i went last year to the georgetown music festival on one of the days and it was pretty much the awesomest festival i’ve ever been to. last year, i parked about a block away and i walked in and hung out with a couple hundred folks and watched many good bands and The Trucks. this year was equally as awesome and i didn’t have to endure The Trucks. maybe it was more awesome.
i could only make it to the saturday festivities as i was in portland the day before, so i’m sorry i missed Helms Alee, Bronze Fawn, Carrie Akre, Ms. Led, and others on friday. at any rate, i drove up from portland saturday morning as soon as i could see straight. after applying some SPF 30+ and consuming some marvelous blueberry pancakes created by my BFF, i traveled down to georgetown to check out the scene. getting there early scored me a parking spot directly across from the jules mae’s! basically right across the street from the festival! the luck never stops! pretty much took out a yuppie food stamp and got $3 back and a stamp on the wrist. the main, all-ages part of the festival had 3 stages this year, one of which was tucked around the corner behind a building from the other stage. add the two jules maes stages and us 21+ kids had 2-3 bands to choose from at any given time. pretty awesome. and speaking of awesome, let’s talk about bands.
The Lonely Forest
i arrived for the last song of the The Lonely Forest set. i can’t say much about them except that they seem like nice kids. nothing really stuck out from the song that i heard.
back in the corner stage, a young lady and her keyboard fought hard against the strains of something horrible coming from the other stage. it made an interesting contrast, the singer/songwriter vs. terrible, trumpet-blasting vileness. ms. (mrs?) cole reminded me of smoky jazz bars and show tunes and Bjork all at once. but in a cute way. not too shabby.
after half of Kaylee’s set, i used my extreme age to my advantage for once and went over to the jules mae’s small stage to check out the globes. the globes were excellent. particularly the loud parts. they’d be great at a house show. and i love house shows. at any rate, the globes are sort of noisy, electro-rock with lots of guitar pedals and mathy bits. they seem to still be deciding on a sound, like college kids experimenting their freshman year, but there are glimpses of some really good stuff there. my first surprise of the festival!
The Lost Episode
as a high school teacher, i have my finger on the pulse of what’s popular with “the kids” these days. without a doubt, it’s classic rock. therefore, The Lost Episode are poised to be popular with the kids these days. they’re very excellent for being very young. however, i always liked that Zoinks‘ song classic rock turned me into a psychopathic killer, which goes “no more classic rock please.”
saxophone? really? they had some sound issues fighting against them, but they weren’t really my cup of tea at all.
Boy Eats Drum Machine
as record player players go, this guy is pretty good. he was weirding me out with jazz/singing/saxophone/DJing all over the place. his music would make an excellent movie soundtrack to some indie flick about the dark side of new york city, like a smoky bar scene that lasted an hour and all the people talk with husky voices about doing drugs. and like all those kind of movies, i appreciate the skill with which they are created, but don’t understand the appeal.
Shim is the creepy older uncle of the lost episode. they’ve been watching a lot of Guns n’ Roses videos, or maybe Poison or any other 80’s hard rock band. i haven’t seen that much denim on a stage since 1983. oh, seattle, why do you enjoy such schlockiness and irony? why can’t we just do something new and exciting instead of laughing at how silly we look after we got that perm and grew out a silly mustache?
me and six other folks hung out in the back of jules mae’s checking out the Hockey set. if The Clash were still around and only playing magnificent seven or if Blondie were still around and playing anything at all, Hockey would by dying to open for them. they have sort of that rap/disco sound from the early 80’s but throw in some weird bluesy-ness. they also have a song that says “what’s up man?” about a million times.
Pwrfl Power conducted a class in how to be awesome at the georgetown music festival. perhaps he mentioned it before i got there, but apparently everyone was supposed to sit down during his set. forget that, i used to be in a band and hated it when people sat down through my set. so i was the jerk standing in the middle of a bunch of people sitting down. at any rate, if you haven’t seen good guitar playing, check out pwrfl power. you will see the guitar absolutely owned, as the internet says. and this freakishly good guitar playing and wispy, lilting vocals were perfect for a seattle summer day like the one we were having during the festival. if you haven’t checked out pwrfl power, you are missing two things: awesome, witty stage banter and ridiculously hilarious lyrics. pwrfl power is brilliant.
these guys sound exactly like they look.
all this time, i’ve thought The Advantage were the only 8-bit inspired band. turns out there’s a whole scene of 8-bit artists. turns out Leeni is one of them. when i got there, she was doing “name that tune” of 80’s songs recorded on something midi-sounding with free Leeni cd’s as prizes. the weird thing is that i thought that’s what she was going to do the whole time. but no, she was going to play some “8-bit” music and sort of sing without any sort of passion over the top of it. and everyone in the bar was going to talk to their neighbor while she did. tough stage.
well, my career as a reviewer is complete. i’ve been name-checked by a band on stage. nevermind that i’ve known mr. jackson for a few years now. at any rate, Denelian is kind of fun, but don’t tell them. their sound is sort of 80s, but the grown up kind. a bit new wave and a bit indie rock. last time i saw them, they had piano going on, but this time it was power trio all the way. i like the change.
from the first second of playing, it was obvious that Police Teeth had arrived at this festival to rock the hell out of anyone around. i love it. this is the seattle sound that i hope people start taking notice of. the “DIY”, rough-around-the-edges, up-tempo, loud and rocking songs that almost get me moving like Hot Water Music used to. so good. me and this other nerdy kid in geek glasses and brown corduroys were definitely rocking out in the foot and the head, though i had to hide my pale skin from the sun under a nearby tree. great. the only request i have is more sing-along parts.
well, i had to see a band named after a revolutionary female mathematician and my second favorite type of body of water. well, it turns out they really like noise, or the sound was really bad. they have four vocalists, but employ no noticeable harmonies, which seems kind of redundant. well, they’re definitely loud.
though i walked in only to catch the last few seconds, i have to tell you about what i saw. an acoustic guitarist in a pink party dress and makeup from the 80s and an accordianist in fancy cowboy gear, i think. everyone in the bar was talking again. the music was weird and quiet but not weird and quiet like Pwrfl Power, more weird and quiet like that kid that no one sat next to at the lunch table.
I’m a Gun
for some reason, two cops were standing in the back during this set. perhaps someone had concealed weapons? (sorry). I’m a Gun are extraordinarily loud and do not work well in the jules mae’s back room if i’ve lost my earplugs and have already listened to several bands. they’re grungy, but it’s like a grunge band took a shower. a little faster than grunge and no low end, due to the lack of a bass. however, the girl drinking olympia from a can was pretty stoked nonetheless.
back when i was intimately connected to the paradox, i had the opportunity to witness Speaker Speaker doing a pre-show sound check. they were setting up and messing around and chose to play sound system by Operation Ivy. i don’t know if you know, but i grew up on east bay punk. from 90-99, it was pretty much all i ever listened to. i’ve been working on collecting lookout records 1-100, just because i think i should have them all. i’m surprised there’s not a Speaker Speaker record somewhere in there. these kids might as well have been my favorite band in 95, because they remind me very much of that era. it’s pretty sweet. i’m glad that lots of folks like them. if an east bay band ever lived in seattle, it’s Speaker Speaker.
when a southern rock/bar band graduates, it gets to sneak Rolling Stones references in the middle of it’s songs, i guess. well, you kids have fun.
i was looking forward to seeing Slender Means. i had heard their name a million times but hadn’t had a chance to see them. i think i had worked them up a bit too much in my mind. when i finally saw them they appeared too smooth, too polished, too LA. even a bit smarmy. all of these features drizzled into their music as well, making it unpalatable for a guy like me. unfortunate, as the stage they were headlining had the best sets all day. ah well.
speaking of LA, if you’ve wondered what happened to the “emo” scene and bands like Forgive Durden and This Providence and all those type of kids, they apparently still live in california, of course. these guys were working really hard promoting themselves all day, to their credit, but the one song i could listen to was basically a little drum line segment followed by a standard neu-emo song. good luck guys.
yes! awesome! this is just what i was hoping for to erase some of the painful niceties of the earlier bands: some hardcore! sort of. not straight-edge east coast hardcore or anything, but lots of yelling and anger. i felt like moshing a bit, even! Nazca Lines are kind of like Police Teeth, but showing more teeth. more arrrrrrrrgggh. i’d like to hear them at a house show or at a venue with better vocal speakers. the front stage at jules mae’s was necessarily lacking.
if i was planning on hosting a party where i invited all the coolest kids from the city, Aqueduct would be playing. they almost even got this reluctant crowd to dance. almost. and it wasn’t for lack of trying. i think we just weren’t in the mood for dancing. i know i wasn’t all that interested in dancing, despite my euphoria at being drowned in music all day. perhaps this just isn’t my style. or perhaps they just dredged up too many memories from an old life.
since aqueduct wasn’t cutting it, i went over to jules mae’s to check out what could possibly be represented by the following title: *. turns out it was Megasapien. my old band played with Megasapien a long while back and at that show they had the same problem: you can’t hear the vocals. i’m sure they’d be much better with a better mix or a better room or on better recordings. though they were one of the few female fronted acts of the day, they missed a chance to really stand out, though i liked what i could hear of her voice. they also really enjoy the “rock ending” where the guitarists hold a note and wait for the drummer to quit screwing around and hit both crash cymbals, signifying it’s time to clap. nonetheless, they’re kind of bad ass.
i hope that these guys recognize that they are ridiculous caricatures of rock stars in nearly every way. though i liked the bassist at some “iron composer”-type thing i saw a while back, ben lashes annoys the crap out of me and most other people from what i can tell. for example, stand on a stage and say “we just want you to remember that we’re the best band of the weekend” and try not to look like a douchebag, even if you do follow it a few songs later with “no hard feelings.” to be positive, i’m pretty psyched to see their guitarist back in action after his accident. but their fearless leader needs to go ahead and move to LA. and stop using The Smiths lyrics as your own, mr. lashes.
at this point, i was getting tired. i had driven for 7 hours in the past 24, slept in a basement next to the washer and dryer, stood in the sun for nearly 8 hours, seen 29 bands in the past 24 hours and not been able to find my earplugs. perhaps that explains why Thee Emergency did not impress me. i can tell they like music and i liked seeing their faces around the show the rest of the day, but their brand of indie-funk was simply not fitting the bill. so, i left early.
in all, the georgetown music festival lived up to my fond memories. i could probably do this everyday for the rest of my life. so next year, i might try to make both days, provided i can park across the street again and there aren’t a million people there. the greatest thing about it is that almost all of the bands are local and awesome. it makes me proud to live in seattle.
side note: late in the festival, some gentleman in mirrored aviator glasses and a basketball jersey covered by a beefy coat blasted me in the shoulder and said “i love that shit” as he gestured up and down my 5’7″ frame. i was wearing my traditional black dickies shorts and my friend’s clothing company’s old t-shirt design (in black) with my scrunched up tube socks and blackspot sneakers. apparently that’s all it takes to impress fashion critics these days. i’ve been wearing pretty much the same thing since 1990, so i don’t know what the big deal was. it was very weird.
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