Show Review & Photos: Chromeo @ Showbox SoDo

Chromeo @ Showbox SoDo, 10/26/14
Show Review & Photos by Dagmar

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Chromeo‘s David Macklovitch

With White Women, Chromeo released one of 2014’s best albums. The Canadian duo, who perfected the slinky and smooth disco sound early on, had a packed audience at their end of October show in Seattle. I also have to add that the Chromeo fans were some of the best put together I have ever seen. This is really neither here no there when talking about Chromeo’s music – although maybe Chromeo fans spend a lot of time dancing or working out to the music. Who can say?

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Patrick Gemayel of Chromeo

When I am at a show, I don’t usually remember what music was played before a band comes on. Sometimes I will love it and other times I will hate it. Sometimes I have no clue what the music is, and want to know. Other times I don’t care. I don’t know if these recordings are something artists bring with them, or if they’re provided by the venue every time. But before Chromeo’s set, one of my favorite songs ever played: Skatt Bros’ “Walk the Night.” Thank you music gods. Because it suited Chromeo. I’m betting they brought that particular rarity with them. (By the way, get this album - it’s really good.)

Along with a continuous white laser beam, David Macklovitch and Patrick Gemayel excited the crowd with songs from each Chromeo album, holding off on the only song from She’s in Control, “Needy Girl,” until the very end. “Hot Mess, “Sexy Socialite,” “Over Your Shoulder” and the well-known “Fancy Footwork” were dazzling. My favorite though might have been “Night by Night,” even though this year’s “Jealous (I Aint’ with It)” was 2014’s ubiquitous tune. At one point I left a venue playing it, only to turn on my radio 10 minutes later, and there it was, again! For real. They also performed another of their other truly awesome songs, “Don’t Turn the Lights On,” which has been covered by Mayer Hawthorne.

The atmosphere was similar to what it would be like inside a shaken disco glitter ball. Good fun.

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Chromeo

More Photos of Chromeo @ Showbox SoDo

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Show Review: My Brightest Diamond & Rabbit Rabbit @ the Crocodile

My Brightest Diamond & Rabbit Rabbit @ the Crocodile, 12/6/14
Review by Nick Nihil

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My Brightest Diamond

Those familiar with the dominant traits that are my general nihilism and emotionally stultified sense of expression know that I can also become giddy as a white five -year-old princess under the right stimulus. Given to effusive histrionics and hyperbole in the presence of a particularly revelatory performance, I become rather inarticulate. By the time Rabbit Rabbit finished their astounding performance opening for My Brightest Diamond, all I could say was:

“Shut it down! Rabbit Rabbit just won music.”

Multi-faceted, theatrically dynamic, exquisitely poetic, and musically virtuosic, they managed to rearrange their recorded material to fit a trio consisting of violin/vocals, cajon/floor toms/keys/harmonica/vocals, and guitar, lending the material a greater sense of space, atmosphere, and urgency than found on their records. What really hit me is that theirs was the kind of material I wish I had written. It worked on every level I aspire to in my own music and I couldn’t help but feel a little defeated as well as elated. Fuck you, Rabbit Rabbit, you’re a godsend.

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Rabbit Rabbit

Naturally I was worried how My Brightest Diamond (or anyone else) could have followed that up.

In short, “fuck you, My Brightest Diamond, you’re a godsend.” In all honesty, by the time the MBD set wrapped, I’d almost forgotten how good Rabbit Rabbit was. I swear, Shara Worden is incapable of hitting a wrong note, and her band, consisting of Abe Rounds on drums and Chris Bruce on bass and guitar, was equally tight, rhythmic, and dynamic as they proved equally adept at stripping lush recorded arrangements down to a three-piece. On some songs she was able to capture some of the intricacies of the arrangements by triggering samples, on others, particularly “This is My Hand,” she ripped it all down and rearranged them completely. Bruce’s syncopated fingerpicked guitar work on the aforementioned managed to groove while simultaneously being sparse and haunting. All this technical perfection would be moot if not for Shara’s joyous energy as a performer. Clad in a slick white suit with red sneakers she recalls a bygone sense of class and elegance while engaging a postmodern sense of playfulness. No matter how she jumped, danced, pulled at the rhythm with her simple but precise guitar and keyboard work, she never lost a breath. Backed by a crack band and armed with material that becomes more potent live, My Brightest Diamond was a 2014 standout in a slew of highly impressive shows I’ve been privileged to catch this year.

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Photos: Black Flag, Cinema Cinema & the Loss @ Showbox at the Market

As the first of a set of two photo galleries featuring Black Flag, Cinema Cinema and The Loss at the Showbox, check out photographer Josh Daniels‘ work! Somehow editor, Dagmar, who is actually typing this under BBS’ account, thought she posted these photos, but did not. Oops! The show was in May! Huge apologies to the bands and Josh. Blag Flag released What The. . ., their first album in 18 years last December. That’s a big deal.

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Black Flag

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The Loss

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Cinema Cinema

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Photos: Kate Lynne Logan @ the Triple Door

Kate Lynne Logan and her band, The Ghost Runners, headlined at the Triple Door last week. Kate is Seattle-based and has played the Triple Door’s main stage and Musicquarium numerous times, but this was her first time as the main act. . . well-deserved and overdue. She’s played other notable and iconic venues in Seattle – such as The Tractor Tavern and Neumos – and shared those stages with artists such as Brandi Carlile, Elizabeth Cook, Peter Bradley Adams and Claire Lynch. Kate’s fourth album, Animal Dreams was released in May. Kara Hesse and Rabia Shaheen Qazi opened.

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Kate Lynne Logan

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Kara Hesse

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Rabia Shaeen Qazi

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Book Review: David J. Haskins’ Who Killed Mr. Moonlight? Bauhaus, Black Magic and Benediction

David J. HaskinsWho Killed Mr. Moonlight? Bauhaus, Black Magic and Benediction
Review by J. Price

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The demographic loitering in Elliott Bay Book Company on a recent November evening shared a penchant for somber colors and detectable traces of a rock ‘n’ roll past. They were patiently awaiting a reading and brief performance by David J. Haskins, recent author and former member of legendary avant-rock dark heroes Bauhaus and the different-but-equally-exceptional Love and Rockets.

Acoustic versions of “Who Killed Mr. Moonlight?” and “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” prefaced the reading and informal Q&A. David J. was always a mysterious figure looming in the shadows as Daniel Ash and Peter Murphy preened so sweetly in the spotlight; meanwhile he was quietly penning some of their best-known lyrics as well as laying the groundwork for a string of solo records (most recently the excellent An Eclipse of Ships). When it comes to autobiographical prose, David J. is as intelligent and thoughtful as one might imagine.

Who Killed Mr. Moonlight? Bauhaus, Black Magick and Benediction was released in October by Jawbone Press, and offers a glimpse behind the curtain into the meteoric rise of Bauhaus, a whirlwind tour of Love and Rockets, and insight into various David J. solo endeavors. Underlining the narrative (which spans nearly thirty years in short order) are Haskins’ continual spiritual and psychic revelations through the lens of occultism and all manner of magick.

The book is an irresistible treat for anyone that loved those bands. Arriving as they did before the dawn of MTV and the mainstreaming of alternative culture, Bauhaus and Love and Rockets were always somewhat shrouded in mystery, particular the former, who had already broken up by 1983 at the height of their glory. Most fans know only the basic facts about the aftermath: Love and Rockets hit their commercial peak with Earth, Sun, Moon and Love and Rockets; Peter Murphy, at his best with Love Hysteria and Deep, forged ahead in the suave and sophisticated manner of David Bowie. There were also random releases from Tones On Tail, Dali’s Car, and solo efforts from both Daniel and David. But what happened before these bands – and what ended Bauhaus, the band that eclipsed them all – was a weird, impenetrable mystery that the book explains (at least in part).

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David J. Haskins

Who Killed Mister Moonlight? details the early days of Bauhaus, painting a portrait of the legends when they were awkward Northampton teenagers playing at local pubs and finding their stylistic footing. There are behind the scenes anecdotes about crossing paths with Ian Curtis and other contemporaries, as well what inspired certain lyrics or album titles (“Bela” was written by David on the backs of address labels at a dead end job; Press the Eject & Give Me The Tape was a phrase caught on a confiscated bootleg cassette from an early Bauhaus gig). Haskins also offers some keen observations of his friends and bandmates as they steadily rose to prominence, imparting tales of both good and petulant behavior at home and abroad. A cast of characters are introduced, from lighting techs to producers and managers that helped oil the dark machine.

But then things begin to crumble. The band’s downward spiral began early on; the reasons are not completely transparent but seem linked to a general deterioration in personal relationships compounded by ego and musical divergences (most evident in final studio album Burning From The Inside). The end of Bauhaus reads as underwhelming, which it may well have been. But the devil is in the details, after all.

From this point the book shifts from facts to a more florid tone. If in earlier chapters the author comes off as somewhat reserved in revealing relationship details, he is exactly the opposite when describing his exploration of the occult. Always one to be in constant communion with his psychic potential, David J. spends a great many pages recounting fetishes he built while on mushrooms or astral projections he harnessed in waking dreams. Shamans, seers, visions, and gurus are abundant. Yet a relationship of nearly a lifetime that’s mostly breezed over is David’s girlfriend and wife since the early days, Annie Greenaway. At first it seems the author is simply protecting their shared privacy, but then much later, a passionate and momentary dalliance he had with Amanda Palmer of Dresden Dolls is described in gleeful detail. Memory is selective, perhaps.

The book’s remaining two parts do touch on Love and Rockets and a few bizarre tales of the band’s tribulations, not the least of which involves David J.’s fallen idol/kindred spirit Genesis P.Orridge (Psychic TV), a voodoo doll, a fire, a lawsuit, and Rick Rubin. The Bauhaus reunion fifteen years on comes just as suddenly as the band’s implosion. David marvels several times throughout the book at the perfect alchemy that existed in Bauhaus, the presence of the creative “spirit” that gave them their potent chemistry, rekindled in full force for the Resurrection Tour. Whether there was much shared regret or discussion of what was accomplished in Bauhaus before that time isn’t clear. It is of course slightly sad to read about Murphy’s emotional volatility and the aggravation of being on tour long after the thrill is gone but the money is needed. Yet it’s still valuable information for fans seeking band history. The good, the bad, and the ugly are essential ingredients in the very best biographies.

Who Killed Mister Moonlight? is a fascinating and humorous look into a singular life. It would be well worth reading anything Haskins writes, be it a second book or perhaps one of his screenplays. “To Look for the Moon in the Man” though (as the song goes), you might have to corner him. Although he’s far from shy, there’s a lot of musical history under David J.’s belt that would still be worth hearing.

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