Recap: Saturday Night @ City Arts Festival
SSGMusic.com Showcase- I’d have to say, this non-show was one of my favorite shows of the entire festival. I wish it would have been in a larger space, but from the moment I walked into the at-capacity room it became clear that this was absolute once-in-a-lifetime local music magic. On the cramped back bar stage at the Crocodile, SSG Music managed to gather a who’s who of local talent. Chris Cunningham and Matt BadgerÂ of Ravenna Woods, Daniel Blue of Motopony, Lemolo, Benjamin Verdoes of Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band, Samuel Miller who plays in about 15 local bands, and I’m probably STILL forgetting someone- apologies in advance.
SSG Music orchestrated the event differently than the other CAF Happy Hour events, encouraging the bands to cover one another’s songs as well as their own. Naming themselves Organized, this “band” of the best of the best of Seattle providedÂ some of the most beautiful and stripped moments from the weekend. Each performer covered their own material, but the most personal moments were when they took the chance to show their love for one another’s music. The most memorable performance of the night was without doubt Lemolo’s cover of Motopony’s ‘Wait For Me’ — if someone caught this on video I will pay top dollar for it. While I hope to see these performers come together again in this sort of format, if it never happens again I’m satisfied that 100 people were able to witness something they’ll never forget.
St. Lucia– The electro pop band’s EPÂ September has been one of my favorites since it was released a few weeks ago, so I was excited to see their set as an opener for Two Door Cinema Club. Inspired by 80s pop, the band fit well in the warehouse environment that is Showbox SoDo and their music floated across the crowded space with effortless urgency. Lead singerÂ Jean-Philip Grobler melted hearts with his South African accent in between songs from their self titled 2012 release like ‘All Eyes On You.’ And while I heard people around me exclaiming that they’d never heard of St. Lucia before, judging by the dancing people all around me it really didn’t matter. If you were paying attention to the stage at all, your eyes probably locked onto St. Lucia’s keyboard player- the guy was stealing the show from Grobler and had he not been tethered to a stationary instrument he would have no doubt been bounding around the stage dancing as hard as the audience. St. Lucia is an easy band to listen to, partially because of how familiar they sound when compared to acts like Electronic Guest or Two Door Cinema Club but a little more worldly and diverse.
Motopony– Following the electronic pop lusciousness of St. Lucia’s performance, I was interested to see how the audience would react to the local indie troop. Motopony is more rock than electronic, so they didn’t make sense with the line up but after Daniel Blue took the stage it didn’t seem to matter to anyone. Blue is an interesting character to watch on stage standing beneath a buffalo skull, but after the band launched into their material the audience really seemed to connect with the guys. Accompanied by Noah Gundersen on guitar, the band made an impression while playing ‘King of Diamonds.’ What really caught me more than stage presence, attitude, or instrumental skills, is the power in Blue’s voice. I just want to close my eyes and listen to the space between his mouth and my eardrums to catch any tiny note he offers up. Â While this set seemed out of place, it proved that placement doesn’t matter as much when a talented band strings us up to the ceiling with their power and magnitude.
Devotchka– Stopping by the Moore to catch part of Devotchka’s set, I was speechless upon entering the Moore Theater’s aisles. I expected the place to be packed, but I was sort of astounded by the sheer size of the group in front of me on stage. Backed by the Seattle Rock Orchestra, this was an impressive and intimidating show in the best way possible. Some music is larger than life, and Devotchka fits in such a setting. Led byÂ Nick Urata the band looked picture perfect on stage, and give off an old world romantic feel that is almost never heard in music today. The songs I caught were passionate, and to say that the Rock Orchestra’s string section filled my hallowed out soul would be an understatement.
My Goodness– After a far-to-long hiatus and boasting a new drummer, My Goodness finally took the stage at my favorite venue, Neumos, to a completely packed crowd. Local rock duo The Grizzled Mighty had warmed up the stage, so when My Goodness made their way up the stairs to start their set, JoelÂ Schneider and Andy Lum were greeted by an amped up rush of people ready to be reintroduced to the local pair of soon to be rock gods. Bold statement, I know, but several days post performance I was still hearing people gush over Schneider’s sexy vibrating vocals combined with Lum’s room rattling drum playing.
With the exception of one new song, the set was composed entirely of material from My Goodness’s past work. I love being at rock shows where an audience is brought to life while simultaneously falling apart, and that was what I was witnessing- all set to a cymbal crashing, raged riff laden soundtrack. Schneider’s ability to shout life into the eardrums into an audience while throwing himself (and his hair) around the stage makes it so that if you witness his greatness, he’ll without doubt win you over.
Schneider onstage means business, and he’s perfectly complimented by Lum’s behavior with a pair of drum sticks. Lum may be new to the band- a fan in the crowd prior to the set shouted “Where’s Ethan?” – but by the end of the set, no one was left wondering about the former drummer. Lum is the current and future drummer, and he owned every single person in attendance Saturday night at Neumos. Watching him perform was a sight, he could hardly contain himself yet played with the sort of control that other drummers can only fantasize about.
This is a familiar band to many around Seattle, but in this rebirth with Lum it’s poised to do things harder, louder, and bigger than before. New material is coming, I can taste it. And it tastes dirty and metallic- like a shot of whiskey behind a gas station. After the intensity and solid gold goodness of My Goodness’s performance, I cannot contain my excitement.