Somehow, in the sea of amazing, mindbending, 40+ shows this past weekend, we managed to find ourselves front row for two of our favorite local acts, with camera in hand. Two great nights with two rad bands, at two perfectly-suited venues: John Roderick’s solo show at the Triple Door on Thursday, and the Head and the Heart’s late-night set at the Comet on Friday.
First up: picture one of your all-time all-star favorite musicians playing all of your favorite old songs, from the edge of a couch in your apartment. Now, give your apartment temperature control, a raging sound system, stellar lighting, room for all your friends, and a waiter who serves you lemon-infused sparkling water and endless range-free grass-fed chicken filled potstickers. (Right? Seriously.)
Such was our night.
Nothing could have prefunked a sun-filled weekend better than a night with John Roderick, who took the spotlight center-stage this past Thursday at one of the sweetest venues in town. After warmup sets from comedian Karen Korn and Jason Dodson, a two-hour set (!) of Long Winters favorites ensued, and we sat and soaked it all in from the darkened, cushy, air-conditioned seats of the Triple Door. The night consisted mainly of older songs, tracks off of most of the band’s earliest releases like The Worst You Can Do Is Harm and When I Pretend to Fall, some pre-LW songs, and even some pre-Western State Hurricanes material. (!!!) Coupled with a smattering of more recently released selections (and the greatest stage banter this side of the Sound), it was everything a solo show at the Triple Door should be: totally deconstructed and intimate — akin to spending an evening in a performer’s living room / your apartment — with a first-hand tangibility to the whole thing that knocked us right out of our chairs.
A day at the office, then, scene cut to Friday: ears still ringing, heart still swooning, frantically-scrawled setlists still poking out of our pockets. We braved the sweaty throng of attendees at the Comet to catch The Head and the Heart’s headlining set — which was everything we could have possibly hoped for, and more. Arguably one of the stuffiest rooms on the Hill so far as air-circulated venues go, the Comet’s temperature went from warm to hot to “Holy (expletive), I can’t stop sweating!” as we secured spots front-row center for their post-midnight set. It was everything structurally that the Triple Door was not — really, there’s nothing cushy about the Comet, at all — but the intimacy and the hands-on living room feeling were present all the same. With warmups from Kaylee Cole and one of Imaginary Jess’s new favorite finds (The Devil Whale), we were well-primed to take in what THatH were about to dish out.
With their Avett-Brothers-esque genre-transcending alt.indie.americana brand of four-on-the-floor, coupled with the fact that really, there’s no actual ‘stage’ happening, per se — it was almost as if we were part of THatH’s performance. As if the sheer force of their songs weren’t enough. Sing-a-longs, dancing, and full-frontal emo swoonfests ensued as they slayed us with song after song off of their new self-titled release, as we pressed up against the speakers under beer-sign lights. It must have been an amazing sight from the sidewalk, with all the life and sound of the room pouring out the windows — straight through until after 1:00am. We stumbled out onto Pike Street all bleary-eyed and ecstatic, with that we-can’t-believe-that-just-happened kinds of faces, totally in love with every inch of Seattle and the people in it.
Here’s what it all looked like:
If you missed either of these shows, don’t worry — John Roderick will be doing two more Triple Door sets, one in mid-August and one at the end of September. And The Head and the Heart will be all over the place in the next few months, with spots at the Capitol Hill Block Party, second of three at the Tractor, and with Fences at the Crocodile at the end of September. In both cases, however, I’d be getting tickets in advance — there is no way you’re going to want to miss another performance by either of these artists.