Show Review: Those Darlins @ the Tractor

Those Darlins @ the Tractor, 8/5
Review by Dana Easterling

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Those Darlins – photo by Angelina Castillo

Nashville’s Those Darlins wowed at the Tractor on August 5th. Their current tour has them opening for Diarrhea Planet, also from Nashville, but honestly this band deserves a headlining gig of their own. As they took the stage the band acknowledged the many friends and family in attendance, leading to the feeling that you were watching them perform at a backyard barbecue – part rock show, part family reunion.

The band experienced issues with sound quality during their first songs, and it was clear that they were concerned about putting on a quality show. While Nikki and Jessi Darlin sounded muffled and distant during the first portion of the set, I was struck by the fact that Linwood Regensburg is an amazing drummer. You don’t hear it as strongly on the records, probably because the unique vocals take center stage, but hearing him play live was mesmerizing. The band focused on tracks from their most recent album, Blur the Lines, and its predecessor, Screws Get Loose. I had really wanted to hear them play “Be Your Bro” live, so I was thrilled to hear them dedicate the song to a family member at the beginning of their set. They played a rocking rendition of “Then He Kissed Me,” and, with the sound issues resolved, kicked it into high gear with one of my favorites, “Screws Get Loose.” Nikki and Jessi’s combination of sultry, smoky, and twangy vocals are so intriguing; I don’t think that there was a person in the room who could avoid loving this band at that point.

Diarrhea Planet joined Those Darlins onstage for “Night Jogger,” but for me the real treat was to see Nikki set her guitar to the side and engage with the crowd for this tune. Her energy was contagious as she jogged in place and implored of us, “What you running from?” The night ended with a spirited performance of “That Man,” and I joined the rest of the enraptured audience in singing along.

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Show Review: Jack White @ the Paramount Theatre

Jack White @ the Paramount Theatre, 8/26/14
Show Review by Dagmar

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Jack White – photo courtesy of jackwhiteiii.com

It’s really difficult for a band to get through, what is, for lack of a better phrase, trendy status. The White Stripes, as great as a band they were, hit trendy status in the mid-2000s. Though the White Stripes are no longer, their songwriting and style overrode that popularity, and their songs remain excellent. Singer/guitarist/pianist (etc.) Jack White proved all that – and more – by pouncing on a sold-out Paramount Theatre with full leonine rock power.

There’s no debating that Jack White is in a rare echelon of rock stars. He’s one of the guitarists, I reckon, people would see even if he just played scales. From the second the curtain split open with White and his band playing the White Stripes’ “Fell in Love With a Girl,” to the closing of the White Stripes “Seven Nation Army,” White performed animatedly solo songs – and songs from other bands he’s had success with, the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather. This was not a show just to play brand new material, although that would have been cool, too. What was wonderful was that White’s solo work was not met with what artists must dread: a mass look of indifference from the audience once new material is brought up. And it should not have been met with that for sure. Now on to his second release, a wildly well-received and massively-purchased, Lazaretto, he interspersed songs off the album – but left most of them toward the end of the set. This turned out to be a good plan.

While many artists could use a solo career as just showboating, White is not doing that. It’s more a Jack White band, as he actually jammed with a wonderful cadre of musicians. A particular standout was violinist and singer Lillie Mae Rische, who accompanied White, most notably on a cover of the White Stripes’ “We’re Going to Be Friends.” There was also some very nice theremin and slide guitar work. Blues, country, rock all got represented and at times melted together. White’s cover of Hank Williams’ “You Know That I Know” came out beautifully, as did every song White performed off Lazaretto: “High Ball Stepper,” “Temporary Ground,” “That Black Bat Licorice,” “Would You Fight for My Love?”, “Three Women,” and “Lazaretto.” Blunderbuss sneaked in with “Weep Themselves to Sleep,” “Blunderbuss” and “Missing Pieces,” songs emphasizing the more country side of White. Probably most familiar to the audience though, were White Stripes’ oeuvre: “Cannon,” “Blue Orchid,” “Apple Blossom,” and “The Hardest Button to Button.” And, naturally, “Seven Nation Army,” with which he ended his show.

With a new, slick backed hairstyle, White appeared fit and stylish. At one moment he paused to comb his hair, but later, one small curl dropped in the center of his forehead, calling attention to the uncommon and untamable nature of Jack White.

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Jack White – photos courtesy jackwhiteiii.com

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Paramount Theatre Signage – photo by Dagmar

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Show Review & Photos: Porter Robinson with Giraffage @ WaMu Theater

Porter Robinson with Giraffage @ WaMu Theater, 8/29
Show Review & Photos by John Rudolph

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Porter Robinson

Music means different things to different people. To some, it’s the complex beauty of an 80-piece orchestra. To others, it’s the let your hair down rawness and storytelling of a blues riff. To the fans of Porter Robinson, it’s the psychedelic electronic mixes of funky beats with Japanese Anime. Is there anything wrong with that? No, of course not. Music is supposed to push the boundaries of imagination.

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I am a person who grew up with The Doors, Led Zeppelin, and AC/DC. My first concert was The Rolling Stones in the Kingdom. This was my first rave and the first show where I felt my age but I have to say that I really had a good time. The crowd made me feel “loved” and very welcome. The talent on stage was great, and the fans were just as entertaining with their kaleidoscope of colorful hula hoops and costumes.

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Robinson is a musician who started as a producer and DJ. His new record, Worlds, is a complex mix of dance beats and airy rhythm with the most catchy being “Flicker.” The show was as much about the visual as the music, and the combination made the crowd go wild. They were screaming from start to finish and for good reason. Porter Robinson is really talented and deserved the praise.

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Atmosphere @ Porter Robinson

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Show Review & Photos: The Arctic Monkeys @ the Paramount

The Arctic Monkeys @ the Paramount, 8/11
Show Review & Photos by Dagmar

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Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys

The Arctic Monkeys emerged last decade as one of the most important bands ever. Still a young band, they’ve been working together since 2002. This surprises me, as their newest album, AM, is so fresh and exciting with all the energy of a debut. Instead, it’s album number five from the Sheffield, England band. I’ve loved all their albums, but this new one bookends beautifully their career thus far, as I feel like the music off AM expands a heavier rock side of the Arctic Monkeys, and this side rattles the bones.

I’ve been so lucky and fortunate to cover several Arctic Monkeys shows in Seattle, including their very first in Seattle at the Crocodile in 2006. Seeing their development from the brash (but perfect) music off Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I Am Not to this newer, harder, stoner rock with a bit of funk has been quite the treat. They’ve still got beautiful songs, and several slower pieces, but Arctic Monkeys are a rock band. Don’t ever forget that. A band with a poet lyricist unmatched by his peers, but they’re a rock band. So I never miss this band if at all humanly possible (I think I’ve missed two shows, both times due to illness). Indeed, I saw both of their Seattle shows in August. For night one I received a photo pass, and I have to admit I was actually shaking a bit before this show.

There were some girls, who, overcome by everything up in front, had to be removed even before the band came out. Several girls had their underwear ready to throw at the band. Some had signs with messages for the band. Everybody there was excited and happy to be there. And was their enthusiasm repaid? Yes, it was. Within an inch of its life. The sound was exquisite, with singer/guitarist Alex Turner’s voice rumbling and clear. I was again impressed with guitarist Jamie Cook’s playing; he has great attack to his style.

The setlist, made up nearly half of songs off AM, mixed with samplings from their other releases. Interestingly they place their best known song, “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor,” right in the middle of the show. Maybe they’re tired of playing it, but still I’m guessing this was not so much a way for them to get it out of the way, more as a way to give their new material its due – even to the very end of the show. I loved every single song of the show, and they could have even played much longer and we’d still be digging deep into the group’s excellent catalog. The sexy “My Propeller,” the romantic “I Wanna Be Yours,”(accompanied by a beautiful little light show) and cheeky songs “Dancing Shoes,” “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor,” and “Fluorescent Adolescent” were some of my favorites of the night.

But it was possibly with the newer songs where the Arctic Monkeys continued to prove their dominance in the current musical landscape. “Fireside” and “No. 1 Party Anthem” were softer standout tunes. And the cheekiness and brashness is still there in “Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?,” “One for the Road” and “R U Mine?”. But then there’s the rock, such as in “Arabella,” “I Want It All,” and “Knee Socks.” The Arctic Monkeys are victorious.

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the Arctic Monkeys

Setlist:

Do I Wanna Know?
Snap Out of It
Arabella
Brianstorm
Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
Dancing Shoes
Crying Lightning
Knee Socks
My Propeller
I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
Library Pictures
Old Yellow Bricks
Fireside
No. 1 Party Anthem
Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?
Fluorescent Adolescent
505

Encore:
One for the Road
I Wanna Be Yours
R U Mine?

Setlist by Album:

Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not:
I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
Dancing Shoes

My Favourite Worst Nightmare:
Fluorescent Adolescent
505
Old Yellow Bricks
Brianstorm

Humbug:
My Propeller
Crying Lightning

Suck It and See:
Don’t Sit Down ‘Cause I’ve Moved Your Chair
Library Pictures

AM:
Do I Wanna Know?
Snap Out of It
Arabella
Fireside
No. 1 Party Anthem
Why’d You Only Call Me When You’re High?
One for the Road
I Wanna Be Yours
R U Mine?

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Show Preview: Bumbershoot, Day 3 w/Myon & Shane 54, Johnny Monsoon & More – Monday, September 1st

Bumbershoot‘s final day offers an intriguing collection of bands from countries such as Morocco and Hungary, plus additional shows by comedians. It’s a good thing the comedians do repeat performances, as the comedy stages are always enormously popular. Prepare to laugh and dance on Monday.

12:30Gold & Youth @ the End Zone Stage

Canadians Gold & Youth released their debut album, Beyond Wildnerness, last year. From what I have heard, this is my kind of music: synth, dark vocals from male and female vocalists, and just moody as hell. After a June show at Neumos, they return to Seattle for Bumbershoot!

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Gold & Youth


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1:15Hoba Hoba Spirit @ the Fisher Green Stage

As far as I have seen, Hoba Hoba Spirit seem to be the only band from Morocco on Bumbershoot’s lineup. I mean, I wouldn’t expect many bands from Morocco, and if you’re at all curious about that country, why not check these guys out? Very few people will understand the lyrics, as they’re in colloquial Arabic, but the music should get through to you.

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Hoba Hoba Spirit


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2:15Seattle People Doing Sketch @ Leo K.

Comedy. More comedy, please! This event includes Emmett Montgomery, Love Snack and others. Not sure what will happen, but will be fun and funny.
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Seattle People Doing Sketch


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2:45Carmen Lynch & Ted Alexandro @ Comedy at the Playhouse – see Saturday’s preview & see Sunday’s preview.

3:00Pete Holmes @ Comedy at the Bagley – see Saturday’s preview

6:45Blood Squad @ the Theatre Puget Sound Stage – see Sunday’s preview.

8:00Matt Braunger @ Comedy at the Playhouse – see Saturday’s preview.
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8:45Johnny Monsoon @ the Pavilion Stage

Trance DJ Johnny Monsoon will definitely be one of the day’s highlights. He’s a talented and impressive DJ, and I think it will be really cool to see him trance an audience the fuck out.

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Johnny Monsoon


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9:30Myon & Shane 54 @ the Pavilion Stage

Continuing your stay at the Pavilion Stage, which is (to me anyway, and I hope to others) an incredibly welcome addition to Bumbershoot scheduling, enjoy Myon & Shane 54. The Hungarian duo, who are DJs and producers, will close out the Pavilion Stage’s lineup.

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Myon & Shane 54

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