Three Imaginary Girls

Seattle's Indie-Pop Press – Music Reviews, Film Reviews, and Big Fun

We all know good things come in threes. It took a band as brilliant as the Long Winters to finally think of playing at all three fabula-riffic Sonic Boom Record stores in one day, to promote the release of their long-awaited sophomore release When I Pretend to Fall. I was determined to follow them all day like the Dead Head I never was, and not just because I wanted to get the limited edition Long Winters Sonic Boom tour t-shirt, either.

I was there because I am a Long Winters superfan. {There, I've said it}. And that is just what superfans do.

Sonic Boom Capitol Hill

"No, you are!"

I'm partial to this location, the newest of the three Sonic Boom stores, because it's dangerously within stumbling (and spending) distance to my home. The band opened the day of shows with a surprise — they all switched instruments for the opener "Blue Diamonds," featuring Sean (normally on keyboards) on the bass, Eric (normally on bass) on the guitar, and John (normally on guitar) on the keyboards. Michael kept on drumming.

They continued on with a mix of songs from their new CD as well as their debut ("to pad our set," joked John), including "Bride and Bridle," "Scent of Lime," "New Girl" and one of my personal favorites, "Unsalted Butter."

"I pronounced that 'funishment,'" John quipped when the song ended.

"And that's what you're all getting today — funishment, Long Winters style," continued Sean.

Aye, I love me that Long Winters banter! The show ended, and I split for my second coffee run (nothing better than an iced americano on an unseasonably warm day), and headed to Fremont to meet up with the other superfans…

Sonic Boom Fremont

"You're voice appeals to me; it's exactly how I feel."

The Long Winters. Photo by Ryan Schierling.Sonic Boom Fremont — as the coolest (IMHO) and smallest of the three stores, hosted a John and Sean solo acoustic set, featuring the two guys performing on what looked like a not- necessarily- steady piece of plywood atop the "soundtracks" CD section (or was that the hiphop section?). This was made slightly more harrowing by the fact that Sean was drinking a beer and wearing darkened sunglasses. Sean proclaimed his love of the beer-for-lunch lifestyle, and stated his sunglasses indoors were, "…an anti-double reverse cool gesture — like my white bucs." Who could argue with that (and I wonder, was there any traction on those bucs)?

Happily, no stumbles or crashes occurred. With just the two vocalists performing, the sound was markedly more mellow (what's with me and alliteration today?), with John proclaming, "This will be the melanchonic set." He went on to encourage all of us to buy the new CD, as, "Nabil's gotta make the payment on his cadillac."

They made a pretty convincing argument for purchase with stellar live versions of Long Winters favs like "Mimi," "Car Parts," and "It'll Be a Breeze."

"We're putting the 'emo' back in Fremont," they proclaimed.

Um, no Sean, you are! {I inwardly proclaimed, even though it didn't really make sense — and don't think that the shakes I had from the two double tall iced coffee beverages I'd already had didn't stop me from getting another on my way to Ballard oh no way no sirree they didn't…}

Sonic Boom Ballard

"I was delirious."

The Long Winters. Photo by Ryan Schierling.The final show was held at the biggest baddest Ballard Sonic boom store (I was so giddy from the heat, music, and caffeine overload I believe I actually might have said that). Here the band played with a far-fuller sound, and the room filled to the brim (the biggest-baddest-ballard-brim?) with local rockstars, fans, and local rockstars who were fans.

The band saved some of the best new ones for last, including "Cinnamon," "Shapes," and "Stupid," plus "Medicine Cabinet Pirate," and a smokin' redition of the Western State Hurricanes song "Nora."

The witty banter continued. I think the band was likewise affected by the overbearing heat of the day (as well as the relentless schedule), as John demonstrated by telling the, "take off your shirt!" heckler that he (John) was, "…voted Playgirl's sexiest indie-rock guy in Seattle — it was their fat-guy issue." Heat-stroke-induced exhaustion was definitely kicking in…

After the show, I collected my limited edition Long Winters "sold out Sonic Boom tour" t-shirt (awarded only to those who made it to all three shows, to prove what superfans we were), posters, and other paraphenilia and headed to the car.

And you know what? Even after a full day of following the band, I still wanted to stick When I Pretend to Fall into the CD player. It's that kinda good…

Now go see Ryan Schierling's photo documentation of the whole Long Winter's Sonic Boom tour on the Long Winters' web site.