Calla Interpol Live Show Review The Showbox The Turn Ons


Interpol came back into town to promote their first album, Turn on the Bright Lights and once again gave Seattle the "It" event of the season. When they were here last September, the show was sold out and the place was filled to the Graceland gills with the potently stylish. The majority of the attendees left fully armed to refute all those who discounted them with claims of dirivity and band-of-the-moment status.

Yea, I was there. I had a fine time. And yes, as it was a momentarily historical event, I really should have reviewed it. I did have a couple insightful thoughts regarding their translation from album to stage. The packed smoky surroundings, the hype leading up to that show, the sweaty encore, the crappy choice of Heather Duby squished in between the stellar Long Winters openers and our Interpol headliners, and…. well, you get the idea.

But alas, I was, er, um… …I was in the throws of ultra-dreamy infatuation, resulting in me being a bit wrapped up in the coyly-holding-hands stage of courting. Interpol did serve as an excellent background soundtrack as we were pinned up against the back of the room, sitting atop the middle booth being goofy and lost in the moment. Understandable or not, such a distraction left me less-than-inspired to review Interpol the first time around.

Ahem… apology officially submitted. It shall not happen again…

This time, it was going to be different. Weeks leading up to the show, igLiz and I had big ideas about our review. The Interpol show should not go documented.

Right, we were armed with pen and paper… and then… the next thing you know…

…We realized — we needed a night off. That's right. Sometimes even the imaginary need a vacation. An executive decision was made to just shut up and enjoy the show. We were not going to write about Interpol.

And it wasn't because we weren't excited or because it was all-ages and we were squished into the stage-left bar area…

Nope. We just wanted to settle in for a full evening of music, for music's sake. No taking notes or writing about it for our next issue. No way.

Decision made, I bunked into our squished stage-left bar area of the all-ages show, surrounded by friends-of-imaginary-girls Renata {who also attended the September Interpol "It" event} and Jason with a slightly-interrupted view of the stage. We listened to Seattle's local hottie openers the Turn-ons.

They were sexy and stellar as usual.

I sadly missed the Turn-ons, but with just cause, as I needed to attend my friend Drew's 30th birthday celebration. I can't imagine they were any less than sexy and stellar {just like Drew}.

But, I did catch a bit of Calla's set. I remember they served as interesting background music and had some noteworthy guitar guy dance moves… and I think I would have enjoyed it had I been able to take my drink down front.

Agreed, but a girl has to have her priorities on this night before Valentines day.

Priorities notwithstanding, Calla did their job well. I'd heard a song or two on KEXP, but their set piqued my interest so much that now I want to go procure their album. But because we aren't going to review the show, such reasons for their shot up on the cd-wishlist shall go undocumented.

That's right! With our marginally clear view and proximity to the finer points of the Showbox, we opted to stay up top in the cramped drinkers' lounge with the cool kids and enjoy their conversation whilst standing behind the pole. Without notepads, without pens. In fact, we were hoping to black out so we wouldn't be able to remember a thing, thus removing the temptation to review the Interpol show at all.

Right. Though I kind of wish we were reviewing it, so that we could talk about the Interpol roadie who looked like he was the official understudy of the band. All dyed black hair and New-York-Wave'd out and such…

…And how the Imaginary Posse expanded that understudy theory to the whole band. Renata, who was right up front for their last Seattle show, swore that they did not look like that last time they were in town. Although I personally noticed a resemblance, I did think that it was obvious that lead-singer Paul has been working out. Those buff arms looked new.

If I were reviewing the show, I might mention that seeing Interpol live was like listening to Interpol on CD, just really, really loud — that is, Interpol sounded perfect.

Well, of course. They've been playing the same songs for the past year and a half.


They only messed up once, and you know, I think that was my favorite part. It reminded me that they are indeed human, fallible.

You know, I bet if they'd known how successful this CD would be, and therefore how long they would tour in support of it, they might have paid more attention to this lyric that has always irked me (a blemish on their otherwise darkly fluid content):

"Her stories are boring and stuff.
She's always calling my bluff."

"…and stuff?" Are you telling me that that line was a keeper? Don't get me wrong, I really like the album, but….

Liz — you're reviewing!! Stop that right this minute!!!


Oh right. We said we weren't going to do that. Can I just mention the keyboardist? A fairly recent addition {he wasn't with them the last time they were in town}, he was too perfectly dressed the part. He had that unmistakable Ben Lashes look. Maybe all the cool kids have that look…

Right. All the cool kids look like Ben, and all the cool imaginary girls don't review Interpol shows. Phew. I'm so glad we're cool…


Live Show Review Rhett Miller The Showbox

Dear Rhett: Can I kiss your furrowed brow and calm your nervous heart?

A question for our readers: is Rhett Miller the most gorgeous human ever to grace a stage, male or female? And if so, does this discredit him as a musician? And more importantly with a question like this: why don't we have a photo of him to go with this review?

The answers: Yes. Abosultely not. And because-the-show-was-too-crowded-to-get-anywhere-near-the-stage, and when we met him post-show, his beauty was so powerful that the camera failed on all three attempts to take a snapshot. 'Tis true.

Although I am going to spend the rest of this review pointing out Rhett's singer-songwriter prowess, I should also address igDana's Rhett-enthusiasm as it is understandable. It has been documented in many a quilting bee that Rhett is not only a, um, looker… but also is one of the kindest, sweetest, friendliest gentleman this side of… well, anywhere.

An added bonus to discussing this is that I get to reveal the best part of the whole igDana—Rhett encounter: When Rhett leaned over to hug our infamously outgoing and disarming igDana to thank her for coming by the merch table, she was rendered speechless by his bounty of outer and inner beauty. And I am not talking temporarily speechless. As I will expand upon below, our heroine was unable to recover for the remainder of the exchange. An occurrence most out of character; in all my adventures with her, she has never before even come close to a hesitation on a word.

Oh no… please say you're not going to tell the Alex Chilton part of this story…?

{um, of course!}

Ok… I'll fess up before Liz proceeds to humiliate me. I purchased Rhett's album, "The Instigator" after the show. Not only did Rhett sign it, but he also sang Big Star's "O, Dana" to me.

…and it's a GREAT CD, produced by the incredibly talented Jon Brion. There are photos of Rhett on the cover. Up-close and dreamy photos. But really, buy it for the music. (No, really!)

Woah… not so fast lil one! You musn't skip over the best part…

…The part when Rhett asked you if you had ever heard the Alex Chilton song "O Dana" that he just sang to you and you responded with, "No, I only know the Big Star version." Which, for our readers at home who haven't gotten to the B/C section of their Trouser Press Guide, is just about as funny as someone asking you about a Jack White song and you saying you only know the White Stripes version.

{igLiz falls to the floor in hysterics for the 43rd time}

Oh yeah. What makes the story even more deliriously funny (to others) is that I had just received a 2 hour dissertation about the history of Big Star/Alex Chilton (including sound samples and visual aids) from a pop-music-obsessed friend mere weeks before, including a special chapter devoted to "O, Dana."

{imaginary aside: "O, Dana" has come as a great comfort to me, as I still haven't recovered from the crushing childhood heartbreak and jealousy that "Oh Sherrie" caused.}

Anyhow, all that new knowledge, streaming from my short-term memory at the first up-close glance of that radiant gold-capped smile. I'm an idiot.

So um, igLiz, shouldn't you be talking about what a great performance Rhett put on and how he covered a couple of Old 97s songs…?

{igDana pulls igLiz up off the floor}

Apologies for digressing. You're right, I am not here to mock igDana.

Back to the important part of the conversation.

Rhett is a touring machine. He always has been. I remember a couple of years ago when he and the Old 97's played like four shows in Seattle in two months. Even for a Seattle band such a hectic tour schedule would prove difficult… and those boys were based in Texas.

So no, you are not mistaken. He WAS just in town a couple months ago promoting The Instigator {his first post Old 97's solo effort}. Last December, he hit the Chop Suey audience with a both a full band as well as the classic singer-songwriter solo acoustic set. Because he was the headliner that night, he was up there for hours and fully covered both his solo material and a wide range of Old 97's tunes.

At this evening's Showbox show, he had a similar mix of old and new, except this time he was armed only with his acoustic guitar and an opening slot for one of the singer-songwriter of all singer-songwriters, the honorable Neil Finn. Such a line-up pairing was so obviously perfect, I {along with many other Seattle-ites} exclaimed when the line-up was confirmed. Neil with his Split Enz/Crowded House lineage and Rhett with his well-versed Old 97's work… two talented and nummy former frontman, uniting on a single bill. The whole thing makes that Billy Joel/Elton John look even less worthy of all the hype.

Did we have "charismatic" on the list of Rhett attributes? My oh my, that boy can stir up a crowd. We found it endearing that he played some of igLiz's favorites {"Four-Eyed Girl" and the Old 97's "Barrier Reef"} and did a pseudo-cover that will live in infamy. He put his own Rhett-esque lyrics to the national anthem "America" and transformed it into a much more "Erica" tune. Nodding to the present infuriating and frightening state of world affairs, he introduced the song by commending Seattle's recent "kick-ass" anti-war demonstration. The crowd cheered in agreement.

God, he's dreamy.

The subtle cynism of that tune in the midst of the usual brokenhearted and in lovestruck Miller originals left us all cheering for more.

The crowd was primed for Mr. Finn.

And let's not forget about that whole Alex Chilton/Big Star portion of the story.

 I'm never gonna live that one down. At least not until I say something equally as stupid to someone equally as hot. Except I believe both would be impossible to equal…

Live Show Review Neil Finn The Showbox

Neil Finn: I Found You in the Arms of a Poet

Neil Finn, Neil Finn, Neil Finn. Even the mention of his name reinstalls the giddiness of my first real musical love affair.

Sure, I'd had my fair share of musical crushes before him… the Go-Go's, the Waitresses, Michael Jackson, even the "Annie" Soundtrack (Original Broadway Cast, Gatefold Vinyl).

But the fervent musical devotion that developed from the procurement of my first Crowded House tape {their debut self-titled album} is the glittery gold standard against which I gage my devotion to a band.

During the months and years that followed, I acquired the skills of fandom that I still use today: I researched, I read, and I acquired. Neil's former bands and side projects quickly populated my collection and, before I knew it, I could answer questions like, "Who or what is Schnell Fenster?" and "Where is Te Awamutu?"

{imaginary aside: Schnell Fenster (b 1986) was a band consisting of former Split Enz members Phil Judd, Noel Crombie, Nigel Griggs and Michael Den Elzen. Te Awamutu is located about 30km south of Hamilton City, in the Waikato district of the North Island, New Zealand (Aotearoa). It has a town population of 9,500 and service area population of 39,000. It is referenced in "Mean to Me," the first song on the Crowded House's first album. It is nestled in the verse, "She came all the way from America / She had a blind date with destiny / And the sound of Te Awamutu / Had a truly sacred ring / Now her parents are divorced / And her friends committing suicide." How swoony was that for a teenager superfan?}

For the record, I have no idea what she's talking about. In fact, I think she's speaking in tongues…

As is the case with most love affairs, the relationship matured and our dynamic hit a plateau. Yes, other bands came along, and yes, the intensity of my adoration of said bands eventually surpassed that for Crowded House/Neil Finn… but as the first musicians to inspire such enthusiasm, Crowded House and Neil Finn have a sacred place in my heart.

It is with this long-winded introduction that I explain my higher-than-usual level of pre-show-excitement.

Thank goodness I was able to skip the "Neil will be on stage soon and please-please-please let him play at least one of my favorite Crowded House or Split Enz songs" jitters by attempting to de-fluster igDana due to her brief encounter with the evening's outstanding opener Rhett Miller.

I wasn't that bad, was I?

{don't answer that…}

Regardless, I was excited about the Neil Finn show as well… that Rhett Miller opening set was just icing on the cake. I've always like CH and SE, and for years I've heard friends extol Neil's live performance virtues, so I was looking forward to experiencing this "Super-Neil" thing myself.

As Neil and crew made there way on stage, I recognized a couple of the back-up band members… most notably, igDana favorite, Lisa Germano!

You know you're a talented performer and an amazing all-around guy when you get someone like Lisa, a full-on songwriting goddess in her own right, as one of your supporting live musicians.

Throughout the course of the set, he hit a bounty of Crowded House songs {"Pineapple Head," "Now We're Getting Somewhere," "Love This Life"}, selections from his recent solo albums {"She Will Have Her Way"/"Something So Strong" medley}, at least one Split Enz song {"History Never Repeats"} and a couple surprises in-between.

My second favorite moment was when someone handed him a demo CD. It was none-other than a member of local shoegazers Black Nite Crash! Neil promptly requested that the audience pass the CD back to the soundguy to play on the venue's speakers. Within moments, the song began; Neil and the band started jamming along and within minutes had created a song around the opening measures of a track from the Black Night Crash demo. Did I hear it right? Was he singing something like, "Skin makes me happy?"

Umm… I think so. Perhaps not the most thought-provoking of lyrics, but the fact that he was able to craft a song around a never-before-heard piece of music is testament to my proclations that he is one of the most extraordinary musicians ever {on top of being one of the most genuine}.

My favorite moment, you ask? When they launched into the Smiths' "There is a Light that Never Goes Out," a song I have always dreamed of hearing performed live — which gleefully prompted me to think of the cutest guy I could, dial, and play the entire remaining three minutes and seventeen seconds of the song onto his voicemail.

His performance at the sometimes intimidating Showbox felt fortuitous and intimate. So much so that even the "World Where You Live" audience sing-along didn't cross the oft-self-aggrandizing border. I left impressed.

Hmm.. with this much love in the room, I suppose that we should all just count ourselves lucky that their show was post-Valentine's-Day? Oh, or that could be just me.

Bright Eyes Live Show Review M. Ward The Bruces The Showbox

Bright Eyes with the Bruces and M. Ward

{I, Imaginary Girl Liz here do solumnly swear to be a professional and objective music writer and I will not gush about Bright Eyes, Desaparecidos, Saddle Creek Records or anything else associated therewith. Cross my heart.}

Bright Eyes hit the Northwest with an army of 13. The rotating cast took the shape of three different bands over the course of the event, each offering a special contribution to the evening’s ever-evolving landscape. The Bruces bit of Simon Joyner-influenced-alt-country-twang resulted in a mildly curative set that barely surpassed a snail’s pace and a run on whiskey at the bar.

The most startling piece of the puzzle had to be the moment the bass player removed his big wacky gardening hat to reveal a Mr. Conor Oberst. Within seconds the crowd (unsurprisingly) thickened around the front of the stage and previous dismissive comments were replaced with, "Do they have t-shirts for sale?"

On stage next, middleman M. Ward passed the time with his Benicio Del Toro’d unquestionable intensity and contented classically trained guitarist talent. His influences proved to be all over the gambit, the set list integrating 1950’s inspired surf tunes, faint wandering singer-songwriter missives to himself, a New Orleans Lois Armstrong cover, and a hauntingly astonishing version of "Let’s Dance" (who would have known the MTV-Bowie near jingle could take your breath away).


Up until now I feel like I’ve done a pretty good job of sounding even-keel — perhaps even separated from the event. Don't you think? Well, no longer. I must now disclose that Bright Eyes is one of my favorite bands – and with each new release I am further pulled in by Conor Oberst’s musical genius. Yes, musical genius. The lyrics of broken poetry tell truths and fairy tales, all culminating with the same end — leaving the listener speechless, uneasy, and comforted all at once. The purposeful words are set to marching-basement melodies that singer-songwriter types, garage bands and midi-keyboard operators should aspire to. At least that is my opinion — and one that has only been substantiated with a 47% positive response rate for those friends with whom I’ve shared my Bright Eyes stash. Each member of this carefully chosen group of close friends show initial surprise and intrigue when exposed to this hidden part of my soul. The songs are evolved beyond melancholy. Think tragic and angst-ridden, yet hopeful and inspired.

It is with this enthusiastic luggage that I have greeted each Bright Eyes show. This time around, my fervor was rewarded with a set list featuring a few of the best catalog tracks (including "Neely O'Hara," "Something Vague"), a new new new new unreleased unnamed song, a Neil Young cover, and nearly all of the songs on their recently released album, "Lifted or The Story is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground" (the only notably absent recent album track was a favorite song of mine that was unleashed in the last tour, "Waste of Paint").

As the ever-changing musical’s cast shuffled into their places between songs, ringleader Conor filled in holes with banter (a bit of a rarity in previous shows), taking on both tongue-in-check showman song introductions ("This is a song that goes like this…") and political rallier ("Originally I was going to call this song ‘Write your Senator or Congressperson’, but now it is called ‘Go scream in the streets because they are all spineless’").

Upon ending the show with a hearty encore and with the most hopeful of his songs, "Kathy with a K’s Song," the crowd was left muted. The first-timers were spent on the emotions thrust upon them in the last hour and a half. The seasoned veterans filed out momentarily satiated with their infatuation, steering them home to listen to their first Bright Eyes album again and again and again.

My imaginary girl friend Marlene complained that we didn't get to hear "And the Calendar Itself," but really, what's to complain about a perfect evening? So I guess the question is, with such a firm part of my heart soaked with adoration for this band, will I ever be able to review a future Bright Eyes show and come up with anything different to express? I am sure I will be able to add something… I will remark on the red shirt or the intimate glances between Conor and his band members. I will review the set list and pine over the missing catalog song I wanted to hear or gush over the new unreleased song unveiled before me. And I probably will.


Doves Live Show Review My Morning Jacket The Showbox

Doves, with My Morning Jacket

Doves, Doves, Doves! Doves! DOVES! DOVES! D_O_V_E_S!!!! A thousand times – Doves! I am in love my friends. The rocks may melt and the land may burn – I don't care. Launch a freakin' war. Bring on the nukes and boil the oceans – I DON'T FREAKIN' CARE: I am in love! I am thick, and ripe, and ready to burst with the juice of love, baby, and it tastes just like Doves.

So, fair warning here: Doves The Last Broadcast seems to have become the megalomaniacal soundtrack to my life.

I fell for Doves when I first heard "Crunch" on KEXP. It sounded like something I was remembering from the future. It actually sounded like the music that plays in my head when I am snowboarding. Hell – it sounds LIKE snowboarding. I should be in a goddamn Dawg film, with this playing behind me while I freekin' shred like Jesus (who, little known fact, was HUGE into 'boarding – what do you think he did during those lost years? I'm saying: shredding on the Mount, and hookin' up with 'boarder boys. Look it up in the Dead Sea Scrolls, if you don't believe me.)

So, anyway, I find Doves thanks to the grace of God and KEXP six months ago. Because I am dumb, it takes me another couple months to finally get The Last Broadcast – but then the deal is done: the river is run, the course is set, the beast is in the belly of the whale, or something like that. I am in love.

With Doves, yes, but also with Jimi Goodwin, the defacto lead of Doves, the mad Mancuinan, my true and only love, born in Manchester, England, across the Atlantic Sea. And I'm a genius – I find him only through finding his music, and the miracle of that newfangled "Inter-Net". And I miss the first Doves show in Seattle by a freekin' week. Weak.

When I learned that Doves were coming back to Seattle on October 3rd, I was afrenzy with madcap planning. I should go to the show, of course, where Jimi would see me in the crowd, and pull me up on stage. We would sing together, because the thrill of the moment will grant me a preternaturally good voice, and I've by now memorized the lyrics to all the songs. We'll fall in love, there, on stage, in front of God and everyone, and I'll ride in the bus up to Vancouver with them. It all made perfect sense.

Alas, I am here to report that, while my planning seemed to be flawless in nature, I am not, as of this moment in the Doves tour bus riding up to BC. So close though – if only Jimi had opened his eyes whilst singing during the show…..

It happened like this: Thursday night, at the Showbox. I arrive just as My Morning Jacket is finishing up their set, and am completely wowed by the final tune they were closing out their set with. Don't ask me what it was, I'm just here to tell you that these long-haired Kentuckians were kicking some serious ass jamming up on the stage, and the crowd was nuts for them. They vacate the stage, and I vow to purchase their CD Chocolate and Ice, and am off to get a drink and scope out the 'Box in the interregnum.

So, after a spell of frantic setup by the roadies in matching shirts, the moment I've been dreaming of arrives; Doves – Jimi Goodwin, Andy Williams and Jez Williams – come out onto the stage to widespread acclaim.

They start with "Pounding", arguably my fave off of The Last Broadcast, and as those of you who live in my mind know, this is the song played as Jimi and I completely evade Interplanetary Police by wakeboarding through the atmosphere of Jupiter. Live, it does not disappoint. The guys sounded great – a bit heavier on the guitars and weaker in the vocals than on the disc, but still amazing.

They move seamlessly into the big radio hit "There Goes the Fear", and it, too, sounds amazing. The vid screen behind them is showing random clips of some uber-60's-Brit couple riding alternately in a train and then a convertible car. The music is truly as seamless as it sounds in the radio edit. I can tell that my boys here know what the hell they are doing, and they absolutely love it.

They the step down a notch, and move into "Sea Song" off of Lost Souls. I don't know Lost Souls as well as I should, but this song makes me want to go study up. It's mournful and compelling, and appropriately, makes me think of the time that Jimi and I drove to the ocean….oops – sorry about that. More megalomaniacal fantasy, that was.

After a bit of trouble with the equipment, they sound test with a funkified cover of the Knight Rider theme song. Oh, my heart is bursting! I love them soooo much!

"Words" has a swirling, driving beat and stand-out guitar theme that makes me want to fly fighter jets and nuke the shit out of the folks who have pissed me off. It also makes me want to institute a generous Marshall Plan to assist them afterwards. It's really the yin and the yang of warfare for me. {wow! that song knocked me out, too, when I saw them back in June! -igLiz}

"Words they meant nothing/ So you can't hurt me/ On summer days like these/ I said words they mean nothing/ So you can't stop me/ I said your eyes, they say nothing/ So you can't fault me/ I said words they mean nothing/ So you can't hurt me…"

"N.Y.", as better minds than mine have noted, is perhaps the best paean to that great city that has ever been written. It is simultaneously anguished and joyful, truly evoking a sense of endless possibility, and the sense of overwhelming choice that comes with it.

Two standout tracks from the remainder of the set were "Catch the Sun" from Lost Souls, and the next big radio hit from The Last Broadcast – "Caught by the River". They both sounded great – better than the CDs – through that ineffable miracle of live music played by a band that really loves what it is playing.

The band closes out the set with "The Cedar Room", which is marred only by Jimi's insistence that he is having voice trouble. Poor lad – we can't hear it though, and it's only because he tells us that we know why he is acting a wee bit cranky.

The band departs, and it takes the crowd a minute or two to work up into true "we want an encore!" mode. I have a momentary flash of panic that this lackluster response is going to deny us more Doves, but it is quickly lifted with the return of Jimi and company to the stage.

After treating us to two more songs from Lost Souls the encore and the show end with the fabled "Space Face". I'd heard of this track, written back in the day when Doves was still SubSub, and all I can say is I was not disappointed.

With scenes from 2001: A Space Odyssey on the vid screen (and clips from 2010, too) Doves breaks out one of the best pieces of their dance/trance/house/spacerock past. The guys are jamming, obviously completely in love with this tune. Even the slack-ass Showbox audience is digging it, dancing with more passion than they've shown all night. I have to admit it, rocking out to "Space Face" at the end of this show, with the monolith-delivered final message from 2010 flashing on the screen made me tear up a wee bit. "All these worlds are yours…", says the Monolith.

Indeed. All these worlds are yours, Doves. Use them together, use them in peace. Well, except Europa. Even you guys don't get Europa.

Live Show Review The Crocodile The Hives The Long Winters The Showbox

The Worst You Can Do Is Miss the Long Winters Live

First thing: if you weren't lucky enough to see The Long Winters live, DO NOT MISS IT NEXT TIME!!! And if you don't already own their debut CD, The Worst You Can Do Is Harm, then stop reading this column and run to go purchase it. Right now! Then please come back and continue reading.

The Long Winters remind me of tragically romantic boys who can't seem make a relationship work despite their best efforts… and they charmed the audience by playing every song off their debut release, The Worst You Can Do Is Harm, plus a couple of new tracks (!!).

Keyboardist/singer Sean Nelson (ex-Harvey Danger) was charming as ever, engaging the crowd as to whether, "Anyone had seen The Hives earlier before heading to the Crocodile?" Moderate but enthusiastic applause answered his query. Nelson didn't miss a beat: he deadpan replied, "Yeah, I missed it because I had to set up here. But I did go to Ikea earlier today and got a great bookshelf." He's funny, that Sean. All I know is, the Hives were interviewed on freeking THE END before their show — instead of lending their support to the decent independent music station (and we all know which one I mean). So pshaw to the Hives (with all due respects to Liz and her rockin' review of the show)!

Hey! The Hives played the show of the year!



I know, I know… and we will get to that! First I need to finish gossiping about the show! I'm sure our readers are dying to know that the always charming Ken "kissy-face" Stringfellow was in attendance, regaled in plaid blazer with conflicting plaid tie and cowboy boots — red ones, no less. What is it about the tall skinny boys, who can pull off any combination of clothing patterns and still look smashing? Per Ken, cowboy boots are the closest thing to a costume the Long Winters have. Guess he would know, since he left with them the following weekend for their west coast tour.

And while we're talking about cute boys, two lovely local artist, Matt "so squeezably cute!" Parker and Randy "teen heart-throb" Wood, also came to the show — and Randy was on a first date, no less! Rumor has it he got a little kiss goodnight. Rumor also has it he wasn't the only one…

"The Hives are Law: The Imaginary Girls are Crime!"

The Hives with Mooney Suzuki was undeniably the show of the year so far. Is it good or bad that I was expecting as such? Usually such assumptions leave me disappointed (i.e. like every New Years and 4th of July celebration since the beginning of time). Finally, my anticipatory exuberation was not only met — but raised.

The Mooney Suzuki were well worth me forcing my friend to leave his drink at the bar to run into the pit. You all know that story about the Mooney Suzuki, right? About how 2 or 3 members of the Strokes tried out to be in the Mooney Suzuki, but were rejected? They ended up forming the Strokes instead. Quite an ironic twist of fate —, but in the end, everyone made out well. The Strokes get all the Spin articles they could want and that one guy in the band is dating Drew Barrymore. The Mooney Suzuki, with the Strokes-fed heightened visibility of New York garage rock, get the critical attention they deserve and get to keep their cred in tact.

Oh — back to that drink-left-on-the-bar-worthy performance. The showmanship of the Mooney Suzuki is only rivaled by the Hives. When was the last time someone yelled "Hello Seattle" that you actually wanted to respond with an as-loud-as-you-can-retort with your arms in the air? Or when was the last time that a lead singer asked a nonsensical question to the audience, only to answer it with the first line of the next song sung? Ok, besides that last Barry Manilow show… When? Right. My point exactly.

Thank goodness there was a band in between the Mooney Suzuki and the Hives so that we could recover and relive the MS set with fellow audience members. 1 Man Army would have been a bit more noteworthy had they not been on stage during the line-up's necessary refractory period. This is what I did gather: 3 piece, guys from San Francisco. Rumored to have been discovered by Billie Joe Green Day.

Aye… the Hives. This band single-handedly whooped Seattle into a frenzy — a nearly impossible task. There was not a person in the room who did not leave flabbergasted at the showmanship of those fellows. Like a cult leader (except indisputably more believable), the lead singer had us chanting "The Hives" upon command by the middle of the show. Before I knew it, I found myself drawn to the pit in front of the stage, intoxicated by the energy of the crowd, the band, the drums, the guitar, the sweat. Jumping in unison with strangers-come-cohorts, basking in the moment of unadulterated beauty of the finest rock n roll show this town has seen for some time… the bruises procured were well worth it.

Beth Orton Frank Black Graceland Live Show Review Mates of State The Showbox

Don't Need a Reason

"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.