When starting something new, the Field of Dreams question always lingers. If you build it, will they come? As far as baseball fields in Costner movies and the Fremont Abbey’s new Cathedrals concert series, that answer is a resounding yes. Over 500 people attended Cathedrals 1 featuring some seriously goose-bump making sets by Mychal and Melodie of Campfire OK, The Gundersen Family, Grant Olsen of Gold Leaves and Nouela Johnston of People Eating People. People sat on pews and cross legged on pillows and blankets as harmonies bounced off high gothic ceilings in a manner that reverb-pedals only dream of.
So for round two of Cathedrals, the folks at the Fremont Abbey have decided to go even bigger inviting My Brightest Diamond, Kelli Schaefer and Cataldo to perform in this unique setting. My Brightest Diamond (Shara Worden) is perhaps best known for singing back up for Sufjan Stevens and The Decemeberists, but her solo albums of jaunty, twisting operatic pop is perfect for the soaring ceilings and grand stage of St. Mark’s. Portland’s Kelli Schaefer, knows a thing or two about utilizing the natural reverb of a room for maximum impact. And I can’t think of a place I’m more excited to see Cataldo and Eric Anderson’s deft and clever songwriting showcased than this. (If you haven’t spent many afternoons with Prison Boxing yet, you should fix that before Saturday.)
Courtesy of our friends at The Fremont Abbey, we’ve got two pairs of tickets to Cathedrals: 2 for some lucky readers to win. All we ask is you leave a comment with your dream Cathedrals performer below (and use your real email address) and we’ll let the winner’s know by 5pm on Thursday November 3rd. Then we’ll see you on a pew this Saturday.
And if you need any further convincing of how stunning this Saturday is going to be, here are a couple videos from Cathedrals 1.
Every day this week we’ll be sharing a video from Friday night’s beautiful BARE showcase at the Fremont Abbey. For the all acapella’s second incarnation some of Seattle’s best bands took the stage without instrumentation or amplification singing their songs and covers. People in the audience wept. People sang along. Clapped. Stomped. Hooted. Hollered. But mostly 250 people sat and stood with a reverent silence that rarely happens outside of churches and funerals. And for good reason, artist after artist who took the stage exposed themselves, their flaws and strengths in a performance space and concept that provided nowhere to hide.
The evening was filled with highlights, but few topped Kaylee Cole’s ghostly rendition of “Conversations with Death” a traditional folk song from the 1800s. And while the song has been sung for hundreds of years, it sounded as if it had been written for Cole’s raspy low register and bell clear high harmonies. It was performance that could conjure spirits or at the very least shivers for the rapt sold out crowd.
Not that you really need video evidence, the names Matt Bishop (of Hey Marseilles), Kelli Schaefer and Bryan John Appleby should be enough to get you through the door. But just in case you need convincing …
Bryan John Appleby at Conor Byrne Open Mic this past Sunday (more video coming soon):
Kelli Schaefer’s Doe Bay Session:
Hey Marseilles’ Doe Bay Session:
2010′s January Round was one of the highlights of the year and we have no reason to think the same won’t be true for 2011.
Doors are at 7pm (singing/painting and poetry starts at 8pm) and we suggest getting there early, not only do you want to get a good seat, but with a line-up like that you’ll want to get a seat at all!
Easily one of our favorite nights of 2010 was BARE, an all acapella evening curated by Kevin Barrans of The Maldives at The Fremont Abbey. It was a chance for us to see some of our favorite performers in a completely new way: without amps or instruments, just their voices and words front and center with no amplification or guitar to hide behind. And as BARE proved, none of them need those things … there is some beautifully raw talent and stunning voices making music in Seattle today.
Happily, BARE wasn’t a one time thing and the second performance is scheduled for January 21st at The Fremont Abbey. The second BARE will feature performances from Sean Nelson, Shenandoah Davis, Goldfinch, The Maldives, Grand Hallway, Pablo Trucker, Drew Victor, Tony Kevin Jr and more. We assure you, it is truly one of the unmissable music events in Seattle, so save the date.
If you hadn’t gathered, we go to a lot of shows here at Sound on the Sound. For the past four years, I’ve been at shows more nights than not and with the surge of amazing music happening in Seattle, I could truthfully go to two or three shows a night and still miss something great. Reflecting on all the phenomenal performances I’ve been treated to in 2010, I feel spoiled and humbled. Knowing there’s still a few weeks left in 2010 and that there’ll surely be at least one more show that would qualify for this list, makes me feel excited.
Knowing that and that I will surely fidget with the order of the list after I hit publish, here are my 20 Favorite shows of 2010. They span festivals and venues big and small and the list, while not enumerated, is in a ranked order with my very favorite at the top. I tried not to include every single Drew Grow & The Pastors’ Wives show I saw in 2010, but it was hard. This list, since its a photographic representation, only includes shows where I was allowed to have my camera, which means hands down one of the best shows of the year is not on it: Shabazz Palaces at Neumos back in January. With those disclaimers, I’m happy to share my favorite shows of 2010. And, of course, I want to know: what was your favorite show of 2010?
There are few venues in Seattle where I can say I’ve had a universally positive experience. In fact, there’s only one: The Fremont Abbey. Home to The Round and special events like BARE, as well as a community art space, The Abbey is one of the most vibrant artistic communities in Seattle. It not only seeks to be a space for people to perform and share their art, it is a place for people to create and be inspired, its a more holistic approach than other venues that are focused on and driven by the final product of performance.
That’s because The Abbey isn’t just a venue, its a community of volunteers, artists, musicians and neighborhood groups that use the space and they make The Abbey feel like home every time I walk through those old church doors. The heart and intention behind the space is a great inspiration, not just to me, but clearly to the artists who perform there. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone have even an off night at The Abbey, I have however, seen many of my favorite artists boiled down to their most basic and beautiful. The Abbey and the events they host encourage musicians to share and challenge themselves in a way that few other live settings do.
For example, two of my very favorite moments from The Abbey:
The Abbey celebrates its fifth birthday tomorrow with an extravaganza of art. Here’s the schedule of events:
5pm: Young Artist Hour for kids (12 & under FREE) & parents (facepainting, making hats, decorating, fun)
6-7pm: happy hour fun for all-ages in the Abbey Cafe with apps by Brett’s Catering & pizza by Via Tribunali
7-9pm main event in the Cafe & Great Hall, auction ends around 9pm
9-10p City Arts Magazine sponsored trivia contest in the Cafe!
Friends of the Abbey will be performing and its sure to be a great night. You can pre-purchase tickets here, but walk-in donations are also welcome. (And don’t forget, The Abbey is a non-profit and your ticket is a tax-deductible donation!)
Happiest fifth birthday to The Abbey and the fine folks behind her! We can’t wait for the next five years!