Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I watched the Maldives, Shim, Thee Emergency and Pickwick at the Tractor

From N.

I can't say I love alt country. I'm often about nasally indie rock bands. But I have been enamoured with locals The Maldives since Capitol Hill Block Party. Their mournful music and clear voices appealed to me. Plus the hype around their three-day CD release party that coincided with the 15th birthday of The Tractor Tavern was unavoidable in social media world.

I snagged tickets on the last night of the sold-out three day Tractor extravaganza. There were a lot of openers, including Pickwick, who I liked despite the name. The lead singer had an amazing voice and the alt rock band had an appealing sound that I want to listen to more. Thee Emergency, on the other hand, could use an emergency makeover. They were out of tune, their music wandered and they had no cohesive sound that I could make out. The lead singer had a strong voice, but that was about the only redeeming quality of the band. I've heard before they're talented, but I disagree and wouldn't waste my time with them again.

The next opener, Shim, was unexpectedly amazing. The two lead singers are throwback 70s with their long curly hair, but they had incredible stage presence with their arena rock music. Those two are meant to be rock stars. The band was powerful, and while it's not music I'd ever listen to at home, they are worth catching for the performance. They also had a rather fratty and drunk following who pumped their arms as they sang the words to every song. (Arm in the picture is from one aforementioned fratty follower.)

By the time The Maldives showed up, it was 12:15 and my ears were ringing from Shim. Still, the Maldives put on a helluva show.

Their music feels so lonely and quiet when you listen to them through headphones, but on stage, they are an intense, powerful rock band. I loved watching them jam and was swept up in their performance that night. If you don't already love them, you should.

Tractor Tavern
5213 Ballard Ave NW

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