April 9, 2012

Plants and Animals at the Crocodile

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Plants and Animals ::: All Photos by Brittney Bush-Bollay

I had one of those prolonged “Suburban Dad” moments before I entered the Crocodile. I did a decent parallel parking job on the streets of Belltown. My car wouldn’t have been hit if I had just left it be. However, something extremely neurotic took place in my brain and I decided right then and there that I had to have my car scrapping up against the curb as a sign of alpha male dominance perfection. 15 minutes and the denied help of a potential crackhead later, I achieved my goal. I gave my male ego a slap on the tush and walked three blocks to the Croc.

As a result of the Croc being a really prompt venue my habitual tardiness my striving to be the best that I can be, I only caught the three or four songs of Seattle’s Let’s Get Lost. (More trivia, what’s their name a reference to?) Normally I would just say, “Ha, whatever. Sometimes opening bands deserved to be missed by writer blogger hacks like me. That’s called paying your dues! Right, that’s what they call it?” But I was actually saddened when Let’s Get Lost exited the stage because I genuinely enjoyed their music. My exposure to their orchestral pop was all too brief. Gentle readers, do you enjoy the tunes of Curtains For You? Do you like the Street Fighter II jazz pop machine known as M. Bison? Are you familiar with some of the guitar stylings exhibited by the likes of Ghost Town Riot? If you enjoy even one of the Seattle bands I just mentioned then I think it would behoove you to give Let’s Get Lost a chance. If you’ve seen their name on posters and message boards in the past and didn’t think much of it, now is the time right your wrongs. I encourage you to slap yourself in the face go to your local recycling plant and apologize to all those posters you ignored. Forcefully confront those internet message boards and rep Let’s Get Lost like you’re being paid as a street team member. The Man The TV show “The Voice” Someone without an identity has turned rock related “pop” into an insufferable bore the last couple of years. I don’t know about you but if I hear three jangly chords and people singing about beautiful scenery complete bullshit being bored whatever, I want to maim all such troubadours  for the betterment of society. This band seems like something I can stand behind. I look forward to another opportunity to see them on-stage.

Little Scream is an interesting band project, that’s for sure. They She has great range in her songwriting and that is something that can’t be under-valued in contemporary music (or music from any era for that matter). Laurel Sprengelmeyer can tell you a captivating story at a whisper. She can stop you dead in your tracks with a capella version of any of her songs. Sprengelmeyer can also use her voice as the most impactful instrument despite a full band sounding off like “Cannons” in the background. Gentle readers, it’s all about diverse songwriting capabilities. It’s good to listen to something that makes you want to grab a washboard and dance like you’re from Portland nobody’s watching like your Robin Williams in approximately 74 percent of the roles he’s played. Then the next minute you’ve stopped acting like a jovial buffoon because you’re trapped in your own head, inspired by the finger-picking of minor chords and lyrics you’ve taken a bit too personally. Don’t stay inside yourself too long. You’re at a public concert, keep it together!

Plants and Animals headlined the show and gave a performance to indicate why this was this case. Guitarist Nicolas Basque was stomping and jumping all over the place. At one point he decided to stop and use his monitor as a lounge chair….in the middle of a guitar solo. If this review were written in cartoon form, Mr. Basque would have a thought bubble next to his head saying, “Gee, being a rockstar from a really cool city that wears really awesome shoes is so hard.” (Weird side note: Basque and other guitarist Warren Spicer had really cool shoes. I’m not a fashionista but if they sold those in the states, I’m pretty sure everyone would be wearing them. Maybe they do sell them here, who the hell knows.) Hoots, whistles and hollers greeted the band after every song. The crowd was really into it. At one point one guy that kept on running behind people throughout the venue and mock humping them from behind. Thank god nobody turned around and punched him in the neck. If these sort of shenanigans happen during a show in Seattle, you know the band is really “killing it.” I thought the general pace and feel of their set was pretty great.

There was only one point during Plants and Animals set that I wasn’t too crazy about it. The band halted their momentum mid-set and Spicer played an intimate number by himself. Based on descriptions of album reviews I’ve read, this new song probably appears on their latest album The End of That. I can’t get mad at the decision the band made to make this happen. As someone who’d never listened to this band before, it was hard to stop having riotous fun for a few moments.

I don’t know all the contents of the setlist but I want to say the band ended with “Bye, Bye, Bye.” No, that isn’t the ‘N Sync version but that would also be amazing. I do know that the band played all the songs that can be found here.

As a Plants and Animals novice, I’d describe them as being somewhere between a less polarizing version of Spoon (I don’t know about you, but sometimes this is my favorite band. Sometimes this is the worst band to happen to America since America happened to Native Americans.) and a more-likable Dear and The Headlights. I’d recommend them to a stranger in a heartbeat.


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