sistawendy: (taco madonna)
I stayed out too late* at my one and only show for the Decibel Festival. For those not familiar with it, the dB Festival is Seattle's weekend-long electronic music festival. It takes over maybe half a dozen venues around town, and it's always good for hearing some new sounds, good, bad, or just different.

Why Neumo's last night? Because I'd heard Bob Moses on KEXP and thought, 'That's the show I want to go to.' I was not disappointed. They're a duo from Vancouver by way of NYC, one guy with a mixer (or is it a controller?) and one on guitar & vocals. To me it sounded like the best of Chicago house wedded to Sky Cries Mary or the Fading Collection: downer, grown-up lyrics and airy guitar riffs. Something about the vocalist reminds me of Sting. I'm definitely buying their LP, which the internet tells me they're working on now.

Openers? Local hero Lusine took things down tempo with a live drummer, and somehow produced a hippy vibe. I've been to at least a couple of his shows before, and I'd never heard him like that before. Maybe it wasn't 100% my cup of tea, but it was still good. Respect. The first artist, Photay, is only three years older than my son (!) and sounds like Aphex Twin - an influence he acknowledges - met up with Afro-Caribbean musicians in Brooklyn. Not bad, and definitely not usual.

I left before the final act, The Acid, and a cursory listen tells me I didn't miss a whole lot. Happiness is quitting while you're ahead.

*Lights out, right after dilation as usual, at 0200.
sistawendy: (Prius)
But first: a lovely lunch with [ profile] randomdreams and [ profile] manintheboat at Coastal Kitchen. I'd never met Mrs. Random in meatspace before, and I have to say it's striking how well matched they are. The cuteness doesn't just burn; it incinerates.

Right after lunch, I got in my Sanctimobile and headed north for Cut Copy.

But second: I stopped for dinner at Sophie's Cosmic Cafe on 4th Ave. W per a former co-worker's notably vocal recommendation. They do diner food, including vegetarian, quite well; I'm sorry I didn't save room for a shake. And I'm pretty sure I have the platform boots that I spotted in their decor.

Wandered through downtown Vancouver (more about that anon) to the lovely Stanley Park. I have to say, though, that Marymoor Park in Redmond is a better outdoor venue: the Malkin Bowl is smaller, hillier where it's inconvenient, and hemmed in with tall conifers. It's also hard to beat sunset at a concert at Marymoor.

The openers? Vancouver's own Bear Mountain. They don't suck; I think I recognized them from KEXP. I may have to pick up their rekkid. Be advised that these guys apparently listen to Erasure, recent Daft Punk, and a whole lot of old disco.

Our heroes from from Australia sounded excellent, barring one technical glitch. They don't have a whole lot of stage presence, but the crowd warmed up to them eventually. It's hard to resist a groove that solid, and I danced through every song when I wasn't using the tilted port-a-potties. I smelled a little weed, but I encountered no jerks because Canada. I was happy they were happy to take my Yankee cash for drinks. On the way out, I remarked to (of course) a young cutie with flame-red hair that I might make it back to Seattle by 0100. She expressed surprise at the hardness of my core. What?

Fashion observation: Even though it was a sunny afternoon and a clear evening, there were lots of women at the concert in gumboots, and at least one man. It was the defining fashion of that crowd.

Civil engineering fail: Canadians, or at least British Columbians, don't seem to have embraced the freeway concept as much as their neighbors to the south. Their freeways end at or well away from the edge of the central city, which gets an A for esthetics but a D for convenience. I also question their signage. I managed to wander off of 99 in the dark on the way back to the US and spent half an hour going through Richmond and the airport. That's much harder even in L.A.'s concrete tangle, and yes, I drove there for the first time exhausted at 0130. A stop sign in one direction with a stoplight crosswise? Bad call. And guys, left turn lanes are your friends on Vancouver's many long, wide, straight arterials. Don't get me started about the reversible lanes with no dividers between them.

In summation, Canada is a land of many contrasts I'd do that kind of trip again, but I'd stay overnight and not go alone.
sistawendy: (oh yeah)
Last night was my first of two nights at this year's Decibel Festival. Much if not most of the festival is organized into "showcases" wherein a label takes over a venue for a night or two. Last night for me was the showcase for Ghostly International, a label based in Ann Arbor, MI, which is within the orbit of that longtime hotbed of techno, Detroit.

I'm kicking myself for messing up a nail and missing a bus, because I got there more than halfway through the set by Dauwd [sic]. His set was accessible and very "up" without being cookie cutter. I may have to buy some of his music now.

An acquaintance of mine from Microsoft described the next act, Beacon, as "North American Boards of Canada". My thoughts exactly. One guy on drum pads & such, another with keyboards & vocals. Often dub-flavored and ethereal. It was well done, but not really my thing.

Next was local hero Lusine. I've heard him many times before, and I have one of his LPs. He failed utterly to disappoint. In general he does thinking person's electro, but this time he brought the Friday night goods. Go see him if you get the chance.

Our headliner, Shigeto, was good but not good enough to get me to stay past 1:00. (My excuse? I'd been standing in the packed Croc for three hours.) He had a live, acoustic drum kit and a stage presence that's almost unheard of in the techno world.

Speaking of the Crocodile, it's a Seattle institution - it played host to Nirvana several times - but it's not that big. The good news is that the event sold out, so the festival is in good health. My take on the crowd was that it was full of Serious Techno Fans® like me. The bad news is that there was no room to dance and no coat check. The Croc has good sound, though, and the cleanest, prettiest women's restroom I've ever seen in a club.

Worth the $20 advance price? You bet.
sistawendy: (dolly)
First, what is chiptune? It's techno inspired by early 8-bit video games.

I was perusing nwtekno for the first time in a while, thinking that I hadn't gone to anything all-ages in, well, ages. I found a chiptune night put on by, I presume, UW kids at Pink Gorilla, which appropriately enough is a video game store on the Ave. $3? Sold. I can put off drinking for a few hours.

The venue: the small back room had a projector for playing games. One of the producers, if I may use that word loosely, wired up a manually-operated light wall. The one speaker cabinet contained a potent subwoofer.

The breakdown:
  • Infra Dead played a box o' circuits using patch cords. He was, he readily admitted, "just fucking around". Random and not really my thing, but kind of fascinating to watch.
  • Buried for a Day is a pretty good guitarist with emo hair who had his own chiptune backing tracks. He gradually won me over by the time he covered Megadeth. Yeah, 80's flashback city, and I was the only person in the place anywhere near capable of experiencing an 80's flashback.
  • Firedrill can't quite sing, but he covered "Dare to be Stupid", so I can't hate him. And in fact, his bleepy bits were quite nice.
  • The guy who really brought the grove was Oven Rake. He was using a controller that looked for all the world like a Game Boy. One of my housemates told me when I got home that you can actually hack a Game Boy to make it act as a synthesizer. (!)

Well worth the money. The evil marketroid in me wants to tell those boys they can charge more, but the tight-fisted bitch in me kicks the evil marketroid in the shin.

A tip o' the hat to E (Shaddup. You know I don't use names without permission here.) for being cool and giving me a bit of background on chiptune and the local scene thereof.
sistawendy: (dolly)
Trip-hopping Japanese expats in New York Cibo Matto played Seattle last night for the first time since 2001. Yup, they're back together. How back together are they? They have new material, which I thought was at least as good as their older stuff.

These guys - Miho Hatori lately of Gorillaz on vocals, Yuka Honda on keyboards, and two side people - aren't stage gods, but they're cute in their coordinated black & road cone orange. Much fun. This show was in part a benefit for earthquake victims in Japan.

And yes, Yuka Honda is still really hot. :)
sistawendy: (skeptic coy Gorey tilted down)
Shpongle gets a reluctant thumbs down. Reluctant, I suppose, because I spent actual money on the show and I was so happy to see so many friends there, including co-worker B. It was better than average trance, largely, but a couple of things got to me:
  1. Thou shalt not groove to thine own set. If you can do that, you're not working hard enough for a live show.
  2. I don't need anybody to dance for me. Sure, the costumes didn't suck and maybe it's wrong to think of them any differently than what's on the screens, but it got my back up. [ profile] benevolentia's too.
(Good Lord. I sound like a crusty old schooler, even though I wasn't around for the early days of rave. I guess I'm just old school at heart.)
[ profile] moriae may protest that I didn't stay late enough - I hardly ever do - but I have to go with what I got.
Time for brekkies at Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle, followed by a (slumping) Mariners game. Happy Mothers' Day to all of you mothers out there.
More notes on hormones: the growth of my nails seems to have slowed way down, just like that of my facial & body hair. As for the hair on my head, I've tried a little experiment: I stopped taking Rogaine when I started the hormones. My hair isn't getting noticeably thinner or thicker.
sistawendy: (weirded out)
I, techno fiend and hard-headed atheist, spent two hours last night in a new age bookstore (Soulfood Books in Redmond) listening to Kitten Sundae with Nuts be frequently hilarious and otherwise really good. KSwN is an ad hoc collective of singer [ profile] vixyish, guitarist & sometime singer [ profile] tfabris, guitarist & all-the-time singer [ profile] s00j, Betsy Tinney the cellist, and Alexander James Adams on violin, mandolin, and voice. These five have other projects, namely Vixy & Tony for the first two and Tricky Pixie for the other three.

First of all, I was stunned at the size, freakiness, and fervor of the crowd. They were into this band. People brought their own chairs. I was one of maybe a dozen standing at the back, where some people were dancing.

[ profile] vixyish is one of the MOO kroo, so I've been listening to her play cons & such every once in a while for years. She & her various partners on stage were the only filk I'd listen to, and had it been people I didn't know playing the same music, well, you get the picture. I have to say, though, that last night's gig was both entertaining and technically right on. The years have worn well. (I have perfect pitch and I come from a family of instrumentalists. Believe it or not I got standards, people.)
sistawendy: (dolly)
Made it to the KEXP Expansions MLK night at Neumo's. Good crowd. Riz & Masa: yay as always. The difference between the two of them is that Riz will always make you have fun, but Masa will always take you somewhere you've never been before. I think it's a lowdown shame that this is about the only occasion when Masa plays where you can see him. Sun Tzu sound: tolerable once they stopped with the dub.

What to do when you get flyered in person by two DJs you like for different nights on the same weekend? Le sigh.
sistawendy: (dolly)
So I finally made it to an honest-to-goodness warehouse party in the south end.

The tunes: a little more minimal than I usually go for, but the DJs I heard were all about the up-tempo groove. I danced much to Matt Anderson, who I think I've heard before, and Brandon Plank, and Spirals. I had to leave an hour before the headliners, of course.

The space: bare, cold (If I do that again in the fall or winter, I need to wear serious hose), and decorated only with an overhead projector showing Dryden & Giger. Reasonable acoustics & good sound, though. Holes in the wall made it look like somebody had shot some of the figures in the art. Plenty of room to dance as of 1:00. And my assumption of two entries ago turned out to be happily wrong. Ahem.

The crowd: fairly mellow, friendly, and into it. Many of them were old enough to remember when this sort of party was much more common, and were glad to see another one. Spotted one athletic guy with ear plugs stretching before dancing. B-boys, DJs (Michito recognized me), Space Virgins, bouncy hippies, and dreadlocked hippies were all represented. I did a show & tell about corset construction.

Yeah, I missed all of you at Confessional, but I think I did all right.
sistawendy: (dolly)
Andy Seaver, aka NDCV was cerebral and chill, sort of a more accessible Scientific American. Very mood-specific.

Local band Lucy Bland is an odd choice for an electronic music festival. Four out of their five members were all acoustic all the time, and even their keyboardist strapped on an accordion for several numbers. They're like the Postal Service, only sweeter, funkier, more acoustic, and less tongue-in-cheek. They won me over in thirty seconds, and I stuck around for their whole set, unlike any other act that night. I predict great things for them and from them.

Portland duo Camino Acid reminded me of an evil cyborg Sky Cries Mary. I didn't loathe them, but I wasn't feeling them, and neither were many other people. Hint: do not talk amongst yourselves during your set.

Headliner novaTRON, one live guy with an incredible array of non-laptop hardware, and turntablist WD4D brought hip-hop flavored danceability back. I remember enjoying novaTRON more at OSeaO a few months ago, but that might have been because I was tired - I just slept nine hours.

Got the bulk of my groove on to the techie house of DJ Skyler and Michito (if I heard that correctly), who switched off all night. This was my Secret Vice music.

I think I easily got my $12 worth. By the way, LoFi had a lot of art on the walls that I wanted to take home.

Maybe, just maybe, I'll make it to the free show in Volunteer Park with m'boy.
sistawendy: (dolly)
Went to ToST because, hey, it was cheap, and had a better time than I expected.

Tunes: Mu'ad Deep brought techie house and a little turntablism. Crispy & Osiris Indriya delivered the trance. I had sore feet when I woke up this morning. The only reason they weren't blistered is that ToST is small and doesn't have enough cooling equipment.

Vibe: Friendly. It isn't often that strangers approach me to ask whether they should wear a shirt. It also turned out that the woman with the long brown hair, superhuman stamina, and flawless belly dance moves is a professional ballet dancer. She said it was nice dancing in a place where you don't have a Russian telling you you're doing it wrong.

I've finally figured out parking in Fremont, too. Happiness.
sistawendy: (dolly)
I got out of the house late - Nibs got Raiders of the Lost Ark for the Wendling, which he loved - and stopped by the Merc, so I missed Nordic Soul. I think I can safely assume that he didn't suck, though.

Pleasant surprise of the evening: Truckasaurus. Cerebral, hard-edged techno over heavy hip hop, Jamaican, and electro beats. If they'd had physical CDs I would have bought one.

Mild bummer of the evening: Apparat sounded good, but largely lacked groove, at least before I left at 1:00. Yes, main dude Sascha Ring is an ex-raver, but does he have to be so ex?

Pleasant not-quite-surprise of the evening: meeting [ profile] misscerridwen. That's the first time I've successfully used LJ to meet another techno fan.

Serious bummer for the evening: the sunken lot north of the Mercury that I thought was legal to park in after Lifelong's business hours isn't. Ding to the tune of $38.

Next week's nun plan will include Saturday's goth night at CHAC, rest assured. Also Novatron and Manahan at Hengst raising $ for a Burning Man art project.
sistawendy: (dolly)
You know how the Vogue had the worst feng shui in Seattle? Well, Nectar has the best. Its decor isn't as eye-poppingly au courant and pretty as See Sound Lounge, but its layout & proportions are probably the best I've ever seen. Nectar's vibe is fairly mellow, which I appreciated when going to the jane. Drinks? Nothing to write home about.

How old is Cobblestone Jazz's gear? It takes three guys to work it. It was occasionally jazz in spirit if not in form, and highly groovable at all times. I must get 23 Seconds. Honorable mentions: Sean Horton aka Nordic Soul and Dave Pezzner, who's half of Jacob London, were way better than average openers.

Random people watching:

You know you live on the west coast when you see a waitress in a Peter Max-inspired t-shirt and blond dreads and think, 'She looks like the girl next door.'

I wasn't the only one there in a corset: a girl with blond corn rows with the ends dyed red was looking mighty goth, complete with mesh gauntlets, except for the black cargo pants. We found each other amusing. I'm... not sure how I'd feel if this were to become a trend.

The girl who danced hippy (i.e. bouncily) at least a) looked good doing it and b) had the sense not to dance into anyone else. Maybe they're wearing me down.

It's gratifying to see a Regular Girl® who's prettier than I am except for her bushier eyebrows. I can feel my claws extending.
sistawendy: (dolly)
I bopped on down to See Sound Lounge, 115 Blanchard, which I heard is full of pretty people. That's true, but they're mostly friendly pretty people. I got ma'amed twice by the staff. (And once by a panhandler. Go figure.) Who says courtesy is dead in Seattle?

Tunes: Good to excellent, including the under-appreciated chill (?) room guys. JT started early, luckily for me, and was all about the tough beats, less jazzy than his Om release. I've noticed that the nationally known guys seem to put some effort into keeping it fresh. This night was put on by Uniting Souls, whose head dude is Ramiro Gutierrez. Ramiro has appeared in this space many times and is certainly no slouch on the decks. The other opener, Matt Wood, hadn't "played out" before. Am I wrong to think it's unseemly when DJs groove to their own sets, or was I just ill disposed to him because of his train wreck, even though he recovered quickly?

Decor: Holy crap, that place is pretty! Mod, with a lot of white walls, colored light spots on the wall, and deep red sectional sofas. I want whoever did See Sound to do the Abbey.

Drinks: Good, but Un. Reasonably. Priced. Now I know how their Belltown rent is getting paid. Good thing I scored street parking on [location redacted].

There seems to be a protocol among true house heads whereby we identify each other by talking about the music. After one young lady verified that I wasn't there for any nefarious purposes, she lamented that getting hit on happens unusually often at See Sound. I told her I don't have that problem much. "I envy you," she said.

I may not be with [ profile] seedmoon on the crucial question of naming one's house, but I sure am when it comes to men in knit hats. Sheesh.


sistawendy: (Default)

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