February 7, 2011

Ivan & Alyosha Lets No One Down with a Sold Out Record Release at Columbia City Theater


Ivan & Alyosha and Friends ::: Photo Josh Lovseth

Rising Seattle pop act Ivan & Alyosha are poised for taking their band to the next level in 2011. For Friday night’s sold out show celebrating the release of their Fathers Be Kind EP at Columbia City Theater was evidence of that. Performing with a string section, auxiliary musicians pulled from Pickwick, and a choir filled by Campfire OK, Ivan and Alyosha grew to fourteen members for the first half of their set. All bands should prepare with this kind of “go big or go home” mentality for their record release and make it such an event. Especially if such a big production is done as well as Ivan and Alyosha’s was. A cover of the Beatles “Don’t Let Me Down” climaxed the set in bluesy glory and a sold-out sing along, while the nearly a capella closer of their new single “Glorify” definitely demanded an encore. The band, basking in a crowd there for them, happily obliged.

If you’re an Ivan and Alyosha fan, be sure to check out their just-posted-this-morning NPR Tiny Desk Concert.

Short-notice openers If Bears Were Bees had the benefit of a large contingent of early-arrivers, who warmed slowly-but-surely to front-man TJ Grant’s slightly crass humor, in verse and between songs. Just like Ivan and Alyosha went big, If Bears Were Bees seized the opportunity of playing to a large crowd in a big room with ferocity. Without an ounce of timidity, Grant, stand-up bass player Marcus and a french horn player tore through their set, seeming like old pros at playing to sold out shows of 300 people, while we know their last set was a Thursday night at The Blue Moon. Further proving his guts, Grant closed the set with the acoustic version of “The Black Arts” I gushed about earlier last week. Starting off a capella at the edge of the stage Grant’s voice filled up the big brick room and left little doubt that it really does deserve to be the centerpiece of a band.

Curtains for You, no surprise, burned probably three times the calories of your average rock band, and got everyone else to burn a few with them. They are trampoline jumping, axe-and-horn-wielding, full-body-using music machines who perspire pop excitement. The Gervais brothers lead by example, always going out on stage to have fun as their number one priority. The music isn’t secondary to be certain, these gents have put in their 10,000 hours and wield their instruments like extensions to their appendages. But these gentlemen understand how important it is that people are engaged and that having fun themselves is the best way to engage people.

Ivan & Alyosha hit the road on February 15th and stopping through Austin for SXSW will be touring the greater U.S. through March.


If Bears Were Bees ::: Photo Josh Lovseth

If Bears Were Bees ::: Photo Josh Lovseth

Curtains for You ::: Photo Josh Lovseth

Curtains for You ::: Photo Josh Lovseth

Ivan & Alyosha ::: Photo Josh Lovseth

Ivan & Alyosha ::: Photo Josh Lovseth


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