Friday, February 4, 2011

Quite A Night

If I hadn't been stoned before I got to The Satellite on Thursday night, February 3, then I surely would have been by the end of the set by Useless Keys (see right), whose combination of wall-of-sound dramatics and diffusion were visually matched by a hallucinatory and seizure-inducing light show, that transformed the place into a foggy pit of laser lights and billowing shadows, punctuated by throbbing and pulsating strobes. It was a powerful and impressive presentation.

I was so intrigued by the notion of seeing Great Northern play with remnants of Irving (now: Shadow Shadow Shade) on the same bill, as I saw them together at King King in Hollywood a hundred years ago (actually 2006). It seems a lifetime ago. And now I just got back from seeing them again, and it was quite special.

Web In Front has put together this terrific Thursday night residency with Shadow Shadow Shade and the first line up was killer. In addition to the three aforementioned bands, Wet & Reckless rounded out the night. Unfortunately I have a swirl of concert activity the next night, so I had to duck out early.
But I did get to witness a really riveting performance by some of my earliest contacts in the local indie scene, Great Northern (at right), who, after a few glitches were ironed out during the first two songs, roared to life with a set that was electrifying. I was particularly impressed with a new song on which Rachel Stolte really soared with her voice in a manner that was truly surprising. Now a band of four, the balance seemed right, with the addition of bass and drums contibuting to the wholeness of the sound. It's been such a long time since I've seen them as a band that it was most gratifying. The audience was pretty blown away too, some of whom were seeing them for the first time, and again, it was all swathed in a fabulous atmosphere of fog and lights, perfectly suited to the arctic atmosphere this band is so good at. Even familiar songs like "Houses" sounded sharp and new with their fresh arrangements.

Shadow Shadow Shade emerged from a fog-laden stage with a smashing a cappella intro which suddenly exploded into their massive sound. This amazing live band gives equal weight to each instrument and every voice, making them the most democratic band around. It's also fitting, since each member is an accomplished musician and singer who never hogs the spotlight but is able to blend together like a powerful engine.

I only stayed for part of their set, which sounded as good as I'ver ever heard them. As there are three more Thursdays to come, and with a general ambience that was one of such comfort and familiarity, with Travis of Web In Front DJing from the rear of the room, it would be futile to resist going back for more Shadow Shadow Shade.


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