Show Review, Photos & Video: City Arts Fest 2011 w/ Pickwick, Yuni in Taxco, Youth Creek Mission & Viper Creek Club @ the Crocodile

Pickwick at the Crocodile
Review, photos & video by Abby Williamson

As part of the second annual City Arts Fest, Seattle’s soulful indie rockers Pickwick filled up the Crocodile Café on the 21st of October. But it wasn’t just Pickwick who rocked the house that evening – there were three other bands on the bill – Youth Rescue Mission, Viper Creek Club, and Yuni in Taxco.


Pickwick

I’d never seen the first two bands, but Youth Rescue Mission pleasantly surprised me, as it’s not often that I see a band in Seattle I’ve never heard of. It’s been a while since I’ve come across new music. And you all know that feeling you get at a show when a band’s live performance is the first taste you get of them. It’s much better than a camera phone video on YouTube, or an MP3 so hidden on the Internet it takes a really savvy web user to find it.

Youth Rescue is definitely a band I’d see again and thoroughly enjoy. All the band members switched instruments about 6 times throughout their short set. I strongly suggest you go find their unique and instrumentally complex indie folk.

After an unfortunately short set by Youth Rescue Mission (but hey, four bands were playing that night, we couldn’t be there until 2 a.m.) Viper Creek Club came out to set up their sparse stage arrangement. Literally it was one guy on the computer and synthesizer and one guy on the guitar, but the band managed to fill up the rather large Crocodile stage. While Viper Creek Club’s music wasn’t my cup of tea, I really appreciated City Arts’ way of mixing genres in one bill for the festival, exposing people to bands they wouldn’t have otherwise gone to see. Honestly, I wasn’t sure what I thought of Viper Creek Club after their set. I totally dug the music and the guitar, but the vocals were a bit harsh and over-sung for my taste. But they were entertaining as hell.


Viper Creek Club


Youth Rescue Mission

Yuni in Taxco was the only opening band I’d seen before in a proper club show – they opened for Builders and the Butchers earlier this year at the Tractor. And I have to be honest, when I saw them a good 6 months ago, I wasn’t all that impressed, but oh how 6 months can make a difference. While the smoke machine got obnoxious, it made for some great pictures, and the band’s live performance shown through the smelly smog. I was incredibly impressed with how much the songs blossomed and how the band went from awkward opener to a band to truly watch in Seattle.


Yuni in Taxco

Then it was time to get to the band that everyone really came to see – Pickwick. Frontman Galen Disson announced to the crowd that it had been a year since they debuted their huge hit “Hacienda Motel,” which led to their first EP. Thankfully, the band will be recording a full-length very soon. Thank god. Seriously. Just like I expected, it was the most high-energy live show I’ve seen in too long, way too long. But it wasn’t so high energy that drunk people were falling all over each other, which has happened at the Crocodile before. The place was full of other local musicians and music lovers alike, and was a perfect example of how close-knit the Seattle music community is. That’s my favorite part of City Arts Fest – it included some big name acts from elsewhere (Robyn, Crystal Castles), but also made sure to spotlight the best and brightest of our dear Emerald City. Hopefully City Arts can get to be as grand as MusicfestNW is in Portland, because I much preferred the grey weather in Seattle to the 90-plus-degrees Portland weather back in September.

Pickwick played an amazing set, closing it out with “Hacienda Motel,” which instantly put the whole room into a wonderful mood. Hands were flying up like it was a religious service. After the band came back for the encore, none other than Damien Jurado joined Pickwick on stage for “Window Sill,” which is my favorite Pickwick song. But seriously though, Damien Jurado is everywhere in Seattle. I swear there has to be two of him, because there isn’t a time I’m in Seattle for show that I don’t come across Damien Jurado. I’m not complaining by any means, it’s an even stronger example of how tight Seattle musicians are.

The whole evening was a lovely party filled with great music and great friends, spirit fingers and special guests, instrument shuffling and soulful grooves. Truly what Seattle is all about, and I love it more and more each day.


Pickwick


Yuni in Taxco


Viper Creek Club


Youth Rescue Mission

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