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Review: Eternal Fair, Pocket Panda, and The West

Eternal Fair, Photo by Amber Zbitnoff

It’s quite possible if you’ve spent any time in the Seattle music scene, I’m pretty positive you’ve heard the name Andrew Vait. Or, if you haven’t heard of him, you’d probably recognize his hair if you saw it. The guy’s got it pretty made, he’s an incredibly talented singer and guitar player, and the guy’s got better hair than most of the girls I know. Vait, if you read this, what conditioner do you use?

But if you were at the Barboza last Friday night, I sort of doubt you were distracted by his locks. His band Eternal Fair closed an early show at the Barboza, and did it with such flair I almost forgot I had a prior engagement with Father John Misty upstairs at Neumos. Vait was once a solo performer, but in just under two years Eternal Fair has sprung up and has been hustling local venues left and right around Seattle, and are gearing up to spread some love even across the United States (I hear ALASKA is in the works?).

What I like most about this band live is that they’re able to come off as catchy, upbeat, and easy to listen to without sounding cheap. Chris Jones on bass rocks around the stage, but is more subtle than Vait, giving a great stage balance. And drummer Daniel Nash is a magic man with the cymbals on songs like ‘Boxes in the Attic.’ Speaking of that song, hearing it live really made it resonate. It’s funky and soulful, but light enough to get lost in. Playing ‘Billy Keep Your Head Up,’ it’s obvious why this is the song they recorded as a live video. It’s one of their best songs, and showcases each member’s strengths and talent. This song is without a doubt one of my favorites from the trio- it’s a rich, complex song that’s able to sound vintage while still feeling fresh. The boys played their current EP, but also debuted some new material. One of their songs, which I unfortunately didn’t get the name of, got be unbelievably excited for what they’ll do next- it’s a sexier, more bass heavy song that I’ll be looking out for at their next show in the Emerald City. We live in a city that’s pretty spoiled by local bands, and Eternal Fair’s one to keep your ear up for.

Eternal Fair, Photo by Amber Zbitnoff

Opening the night were two other local bands, The West and Pocket Panda. Starting off for the early crowd was The West. After about 2 minutes of their set I was sold, and didn’t want them to get off the stage. They play the most incredible dance-rock I’ve heard around the city as of late. And not only that, but they pull it off live! They had the crowd dancing- albeit it was a rather small crowd that early in the night, which was truly a shame since they played such a fantastic, energizing set. I could go on and on about how in love with the lyrics and the keys, but a round of keyboard applause needs to be made to their drummer. Dan Miles, where have you been my whole life? The guy’s an animal behind the kit- he beat the shit out of his skins in a perfect controlled chaos. I can’t wait to see them live again, and if you’re reading this, you should take a listen to their EP Don’t Make a Sound now.

The second opener was a band called Pocket Panda. Call me crazy, but with a name like that I’d completely expected something like The West: dance-y, electric, and interesting. That wasn’t quite what I got. After waiting a very long time for their set to begin as they set up their multitude of instruments, the room’s mood had changed and people got ansty. Pocket Panda as it turns out wasn’t an eletro-rock show, but rather a Seattle-ized version of Mumford and Sons. And while I love Mumford and Sons, nothing about Pocket Panda’s set really blew me away. Don’t get me wrong- they’re good at what they do and they were able to wind up the crowd after that too-long-lull. But I just felt something was missing, and I didn’t feel like I was experiencing something new. Mumford and Sons are special, and I understand a band loving that sound, but they haven’t seemed to make it their own yet. But, with talent and ambition, there’s always potential, and this band was undoubtedly talented.