! = recommended
* = all-ages
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I really like Hospice, The Antlers' first album as a trio. If you even remotely enjoyed the album, then I certainly hope you were able to make it to the sold out show last week at Neumos. It seemed like no one knew that this was an all-ages show since everyone arrived at 9PM, just in time to hear the first half of Phantogram's set from 10th Ave. Thankfully I was able to make it in to grab some shots of both stellar sets.
The all ages show kicked off with with boisterous applause and exclamations of "I love you Gareth!" and " I Love You Harriet!" as the eight-person band gathered on stage. Within the first few bars of their set, the comfortably filled floor was insanely shaking with Campesinos fans singing along to every word and joyfully bouncing with the ebb and flow dancing as the band moved through the first part of their set with numbers like "Romance is Boring" and "A Heat Rash in the Shape of the Show Me State or, Letters from Me to Charlotte".
About halfway through the set, lead-singer / glock-maestro Gareth explained a bit about the Seattle / LC! mutual love affair and took a moment to profusely (and deservedly) thank the lovely and talented John Goodmanson and Eric Corson for all their help in and out of the studio. The imaginary highlight was when he followed with a shout out of appreciation to The Stranger, KEXP, and Three Imaginary Girls--a moment from which we are still blushing.
Between the sweet and straight-out bite of Hospital Ships, the huge-guitar shred of Wye Oak, and the general everythingness of Shearwater -- I'm surprised that anyone left the Triple Door last Thursday night with any face left. The show was absolutely amazing, and easily makes my top five sets of the year so far. Without an instant of doubt.
The two openers, Hospital Ships and Wye Oak, were perfectly laid out as warm-up and direct support on the night's bill. There are plenty of bands that can (and do) sound fine next to each other, of course -- but when someone has put together a thoughtful lineup like this, the vibe of the night really translates. Hospital Ships' set was laden with sharp, smart lyrics and lovely, happy-to-melancholy chord changes that took us from "Aw!" to "Holy crap. YES." and back in a single song. Wye Oak, in contrast, stayed more on the angst-sound side, blowing us out of the front row with a gigantic sound that seemed much bigger than two people could possibly produce.
Last night, I found myself at the Vera Project to check out Dolorean. The show was awesome and had a good mix of EP and LP material.
If you haven't heard of Colonies, you will soon. Their show at Neumos on Thursday night was most definitely an indicator that they will be blowing up in the not so distant future. Thursday's showcase of lovely local indie pop-rock bands consisted of: Lemolo, The Mopes, Conservative Dad and, of course, Colonies. Every band that night blew me away and, if you're looking to support your local music scene (which I assume you are), you should definitely take a few minutes out of your day and give a listen to all of these bands. Let your ears be happy, they deserve it.
For years I have followed Ted Leo's music. I was fanatic for a while, even. Then it came to the point where one of his songs would pop up on my iPod and it would be a pleasant reminder of why I love him so. Friday night was that reminder times a million and then some. Oddly enough, it was my first time seeing him. Neumos started out a bit empty, but upbeat local band, The Sea Navy, came out and got everyone dancing as more people filtered in. The Hive Dwellers (fronted by K Records head Calvin Johnson) followed up The Sea Navy with a set that defied the laws of most Neumos shows by not using one microphone or any fancy lighting. I can do no justice in describing what happened, you really had to be there. I'll just mention that there was a lot of hip-gyrating. A lot of it.
Soon enough, Neumos was jam-packed with die-hard indie rock fans, buzzing excitedly about their love of Ted Leo. It seems he has quite a cult following and it's really not hard to see why. Ted Leo is a great indie-rock god to believe in, a force to be reckoned with, really (but likely the nicest force you will ever encounter). I will definitely be seeing him any time he is back in the area because, I don't know about you, but I really like to get my face rocked off. ...Also, covering Bruce Springsteen's "Dancing in the Dark" is one of the keys to my heart.
Japanther shows are pure fist-pumping fun. The Brooklyn duo, consisting of Ian Vanek and Matt Reilly, ripped through a spicy set at the Comet, New Year's Day, with Champagne, Champagne, They Live! and Hair Envelope. If you missed it or couldn't snag a ticket because it was very sold out, check out the fuzzed-out photos I snapped while dodging a variety of flying human appendages. Mental!
As I was picking out my favorite shots from this past year, it quickly became apparent that I couldn't just leave it at ten. I've posted my top picks below (in no particular order), but you can check out the rest here.
Huge thanks to the TIG crew, especially Chris and Keenan, for giving me the opportunity to share these amazing moments with all you lovely people! And thanks to all my fellow photographers, both in Seattle and elsewhere, for giving me inspiration every day. Hope you all have a safe, prosperous, and Happy New Year! Here's to an even bigger and better 2010!