Three Imaginary Girls

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

"Imaginary Girl On A Moonlit Night"
Sheltered me had never seen Beth Orton before this show… but had read review after review and article after article on this remarkable lady. I knew that she was a Brit darling (an automatic 50 point bonus in my book) and favorite of many of my favorites. So when my friend Michael (who will be quoted for the substantial part of this show recap because he is THE Beth Orton fan in my life) found out she was coming to town, he didn’t have to waste much energy convincing me to go… ok, once he assured me that she did NOT sound like Sheryl Crow (who she has been compared to on more than one occasion), there was no need to waste another breath.

(I like Beth Orton, but she reminds me of an old boyfriend. Don't you hate it when a perfectly talented musician gets soiled like that? So I didn't go to the show.)


Beth was in town to support of her new-not-yet-released album Daybreaker (release date: July 30, 2002). (This is where I start quoting Michael:) "The slight, unmistakably British la Orton commanded the Showbox stage with a nice mix of old favorites ("Stolen Car," "Tangent," and a show-stopping update of "She Cries Your Name") and well-received new tunes. She is a Tracey Thorn (Everything But The Girl) meets Julie London meets Iris DeMent. With such a wide range, her album material runs a gamut of styles — one encounters jazz, folk, techno, and Brit-pop with Trailer Park and Central Reservation — and this show was well in keeping with her multi-faceted trademarks. Look for Beth at the Moore in late August, part of a second leg of the tour after Daybreaker’s release."

Right… what he said My big takeaway was the fact that her show was a make-out fest. Girl on boy, girl on girl, boy on boy — sweaty, slobbering passion in all directions. I left the show not only convinced that she fulfills my empty whole for a significant female folkee, but that she IS the Barry White of the UK.

"Who's Gonna Start The Wave?"
So which came first: did Mates of State's Jason Hammel and Kori Gardner meet, play music together, and then fall in love… or did they meet, fall in love, and then realize that they sounded perfect together? And does it matter, really? After watching them goggle, clang, drum and chant their little sing-songs to each other last Friday evening at Graceland, in the ultimate cutiest display of musical magic and googy-eyed wedded bliss, it made me want to… well, I'll say this; depending on your mood at the time, it would have inspired you to believe their might be a perfect ying for your yang… or else sent you to the bar for your favorite bitter swill, to obscure the sticky syrupy twang from your teeth.

Watching these two made me believe that there must be someone like that out there for everyone. If these two could find it, couldn't we all? I smiled, longed, danced, sang along, and just glowed with from their energy. These kids just radiated the bliss of doing something they love — and someone they love. Sigh. Or perhaps, blech.

"This Wrinkle in Time Can't Give it No Credit"

I don't share Dana's enthusiasm for Mates of State. So the choice for me for the evening was clear: pass on Mates of State, attend Frank Black!

God, I love Frank Black, Black Francis, Charles Thompson and all things related. The last time he was in town, he and the Catholics (the FB back up band) tore it up. The guitarist he had with him was mind-blowing; an un-assuming fellow that most would naturally dismiss as the guy who plays with Frank Black. By the second song, I was in a trance watching him play the guitar, the lap-steel and the keyboard. Counting down the days to my umpteenth Frank Black show, I found myself strangely looking forward to seeing that back up guitarist as much as Mr. Black himself.

Once again, David Lovering (Pixies Drummer) opened up with the same, yet still informative and entertaining, science experiment routine as the last tour. What fun to have DAVID LOVERING 2 feet from you, cooking pickles with magnetic waves (or something like that, I was never too good at the science comprehension thing!) By the time Frank Black and the Catholics took the stage, I was all kinds of looking forward to having Mr. Pixie right there in front of me. Whether he plays a Pixies tune or not, there is something commanding about his presence on stage, with a guitar, screaming melodies.

Then, six songs into the set, reality set in. I can't believe I thought this — and I can't believe I am writing this — but this show sucked! (God, but it feels almost blasphemous, writing this!).

I could forgive the fact that the awesome guitarist he had with him last time was replaced. But… save for the Pixies covers and the few tracks he chose to play off of his first 2 albums, everything sounded the same. I began to weigh the pros and cons of leaving my earned senior spot in the front row to get a cup of water. Once I realized that there were only 4 songs left and that the state of my disposition was not improving, I made my way back to the water pitcher and walked around while wondering what happened. Was it because the last time he came to town, it was the best show I had seen in a long time? Was it that annoying guy standing next to me — the one that was dirty dancing with his girlfriend while repeatedly knocking into me and creeping everyone around him out?

I don't know. Don't get me wrong. I still look forward to FB coming back and I am still going to go in there with the giddy excitement. But, next time I'll be better hydrated.