Friday
March 9, 2007
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Volume 35
Issue 10
 
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Saturday, Oct 19, 2019

 

 



 
Where It's At
Bloc Party launches North American tour at Paramount Theatre, Brett Dennen returns for sold out gig at Chop Suey
by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Bloc Party w/ Final Fantasy, Smoosh
Sunday, March 11 - 8pm
Paramount Theatre - $22.50

The year's most interesting recording, thus far, is Bloc Party's sophomore release entitled A Weekend in the City. Interesting, as in interesting. No two songs on the album sound alike, and neither of them remotely sounds like anything on the band's critically hailed debut Silent Alarm. This is a good thing, however. Unlike fellow UK outfits (Snow Patrol comes to mind), who played it safe and aimed for mainstream radio airplay on their second outings, Bloc Party went in a more obscure direction. "Hunting for Witches", off the latest disc, is a great example of creating music for the shy, indie-minded geeks vs. the corporate 9 to 5'ers.

At times when listening to A Weekend in the City, it's hard to remember that these are the same guys who hammered out the disco-punk gem "Banquet" (SGN's Top 25 Singles/Tracks, 2005) a couple years back. Kele Okereke, lead singer of Bloc Party, began writing songs for the new album almost immediately after the group returned from endless months of touring in 2005-06. His London hometown served as the both the vein and backdrop for the record, a city that seems to be wide awake when most people have dozed off into dreamland.

Gay hipsters took notice of Bloc Party from the get-go, which is why you're likely to see many of them roaming around the Paramount Theatre when the quartet kicks off a North American tour there on Sunday night. The set list should be equally divided between the band's two discs, and expect to see boys and girls bouncing in place energetically during "Banquet". I'll be curious to see how fans react to Bloc Party's fresh material, which surely limits their dancing opportunities. The cool crowd will definitely be present. A sidebar factoid to the Party boys' success is Franz Ferdinand, a favorite of the Seattle Gay News, who is credited for giving them an early break after they'd listened to their demo. Final Fantasy and Seattle-based duo Smoosh open the concert. Patronize the Gay bars, like Manray and the Eagle, on the way to the show! A. Rodriguez

Artist essentials: Silent Alarm, Bloc Party's first album. Also, watch the music video for "Banquet" on YouTube for a good workout.

Brett Dennen
Sunday, March 11 - 8pm
Chop Suey - Sold Out

Most of the large crowd gathered at the Mural Amphitheatre, on a blistering hot day in September last year for Bumbershoot, probably hadn't heard of Brett Dennen. But when he wrapped up his hour-long set of cheery pop songs complete with random moments of boogieing, he'd easily won them over. It wasn't just the music that formed this new following, Dennen's goofy-yet-warm and fuzzy approach to connecting with his audience was also a big factor. He not only believes in having a good time onstage, he believes everyone around him should too. An interesting element to all of this is Dennen's physical appearance - he's tall, lean, milky white skin, bespectacled, and has a moppy head of bright red hair. He's as American as they come - the kind of kid who sat down to Eggos, mac n' cheese, and Kool Aid. A native of Northern California, Dennen got his big break wren Grammy-winning cutie John Mayer asked him to open concert dates for him and Sheryl Crow last fall, which included a show at White River Amphitheatre.

Back in October, I had beers with Brett Dennen at The Crocodile Café just before he performed on a multi-artist bill with Joshua Radin and the Cary Brothers. He's a very easy person to get along with. We talked as if we'd known each other for a long time. Anyone who recognized Dennen at the bar, while sipping on white wine, was greeted politely and spoken to with genuine enthusiasm. He has that Jason Mraz thing going for him, in which he doesn't put himself on a pedestal and become unapproachable to his fan base. He connects with them, literally. We went through several glasses of wine and pints of beer, as well as many conversations that stuck closely to music. I really enjoyed hanging out with him.

Sunday night's concert at Chop Suey is sold out, attributed to the strong response Dennen has received in the past few months (Seattle Gay News named him one of eight artists to watch for in 2007). Dennen returns to Seattle next month for another sold out show, opening for Damien Rice at Benaroya Hall. Indeed, the future looks bright, as bright as his hair, for the twentysomething singer-songwriter. If you can somehow squeeze into Chop Suey this weekend to catch his performance, it will be well worth it. Among the great cuts from Dennen's debut So Much More to listen for on Sunday are "She's Mine" and "The One Who Loves You the Most", both love songs and both delightfully uplifting. If going to the show, stop by Madison Pub, CC's, or The Cuff for drinks along the way because the lines are long at Chop Suey with a full house. A. Rodriguez

Artist essentials: Ear-sample tracks from So Much More, Brett Dennen's debut release, on his MySpace page.

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