Monday, May 30, 2016

Lessons from DTA

As you may or may not know, I've been living in Seattle for the last seven months while on a domestic temporary assignment (DTA) for work.  It's been great.  I've loved the chance to live in and explore a new and interesting place, even despite not yet having the best weather of the year.  But I also really like the idea of having the stability and comfort of my home in St. Louis.  Reflecting on the experience so far has begun to formulate a life goal for a decade or so from now.

I imagine having a career that I can productively undertake anywhere in the world with a sufficiently fast Internet connection (not a stretch as a software developer).  I imagine being completely debt free.  I imagine being able to decide without hesitation that I want to spend the next couple of months in some new place in the world - living, working, and exploring as I desire.  I imagine having the ability to return to my comfortable home when each adventure is complete.

I realize that I am very fortunate to be born into a position where this is a possibility.  But why not seize the opportunity to make this happen?  We'll see what the next ten years bring.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Moderat @ The Showbox (5/24/2016)

OK, maybe I've gotten too lazy and nonchalant about getting to shows on time. This time I showed up after Moderat was already on stage, but I think it was only their first song. This was the second show in a row that I got a ticket a couple of days beforehand and the show ended up selling out. And like the previous show, it turned out to be a good decision.

The show as a package was pretty good. The big beats were bumping, and the light (and laser, and fog) show was dynamic. They played more instrumental (if you can really call it that - electronic music doesn't really have instruments) songs than I expected, and fewer ones with vocals. And they turned parts of the show into a dance party (as opposed to playing the standard songs); but this wasn't a surprise. One unexpected thing was the double encore - the first encore had three or four songs, and the second had one. Overall, it turned out better and more enjoyable than I expected.

Rating: 4.5/5

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Blonde Redhead @ Neumos (5/21/2016)

It seems like I've gotten pretty good at showing up just in time for the main act. Anyway, I committed unusually late to going to this show - I bought the ticket only a couple of days before. In the end I'm glad I made the decision that I did, and that I got the ticket before they sold out. It was a solid show - nothing flashy or super memorable. Perhaps my only real complaint is directed at myself for picking a spot at the back - partially for the suboptimal view, but also for having to deal with all the people who couldn't find a good place to cut through the packed crowd in the small venue. One thing that did strike me about their performance was that it seemed like they used a backing track on quite a few songs - I couldn't be sure since I didn't have the best view of what was going on. I don't remember this from the first time that I saw them. But I apparently also liked that show a bit more.

Rating: 4.2/5

Monday, May 09, 2016

The Range @ Barboza (5/8/2016)

I almost didn't go to this show, for a couple of reasons. First, I knew nothing about the main act, Rome Fortune, and was only interested in seeing The Range. Second, it was a Sunday night, and I've been going in to work earlier, so I didn't want a lack of sleep to lead to a sluggish Monday. When I'm indecisive enough to not buy a ticket ahead of time, it almost always means that I'm not going. This time was different, though - I decided over the weekend that I would only go for The Range (whose album will likely end high on my list for 2016). This would avoid the boredom of not knowing the other acts, and would (hopefully) also allow me to salvage some sleep.

The plan almost worked out. I arrived promptly at 8 PM, thinking that I would be able to immediately catch The Range and then bounce. Unfortunately, the first act was a DJ set, and The Range wasn't due on stage until 9:15. I made the best of the situation, though, and walked over to a nearby Chipotle to grab a late dinner, and then up the street to check out the apartment in Capitol Hill that my buddy Mike had just moved into. I made it back to the venue just in time to catch The Range for his hour on stage before finding a bus back to the apartment.

After all that preamble, I should probably say a word or two about the show. The venue is pretty small - it's really just a bar in a basement (of another bar and small concert club) with a small, slightly elevated stage. The crow was also quite small, though it sorta filled out to maybe 50 people by the time The Range was done (which I would guess was below 25% capacity). Those that were there did seem to enjoy him, though, but I couldn't get a read on how many people where his fans vs Fortune's.

Musically, there was much to like about the set. Most of the tracks off Potential made an appearance, and as did one or two from Nonfiction (plus at least a couple that I didn't immediately recognize). As expected, though, the performance aspect was not particularly intriguing. He (James Hinton, aka The Range) did hop about quite a bit and mouth most of the lyrics in between pushing buttons and twiddling knobs. And there were a couple of projectors involved - one for a transparent screen in front of him, and the other (which he almost knocked over once while jumping about) for the white screen behind him. It was a decent visual spectacle for being such a small electronic act, but it wouldn't blow many (if any) minds. In any case, I was satisfied just to hear those beautiful big beats bumped loudly. I also got a chance to ask him a quick question (about when the documentary for Potential is due out - screenings in June, generally available in July) and shake his hand while he was breaking down his equipment after he was done.

Rating: 4.0/5

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Beach House @ The Paramount Theatre (5/4/2016)

A Beach House show is a Beach House show, so it's gonna be good.  However, something was a little lacking about this one (even being their first in Seattle in 4 years).  I think it's mostly a matter of setlist preference, though - they didn't play any of my favorite 3 songs from either of their last 2 albums.  And I guess there were a couple of songs where Alex's guitar should probably have been mixed in a little louder.  Victoria also seemed frustrated on the first few songs with the sound levels on the stage monitors, but that was mostly unrelated to what we could hear in the audience.

Overall, maybe a teeny bit disappointing, but only because they're one of my favorite bands.

Rating: 4.4/5