I can't count the number of Mandrin and sodas that Kim Warnick has poured for me at the Cha Cha. At least fifty. Eighty? One hundred? As I said, I couldn't count. Of course, I know who she is; founding member of the Fastbacks, the former Mrs. Ken Stringfellow, friend-apparent to music writer Kathleen Wilson, a surly yet outrageously respected and admired staple in the diet of the Seattle music scene. She never remembers me from one meeting to the next. Why would she; who am I, and she is Kim Warnick. One time, after telling me I needed to extinguish the clove cigarette I was smoking at the Cha Cha ("I'm not trying to be a bitch, I work here," she offered. "Um, duh, I am here at least 2 nights a week and of course I know who you are," I thought…), she left the room for 10 minutes in order to procure a regular cigarette for me to smoke, because she felt bad for forcing me to extinguish the clove. It was one of the legitimately sweetest gestures I've encountered out in the Seattle scene. Woo hoo — Kim Warnick did something nice for me! — I happily thought. When we ran into her at another bar three nights later, she had no recollection of the incident. Why would she? Who am I… and she is Kim Warnick. I am fascinated by her; I am in awe of her; the prospect of writing a review about her — well, it's daunting at best. OK, it's terrifying. What can I write that would do justice by her, that hasn't been said or done already?
Phew. Now, that being said…
Visqueen is the latest project for bassist Warnick, along with singer/guitarist Rachel Flotard and drummer Ben Hooker (both formerly of Hafacat). After seeing them play at Chop Suey, I am completely and fantastically infatuated with their catchy melodies, really loud and fast guitar-driven rock, and belty-tasty female vocals. Of course, with my indie-pop princess biases, Visqueen was just an easy sell for me. It's pure indie-chick fun rock and roll. I'm done. Sold. Love it. Get me this CD immediately and let me blare it from my car windows all summer.
Um, what do you mean I can't have it yet…?
Per Peter Hilgendorf, a source close to the band, Visqueen are shopping around for a label, trying to find a good fit; one that will respect Kim's history with the Fastbacks… and one that will give them adequate support to tour and promote their album. Now I ask: HOW HARD IS THIS??! Would somebody PLEASE get these guys a label so I can get a copy of this CD already…? Sheesh!!
Rachel Flotard is just gorgeous too, so ultra-feminine she was nearly Rapunzel-like, cute and petite with long blond waves around her face. But then she opens her mouth to sing, and out comes this sweetly sass-mouthed attitude and a piercing rock and roll vocal style. She and Kim have an incredible stage presence together, with this amazing beauty and the bad-ass duality… but then when they harmonize, it's just sublime synchronicity. Perfect vocal complements.
And they're hilarious. At one point, they hemmed and hawed about playing "a new song," and apologized that they had only written it an hour before. Turned out to be a little ditty called "I Need to Know" (by Tom Petty). There's nothing I admire quite like an interesting cover tune. When it ended, Kim apologized with, "Those lyrics really sucked." I giggled.
And they're generous! Kim had two tickets to see The Who that weekend. They asked, "Who really wants these tickets?" and reminded audience members the show was quite a haul — all the way to the Gorge. Once they found a taker for the tickets, Rachel joked, "Actually, the show's at Graceland. You might want to wear a tank top… and bring your own toilet paper." Ahh, so talented, so lovely, so funny and generous, and also so wise. What more could we want from this band?
Um.. a CD. That's my biggest request. While we all must wait for this, in the interim you can hear the song my house on the Visqueen web site. According to Peter, a new Visqueen mp3 will be available next week on the site — and Three Imaginary Girls readers will be among the first to hear it! Stay tuned…
I likewise was excited to hear Crictor after learning that it was another Jenn Ghetto project. But what a different sound from the gentle Carissa's Wierd and whimsical S! Jenn literally rocked during this set… and she took such obvious joy in releasing so much noise from her guitar; this was just so evident as she played. And what a jubilent catharsis it was!
Then the relentless rhythms (and likely, the three Mandrin and sodas) inspired me (and tired me) to sit down on the vinyl benches and cast furtive, longing stares at my hopeless crush at the bar. And write bad poetry. So that's what I did.