of their creative strength and inspiration. When the traditional cultures and customs are so strongly held by a people, the counter-culture will have no choice but to become just as strong. Its two sides of the same coin that can’t be avoided, and that is where a huge percentage of great art is born from. Japan is interesting because people of other countries see the Japanese people through the counter culture lenses immediately and have to be taught about the mainstream. There are very few other countries, if any that have to deal with an image like that.

American underground music has become very much the mainstream. If you want to hear the top 20 hits, these days instead of going to the pop station, you find yourself turning into, the now ironically named, alternative stations. When an alternative choice becomes a mainstream choice what does that say for the culture that is consuming said media? Will we eventually be listening to the Taylor Swifts of the world instead of bands like “Passion Pit” to piss off our parents and rebel?

I have found in my experience that Japan also has had similar transformations over the years. Idol music used to be considered music exclusively for a certain subculture who enjoyed obsessing over girls they would never ever in a million years get a chance to date. However those same groups that were once marketed towards a core audience of freaks and weirdoes can only be found performing on stage in your grandmother’s living room. So you have to wonder if bands like BakuBakuDokin will ever be accepted by your grandmother. Surely it’s a strange thought to have now, but in a number of decades you will be the grandparent.

BakuBakuDokin is a band that ranks performance as highly in importance as the music, and it shows. You can tell from their music videos that they aren’t only musicians but artists with a strong sense of what makes Tokyo and the humans that inhabit it unique. As for now they are continuing to be the freaky band you haven’t heard of yet, and I recommend you check them out in their freaky prime before they start getting airtime on the soft rock stations and lose their streetcred, as we all eventually will. If you have a penchant for girls in pajamas and dog masks rapping about how delicious steak is, there isn’t a band better suited for you than BakuBakuDokin; your guides through the beautiful glittering hell that is Tokyo.

More on these babes can be found at their spooky website: http://bakubakudokin.com/

Our guest blawger, Wolfgang is a hella gay senior at UW, currently lost in space and time (a side effect of living in Tokyo). He spends most of his time listening to noises, turning his jeans in cut-offs and looking at his blog and thinking that he should really write something at some point. The sad sad, excuse for a blog can be found at discowolf.svbtle.com. It’s about Japan and feelings.

Show Review: Stromae in Seattle

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Stromae is a performer.

Stromae, formally known as Paul Van Haver is a Belgian singer I was first exposed to on a trip to France. After hours going through Stromae’s interviews and repeatedly watching his music videos, I loved him. Last week, I went to a concert at the Showbox that convinced me further that there is absolutely tight international music out in the world that Americans are not exposed to.

Stromae encompasses what I like to think of hidden treasure. Not everyone knows him, but a few do. As much as I love introducing him to people, I want him to be really popular for the sake of anyone who has never heard him before. His stage presence, his performance, his vocals, his interactions with the audience all kept me intrigued till the very end.

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If you’ve spent hours going through Stromae’s interviews and repeatedly watching his music videos, the concert was really familiar to you. His music videos must have been the inspiration for much of his show, and believe me, he put on a show.

Stromae is not just a singer; Stromae is a dancer and an actor. One second he is making jokes about how French fries aren’t even French, and the next he is literally throwing up on stage to add dramatic effect and compliment one of his song’s music videos. The crowd LOVED Stromae. Many spoke French and were yelling “Je’Taime STROMAEEEE!!!” which was the only French I understood out of the entire night!

Go see Stromae. Tell me that I’m right when I say he is an incredible performer and you want to hang out with him all the time.

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Ania Kamkar

True love? It’s Taylor Berrett

It’s been rough lately, and honestly I should be writing a paper, but I’d rather write about music, so let’s just procrastinate together.

I’ve fallen in love, recently. It’s that time of year, you know? And I realize that I fall in love quite often, I’m a romantic, but this guy is worth it, I’m telling you.

Let’s meet Taylor Berrett.

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As I write this, I literally can feel myself become giddy,it’s almost unreal. It’s crazy. Is this how love feels?

Okay, so this is actually really strange because I first
discovered Berrett a couple of months ago when I went to an Alex Clare show at Neptune Theatre (remember that show
preview?). He was the opener, and I remember, at the time thinking, “He’s good,
young, but this kid’s got it.” I took a couple photos, swore he was going to go
far, and then just vaguely forgot about him. Here’s a photo of him performing,
he’s a pretty rad guy.

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But anyway, then I followed him on Facebook, just for news
updates and slowly Berrett began to come out with more of his own music. When he
performed a couple of months ago, he had a couple of his songs, so I knew he
could write, but I was basing his vocal ability off his Beatles covers.

So I knew this kid has talent.

It’s a little crazy I’m reviewing
this guy so soon because his debut album doesn’t even come out for another two
weeks, but the tracks and the EP that he has out now are just too good to not
talk about, and I expertly assume they will be on his debut album.

But let’s talk about my favorite
tracks first, which aren’t on his 2012 EP Anchor
Chasing
. “Those Days,” a track that he just released this year, starts off
just the way I like it: with some finger snaps, simple acoustic harmonies, and a raw,
beautiful voice.

The rhythm on this track is so brilliant and the lyricism that
this man has is so natural, I am reminded of singer-songwriter (and one of my
favorite musicians) Kris Allen. We
start off easy with “Slow down, turn around/Tell me what’s tearing your heart
out baby,” building up the main chorus “Everybody has, everybody has those
days/ Feeling like an ocean, having trouble making waves.” As we build up to
the chorus, we get a little trumpet and sax into the mix, and my heart drops into
my stomach. Then bam, xylophone, and the world just stops.

It’s this perfect mix of acoustic
folk with jazz and it just feels easy
you know? You get the feel of just chilling on the beach with this guy,
drinking some margaritas, with a guitar and a guy playing saxophone in the
background. When we get to the sax solo, you know Taylor Berrett is a classy
musician and not one to be reckoned with. He knows instrumental composition,
and he knows it well.

Okay, so now for my absolute favorite
track that he has out so far. “The Heat,” a track that he released,also, just a
couple months ago is just a game changer.

It’s a little more upbeat, but it’s probably, and this may be a stretch, a
track that I would say is one of the best new singles I’ve heard this year.  He starts drumming out some awesome beats,
leading in with some great vocals that just has excellent rhythm and a sense
of, once again, jazz and blues. Listen to the part when he sings his chorus, “Got
no place that I can go/ Got no money to my name/ Got no scars that I show/ Got no
bad luck I can blame.” The way he weights his vocals rhythmically is not just
catchy. It’s brilliant. The electric guitar mixed with his drummer is all so
cohesively in sync with his vocals, that you would almost expect Berrett to be
someone who’s been in the business for years. Taylor Berrett labels himself as acoustic pop,
and definitely, I can see why he would want to brand himself that way; he wants
to be commercial. But don’t let that fool you, this guy knows solid blues. He
knows solid jazz. He is catchy, but he is skilled and talented. You see it in
the last track I discussed, you see it in the bridge of this track when he
sings “They say man take it easy, enjoy it while you’re free/ I said the heat I
can stand is, is standing still against me.”

And the acoustic version is even
better. Here’s a look.

This voice. Please. There is
control, there is great tone, there is great pitch, and there is just a
beautiful sound.

When I listen to this guy, a smile
forms on my face. Is this what love feels like?

Maybe it’s the combination of the fact
that I’ve seen this guy start it out live, and then have listened to his more
matured singles, and maybe it’s the fact that I know he is the real deal
because I have seen him sing. I’m not
sure. But this is probably my favorite artist
to review thus far, and I love a lot of musicians.

But anyone, one more, let’s talk.

Let’s take it back two years, to another
track, also not on his EP. I like his EP, and we’ll get there, don’t worry. But,
honestly? I really just dig these tracks that he chooses not to publicize as
much. They’re rad. “Fair Warning,” takes it back a little bit more to his folk
roots, but he still rocks it, like usual.

You get this banjo, tambourine, campy
feel, but once again, his lyricism of, “Call me the wanderer/ Write me away/ I’ll
be the mountain you cannot escape,” never fails. This a track I’m pointing out
just to emphasize Berrett’s versatility as an artist. I’m sorry, but I don’t
care how campfire folk he gets, the man has vocals and the man can write. And
why is it surprising? This 22-year old singer from Virginia started writing songs at age 13,
so he’s had plenty of practice.

Quick note on his EP, Anchor Chasing, because I feel like I
should comment. It’s alright; I’m not trying to disregard his first published
accomplishment. Style wise, it’s more lowkey than the other tracks I’ve talked
about, simple. When you listen to it, you can hear in his voice that he still
very much new, and hey this is an EP from two years ago, so it’s
understandable. We all mature as artists.

Of the five tracks on the EP,
there are only two that I truly love and know will make it to his full length
album. “Whole Heart” is definitely a track I love best and a song I think
Berrett is exceptionally proud of especially since he keeps promoting it. It’s
full of those beautiful piano melodies that you all know I love, so points
right there. It’s two years old, but I think this is a solid original
composition of his, and personally, I’m proud. “Pomegranate Sky,” another great
one on his EP is dreamy and acoustic, but solid with some violin and piano in
the background. You feel relaxed listening to this. You have to let his voice just
take you away, and he does, successfully.

By the way, please, please, check out all his music on his soundcloud here!

All in all, this man is going to
top charts. I’m not predicting that, I’m guaranteeing it. He knows what he’s doing,
and seeing as he is already signed to Warner Brothers, and seeing as his album is
about to be released mighty soon, it’s only a matter of time.

Ahhh, is this what love feels
like?

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Ariana Rivera

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

A Night at Neumos: Giraffage Concert Review

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This last week I hopped on a bus and headed to Capitol Hill to see Giraffage play at Neumos. I had seen Giraffage once before when he played a free show at UC Berkeley, and even with a pathetic sound system he still rocked it.

I had never been to Neumos before, but I was happy with the layout. It was a small enough venue to provide an intimate concert experience while still being large enough for everyone to have room to dance.There was a fairly large balcony area for those who were 21 or older in addition to the large area of floorspace for all ages to dance.

We arrived hella early, I’m not sure why, but when we got there the very first opener was still on. He was a short kid who refused to put his hat fully on his head named DJ HoJo. He was not bad I suppose; we only saw about ten minutes of his set so its hard to assess his talent. He played mainly electronic, bass heavy PLUR music. For those who are unaware what PLUR is, it’s basically just a thing that raver kids say, although in reality it stands for Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect. PLUR music can be defined by artists such as Porter Robinson and Zeds Dead.

When DJ HoJo got off the stage, Spazzkid came on, looking very hipster with his thick-rimmed glasses and perfectly sculpted manbun (please make this trend stop people). Spazzkid’s set consisted mainly of somewhat slow, dancey electro stuff. I wasn’t a huge fan of this set mainly because most of the songs he played were hard to dance to. There was usually no steady rhythm with which you could move to. Additionally, about halfway through his set he turned into some sort of radio host. He said distracting stuff into the microphone between each song. “New shit,” “Shout out to Porter Robinson,” “Shout out to Ta-Ku,” “New stuff right here.” I swear he must have sent a shout out to each least seven different artists. He did do some random singing that I found went well with the tracks he was playing and was fairly entertaining. However, all in all, I was not heartbroken to see him leave the stage.

Then Giraffage took the stage. He was humble as hell, speaking really quietly into the microphone: “hi guys….” pause for applause, “my name is Giraffage” another pause for applause, “I’m gonna play some music for you” and then he got into it. I, as well as many others in the crowd, was very happy to hear him play a lot of his older tracks, most of which were off of the “Comfort” album. Thankfully he did not follow in Spazzkid’s footsteps and blurt random crap into the microphone; he let the music do the talking. His set had enough groovy songs to get people dancing, only ever interrupted by build ups and drops. He played a couple of really old EDM tracks that were popular like seven years ago. I wasn’t super into this but I guess other people were. I have to admit that the bass was definitely not loud enough on the speakers, or perhaps the treble was too loud, but either way there were some sounds that were just too abrasive and some drops that just didn’t slap hard enough.

His set ended after about an hour, and then after leaving the stage momentarily, he was summoned by the crowd for an encore, which he utilized to play his Janet Jackson remix of “Someone to Call My Lover”. This is my favorite Giraffage track so naturally I was pretty stoked when he played it. After the song ended he received another well-deserved round of applause and the show was over. I enjoyed myself, and it seemed that other people did as well. I would see him again if given the chance.


Harrison MacDonald

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

Show Review: Jessica Lea Mayfield Rocks the Croc

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An audience member stares wistfully at a television screen, modified to display “Evening Bell”

Above the restless crowd, Evening Bell entered the stage. Each of them brandishing their instrument of expertise, duo Hart Kingsbery and Caitlin Sherman stood confidently in front of drummer Jason Merculief and bassist Aaron Harmonson. The band picked up as the lights came on, harmonies ringing out over the Crocodile’s killer sound system!

Simple and sweet, the singers took turns leading us in song. Kingsbery’s guitar pierced through the air like jet streams in a clear blue sky while Sherman’s voice blended into the tone of her keyboard. The combination of her instrument and vocals created a clear contrast to the guitar’s distinct wavy-ness. Meanwhile, the keyboard’s piano-like tone generated a Jazzy demeanor above the Country-Western vibe.

Each song would begin with a guitar or piano riff, the sound of which would result in a cheer from the audience as they recognized their favorite tracks from this local band. While we sang and danced along to the frontmen, Merculief and Harmonson rocked out subtly from behind. Harmonson sported a cowboy hat and a big red bow tie, he smiled as his rhythms echoed through the small concert venue. Throughout the set, Merculief moved us through the various styles of music. His most amazing moments, however, stood out during keyboard and guitar solos. His beats reverberated below the dynamic synths and riffs, providing a solid basis for Sherman and her voice. Long instrumental moments also showcased the drums as they shifted in and out of focus.

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Evening Bell plays another hometown country duet

“Thank you so much for listening,” Sherman closed the show through a smile. “That was fun!” Kingsbury added. We cheered as they grabbed their television and left the stage.

As we waited for the headliner, the fog grew thicker and thicker. Seen through the haze, Jessica Lea Mayfield grabbed one of her five guitars and plugged it into her smorgasbord of pedals. Reverberating and intense, her guitar joined in with the bass until the entire band built to intensity. All the while, drummer Matt Martin, wearing a tattered collared shirt and drums, remained relaxed yet determined.

As the instrument turned up, Jesse Newport’s bass became distorted under Mayfield’s ever present guitar – her arpeggios ringing out between lamenting lyrics. They drew us in with inconsistent rhythm, possessing the presence of a poetry slam and the power of an arena show. Beneath her echoing voice, the three musicians rocked out to every chord progression under the sun.  

Their tone and musical expertise fit Seattle’s sound like an old glass slipper – their presentation like Nirvana if Kurt Cobain owned a pair of sparkly boots. 

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Jessica Lea Mayfield “and band” start off with a bang!

They played three songs in a row, each leading straight into the next. As a song would end the drums and bass would slow down on Mayfield’s cue. Turning around, she would play in tandem with her band – all three of them looking intensely at one another. As the last song fell to a silence, Martin and Newport quietly exited the stage.

“I’m gonna do a song by myself. It’s called ‘Party Drugs.’ It’s off my new record.” After explaining the origin to the song, she started back into the entrancing mix of guitar and vocals – sans bass and drums. A little more controlled, the solo song showed off Mayfield’s artistic control, manipulating the reverberation of her voice and guitar, relying on every resonating note to carry into the next.

After that song, the band joined Mayfield back on stage. She complimented the gentleman in the front for being so polite and, taking off her jacket and adorning another guitar, she amazed us as the lights reflected off her guitar strap and bright green eyes. Looking towards the audience, she saw through us all as we watched her emotions fly out above us.

After playing a new song called, “Seeing Stars,” Mayfield introduced Jesse Newport as her husband. As we cooed and Jesse picked up his guitar, Jessica lifted her head slightly to introduce the next song, “this is the first screwed up love song I wrote about him.” We laughed and cheered as we breathed the whiffs of red bull and vodka – a staple scent of the Crocodile dance floor. The lighting changed and Jessica’s melancholy lyrics picked up again with a song she couldn’t help but smile about. The two guitars layered themselves perfectly as Mayfield’s slow strokes accented Newport’s quick and rhythmic strums. “You’ve got a stranglehold on my heart,” she sang as she cleverly depicted the hardships of new relationships and their unforeseeable potential.

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Grunge rock and sparkles. Jessica’s studded strap shines brightly through the haze

In the front row, Jessica pointed out a couple who she thought was being particularly cute. “Looks like you had a good valentines day,” she said. “I’m gonna ruin that,” she quickly added. After our laughs subsided, she explained the meaning of her next song. “I spent some time trying to plan my death but then I wondered if I had enough time to do all the things I needed to do around the house first.” We laughed. “And that was enough time to write down a song about how ridiculous that was”

The music grew louder and the audience’s smiling and blushing diminished to head bobbing. The husband and wife stepped closer to one another, their instruments almost touching as they continued to play some “bummer shit,” as Mayfield later described. She played “I Can’t Lie To You” with her distorted black guitar. The guitar and bass shouted every note as each doubled the melody. The band broke into our consciousness with their impeccable song writing ability – each moment providing a dramatic contrast in sound from the last. The drums provided a segue between these distinct moments with their ability to move from loud to quiet with just one gradual cymbal.

After the song appeared to end – a short applause had followed – Jessica’s guitar tears through the speakers. The music picks up and continues until we’re begging for more. Unfortunately, there was only time for one more. The band played their last song, “No Fun” – their musical ability never faltering. The guitar seemed to have control over bass and drums, as each remained in sync with the Mayfield’s rhythm. The song ended cutely and cleanly as the musical married couple kissed during the last guitar solo.

In a true Valentine’s Day spirit, Jessica invited the cute couple she had previously called out up onto the stage. Nervously, the drunk audience members pulled themselves out of the crowed and joined Mayfield in the spotlight. She asked if they knew the words and the women nodded furiously in response. As the song began, however, it became obvious that her date may have forgotten a few lyrics. Mouth closed, he danced silently around the stage – at one point approaching the drums with a smirk, only to walk away sheepishly as the song subsided.

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Two excited audience members dance and sing along on stage for the encore performance

Through our laughs, Jessica closed the show. She even stayed around for a bit to drink with the crowd! Be sure to check out her website for new music, tour updates, and more!

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DJ Desman

Rad Report: An Ethereal Night at the ECT with Moses Sumney

After local artists Crater and Shaprece rocked out with their high energy and expressive vibes, Moses Sumney assumed his position in front of the audience at the Ethnic Cultural Center on Wednesday, January 28th. Just his very presence sent ethereal sensations throughout the venue, creating a kind of piercing silence that is only heardwhen crowds of people are in complete and utter awe of whatever it is they find
themselves collectively part of. “There’s gonna be a lot of surprises tonight,
for both of us,” Moses Sumney said with a laugh as he grabbed the mic and
started to test the waters on the stage. His sly remarks gave the impression that
he may have been a tad nervous, but the moment he started playing music it
became clear that nerves were most certainly not a factor in his phenomenal
performance. Although I might not have plastic wings like Moses Sumney (as
heard in his song “Plastic”), I felt myself float as he began to experiment
with his inspiring soul/folk sounds.

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These
sounds began to develop into loops of his voice, overlapping each other—resulting
in a trancelike, overwhelming foundation for the musical journey he was
beginning to create for the audience. I’ve never been to another show where I
felt like I was watching art being created in front of my eyes and ears, but
Moses Sumney really achieved that with the techniques he used to create his
beautiful compositions. Aside from the use of a guitar, the only other
instrument Moses used on stage was his voice and his looping tool to create a
unique experience unlike any other that I’ve felt at a live show. Each
individual noise coming out of his mouth and guitar somehow developed into
beautiful songs that surrounded the audience in an unearthly bubble that popped
in each audience member’s mind.

His
opening song—“Dwell in the Dark”—was one of his more upbeat folky songs that
created liveliness throughout the ECT. This and his next song, “Man on the Moon,”
set the tone for the rest of the night as being a soulful and unique one on the
UW campus. As this song came to an end, he held one high note and began looping
his voice into a really interesting mix of sounds. The tones in this mixture
became almost anxiety-inducing in the best possible way—causing listeners to
feel a bit uncomfortable in their seats as they felt the growing sublime energy
swallow and capture their senses. The Ethnic Cultural Center turned into a cave
of creation, full of reverberating sounds including beat boxing, clapping, and
intonations of Moses Sumney’s heavenly voice (as can be seen and heard below).

He later went into playing one of
my favorite songs of the night—“Worth It”—and joked about it being written
about tuition increases (hehe, thanks for keeping a positive attitude about
tuition rises, Mr. Sumney). The biggest crowd pleaser of the night definitely
came when Moses began playing “Plastic,” one of his most played songs on his Soundcloud. He eased into playing this mellow and sexy tune while receiving cheering
from the entire audience to continue his outstanding work. There was one point
during the song that he began to actually whisper, almost teasing listeners to
beg for more of his smooth voice.

Throughout
the night, I felt myself become emotionally controlled by the powerful hold
that the music had over me; however, the saddest part came when Moses Sumney’s
music had to stop. As he exited with a standing ovation (no surprise there), I
found myself wishing for an encore more than I had ever in my entire life. Unfortunately
there was no encore, but I did get a chance to briefly speak with Moses after
the show and get a picture with this up and coming legend.

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Incase you weren’t able to come
around this time to experience this one-of-a-kind musician; I strongly recommend
you check him out the next time he’s in Seattle (which lucky for you is on
February 17th at Neumos)! You won’t regret it—I can speak from experience when I say that it will be an ear-opening performance to remember as last Wednesday’s was at the ECT.