Saturday, October 11, 2008

Concert Review: Black Kids 10.10.08 at Neumos in Seattle

I guess my exploration of Seattle wouldn't be complete without going to a live show of some kind, as it has such a rich musical tradition. My friend Katie and I made an impromptu decision to see the Black Kids and the Virgins at a place called Neumos in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. This show should not and will not be the yard stick by which I measure Seattle's music scene, since the bands are neither from Seattle, nor very talented. My blanket judgments of the city's music scene are adjusted accordingly.

It's pretty apparent to me, though, that the city's ultra-hip status is in danger of being run out by yuppies. The famed Crocodile Cafe, a Seattle music landmark, has closed. Belltown, the neighborhood at the epicenter of the grunge scene, has become overrun with condo developments and fratty bars. I've only been here a couple of days, but I would bet a lot of Seattlites would agree with me that the Emerald City is in a cultural decline.

I'm not sure what kind of reputation and regular crowd Neumos has, but the people at this show were less hip than I expected. Capitol Hill, after all, is the heir to Belltown's hipster throne and has not yet been completely gentrified and condo-ized. I'm sure part of the reason for this was the quality of the bands, but I can't help but think non-Seattlites give the city more credit than it is currently due for being cultural and musical trend-setters. Anyway, Seattle definitely still is very cool. Just more yuppified than I expected. 

But wait! Isn't this supposed to be a concert review? That's what the title says? Oh dear, I better get on with it then. 

I didn't catch whatever the first opener was. The second opener was the Virgins. They were pretty bad. It's not their fault they aren't talented. It's just sad that this band has actually gotten so hyped by their label. Shouldn't record contracts be handed out by people who know good music from bad music? Clearly that's not very important these days. The Virgins are similar to the Killers and the Offspring in that they're all bands whose only real talent is doing bad impersonations of other bands... only the Virgins are much worse. The singer couldn't sing his own songs, and they just looked like a bunch of amateurs. But, enough about them. They suck, you get the point.

The Black Kids came on with the benefit of having the bar set really low for them by their openers. Though Katie would disagree, I think they sucked much less than the Virgins. They were at least tight instrumentally, could sing their songs, and had some genuine energy. Their synth-heavy dance music and Robert Smith-esque melodramatic vocals made me want to get up and dance... but the Seattlites wouldn't have it! I'd have thought the whole point of going to this show was to show off some dance moves, but these folks were content to do the standing still. I was pretty surprised. Katie and I agreed Seattlites are a self-conscious lot. 

But I digress... again. The show... well, it wasn't bad, definitely worthwhile, but didn't leave much of a musical impression on me.

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