Well, I did listen to Sol for a little bit in the background today before my Whalebones interview. I also saw Mad Rad today and while I won’t go as far to call them over-hyped like Zoe did, I will say it was probably my least favorite performance I’ve seen of them yet. They just seemed tame to me.
By that point I was roasting (it was 80 degrees out…hey, that’s HOT in Seattle!) so the timing couldn’t have been better to go see Thomas Marriott’s Human Spirit in the EMP with some air conditioning. They were good jazz players, however it was lounge jazz and although cooling myself off sitting on the floor up in the balcony, I found myself playing cribbage on my phone instead of writing into my notepad within about ten minutes, which was an indicator that it was time to leave.
During the Jessica Lea Mayfield interview, we listened to the rowdy and raucous Jim Jones Revue in the background which was a bunch of dudes wearing black in the hot sun with slicked hair, sounding all wild, boogie woogie, Jerry Lee Lewis, rock-a-billy, whiskey, crazy, just Wow How!!
While waiting for Mayfield to take the stage, two older gentleman sitting in the lawn behind me were talking about Leon Russell: “He should have been on the main stage. I mean, he’s in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Doesn’t get much bigger than that.” However when an Al Green song came up on the P.A., next I heard from them: “This is the best…fuckin’ music right here.”
For her latest album, Mayfield has gone down a little bit more of an alt-country avenue, adding a brush of country to her music. This is okay, but it takes most of her songs, even from the first record down yet another notch in speed and this mellows the mood even further. I’m not sure the audience was totally engaged in the lawn as they sat and finally got a break from the sun, but the 100 or so people on their feet in the front were certainly tuned in.
Macklemore was the hometown hero of the day, filling Key Arena nearly full, with way more people than Ray LaMontagne had last night. The first song I caught, “My Oh My,”he gave a huge shout-out to the recently deceased Dave Niehaus, the long time Seattle Mariners announcer, which had the crowd erupt. The screens showed clips from this video:
Mostly teens, the crowd was like a sea of arms on Macklemore’s command, moving in unison, looking like some kind of exotic plants under water in the ocean, being moved by waves and current. He had been wearing a Shawn Kemp jersey and at one point in between songs he decided to pay homage to the fallen Supersonics: “Two greedy white men sold the team.” So he started yelling out names of past Sonic players and when he got to Kemp’s name, well he brought him out on stage and the whole arena lost their minds!
Backed by a string section and a brass section, and his producer/dj Ryan Lewis, Macklemore always seemed to have a smile on his face. He crowd surfed, stood on speakers and ran all over the stage, rapping fast and slow, but really connecting with the words of serious life that were in his lyrics. This was by far the most energetic act I saw all day and pretty much the best.
I got to see The Kills for a little while and you’ll read about them on Randomville soon. Check back about Tuesday or Wednesday.
I didn’t stay for all of The Kills’ set though because I wanted to go back to Key Arena to hear a little of Whiz Khalifa, and I’m glad I did. The crowd seemed to know all the words to “Wake Up” and this fueled Whiz’s energy. I was glad to see the crowd stayed for him and they were pummeled with deep bass beats and couples were grinding like crazy up in the stands.