Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Atomic Tom and Chinook Jargon at the Vera (and Verlee for Ransom) Project 2-3-11

I headed over to the Seattle Center after work to check out Atomic Tom at the Vera Project. Since it's the first Thursday of the month, the EMP is free so I figured I could check the EMP out as well. I worked on Trimpin's "If VI Were IX" Roots & Branches exhibit (it's a guitar robot!) so I like to check on it every so often. Here's a picture:

It turns out that nobody had signed up to steer the Vera show, so I ended up volunteering to do it. I had a little time so I zipped over to the EMP and found that quite a bit of it is closed for renovations - the old Northwest Passage is gone and the SF museum portion is closed with the exhibit out traveling for a couple of years. They had a nice Battlestar Galactica exhibit with a couple of full size space ships (the small 1 person fighters) that was pretty cool:
AtomicTom 006

After checking it out I headed down to the Sky Church and watched Verlee For Ransom:

Cute young band, nice sound, a little light for my taste but well done.

After a bit of their set I had to head back to the Vera - the steering role means I have to setup the food for the band in the green room, so I had to get to work.

Attendance was light - not unusual for a weekday show, but it's too bad, the bands were quite good. First up was Chinook Jargon:

They all wore face paint, which was a little different. I heard they were booked at the last minute for the opening slot, although I'm not sure if that's true. They were quite young and seemed to really enjoy performing, and their enthusiasm was infectious. The drummer played a full set standing up, and the other members of the band frequently played drums as well. All four of them also sang on some of the songs. Interesting approach, I quite enjoyed them

Next up was Atomic Tom, the head-liners. Apparently they had a viral hit with their video of "Take Me Out" recorded on the NYC subway with over 4 million views. While setting up the food I listened as they did the ost thorough and careful sound check I've ever heard a band do at the Vera. They also had a very good merchandise setup and had it all ready to go well before the doors opened. Many bands have e-mail list signups at the merchandise table, but Atomic Tom was the first I've ever seen where you signed up for the e-mail list on a laptop. Impressive organization and execution!

It helps that the band is talented and charismatic, of course.

They also did a cover of the Human League's "Don't You Want Me" which I enjoyed. I have an odd relationship with this song. In 1981 I was working on my first professional programing job (I wasn't even 21 yet) and got flown down to San Diego to work on a welding robot project. I was working in a factory and they had a radio blaring all day and night, and I swear "Don't You Want Me" played 4 times an hour. Since I was working 14 to 15 hour days I'd hear the song 50+ times a day. I liked the song at first, but eventually it really started getting way overdone. I haven't heard it much since, and those memories are now fond memories of my early career, so I enjoy hearing the song now - as long as it's not 50 times a day. So here's a video of some of Atomic Tom's performance of "Don't You Want Me" - the camera work sucks, sorry about that:

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