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The Blakes usher new album with focused performance
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The Blakes usher new album with focused performance

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

The Blakes
September 29 @ Neumos


It was quick, simple, to the point, and unmistakably terrific. In just over an hour, The Blakes satisfied a crowd of devoted fans and well-wishers that came to celebrate new music and bid them farewell.

No, the local rock trio isn't leaving Seattle, at least not for good, but they are embarking on a series of continuous tours that will keep them busy and away from home for some time - with the exception of a possible concert around the holidays, The Blakes will likely be on the road for many, many months.

The spunky three-piece introduced new songs from their just-released album Souvenir, including a tambourine-assisted version of "Charmed" and a solid run-through of "Basket". But the trio also peppered their set list with older favorites, such as "Magoo" and a riffier-spun "Vampire".

I applaud The Blakes for giving their songs mini-makeovers onstage - whether they extend them or give them more edge, I never hear the same rendition from show to show. Case in point: "Two Times", which was definitely shorter than at The Crocodile in August, though just as fierce and catchy.

There was something missing at The Blakes performance on Tuesday, however, and that's intensity - I've seen this band several times to know what kind of energy they can bring onstage. While their set was tight and overall marvelous, it didn't have the electricity of previous shows, and it deflated the occasion of a CD release party - this was supposed to be a festive night, a celebration of a new project and the official send-off to a fantastic, long voyage, but instead it felt like a great concert with no momentous cause. Maybe it was a bittersweet feeling of putting out fresh material coupled with leaving everything behind for a chunk of time, or perhaps it was the attentive-yet-too laid back crowd, or it could've been that The Blakes were just tremendously zoned in on the music and blocked out the significance of the event.

Lead singer Garnet Keim, in black Levi's, denim jacket and cappuccino-colored boots with matching belt, sang with the usual rawness and depth, while brother Snow Keim, in ash jeans, gray shirt and black boots, provided some memorable basslines - like on "Two Times and the closing number, "A Fire" - that gave individual songs extra kick. Bob Husak, with unmanageable hair and a baggy ensemble (god bless him!), pounded effortlessly away on drums, routinely looking up to Garnet Keim for spontaneous queues.

What's ahead for The Blakes is a mystery, but they deserve a bigger audience and I love their plan to go find it, not sit and let it come to them. The next time we see them, they just might be shooting stars.

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