Sylvan Esso got up and got down at Redmond’s Marymoor Park on July 14th. The Durham, NC, electropop duo includes vocalist–dancer Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn. Last year Sylvan Esso sold out two nights at Seattle’s Neptune Theatre while promoting their 2017 album What Now.
The pair brought an infectious positivity with their catchy and danceable hooks. Meath showed her originality through unusual dance poses and her signature platform cheerleading shoes. Sanborn twisted the knobs expressively while swimming in an oversized tie-dye, and his case read “F the NC GOP.” New tunes joined audience favorites that included “Coffee” and “Radio.” Sylvan Esso returned for a well-received encore.
The crowd tended young and hip, with plenty of throwback fanny packs and mom-jeans. Concertgoers batted beach balls and picnicked in the idyllic Eastside green space.
Los Angeles singer–songwriter Amber Coffman opened with her band. The former Dirty Projectors artist went solo in 2017.
Cool Cover: Jaira Burns ‘”Numb” Details: Cover art for Jaira Burns’ newest single, “Numb,” features her lovely blue hair in a bridal veil. Also, check out the gold party spliff. The singer-songwriter from the US described the track as “. . . for the times when people get faded; not for the reason of having fun, but to feel “NUMB.”
Greta Van Fleet’s first of two shows in Seattle was my first concert of the year. What a perfectly lucky opportunity was that? So very, very very lucky.
This was a sensational show for classic rock fans. Seattle’s a very welcome home for rock music, which has strangely been somewhat neglected recently. I’m not talking about music that sounds a bit here and there like ’70s rock. I’m talking about the kind of music that would fit exactly in the ’70s. In the same way I love music that could be straight out of New Wave, I love music that recalls ’70s rock. Maybe I can be a purist. I’m not alone though, as Greta Van Fleet’s music is going Gold.
Originating in Michigan, the five-piece Greta Van Fleet has – in the space of two years – released two EPs, Black Smoke Rising and From the Fires; and one album, Anthem of the Peaceful Army. Each band member is greatly talented with three of the band coming from the same family: Singer Josh Kiszka and guitarist Jake Kiszka are twins; bassist/keyboard player Sam Kiszka is their brother. I totally love that. Drummer Danny Wagner (who did a wild drum solo at the show) is the only non-family member.
Perhaps unfair in a show review, but I loved the whole setlist. Everything about “Black Flag Exposition” was a stoner’s dream. Those blue foggy lights. Those guitar licks and solos. Just amazing. It was awesome to see a new track received so well by the audience. “Flower Power” was huge, while “Watching Over” was a more insular stony experience. “Watching Over” also had some magical guitar work in it. “When the Curtain Falls,” “You’re the One,” (with vocals by the twins !!!), “Safari Song” and “Edge of Darkness” were all excellently accessible. Josh Kiszka has a gigantic and flexible voice, yet somehow I didn’t feel as if his vocals were competing with the instruments. The front row appeared to be all women, but there were plenty of men at the show too. Thank you guys, for letting women have that front row. This is a band worth seeing up close and in person.
The stage made creative use of four circles above the band featuring live video projected of the show onto their surfaces. This interspersed with visuals, including, one, I think of bat figures flying across a cloudy sky. Cool swirling lights beamed down on each band member at one point. Very pretty.
2019 is bringing the band major attention with four Grammy nominations, a gigantic world tour, and a Saturday Night Live debut on January 19th.
Ida Mae, a British husband and wife duo, was the opening band. With a bluesy sound featuring vocals by Chris Turpin and Stephanie Jean plus guitar accompaniment by Turpin, the pair just moved to Nashville.
Highway Tune – Black Smoke Rising/From the Fires Edge of Darkness – From the Fires Flower Power – Black Smoke Rising/From the Fires The Music Is You (John Denver cover) You’re the One – Anthem of the Peaceful Army Evil (Howlin’ Wolf cover) Black Flag Exposition – unreleased Watching Over – Anthem of the Peaceful Army When the Curtain Falls – Anthem of the Peaceful Army
Encore: Black Smoke Rising – Black Smoke Rising/From the Fires Safari Song – Black Smoke Rising/From the Fires
The wonderful John Legend released a Christmas album last year called A Legendary Christmas. Sometimes really great things like that happen in the world. Then something else awesome happened: Legend took that album on the road. Seattle’s WaMu Theater was one stop of the tour, where Legend fans enjoyed that album (nearly all tracks were performed,) and other Legend songs, such as “Save Room” and “Ordinary People.”
A Legendary Christmas, Legend’s first Christmas album, should be just one of many. Loads of other great singers (Dean Martin, for example) made more than one Christmas album. Legend should make this a thing, with annual tours. Wouldn’t that be cool?
The inspiring combination of Weezer and Pixies had a seven-week tour in the States during the summer of 2018. One of the dates was an August appearance at the outdoor setting of White River Ampitheatre, where the bands showcased so many of the songs you would desire from their awesome collections. Watch for Weezer’s twelfth album, Weezer (the Black Album,) out in March. And . . . the pairing of Weezer and Pixies went so well the first time, they’re touring together this year as well.