Wednesday, October 26, 2016

M83 w/ Yeasayer @ WaMu Theater (10/25/2016)

I was just about as excited for Yeasayer as M83 for this show, but their performances were (understandably) not in the same league. I arrived late for Yeasayer - I think because I had the start time wrong in my calendar. I'm not sure how many songs they played before I got there, but I did get to see them perform at least 7 or 8. As the opener, the sound wasn't quite as punchy, and the lights weren't terribly exciting. Something also seemed a little off in terms of matching the depth of their songs to the studio versions (e.g., their closer "I Am Chemistry", which is my favorite off the new record). I'm chalking it up to being the opener, and hoping that their headlining show in 11 days will be better.

On the other hand, M83 mostly exceeded my expectations. I've been a fan of theirs/his for a while, but not so much of the new album this year (appropriately, I think, entitled Junk). However, a few of the new songs came off better than I expected live - I might have to give the album another chance. They did play plenty of older material (though not many "deep tracks"), including a few of my favorites. "Outro", the last track off Hurry Up, We're Dreaming was a great closer to the main set. The light show was also pretty intense, which was another plus. There were a few minuses, though, including a couple of the new songs that didn't resonate. And I wish they hadn't played a shortened version of "Coleurs".

Lastly...WaMu Theater is a weird, cavernous venue for a concert.

Rating: 4.4/5

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Purity Ring @ Showbox SoDo (10/17/2016)

It's kinda hard to rationalize how a group with a fairly limited performance aspect to their music (he basically pushes play and bangs on some lights in the back, while she wanders around the stage singing and popping some pretty solid moves) can earn a higher score than artists who perform "real" instruments, can't deny that they play catchy song after catchy song (even with a sophomore album that I perceive to be a bit weaker than their first). The stage set-up and lighting was pretty interesting as well. Of note: they still don't do encores. Also of note: I witnessed my first instance of someone using a tablet to take pictures/videos at a concert.

I'm glad the show was very enjoyable - my night could certainly use a pick-me-up.

Rating: 4.5/5

Thursday, October 13, 2016

James Blake @ The Moore Theatre (10/12/2016)

I arrived a little late the show, but I'm guessing (based on the time) that I caught the end of James Blake's first song. He performs as a three-piece, with a drummer and another guy on guitar/keyboards - I wasn't sure what to expect since the music is solely in his name.

More stuff that I didn't expect included some pretty heavy songs, or sequences within songs. One particularly bumping song was an unofficial dance remix. He also amped up portions of some songs, including an outro or two. They brought some pretty good lighting gear, including some strobes, and the sequencing matched the music really well. There were (obviously) some slower songs played as well, including a live-looped "Measurements" to close out the show. At one point James suggested that the crowd stand up, but then proceeded to play four slow songs in a row; thankfully (for my old bones), most people only stood for the first of those. 

The highlight of the show for me was probably "Retrograde". It is one of his most popular songs (as far as I can tell), but I never got into it that much. Something about the live rendition just totally worked, though, so I'm now a fan of the song.

Rating: 4.3/5

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Phantogram w/ The Range @ The Paramount Theatre (10/7/2016)

I only learned a week or two before the show that The Range was going to open up for Phantogram, and I was excited to see him again. His album Potential is likely to make my top 10 for this year. Phantogram's latest album Three also dropped the day of the show. I tried to get a listen in beforehand earlier in the day, but I was only able to get a distracted partial listen.

The Range's set was kinda disappointing, though I'm not sure that I should have expected more, especially as an opening act. There's a limit to the entertainment value of his (suspected fake) knob twiddling, lip syncing, and DJ dancing. He also didn't have any of the visuals that he did for his earlier Seattle show as an opener. The music was alright, but the sound mix could have been better.

Phantogram didn't disappoint. They played a good mix of songs from their brand new album as well as their earlier two. They also had some good visual effects, including projections on both a front see-through screen and a backdrop. Brad commented, and I agree, that they are good at ending songs at the appropriate time - I can only think of one song with any sort of extended jam and even that one was quite short. Many of their songs are good for getting the body moving, while some others are good for rocking out. Overall, I was quite satisfied.

Rating: 4.4/5