by Nayra Halajian
Over the course of seven days, the week prior to midterms, I made the decision to go to three shows. This meant 3 late nights of driving out to Seattle (or should I say making my friends drive), dancing, and avoiding homework. It was a lot for one week, a bit emotionally exhausting, but I did it to myself… and now I’m going to share a little bit about each show.
Florist and WHY? on Saturday, February 24, 2018 at Neumos
Florist’s Emily Sprague, known for her wholesome voice, played a beautiful and intimate set for such a large room. Unfortunately as the opener, Florist was treated with little respect. Obnoxious patrons on the 21+ balcony maintained their loud, jovial conversations as Sprague softly sang her truth. At a point, Sprague addressed the duality of the situation, yet remained thankful to be performing. Despite the sustained voices from above, there were attentive concertgoers on the main level, some even singing along. During her last song, Sprague created mic feedback that managed to end a few of the drunk conversations and garner some more people’s attention. She started the final song over to a much quieter room.
Having never heard of WHY? I did not know what to expect. From the moment they started their set, it was clear that they had a dedicated fanbase. I watched as crowds of bearded men with identical haircuts and thick rimmed glasses passionately screamed the words along with the lead singer, who just so happened to look like them. WHY?’s use of a myriad of percussive instruments, compelling cadence, and overall stage presence was impressive, but their music just wasn’t for me. It was, however, entertaining to watch the Seattle bros get into it.
I feel like I went in blind, and it was interesting to be in the presence of a fanbase that was so foreign to me. My opinion did not seem to matter though, because the show was sold out, the energy was high, and all of WHY?’s supporters had a great time. By the end of the performances, it became clear to me that this show was branded towards those who enjoy “experimental” music, however Florist and WHY? seemed to experiment in vastly different ways.
Tiny Moving Parts, Mom Jeans, Covet, and Oso oso on Wednesday, February 28, 2018 at The Vera Project
This was a stacked line-up to say the least. This show, also sold out, featured some of today’s finest emo and math-rock bands. I unfortunately missed Oso oso, but I checked out some of their stuff online and would definitely recommend a listen.
Covet, a band that I have only recently gotten into, did not disappoint. While there are no vocals,guitar virtuosso, Yvette Young led the group with her compelling melodies, tapping and shredding oh so casually. It was clear that this three-piece was in-sync, constantly watching each other for time changes and carefully planned build-ups.
While Covet got some audience member to move, it wasn’t until Mom Jeans came on that the crowd let loose. We chanted the lyrics, we moshed, some people even crowd-surfed. I had never been to a Seattle show where everyone was so unapologetically enjoying themselves until this one. The band told some dad jokes in between songs and ended by busting out the trombone for the anthemic “Scott Pilgrim V. My Gpa.”
The quintessential midwest emo band, Tiny Moving Parts, closed out the show, performing songs from their older albums and their most recent album, “Swell.” They’ve been a band for a decade, and it showed. Guitarist and vocalist Dylan Mattheisen nailed his stage presence, jumping all around, engaging with the audience, and grinning with those squishy cheeks. The crowd matched the band’s energy, and during the last song, were invited to join the band on stage. By the end of the show, the emo kids were smiling. What more could you ask for?
Porches and Girl Ray on Saturday, March 3, 2018 at Neumos
I hadn’t heard of Girl Ray before this show, but I’m glad I was introduced to them this way. This London based band, a self-described “Girl Power Trio” lit up the room with their upbeat songs and 3 part harmonies. Lead singer, Poppy Hankin has a voice reminiscent of Dolores O’Riordan’s of The Cranberries, but sings over brighter, beachy instrumentals. The trio’s music was genuine, as well as their friendship and joy to be playing this show.
Porches was as expected: fun and danceable. Having seen them before, I knew what I was in for, meaning I knew it’d be a good time. They played songs from their newly released album, “The House” as well as songs from “Pool,” an album dear to my heart. The audience sang and danced along to Aaron Maine’s catchy lyrics and carefully crafted beats. To my surprise, they even played “Headsgiving” off of their first album, from which they have definitely evolved. While Porches is a band whose sound has changed quite a bit, they continue to entertain, and do so uniquely.
So, would I recommend going to three shows in a week? Sure. Is it something I’d do often? Definitely not. Was I happy I got to experience these three very different concerts? Absolutely. Overall I had a fun time going to all these shows, and I’m grateful that I had the opportunity to do so.