Sparkle Donkey @ the Crocodile Seattle

Decibel Festival hit it’s mid-point last night, and I was lucky enough to take in the Ghostly International Showcase with Drake from ChannelDJ.com. We met up at Rocco’s just before the show was set to begin, some of the best pizza by the slice in downtown Seattle with a bar staff that excels at making up original drinks on a whim. After knocking over a cocktail, it was time to leave.

Indian Summer left Seattle early this year, we stood in queue outside The Crocodile with a slew of other shivering patrons listening to the bass, bleeps and bloops, as Dauwd’s set pulsed through the wall. After not moving for 10minutes in the short line, we were decidedly pissed. Crocodile’s smoking area on 2nd was packed, as nico-fiends entered and exited, we could see the swaying mass, warm and contented – why aren’t we in yet… Drake walked to the front and checked with the doorman, returning with no answers as to why no one was getting in, we speculated that The Crocodile had been informed of our arrival and the authorities were on their way. It was mere moments later that the fire alarm sounded.

Dauwd at The Crocodile

As firetrucks swarmed in, I decided to leave the line and walk back to the smoking area. Spying two attractive ladies as I rounded the corner, I quickly brought my hand to my ear and spoke into my wrist. “South side clear, just a couple of smokin’ brunettes…” They looked at me a moment, not sure if I was serious or hitting on them – I shot them a smile, jig’s up.

After the firemen ok-ed the venue, it was back into line – but this time we were moving, miraculous. I sussed out the Crocodile as we stepped into Dauwd’s jumpstarted set – bar, dance floor, stage, -21 section and an upper deck bar for more would-be drinkers. Dauwd had the room in a decent sway, heads bobbed, hands waved – it was a very chilled atmosphere. Sadly, it was short lived.

Beacon Lip Syncing at the Crocodile in Seattle

See the guy on the left? Not actually singing.

I witnessed a world shattering event last night, and I’m not talking about Shigeto’s set (we’ll get to that later) – Beacon took the stage and put on a sleepily melodic pop-esch show, after it’s end – it started over. The crowd was somewhat dazed as the last track began again, I looked at Drake quizzically, “…they were lip syncing.” Much to my chagrin, his tone was flat, the distain was clear – had they, in fact, lip synced the whole set? I did a double take to the stage, pondering how such a thing is possible and why anyone would take the risk – was the whole showcase a fake? Were any of the artists performing a legitimate live show? I’ve never cared before, because I had never experienced it first hand, but now I know why people get so worked up – it sucks being lied to. I wonder how mad I would have been if it were an artist/group I’d had heard of and actually wanted to see…

 Lusine at the Crocodile in Seattle decibel festival 2013

All ill-feelings were put aside the moment Lusine started. Hawk-eyeing his hands for a few moments assured me he was actually controlling what I was hearing, and I was loving every minute of it. Lusine’s tracks are easy to float away in, most of what he played was from his recently released album “The Waiting Room”, which I was happy to bob along to. At some point during Lusine, I ran into the brunettes from earlier, we made jokes to each other, laughed a bit – they had a shorthaired viking man in their company who was watching me like a dog looking after the hen house, I left on a few sly remarks and made my way to the front of the room next to a kid spinning colorful lights around. Lusine played on, and though I kept looking over my shoulder for the viking, my only complaint at the time was that it was over too soon, had I only known what was to come…

Shigeto at the Crocodile in Seattle decibel festival 2013

Prior to this week, I’d never heard of Shigeto, but before the show, Drake impressed upon me that Shigeto was the one act I needed to see – and he was right. As Lusine’s equipment was cleared from the stage and Shigeto’s was brought in, I took note of the full drumset being built center stage. It’s hard to describe what happened next without prefixing expletives to every other word. Shigeto ___-ing killed it. Halfway through a track, he’d walk away from his various gadgets and take up the drum throne, he’d sit zen-like for a moment, waiting for the correct measure – then explode into a jaw-dropping drum session. It’s the kind of spectacle you can hear about all day long and not really appreciate until you’ve seen it for yourself. The dedication to your music, the time spent crafting each song, then the amount of practice to match the drums to the song – had I been wearing a hat, I’d have taken it off in admiration of Shigeto.

Shigeto Drumming at the Crocodile in Seattle decibel festival 2013

With only one blight on the night, well two if you count not getting the brunettes’ numbers (which I do), Ghostly International’s showcase played out like a theatrical masterpiece. Opening with a light hearted organic experience from Dauwd, then the dramatical twist of Beacon (lip syncing, really‽), followed by Lusine’s order restoring performance, and there’s no question that Shigeto provided the climax and left the crowd on a positive note for the evening. Ghostly has plenty of talent in their corner, I can’t wait for my next chance to see what they have to offer.

By the time this is published, I’ll likely be in another venue, watching another artist, chatting up another brunette – and with any luck, I’ll have a better camera with me.

Bleep bloop.

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