March 12th, 2006

March concert: Beehive at High Dive

Yesterday while getting my hair cut, I talked with my hairdresser about the shows I'd been to recently, and mentioned that I hadn't yet decided on a show for March and needed to look over the listings again. We also discussed how things were going with my new condo, which led into talking about Fremont, and she asked whether I'd been to the High Dive yet; I said I hadn't but was looking forward to checking it out some time soon as it looked cool.

When I got home, I decided I might as well check the concert listings right then, although I wasn't expecting to go out that night. I immediately changed my mind about going out when I discovered that The Fading Collection were playing at the High Dive, with Tekgnosis opening and Beehive headlining. I'd been meaning to check out The Fading Collection for a while now (even longer than those entries indicate, as I picked up their first album back in 2003), and I remembered that Beehive had played a show with Library Science but I'd left before they came on, so I was curious to check them out this time. So after a quick dinner, off I went. On my way over, Amy called; she and John P were in Belltown looking for something to do, and they agreed to join me at the show.

The show was an interesting balance: a straight-up techno set, followed by electronica-influenced rock, concluding with a blend of the two. Opening act Tekgnosis were a couple guys on laptops, with a keyboard and drum machine, playing a continuous stream of pure dance techno. My sister will tell you that all music is about changes in sound over time, but the stripped-down rhythmic loops of techno really bring that home - that is, if you can pay attention. That's not to say that Tekgnosis were boring, just that the music rewards dancing more than sitting in the back of the bar and listening, and we ended up talking through most of the set. Would I recommend going to hear them? Yes, particularly if there's a dance floor. Can I give a better description of their music to entice you? No.

The Fading Collection are also a duo, Sarah McCulloch on vocals and Matt Frickelton on bass and programming, but they're joined in concert (and in some tracks on their latest album, Supertron) by Jeremy Hill on drums and samples and Tavia Wormstedt on backing vocals. They're self-described as electronic artists and there's no doubt they use electronics to create and play their music, but their style is more goth/industrial-tinged rock than anything else; unlike Tekgnosis, this is much more for listening than dancing. They sound something like Evanescence, except where I found Evanescence to be derivative and dull, I think The Fading Collection is fresh and interesting. (In fairness parkbenchzine no doubt would say the reverse.) I do have to say that although I did enjoy their live set, I expected to be overwhelmed and I wasn't. I can't point to anything specific, I just thought their performace was adequate rather than amazing. Also, their set revealed that the High Dive may have some sound issues, as the vocals were indistinct while we were at the back of the room; they were fine when I moved up to the front, after the tired John and Amy decided to leave.

Finally, Beehive were yet another duo, Alethea Eichhorn (aka Butterfly Beats) on laptop, keyboard and vocals, and David Miller on guitar, steel guitar, bass and vocals. Their website declares, "Rock & Roll meets Breakbeat and Electronica," which aptly describes their sound. The guitar and vocals bring the rock, while the laptop beats and keyboard riffs bring the breakbeat; together this makes for great groovy dance music. Beehive were clearly having a great time playing - Alethea often looked like she was about to burst out laughing for sheer pleasure - and the audience went right along with them. (Actually, all the acts were having a good time that night, but I noticed it most with Beehive.) They made me unhappy that the weather is still wintry and cold, because I had my heavy long coat to hold and so couldn't really dance as much as I wanted to. This show was a CD release party for their new EP, Operation Artichoke, which I bought along with their full-length Cycle A (and The Fading Collection's latest as well); I expect these CDs will be taking up long-term residence on my iPod.

I'll just add that DJ Greg Jaspian of KEXP was the house DJ for the evening, and played some cool music; I'd like to catch him another time, maybe one of the nights he's at the Triple Door's Musicquarium lounge. Also, I'm looking forward to going to the High Dive more often, both for shows and just to hang out, it's a pretty cool place.

Today was also my fourth anniversary arriving in Seattle, but I'll have to write about that tomorrow, as it's now quite late and I have to get to bed.