Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Bumbershoot 2008: Two Galants mini concert a treat for fans

I attended an intimate performance by Two Gallants yesterday at Bumbershoot, inside the Eve Alvord Theatre at Seattle Center.

I'd never heard this duo before, not even on MySpace or YouTube before this mini appearance. Introduced by KEXP radio host Cheryl Waters as one of her favorite artists, the San Francisco pair got onstage and played a 5-song set that included a lengthy rendition of "Fly Low Carrion Crow" and a brand new song with no title given.

There was such intensity on the face of singer-guitarist Adam Stephens, especially on a great and also lengthy version of "Waves of Grain". He's so focused on the song and the mood, I don't ever think I saw him crack a smile in their 30-minute set. Stephens, in black jeans, boots, purple'ish long-sleeve shirt and cropped blond hair is a quite fascinating singer to watch, he inserts himself completely into each song. Vogel, in an 80s punk "do" and hole-in-the-knees jeans was interesting to look at as well, giving his drumset or cymbals the slightest yet most precise tappings.

Two Gallants' music is kind of hard to describe. It's almost like a poetry reading backed by medieval pop music. I'm not sure that's the best description of it, but it's just very different than anything else out there. And while it's not my cup of tea, the 50 or so gathered at this little affair certainly appreciated the rare close-up of Stephens and Vogel.

DJ Waters mentioned a standing ovation during her live broadcast, and technically there was one but only by a third of the audience. The rest of us, newbies to this whole Two Gallants thing, were still trying to figure what we just heard. I have to say, however, Stephens and Vogel are really unique and terrific instrumentalists. I give them big props for creating music, not copying it.

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