(This was posted on PopWreckoning this morning.)
As the first part to a tribute to Northwest music, the Showbox lit up Pike Place Friday night with local favorites The Lonely Forest of Anacortes, and Telekinesis and The Globes of Seattle. Just to say how much Seattle loves their locals – even before the doors opened up, the line curled around the block as horse-drawn carriages rode by on the rare rain-free night.
The Globes were up first. Lacking a record deal, but with nothing lacking in the talent department, The Globes were a great way to start the show – bringing in a mixture of shoegazing guitar rock and raw indie pop. Guitarist Kyle Musselwhite provided almost Thom Yorke-like vocals next to lead vocalist Erik Walters’ high-energy wails, bassist Sean McCotter’s low-key vibe and drummer Marcus Ourada’s excellent beats. They were just experienced enough to have the charisma to hold the room, but with just a little more stage time, they’d be just as charming as the two bands that followed. And with their first LP coming out soon, The Globes are one of Seattle’s emerging indie acts that show the promise of what our region has to offer the next few years.
After The Globes’ short half-hour set, Telekinesis came to set up their equipment, with one rare addition. My friends and I were standing right off to the left of center by the stage, and I swore Chris Walla of Death Cab for Cutie was tuning his Rickenbacker. I turned to my friend and asked, “Is that Chris Walla?”
“No, it can’t be. It’s gotta be some guy that looks totally like him.”
“That’s Chris Walla. I’m not kidding. Look.”
And I must tell you; my friend is a diehard Death Cab for Cutie fan, so she of all people should know who and who isn’t Chris Walla. But this time, I was right. Chris joined Michael Lerner (a.k.a. Telekinesis) and his touring band for this one-night Seattle engagement. Just because. Lerner later mentioned Chris as one of the people who was responsible for his record being released. He said that, “he made me write this record.” Signed to Merge Records in early 2009, Lerner has been touring for most of the year with David and Jodie Broecker and Chris Staples as his live band, and the unconventional stage lineup threw me off a bit, but made the night more interesting. Lerner sat at the drumkit as he sang on most of the songs, and the unexpected cameo by Walla excited the crowd like they should be on a Friday night at 10 p.m.
I would have liked to have heard “Awkward Kisser,” just cause it’s such a damn cute song, but Lerner played the lot of the songs off his eponymous debut released in April – a few highlights being “Tokyo,” “Coast of Carolina,” and “Foreign Room.” My sister especially liked “Calling All Doctors,” with its distinctive hook of a repeated “twitchin, twitchin.” There were a couple songs where Lerner got up off the drums and stood with his acoustic guitar by himself while the rest of the band lounged on the floor. “I Saw Lightning” was a perfect example of a Seattle ballad – heartfelt and not overdone. Like one of those songs you can sing to your girlfriend at an open mic and not sound too amateurish.
And I must say how epic David Broecker’s mustache was. It truly was amazing.
Right on schedule, headliners the Lonely Forest graced the stage at just after 11 p.m., right as my feet started to ache. The Showbox had become even more crowded than when we first arrived, which again shows how much buzz this band has gotten with the locals. Lead guitarist and vocalist John Van Deusen actually started off the set with “can I get a shout out to Anacortes!” and the room threw up their arms and cheered with pride.
The Lonely Forest manages to bring together emotional piano pop with heavy, complex indie rock, without sounding generic in the slightest. Their newest album We Sing the Body Electric, released on Burning Building Records earlier this year, is easily one of the most dynamic and, dare I say, best of the year. Van Deusen, along with guitarist Tony Ruland, bassist Eric Sturgeon and drummer Bradyn Krueger started off the holidays just how they should be – full of vigor. By halfway through their set the Lonely Forest had the whole room jumping to the sound of Ruland’s badass guitar licks and Van Deusen’s weathered voice with tracks from We Sing the Body Electric, “Two Pink Pills,” and “Tomato Soup.” They also played “Soil Silt and Clay,” from their first LP, 2007’s Nuclear Winter, a concept album about the world ending and the protagonist’s escape from destruction through space travel.
One of my favorite songs of the night was “They’re On To Something,” a fast and guitar-heavy track with a shy piano line and the perfect beat for the lively crowd to dance around to. But it wasn’t until towards the end of the night where most of the people surrounding me on the teeming floor sang along to “We Sing In Time,” the undeniably catchy pop song with a killer building hook. Once the band stepped off stage, people immediately started shouting for an encore, and as it’s become standard practice, The Lonely Forest walked back out for not one – but two – songs for an encore.
You’d never think that Van Deusen spent time in rehab and Ruland almost died after a stint in the hospital two years ago. But then again, with how much passion The Lonely Forest has both on their record and in a live setting, one has to wonder where they get their fire.