Saturday, April 9, 2011

Danielson, Karl Blau and Shannon Stephens at the Vera Project 4-7-11

I had a meeting Thursday at the Vera Project (related to getting into Sasquatch Fest free, but that's another story) and I was able to stay afterward to check out the show and saw some fascinating performances.

First up was Shannon Stephens singing and playing acoustic guitar with a bass and drums.
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She had a sweet beautiful voice and a fairly direct and simple approach in her songs, very appealing.

I guess I'd call this pop music, but I'm not that good at categories and I don't really care much either, good music is appealing and the labels don't matter. Nice opening act, the audience was appreciative.

Next up was Karl Blau and he had a much more wacky approach. He brought up a fairly large group with multiple odd one of a kind stringed instruments, mostly or all single strings as far as I could tell. He asked if someone wanted to do interpretive dance and a young woman volunteered and jumped up on stage, she's the one in the orange shirt towards the middle in the video.

The vocal approach was different, it looks like someone is reading lyrics off of a smart phone and whispering the to the vocalist (who was someone other than Karl) who then sings it. Odd approach, but it had it's charms.

After a few numbers like this he switched to a solo approach with an electric guitar.

He played quite a few songs, talented guy. Check out the size of his hands on the guitar - he has quite a reach, makes it easy to bar chords and so on. Fun set, the odd earlier approach and then his solo stuff made for an interesting contrast.

Next up was Danielson, the headliner. The band had an interesting visual approach, wearing some sort of uniforms with various odds and ends stitched on, triangular flags with eyes on them - different and appealing in an odd way, not sure what it meant but it caught your eye.
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They also had music stands with music for several band members. Given the fairly complex parts, interwoven beats, and multiple vocal parts it's not surprising, this is a sort of effortlessly intricate musical approach.

Here's some video from one of their songs:

So we had an interesting range from a fairly simple stripped down singer songwriter approach to an odd set of wacky instruments and the strangest vocal delivery method I've ever seen, then a single electric guitar with singing approach from the second performer, to an oddly visualized and realized set that was quite different yet consistent to some internal vision that I can only barely grasp - and the music was really fascinating throughout.

Cool stuff, definitely need to keep an eye out for more of these bands, I don't think any are local (not sure) so I may not get too many opportunities to catch them again, but you never know with the bigger festivals like Bumbershoot, maybe I'll get lucky...

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