Show Preview: The Kills @ the Neptune, Monday 11/27
Come out of your fall hibernation Seattle: the Kills are here on Monday at the Neptune!
The sexy transatlantic duo hasn’t visited Seattle since 2011, and they are ever so welcome back. There’s not a band out there like them. While there is no new album release to celebrate, fans will be able to leap around (as I remember, there’s a lot of leaping around at Kills’ shows) and join Jamie Hince and Alison Mosshart in songs they know. It’s all part of their rock brain power. On the other hand, there just might be new songs perhaps, perhaps. While there’s no release set date for a new Kills album, there are murmurs of one from the duo, which is said to be very different from earlier work.
“Spirit,” the new song from New Orleans-based Luxley, is now out for the public! Luxley’s debut EP, which will be called Spirit, releases in early 2015 – the earlier the better as far as I am concerned. He’s got a cool, twinkling electronic sound with very pretty melodies, and he is joined by Royal Teeth’s singer, Nora Patterson in “Spirit.” Enjoy.
Tig Notaro has seen worse days. In a now legendary August 2012 album initially released by friend Louis C.K. and simply titled Live, Notaro recounted four months of recent hell that included the loss of her mother, a breakup, a life-threatening bacterial infection, and being diagnosed with cancer. Somehow, she made it all funny. So funny, in fact, that the album earned Notaro her first Grammy nomination.
Two years later, Notaro’s cancer is in remission, she’s a regular on shows like The Sarah Silverman Program and Inside Amy Schumer, and she’s back on the road, bringing her unique timing and deadpan humor to audiences across America on her “Boyish Girl Interrupted Tour”.
Seattleites can catch Notaro at the Neptune Theater on November 13th (tickets). I caught up with Notaro via email in advance of her Seattle show.
Blake Madden: Some comedians sit down with pad and paper and actually write out their jokes in a meticulous manner, while others use the stage to workshop material in a conversational way. Do you have a preferred writing method, or do you employ both?
Tig Notaro: I typically do not write out my jokes, I usually just have a few bullet points and ideas of stories I might want to explore, and then I get on stage and start working it out up there. And I record the audio of some shows, then listen to what works and what doesn’t and continue to do this until it starts to feel like the material is starting to come along.
BM: You’ve mentioned Laura Kightlinger as an influence and favorite comedian. What about her style and delivery resonates so strongly with you? Is it something you’ve tried to incorporate into your own act?
TN: I think Laura is just such an honest comedian and a great risk taker, which is something I always admire in comics and people. But in general, I typically will just admire what some of my favorite comics do from a distance, not try to incorporate their style into mine.
BM: Is it strange having a very recognizable–even requested–bit like “Taylor Dayne”? Did you ever think as a comedian you’d get to the point where you’re ‘playing your hit’?
TN: I feel flattered anytime there is a feeling that an audience is hoping to hear something specifically, and every now and then I will do what they want, but its very rare. I love the Taylor Dayne story, but I’m even more excited about telling the new material that I’ve written.
BM: Listening to the “Live” show is a cathartic experience; you’re not sure if the next line is going to be harrowing, hilarious or some weird mixture of both. As a comedian, did you feel a sort of obligation to attack those personal tragedies head on and make them into something funny, or were you just dealing with what was happening in your life via standup?
TN: Just dealing with life and trying to talk about what was authentic to me as a person at the time, which is what I always aim to do.
BM: What’s the next Tig Notaro project we can look forward to, and what’s the dream project we’d see if all the cards fell your way?
TN: My dream project is to have a day off. I have seen all of my dreams come true at this point, so sitting at home sounds great to me. Other than that, I have a Showtime project airing and a book to be released next year. Also, there is a documentary about my life currently being shot and edited for the new year. There’s a few more other very exciting things a-brewin’ but at this point they still remain very top secret. But please stay tuned, won’t you?
Your Friday night should include a visit to Barboza, where EMA (Erika M Anderson), will headline. EMA, who raged out of South Dakota with the band Gowns, hit out on her own in 2010 with the album Little Sketches on Tape. A serious Internet sensation, EMA brought an individual specter of electronic lust to fans everywhere when she became this incredible solo artist. Her third release – and first with Matador Records – The Future’s Void, brings us such great songs as “Neuromancer” (which she performed recently on Late Night with David Letterman), and “Satellite”. Fabulous stuff.
French Letters is an odd band. Evolving from their early days as a jazz-based spoken word band with some rock elements to countrified Stones-y rock n’ roll to a more musically ambitious band with epic power balladry on its mind complete with harmonized guitar solos, it all works because most of the band is made up of people you wouldn’t expect to be doing any of this. What distances them from the head-slapping excesses of bands like Guns N’ Roses and shitty late ’70s/early ’80s power pop balladry of Journey and Boston, is the poetry and haggard drawl of frontman Michael Crossley. His myopic obsession with girls and sex would be a cliche beyond parody if he wasn’t gifted and vulnerable enough to reveal every possible layer, meaning, and implication within the nature of casual relationships fueled by drunkenness and loneliness. Michael Puglisi is one of the most unassuming lead guitarist I’ve seen on stage. Think of an epic, lyrical solo played by Eeyore. Quiet and slightly droopy, he doesn’t pose and his face betrays very little in the way of theatrical expression; no ‘guitar nose’ or protruding lower lip. It’s endearing and refreshing. His playing is similarly ‘stiff-in-a-good-way,’ preferring a softer jazz touch that pulls rhythm in ways unorthodox in rock music, and leaving the bends and vibrato to his equally perfect foil, Conor O’Brien. Luke and Courtney Steitz are the husband and wife duo that comprise the powerful but unobstructive rhythm section. Their new release, No Evil Star is another excellent collection of dingy rock n’ roll poetry and balladry. Come celebrate the release with them.
Below Blackstar released their own impressively eclectic album, Under a Concrete Sky, back in May, and put on a hell of a show to back it up. Their fusion of Texan outlaw country, classic prog rock, and shoegaze works much better in your ears than on paper. They move from slow building ambient numbers to abrasive garage punk seamlessly and with infectious energy. French Letters and Below Blackstar are not ‘Seattle scene’ bands. They are cross-continental entities that somehow fell together in the recesses of the Pacific Northwest. They do not do mountain man wannabe folk or dance-pop for gamers. This is some serious rock n’ roll happening with their own original twists and amalgams of disparate influences. Highly skilled and individualistic, these are great bands worthy of your time.