Satchel Photo by Tom Mohrman

Thursday February Second was a great night for Seattle musician Kimo Muraki. He performed with his bands Surrrealized and then Slow Bunny. They were opening for grunge legends Satchel at the Crocodile. It was also Kimo’s birthday, complete with an Art of Confections cake made into the shape of Jabba the Hut squashing a unicorn barfing out a rainbow. It was spectacular.

Surrealized was the opening act. They set the tone for the evening with layered spacey roller-disco made with lap steel, banjo, drums, flute, trumpet, and Ableton Live wizardry combined with an outstanding visual performance. They were covered in smoke for the whole set, and four projectors shot through the smoke, creating a laser-like effect. Pink Floyd would be pleased.

Jabba Cake Pic by Ken Roeder

One of my favorite Surrealized songs, ‘Banjo Hop,’ is built much like a DJ Shadow song. It starts with Kimo sampling ethereal trumpet and flute parts on a phrase looper, then skittery beats come in while Kimo puts down the flute and picks up his banjo. He starts playing a complicated banjo melody, and every time it sounds almost too fast for him to keep up, but he does. The the drums come in, and it’s time to dance.

Next up was Slow Bunny. Kimo sings for this band as well. Between sets he underwent a transformation. Kimo appeared wearing a dress an wig that made him look like a kabuki Glen Close. It went well with the theatrical nature of the music. Slow Bunny is like Hedwig and the Angry Inch combined with Mr Bungle. It’s specifically arranged, with tempo and feel changes in every song. It’s kind of a Seattle super group made to fulfill the wishes of producer Chase Evans. There’s a rumor floating around that Slow Bunny is in it’s last days. Hopefully this isn’t the case. [Update: Slow Bunny isn’t breaking up anytime soon, in fact they hint there might be a tour soon.]

Satchel played last, and they provided their fans with some classic scratched-up guitar, long hair grunge. Shawn Smith’s voice is as amazing as it’s ever been. Seeing them play at the Crocodile was special for me. It was like a portal into almost twenty years ago, when grunge ruled Seattle, and I was a pimply mega-fan states away. Lots of people who came to sway to Satchel were of a certain age. I’m not saying that it was an older crowd, but there were lots of babysitters employed on account of this show. There were dads introducing their children to the music they loved at their age. It was kind of bittersweet, but it was also exhilarating to watch Satchel drop a Reservoir Dogs quote and then let loose with the full force of their music. Not everything stands the test of time. Satchel does.

Culture Review: The Many Flavors of Kimo at the Satchel Show