This year's theme was a tribute to Depeche Mode. I've never been a huge Depeche Mode fan—in fact it really wasn't until Violator came out in 1990 that I really started to like some of their songs, both from that album and some earlier ones—but I knew this would still be great. The lineup included three of my favorite Seattle bands or artists: Hotels, The Animals at Night (with Brent Amaker on guest vocals for a song), and Lesli Wood of the Redwood Plan (appearing instead with Jupe Jupe as her backing band). Also on the bill were Legion Within and Exohxo—two bands that also played last year's event—and SHiPS (sic), Black Swedes, and Sean Nelson (formerly of Harvey Danger) with Phil Peterson (on e-bass). A burlesque dancer was also supposed to appear along with the Animals at Night, but for some reason that never happened.
I arrived a bit late and missed Black Swedes, but saw the rest of the show. I didn't take any detailed notes, partly because I just wanted to enjoy the show and partly because, as a tribute concert, it's not the same as seeing a regular performance by the bands. However, I do want to mention some highlights. Exohxo did great versions of "Never Let Me Down Again" and "Just Can't Get Enough". Lesli Wood and Jupe Jupe did a pretty hard-rocking version of "Everything Counts". (Lesli Wood also did a fine solo cover of "Somebody", though for personal reasons I still hate that song.) I made a point of not asking the boys in Hotels ahead of time what songs they were going to cover, but there were a few in particular I was hoping for. I almost cried with excited glee when, as they were prepping their third song, they played the distinctive final notes of "Policy of Truth", which is probably my favorite Depeche Mode song, and sure enough they did a fantastic cover of it. They also did great with "Shake the Disease" and "World in My Eyes"; I didn't recognize the last song they did, but only because I don't know Depeche Mode that well, not because it was a bad version. Legion Within jokingly introduced their last song as an obscure B-side, but actually played "Enjoy the Silence", sounding rather like Peter Murphy covering it. The Animals at Night opened with "Behind the Wheel", and closed with an amazing version of "Personal Jesus" featuring Brent Amaker toting a Bible (with porno-mag photos hidden inside) and doing his best revival preacher vocals.
Speaking of Brent Amaker, I'm confident this is the best photo I took all night:
However, I'm not too surprised that so far, this photo of Legion Within, which includes their gorgeous female cellist/backing vocalist (who may have been a guest performer, I'm unclear on that), is proving to be the most popular:
I posted another couple good photos yesterday, and you can see the rest in my Dancing on the Valentine VI: Strangelove set on Flickr.