Show Review & Photos: Washed Out & Yoshi Flower @ the Neptune

Show Review & Photos: Washed Out w/ Yoshi Flower @ the Neptune – 5/14/18
By Lisa Hagen Glynn

The Neptune was surprisingly packed for a Monday night, as chillwave pioneer Ernest Greene and bandmates took the stage as Washed Out. The white-clad trio melted into the backdrop for a series of nostalgic and psychedelic projections.


Washed Out

They first showcased several tunes from their 2017 visual album Mister Mellow — a funky exploration of work, ennui, and weed – before continuing with their older hits. The audience cheered at the opening bars of, “Feel It All Around,” made famous by the title sequence of the TV show Portlandia, and “Eyes Closed,” from Washed Out’s 2011 album Within and Without. Although the crowd wasn’t really the dancing type, there was plenty of enthusiastic head-nodding and hand-waving.

Los Angeles solo artist Yoshi Flower opened with a set of guitar, vocals, drum samples, and some audience participation.


Washed Out


Yoshi Flower

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Phoebe Bridgers @ Crocodile Café

Phoebe Bridgers was back in Seattle to play a sold-out show at the Crocodile Café. Backed by her four-member band dressed in white shirts and narrow black ties, she’s on the road in support of her debut album, Stranger In The Alps. Harrison Whitford opened and was also a member of Phoebe’s band.


Phoebe Bridgers


Harrison Whitford

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Show Preview: Glassjaw @ the Showbox, Sun. 7/15

Preview: Glassjaw @ the Showbox, Sun. 7/15
~Dagmar


Glassjaw

On Sunday evening, post-hardcore band Glassjaw co-headlines with Quicksand at the Showbox. A week into the tour, the group should still be celebrating the release of their first full-length album in fifteen years, Material Control. That album came out in December of 2017, so Glassjaw fans have had a bit of time to get into the new songs. Never heard Glassjaw before? You can head back to their other albums, but Material Control would be a great place to start as well. Tearing in at track one of Material Control is “New White Extremity,” with its nihilistic end: Nothing’s bigger than nothing. “Shira,” is also a great song, as is the Indian-inspired “Bastille Day.” If you want to know more about the stories behind the songs, NPR had a cool interview with singer Daryl Palumbo, who talked about each track. I’m particularly partial to “My Conscience Weighs a Ton.”

Important note: another New York band, Spotlights, opens. If you’re heading to this show to catch Glassjaw, they will be on second. Follow this link for tickets & more details.

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Photos: Everclear w/ Marcy Playground @ Showbox SoDo

Everclear w/Marcy Playground @ Showbox SoDo, 6/22/18

Photos by John Rudolph

Led by Art Alexakis, Everclear always sound great and their performance style makes you want to pull out all your CDs and remember the ’90s’ great music. Marcy Playgorund reminded us how much we all love “Sex and Candy.” What a fun night hearing these two terrific bands live and remembering why we love bands who gained popularity in the ’90s.


Everclear


Marcy Playground

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Show Review & Photos: Jay-Z @ KeyArena

Jay-Z @ KeyArena – 12/13/17
Show Review & Photos by Josh Daniels
Memory Lane Series, part 38


Jay-Z

Let’s just get this out of the way now: Jay-Z is the god-damned man. He managed to spend two full hours strutting around the stage like it was the “Big Pimpin'” era, never missing a beat or lyric. In many ways he outshone the next generation of rappers, not bringing a hype man on stage or letting the background track do most of his singing/rapping for him. The only performers in KeyArena that brought a matching level of energy and skill was his insanely talented house band. Partially buried beneath the ever-moving stage in what can only be described as a fairly conventional orchestra pit, the musicians manning drums, percussion, guitars and more, not only kept the energy level at 100% through the entire set but elevated HOV to an even higher standard of performance. In one case, the guitarist (who had no part in the song), jumped up and down swinging a hype towel for the entirety of “Big Pimpin'”. This is worth mentioning not because it was some outstanding moment of the set, but because it was the standard for every second of it. Whether sauntering around the stage or standing at a mic stand in the center of it, Jay-Z kept the energy level high and delivered every beat of his classics perfectly, mixed in with selections from his new album, 4:44.

Speaking of 4:44, the album itself is good. It boasts a ton of acoustic instrumentation and has a very organic feel to it. But good lord, this album was meant to be performed live. Every single track from 4:44 was more compelling in its softer and more honest moments, or energizing in its more upbeat ones, than any recording that Jay-Z and company put to tape and released. If I’ve ever before yearned for a live bootleg of an album, 4:44 takes the cake.

In stark contrast to the energy of the night was the glaring issue of the most effective way to present a solo artist, keeping them interesting and compelling while they, well, walked around stage rapping. Unlike Justin Timberlake or other pop acts, there were no dancers or onstage antics, and unlike Snoop and crew-based rappers, there wasn’t an entourage of hype men jumping around in the background. It was just Jay-Z and the crowd.

So to elevate his effortlessly exciting performance, his tour crew put together one of the craziest visual presentations I’ve seen in an arena. Eight massive projection screens, bundled in pairs, flanked each of the cardinal directions of the stage itself, and throughout the set they would move silently around the arena, landing just feet over the audiences head at times, while at others completely obscuring the stage from view. On them were projections of the show itself from camera feeds ranging from HD to 10 fps webcams. Sometimes they were layered on top of each other and sometimes they were framed by the kind of overlays you would remember from peering into a VHS camcorder. In between acts, featurettes would play showing looping clips from Jay-Z and Beyonce’s wedding, or close ups of their children, or other more ambiguous scenes. These clips served as a beat to give the crowd a break from the intensity of the show while echoing the context and message of 4:44, as well as a second for Jay to change his hoodie or jacket combo.

All that to say, the effort and energy of Jay-Z, his band and tour crew were exemplary, and an immense amount of fun to watch.


Jay-Z

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