In a sea of increasing numbers of white hats and popped collars, the Sunset holds down the flavor of Ballard that we all know and love. The soul of the neighborhood still resides here while elsewhere it withers under the weight of upscale condominiums. As much as I’m for increased urban density, I hate how it attracts the wrong crowd. I hope the Sunset never closes. I hope they have to build condos around it. Then I hope it rises up and eats their faces off.
Long, long ago, the bassist in my old band mentioned that he liked Treasure State. I noted the fact and then did nothing to decide if I did or not. A while back I picked up the CD’s on a therapeutic internet record-buying spree and have not regretted it at all. Treasure State is the northwest’s answer to Joan of Arc/Make Believe/Owls/American Football/Cap’n Jazz/every other kinsella band. Sparse sounds with big spaces and high vocals over different time signatures. I cannot lie, it’s really awesome. I arrived late and missed a few songs, which I was sorely disappointed about, since they only play about once every millennium. But I arrived right in the middle of a great song and was pretty much singing and smiling as I walked in the door after my hurried trot from my distant parking place. Such a great band! Word on the street is that they will be trying to play more shows, which everyone seemed excited about. They may also do a project show where they will invite some folks to come up and play. I guess there’s a banjo player invited and some Rhodes player. ME! So excited! I get to pick songs. I have thought about it for approximately 2 hours and I would like to play on “A Variation on Ambition” and “What Do We Do Now That We’ve Achieved Everything.” YES! I guess I should fix up my Rhodes and keep practicing. But enough about me, go buy a Treasure State record or two. You will not be disappointed.
I’m a little bit worried. I think I heard some lyrics tonight that I could get behind. These guys might be starting to grow on me. I’ve reviewed Police Teeth twice and mentioned that they are pretty awesome. I like when they’re on the bill with a band I want to see. The thing that has kept me from making them a band I go to see exclusively is the lyrics. I’ve been assured that the lyrics are largely tongue-in-cheek. I guess I need to just let go of the fact that every song ever must have some personal meaning to me in order to be awesome. Maybe words are just supposed to be vehicles for transmitting rhythm and melody. Another instrument. They worked out that way tonight, as I stood in a spot that made all of the vocals completely unintelligible except for small snippets. I like Police Teeth live, with this mix. However, I still am not inspired to sing along. The pinnacle of music is a band that gets me to sing along. Police Teeth is good. Police Teeth is fun. Police Teeth is loud. Police Teeth will get you moving around a bit. If that’s what you want, you will not be disappointed.
4-18 addendum: The next Police Teeth show I am at, I think I’ll try to ask the prettiest girl in the room to pretend to know how to ballroom dance with me. I think that would be just the sort of spectacle that this band needs. I think it would make me take myself less seriously. And I think it would be fun to inspire the whole room to join in. During one of their songs last night I had this idea and I should have turned to the lady next to me and asked, but these are the sorts of ideas that I’m not yet good enough at acting upon. However, the idea has been growing on me and making me laugh a little bit, so if I get another chance, I might just ask.
The very first song that The Bismarck played reminded me of this tape that my musical mentor gave to me. It had some Dinosaur Jr. and some 10:07 and some Operation Ivy and some Gas Huffer and a Jawbreaker song on it. The Jawbreaker song was Eye-5, the last song on Unfun. If you’ve heard Unfun you know what a unique record it is just from the sound of it alone. The vocals are gruff and pretty low in the mix. The bass has a distinctive, upfront sound, and the guitars are wicked distorted. For some reason, The Bismarck sounded just like this tonight. That old Jawbreaker sound in their song structure and the mix. They’re a member of the Beep Repaired family of bands and I’m glad to see they’ve played with all the bands I thought they should have: Madraso, Juhu Beach, Lake of Falcons, Police Teeth, etc. There’s this Seattle sub-scene that includes all these tough sounding DIY-ish bands. I’ve been calling it Indie Punk, but that’s a pretty useless name. Somebody will probably call it something catchy and pretty soon everyone will be making bands full of different plain-looking dudes and playing really loud and having Police Teeth throw tampons at them when they sing “Give me something to stop the bleeding.” The Bismarck are pretty tough. But they make good jokes and make fun of their own songs a little bit, so if you’re not into feeling tough, you can laugh a little bit, too.
The Oswald Effect
On paper, The Oswald Effect seemed like an excellent grouping with the other bands. They’re pretty tough sounding and loud. There’s something about them that is just too polished, though. And I think that something made them sound fake. They had a good sound, it just didn’t interest me. Their crowd was a change from the first three bands. Much of the crowd was ladies. For the other three bands, it was largely dudes. I have no explanation for this. In fact, I was baffled by the band in general. So, I stepped outside to talk with the Treasure State about this whole me-playing-Rhodes-with-them thing and ended up staying out there.
In all, it was a wonderful evening. Many good times and lots of smiling. I talked to a lot of people, actually. I think I’m doing well on my awesome plan.
Keywords: police teeth, sunset tavern, the bismarck, the oswald effect, treasure state