We drove down to Seattle on Sunday. When I say "we drove," what I mean is Nicole drove. I don't drive. I guess you could say it's by choice. Not my choice, but, rather a series of poor choices in my past.
The Pacific Northwest US in the fall is a lot like the lower mainland in the fall. Only with more Giant Sand. Same amount of Chad Vangaalen, though.
But they were both in the same spot on Sunday night, the Triple Door. It's a reformed supper club on Union Street with a tasty menu and excellent sightlines.
C-van-G was up first, just him and his drummer. "Our bass player left," he said. Mostly C-van-G played one of those electronic electric guitars like Lou Reed played on the Velvets reunion, which is a good guitar to play if you don't have a bass player, because it gives a big sound. Vangaalen & drums played really well, as we noshed on green beans and papaya salad. The only thing was C-van-G sang all of his songs in his falsetto-y voice, which is cool, especially on songs like "Willow Tree" and "City of Electric Light", but I know he has more range than that.
Giant Sand, which is Howe Gelb and three Danes these days, was something else, man. "So," Gelb gravelled, "did you enjoy dinner? Are we dessert? Are we desert? Are we dez-zert?"
They mostly played from proVISIONS, the new Giant Sand alb, but also culled from other rekkids, including Gelb's 'Sno Angel Like You--maybe the greatest record ever. Gelb played a lot of guitar, but also played some piano--both keys and strings. Sometimes he'd start in one song, and then finish in another. And they skipped all my favourite songs, like "Out There" and "Well Enough Alone" from the new album, but did play a real fine take on "Ain't Misbehavin'" and encored with "Shiver".
Howe bemoaned the malfunction, and the ramifications thereof, of his blue effects pedal, but rejoiced in the ultra-reverb of his yellow pedal. He lit feedback cherrybombs under the soft-cushioned seats of the dinner club crowd, myself included, who'd maybe become a little too comfortable amid the fine food, luxury and sophisticated Americana leanings. It was kinda monstrous, kinda beautiful, all at the same time. Just like America.
We got tunes today from Seattle cowboy band who wear masks. Brent Amaker & the Rodeo's new album Howdy Do! is expected in November, and they'll spend the rest of the year playing shows in the US of A.
mp3: "When Love Gets to a Man" by Brent Amaker & the Rodeo
mp3: "Girls Are Good For Lots of Things" by Brent Amaker & the Rodeo