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KEXP Blog: Decibel Festival 2010

At last all of my write-ups for Decibel Festival 2010 are posted on the KEXP Blog. The easiest way to find them all is by checking the Decibel Festival category, but I will also link them individually here:My favorite sets during the Festival were Lusine at the Ghostly International Label Showcase on Wednesday; Ben Frost at the Room40 Label 10-Year Anniversary Showcase on Thursday; Mary Anne Hobbs at dB in the Park on Sunday; and Monolake at the Decibel Finale: Dub My Soul on Sunday. Kevin Saunderson and Carl Craig were also really great at the D25 Showcase on Saturday, though I didn't stay through all of either set. As I mention in the Saturday review, I think next year I'll have to take the time to sit through an entire Optical Showcase, instead of trying to run around to all the clubs; I think I missed out on some great performances.

The only set I really disliked was Theo Parrish's dB Afterhours set on Saturday, as his stop-and-start style really wasn't working for me at all; my friend Matt from KEXP stayed longer than I did and said that it got better, so maybe I would've liked it more if I'd stuck it out. The fact is, I was already in a bit of a mood due to the inexplicable disorganization of Motor that night: I don't know why they had to do pat-downs at the door on Saturday, when they didn't do so on Friday; and I don't know why they couldn't have had a bouncer or two outside right at 2 am, when the doors were supposed to open, to get people organized into lines right away, instead of letting the crowd build up for almost a half-hour. Of course, I can't be too harsh with them, because I don't know what was going on to make them seem so unprepared, but it is their responsibility to manage the experience for the public, and they handled it poorly. 

I think it's to the benefit of Decibel Festival to concentrate the venues in one area as much as possible; this year I was able to check out more of the showcases because most of them were on Capitol Hill, but I never bothered with the showcases at Motor because it was so far from everything else. So if they're going to have some events off the Hill next year, I'd like to see them have another cluster of two or three venues, to make it more worthwhile going to a different part of town. Obviously there are a lot of factors involved in securing venues, so I don't fault them for having the one isolated venue this year, I'm just saying it'd be nice if they could get a couple destinations together. Likewise, last year I liked that there were two or three afterhours venues; although they were spread out across the city, necessitating travel by car if I decided to leave one for another, it was still good to have a choice available. This year only had one afterhours event each night, at Motor, so when there was a long delay getting in to Saturday's event, I had no other option to go check out instead. Again, that's a wish-list item, not a criticism that they somehow did it wrong. 

Props once again this year to Electric Tea Garden for hosting the Sweatbox unofficial afterhours event on Thursday night/Friday morning. Also props to Cody for hosting the press and artists social on Thursday and the festival afterparty on Sunday in the Loft; those were both fun events. I want to mention too the great DJ sets at those events: Kristina Childs on Thursday at the press/artists social, and Pépé Bradock at the afterparty. Bradock's set at the afterparty may have been even better than at the Decibel Finale; certainly I really enjoyed the improvised lullaby he played to wrap up his afterparty set around 4:15 am. 

Finally, I want to offer thanks to KEXP's official photographer Dave Lichterman and the official Decibel Festival 2010 group pool contributors +Russ, Nic Launceford, Bob Hansen, Dylan Abbott, and V8Media; because of them, I was able to have some quality photos included with my write-ups on the KEXP Blog. (In comparison, you can see my photos for Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, and Sun on Flickr. My dB in the Park photos and photos at Neumos are generally okay, but the photos at the smaller clubs are pretty poor due to hopelessly low lighting.)

Decibel Festival is awesome, a fantastic experience that Seattle is very fortunate to host. Congratulations to all involved for making such a phenomenally successful festival. I can't wait for next year.


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