I finished up the weekend working Lead Front Door (selling tickets) at the Titus Andronicus show at the Vera. It was an excellent weekend for music at the Vera with Brite Futures headlining a great show on Friday and Titus Andronicus rocking out for an extra long set - 80 minutes or so - on Sunday night.
First up was Silicon Girls, who I saw earlier this year opening for Kimya Dawson at the All Ages Music Project (AMP) show in January.
I only got a photo for the January show, this time in addition to the photos:
I also got some video, a brief bit from the start of a song:
Two guitars and drums, interesting sound, the drummer's active so he fills the bottom end pretty well. I'm more used to having a bass help fill the bottom end of the sound out, but unlike some other "no bass" bands like Mon Frere they were able to avoid sounding too shrill. I think Mon Frere broke up a while back, but I saw them at Sound Off a few years back and I really missed the bass. Kind of off topic there...
Silicon Girls kept the crowd involved with an interesting dual guitar attack with good drums and solid songs as the crowd filtered in.
Next up was Mansions with an even more stripped down approach. The first song had the lead vocalist singing and playing an acoustic guitar (didn't get that filmed, I was selling tickets), then the bassist joined him for the rest of the set.
No drummer, mostly rhythm guitar work, bass and vocals. Nice compact sound, pretty clean playing without much distortion, vocals were clear - made it easier to understand and appreciate the songs, although it also gave them a bit less punch.
I enjoy the song lyrics - "I burned up your letters, my memory suits me better" - I found the songs instantly appealing, some bands take multiple listens for the songs to really grow on you, but the clarity of the presentations by Mansions got me pretty much in the first verse, or by the chorus at the latest.
Titus Andronicus took the stage a bit early. They asked if they could start a bit early and do a longer set - and we were all agreeable with that idea. They ended up doing an 80 minute set, 20 minutes longer than most headliners, and they crammed it full of interesting stuff.
They were pretty flexible about instruments, with the lead vocalist playing guitar (and some very nice leads) and the rhythm guitarist (the cute redhead on the right) also switching over to violin/fiddle, often switching back and forth within a song. The guy on the far left usually played keyboards but also occasionally played rhythm guitar, and the had a bass and drums. Flexible and dynamic approach, I enjoyed that.
They did a suite of songs from Monitor, their latest album, that were brilliant. Songs transitioned from one to the next without a break, and they did some fascinating things with rhythms - not varying the tempo, but changing the emphasis every few bars so that even though the chords and sound were similar it changed in an interesting way. More backbeat for a while, then more syncopation, and so on on; I'm not sure I have the terminology right, but the variety within some of the songs added an interesting element. They had the audience thrashing out, with around 100 people up front moshing away in one of the better mosh pits I've ever seen at the Vera.
The patter between songs was interesting and informed - they gave the All Ages Movement Project a good detailed shout out and had a fun rapport with the audience. I don't know if I can explain exactly why I enjoyed the show so much - the music was great, the songs were great, the energy was great, the audience was sweating through their clothes and so were the performers, and yet it was even better than that makes it sound. They put on an excellent extended show, worked their butts off, and everything worked amazingly well.
I'd have to call them a very talented band that knows exactly what they are doing, and they are right at the peak of their abilities - they just knocked me out. I suspect they'll be touring for years to come, so I'm looking forward to more chances to see them. I won't be surprised if they get too popular for the Vera Project and move on to the larger venues around town next time they hit Seattle. They deserve the success and I expect they'll get it, so I'm happy I got to see them in an intimate setting before they totally blow up.