Sunday, October 9, 2011

Reverb Festival in Ballard

Carina but us a couple of tickets to Reverb Fest, the local music show that runs on October 8 in Ballard. Seven or eight venues, mostly bars but some small all ages spaces with all kinds of local bands, sounds like fun! Local is somewhat elastic, I saw a good band from Idaho for example, so maybe regional would be more accurate than local, but that's OK, it just gives the festival more good bands to program and us fans get even more cool music. I can live with that.

We ran a little late so we missed most of opening act "The Art of Hip Hop." We managed to see the tail end of the set and I got some video with the ending of one spoken word performance:

I enjoyed this guys bit, but by the time I got the camera out and started he was finishing. Dang, he had some excellent rhymes and some interesting uplifting things to say about the creative process, I guess you had to be there. Sorry.

I got a more complete bit from the next spoken word performer:

You can hear a bit of banter from the crowd - I just missed her introduction and the crowd reacts to the title with a boo, then (on camera) somebody explained the boo. Personal and intense, I like the idea of taking a painful and difficult personal issue and making something creative out of it. I hope she dumps the dude, though.

Next we headed up to the Eagles Auditorium to hear Kaylee Cole. We walked in while she was playing this song:

Nice sound, simple piano backing with good expressive vocals, I love the sound of her voice and the piano sets it off nicely.
After some patter and a list of upcoming shows (always a good idea) she played another nice song I got recorded:

She wanted to do a happy song so she played this one, which she calls "triumphant" - I'm not sure if that's the title or she's describing it. Either way I liked the song and I managed to get a longer bit of her performing which is nice.

We walked back to the Tractor and caught the ending of the last Mutiny Fires song:

They were fun, we heard a bit more from outside and as we crossed the bar, but not that much. I liked the sound, I'll have to keep an eye out for them, maybe see if I can catch more of them.

Next we went to the NY Fashion Academy to listen to Dyme Def.

I've seen Dyme Def several times and I like the approach, good rhymes spit and leads and backing vocals bouncing around, I like the rhythm, rhymes, and flow.

Next back up the stairs at the Eagle to see Seapenny.

She's quite appealing, light high beautiful clear voice and funny material, I'd like a few more listens to make out the details.

The 2 Bit Saloon started up with 3 Ninjas and Tangentbot:

First time at the 2 Bit, cozy (small) space, interesting stuff on the walls and ceiling (skate board collection at 1:08, the video is kind of hard to make out but the sound is interesting, another band that I'd like to get a longer listen to.

Next we went back to the NY Fashion Academy to catch Neighbors:

I saw Neighbors last month at the Vera Project and enjoyed them, they consistently put on fun shows with upbeat slightly punk tinged rock tunes. I love the "I'm beautiful, I'm awesome" bit in this song.

Next we walked further NW to the Sunset Tavern, our first trip their during Reverb, to catch Metal Chocolates:

I enjoy the band checkoff and faux sponsorship, these guys have an amusing sense of humor and play that enhances their shows. I saw them at the Capitol Hill Block Party after party and they were fun there too.
This next number was fun too:

Good use of pacing, slower chorus and droning bits then punchy interjecntions rapping over it, good use of echoed (manually echoed, i.e. repeated a few times each time quieter) backing vocals on occasion. I also have a soft spot for hip hop bands that use live instruments so the trumpet and drums are big pluses too. Nice work getting a few call-outs to musicians/rappers in the audience as well.

Back to the Tractor for the Golden Blondes, who temporarily turned the neighborhood into Ballingham (a mutant Bellingham) to school us on good call and response and how much it can add to a song. They are right - it does add to the song!

Unfortunately that's about all I got recorded, and I didn't see much more, but I loved what I saw. Yet another band worth keeping an eye out for.

Back to the 2 Bit Saloon for Summer Babes, an interesting looking crew. They all wore white and mostly had white guitars. Two guitars, bass, drums and keyboards and rich backing vocals, fun band with a good loud approach.

I think we took a food break around here so we missed quite a bit: The Tom Price Desert Classic, Charles Leo Gebhardt IV, Less Than Equals, James Coates, School of Rock and Dude York. Too bad, but we had to eat.

We got back to the Tractor in time to see Tom Price Desert Classic play some loud rock, here's a short bit from the ending of a song:

I got a much longer recording from Tom Price Desert Classic with a couple of songs, I'm guessing the second was Punch Your Ticket, loud, crunchy, mildly fast and distorted, even some good dynamics and interesting rhythmic variations here and there:

Fun bar band, I could see drinking a few and bellowing along and having a great time at a Cops show. I tried it a little already and it worked well!

Quite a contrast with & Yet, who played acoustic guitar and sang at the Volterra Room:

Earnest and heart felt, nice song. Not as good potential for drinking beer and bellowing along I suppose, but appealing in it's own way. Better for a quieter evening where some conversations might be able to continue between sets.

Cataldo played the Eagles Auditorium with the lead vocalist playing acoustic guitar and a bass, drums, and a fiddle. I like the sound, the fiddle player in particular adds a huge amount between the regular playing and the plucking. Nice approach somewhere between pop and rock and folk, this is becoming one of the main genres of Seattle rock recently.

When done well like Cataldo does it I quite like it. This style is slightly challenging since it tends to lower temperature performances, so they'd better be good technically and able to project emotion with their voices or instruments, or they'll put me to sleep. Cataldo's lead vocals definitely supply an emotional journey for us, and the instruments are different and interesting enough to keep me hooked while the emotion builds, very nice.

We headed back to the Tavern to see the Cops.

I like the wailing guitar bit at the beginning, then the stripped down vocals around :30 in with just the drums, then the wailing guitar starts back in, pretty soon it;s loud and thrashy with a kind of taunting chorus, fun contrasts and energy. Made me want to thrash around, drink, get sweaty, and take a pounding in a mosh pit, but that's just me.

Time for Spurm at the Sunset! Spurm is an odd band - and to me odd is a term of endearment. Their sound is a little hard to describe, you can listen to an odd one here:

Kind of an operatic/over the top treatment of some song that sounds familiar, but I can't quite place it. Their normal lead vocalist played drums on this and the next tune. This short bit has the regular lead vocalist (in a cool hat, maybe a drum major hat?) out in front singing. It';s too short to completely capture what's different about the singer, I think. He's a talented performer with a good bit of charisma, but he also moves oddly and with his fairly tall frame and tendency to lose his shirt he stands out; for me he's the most memorable thing about the band, and this is a band with great songs and performances going for it, the vocalist just stands out to me for some reason.

Next we saw Dennis at the Volterra Room, this was one of the performances labelled "Seattle Music Presents":

I like the instruments - mandolin, banjo, acoustic bass and acoustic guitar, these are more typical of bluegrass except they'd use a stand up double bass. The crod gets into it and the stomped rhythm gives it a bit of a hootenany feel, very enjoyable.

Land of Pines put on a classic set at the Eagles auditorium:

Good traded off vocals, my camera work isn't that great though. I like the Land of Pines, saw them open for STRFKR and Champagne Champagne at the Vera Project and also at the Capitol Hill Block Party. Nice to see them getting an evening set with a good appreciative audience, these guys play well to a crowd.
I got an additional song from Land of Pines and the woman guitarist does leads on this one; on most songs the red-headed dude does lead vocals and sometimes they share them like on the previous song. Nice change of pace, gives them a borader range in my opinion.

We stopped by the Tractor to see some of "Don't Talk to the Cops" which was fun! The Laotian woman on the left  - later I figured out she's Megan "Emecks" Xaybanha danced her butt off and the music was good, including some of the better scratching we heard at Reverb:

Hey, checking to make sure I had the band ID correct I notice that the dude on the right is Larry Mizell, Jr. I read his column all the time in the Seattle Weekly, I hadn't realized he was in this crew. Good show, nice introduction to his work. I got a second joint from them, the DJ scratches his butt off on this one:

Around :40 there's some amusing chatter, then off they go again. I'd like to see DTTTC again, that's becoming a common sentiment fr the acts at Reverb, I guess that's a pretty strong recommendation, come to think of it.

Back to the 2 Bit Saloon for NighTraiN, a fun loud power trio plus a keyboardist (the vocalist played keys on some songs, anyway). Fun and upbeat show, nice sound:

I'm almost certain I saw NightTraiN play a Veracity show last year, but I can't find any record of it so maybe I'm mis-remembering, who knows. With so many all male bands around it's nice to see a kick ass rock and roll outfit that's all female, good stuff!

We dropped into the Conor Byrne to see Mark Pickerel. I like Pickerel, I saw him performing with "Mark Pickerel and the Praying Hands" at Bumbershoot in 2010, I believe. He's playing solo here, stripped down sound but very well done:

This was the only time we made it to Conor Byrne - the shows there started a little later, and we were winding down just as it spun up. I got another short fragment of a song as we entered, you can check it out on my youtube channel if you're interested.

Back to the NY Fashion Academy to see Lurell Low, another talented rapper/hip hop act:

We were running out of energy (and money for beer) at this point so our efforts ran out pretty quickly.

We made it to the Eagles Auditorium to see the Hotels:

A good uptempo rock band, but we didn't stay long and soon wandered back to the car and headed home. We missed quite a few more interesting acts like Virgin Islands, Katie Kate, Tomten, Mash Hall, Grynch, Curtains for You, Grand Hallway, and so on, but we managed to catch 22 performances (counting the 2 spoken word performers at the start as a single "Art of Hip Hop" performance, anyway).

Carina drove home as I had been drinking a mild amount, and we had to stop at Third Place Books so I could use the facilities, which allowed me to catch one last performance: a big band playing for dancers at the Third Place Commons.

That brings me to 373 performances for the year, 307 for the first time. As near as I can figure out, Spurm was the 365th performance I've seen this year.

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