Three Imaginary Girls

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

I used to test my CD's on my mother to assess their degree of coolness. If she hated it, I loved it. If she covered her ears in disgust and immediately told me to turn it off, it became my favorite new album. As I exited my teenage years, I realized that it's okay to like stuff my mom would listen to. During the Nickel Creek show, this feeling was validated by the 70 year old woman in the oversized sunhat standing next to me playing air ukulele to the music.

Nickel Creek consists of Sara Watkins {fiddle}, Sean Watkins {guitar} and Chris Thile {mandolin}. For their current tour, they've also added Mark Schatz on bass. No, I didn't omit the drummer. There wasn't a drummer. Surprisingly, I didn't miss the drums. In fact, some of their songs didn't even have lyrics. The melody was so enticing on it's own I didn't miss the elements "traditional bands" use. And their live performance sounded flawless.

Sara plays violin and fiddle. "What's the difference between a violin and a fiddle," you ask? It's actually the same instrument. Its name is defined in how it is played. She switches from long, languid strokes as if she were lulling a baby to sleep to short, spirited fast strikes that even made the hippies stop their interpretive dances and listen. Isn't it against their code to dance barefoot on layers of Astroturf held together by layers of duct tape? I'm digressing.

Nickel Creek is a brilliant blend of Bluegrass and Folk {newgrass?} that incorporates yesterdays traditional earth roots with a current day twist. Although I rarely promote either of these bands, I would describe Nickel Creek as the love child of the Dave Matthews Band and the Dixie Chicks {minus the drummer}. It's a splendid, uncontroversial CD you can listen to on the way to mass.

I really wanted to weave through the crowd to get closer and see the faces behind these beautiful voices, but my keen imaginary instincts told me the patchouli smell would get more potent the closer I got to the stage and I'm just not strong enough to breathe through my mouth for that long.

The weather for this outdoor event was gorgeous. Sean stated mid-set, "I'm beginning to think you tell all of us Californians* it rains here all of the time to keep us from infesting your state. Every time I've been here, it's been freaking** beautiful."

*Nickel Creek is from San Diego
**Yes, he actually said "freaking". It was priceless!

Nickel Creek's performance was amazing and sounded exactly like their album. If you want to hear some Nickel Creek, I suggest buying the album, cranking it up and sinking in your favorite chair for some good listening. Don't spend the 20 bucks on a concert ticket, you'll just get annoyed by the placid uberfans and the lack of stage banter. In fact, call up your mother and invite her over for a listening party. You can bond and she'll be glad your music tastes have "matured".