Thunderheist ::: photo courtesy of Big Dada
In the literal sense, it’s easy to go from a hellacious bill at Neumo’s one night, to a hip swiveling boogiefest the following night at Chop Suey, because both venues are fairly close to one another. In the metaphorical sense, I can’t say the transition is as easy. It’s like comparing your first summer crush to a dessert that your mother makes really well. Sure, both conjure pleasant emotions but you don’t want to confuse hormones with your mother’s apple bavarian tort. Just like I didn’t want to confuse the feelings I felt listening to Winter Gloves and Thunderheist after being reduced to an ungrateful pygmy goat at the hands of Helms Alee, Young Widows and Russian Circles. You can’t go to a dance party preparing to be slaughtered. You have to enter with a smile, not a scowl. A grey menace owns this town but the people of this city sure do love their sunny dance music.
So when I entered Chop Suey that Thursday night, I was a bit shocked that it wasn’t packed like sardines in a tin can. The stage was empty but so was the bar for the most part. This is something I didn’t expect at all. Luckily this awkward scene didn’t last long, Winter Gloves took the stage within minutes of my arrival. I wonder if people were waiting on a sound check because when Winter Gloves started their first song “Invisible” (irony alert!), the only person standing up front was a photographer. It had to be one of the loneliest beginnings to a decent set that I’ve ever seen. And you wouldn’t think that would be the case because this same sequence has played out for every single musician on the entire planet. I’m going to blame it on the lighting. Once the music started, the floor quickly filled up with people who favored horizontal body movements. Right foot tapping in unison. Soldiers of the discotheque. Ladies and gentleman, this is why you start a set out with a really strong song, it creates interest. Any interest that isn’t of the financial realm is good. When Winter Gloves become huge, they’ll be able to come out and play Kidz Bop songs if they choose to.
I also want to to point out the really awesome moustaches that everyone in this band sports. It was incredible. Like I stated during the show preview, these are good looking lads who are going to cause your significant other to swoon excessively right before your very eyes. Don’t hate the player, hate the game. Combine their sweet moustaches, with the fact that they are Canadian and musicians, you have no chance. I’m glad my girlfriend had prior engagements, I might have been publicly cuckold. Embarrassing.
Besides the moustaches, there were other great moments, like when Winter Gloves drummer Patrick Sayers gave a handful Cd’s to the people in the front . I always appreciate the spirit of giving. It was weird because I moved forward to get one and then caught myself thinking “Dude, what am I going to do, blast this from my car stereo on a sunny day? Yeah right. You know who you are, you’d only like this after a couple of drinks. You don’t drink and drive, remember? Wait, are you into stuff that I don’t know about….?” I retreated and let a young woman get the last CD. The songs “Party People” and “About a Girl” sounded especially good. Lots of “Oooo Uh-Oh!” loaded with sauciness. Every time I order coffee, I think I’m going to go into that brief, ultra catchy vocal refrain. Especially when I throw my scalding cup of coffee on the unexpected Chika Latte barista because it’s not 140 degrees exactly. She didn’t know I had a thermometer in my car. Oooo Uh-Oh! And let me say that’s it’s ALWAYS a bad idea to name a song after a really popular song by a really popular artist. You’re setting yourself up. People are going to think it’s a cover initially, then when they find out it’s not, they are going to compare it to the more popular song that has no similarity other than the title. And when I say “people” are making these comparisons, I’m really talking about me.
Lead singer Charles F. made a comment that the band hadn’t been in Seattle in a few years, and that the last time they were here they played in a venue far removed from the city. One of the audience members then chirped out “You played in Ballard!” and I gave a hearty chuckle. I think half of the city thinks of Ballard as far removed from the city. That’s a shame. Ballard does a body good. Winter Gloves do a body good as well. I wouldn’t mind having them back in Seattle in the slightest. Ooooo Uh-Oh!
Headliners Thunderheist came on stage to cheers and a healthy buzz swirling around in the audience. Winter Gloves were good but clearly this is the band the proletariat came to see. Before this show, I’d only heard a couple of their tracks and seen the “Jerk It” video. Any song that recalls one of my favorite teenage hobbies is going to catch my attention. And while “Jerk It” has a fun video and is a catchy tune, it’s nothing like the beast that is “LBG.” Good gracious it’s alive! The delivery, eh eh eh, gets stuck in your head all day, youngin’ there is no escape, it’s the way Isis behaves. Little Booty Girl. The songs reminds me of so many songs (Outkast’s “Synthesizer” for some of the initial rhythm and chimes, the general idea behind T.I.’s “Rubberband Man” and the goofy yet “I’m calling the shots, asshole” vibe of Kelis’ “Bossy”). I’m really surprised that “LBG” isn’t a mega hit. It’s everything you could ask for in a single.
Frontwoman Isis didn’t just kill the crowd with infectious vocal hooks, between songs she did massage male audience members egos. On a couple of occasions she complimented the city of Seattle on it’s good looking dudes. Mmmm…sexual tension on a large scale. Isn’t that what Thunderheist is all about? Creating the soundtrack to undressing sexy strangers on city sidewalks? Because I suffer from extreme delusions of grandeur I took Isis statement to mean that she was talking about only me. It wasn’t until I started writing this review that I realized that I’m not the only male in the city. Bummer. But on a serious note, I want to say that Seattle is a city full of attractive people. Especially considering how nontropical the weather is, people really try to keep themselves looking good around these parts. It’s just that nobody talks to one another. Bummer.
Banter. Sexual tension. Danceable beats. I only found one negative during the Thunderheist set. I felt that the keys were too low in the P.A. at times. I can’t blame that on them, isn’t that what “sound guys” are for? Songs like “Nothing 2 Step 2″ and “Sweet 16″ along with the aforementioned would-be mega hits made this slight mishap easy to overlook.
If you missed Thunderheist and Winter Gloves, hopefully you won’t have to wait a couple years to catch them in the “middle of nowhere” (Ballard) or travel to the most underrated big city on the East Coast (Montreal). Even though Seattle is comically known for unenthusiastic audiences, on this night at Chop Suey, I’d like to think we made a lasting impression on these two Montreal-based acts. Hopefully the Emerald City will be a priority on any future West Coast tours by Thunderheist or Winter Gloves.