Wednesday, March 15, 2017

SARAH ST ALBIN - EP Release Show! Seattle, WA 3/12/17

Sarah St. Albin
My Cartoon Heart
Tobias The Owl

March 12, 2017
@ The Sunset
Ballard, WA


After having covered the rock/hard rock of Letters From The Fire on Friday evening and the blackened war metal of Archgoat on Saturday, I finished off my three-day concert coverage for Eclectic Arts by checking out a local up and coming artist - Sarah St. Albin.

Celebrating her EP release, "Small Voice", I was looking forward to seeing some local talent at the Sunset on Sunday night.

For those that have been reading Eclectic Arts from the early days, you will know that I have supported Tobias The Owl (under a different name back then) since I first received a MP3 from him back in 2011.

It had been quite some time since I had seen him live so it was very nice catching up and checking out what he's doing these days.  Tobias The Owl opened up the show backed by a four-piece band.

As unassuming as ever, the music aired Sunday evening was thoughtful and reflective.  Tobias' voice has always been the key to his music for me.  Whether solo, duo, trio, or full band, everything can be built upon the foundation of Tobias' vocal work.  Well-crafted songs just add to the mix that makes Tobias The Owl something special.  "Every Eye Is A Universe" is their latest release, which is creating waves in the local (and beyond) music scene.  A superb start to the evening.

My Cartoon Heart was up next.  My apologies guys as I only heard a few songs before the technical issues with the percussion.  A friend I hadn't seen in months showed up to the gig so we caught up in the bar area of the Sunset during the rest of your set.  

Sarah St. Albin headlined the evening.  Backed by a four-piece band on some songs, solo on others, Sarah performed songs from her, "Small Voice" ep as well as others.  Her voice carried the tunes, as it is very rich with musicality.  A introspective singer songwriter, Sarah's songs were clearly very personal to her.  A snapshot of different experiences in her life, the songs resonated with much of the audience.  

The only miniscule thing I would suggest is to have the backing band always leave the stage when a solo song is being performed.  This happened most of the night but the first one or possibly two solo songs, the band stayed in the background.  It looked kind of odd to me but, again, this is a miniscule suggestion.  

Overall, a very pleasant night of local music.  Congratulations on your EP release!  


Special Thanks:  Sarah and Tobias for guesting me (plus one that I didn't even know what coming - heh).  I'm looking forward to the next gigs!

Official Site

Angelslaying In Seattle! ARCHGOAT Gig Review! Seattle, WA 3/11/17!

Hellfire Deathcult
Void Wraith

March 11, 2017
@ Studio Seven
Seattle, WA


Around this exact same time last year, I covered three shows in as many days.  Here I am a year later, doing exactly the same thing.  Saturday March 11th brought the bestial war metal that is Finland's Archgoat to Studio Seven.

I remember back in the 90's when I was first getting into the black metal scene, many of these artists seemed so far away that the thought of ever buying their music in my local store was crazy, let alone seeing them play live in Seattle.

Over recent years, many a black metal band have stormed into Seattle, much to the delight of every black metal fan here in the northwest.  Archgoat have been around for years in the metal underground.  When I found out they were bringing their brand of black metal to Studio Seven, I made sure to be there!

Two local bands opened up the show - Crurifragium and Void Wraith.  The former played a raw set of war metal while the latter played an atmospheric visually stunning more traditional black metal set.  Both bands were well received and started the night off right.  It was great seeing local talent that actually had talent!

Hellfire Deathcult from the USA was up next of the touring bands.  Punishing war metal was the order of the day with the trio.  The first pit of the night broke out during their set and rightfully so.  Good stuff!

Sweden's Valkyrja took the stage next.  Let me say these guys caught me off guard.  A five piece that reminded me of the power of Marduk mixed with the musicality of maybe Dark Funeral (yes, I picked two Swedish black metal bands), Valkyrja tore through their set with power and might.  They definitely left an impression on many of us in the audience.

Archgoat, after working through some sound issues, took the stage and played around 16 songs of Finnish black war metal.  Starting off with, "Nuns, Cunts, and Darkness", the trio sounded great - aggressive, dark, and punishing, they definitely let everyone know that they were at a black metal gig!

The tour wrapped up on Sunday night up in Vancouver BC (with the mighty Blasphemy (!) on the bill).  If you saw the tour, then you know what's up.  If you missed it, you blew it.  


Special Thanks:  Tracy and Nicole for guesting me.  Erik for connecting me for credentials.  Thanks!

Worth The Wait - LETTERS FROM THE FIRE Gig Review! Seattle, WA 3/10/17

Letters From The Fire

March 10, 2017
@ El Corazon
Seattle, WA


Last year, in September, I became a Letters From The Fire fan.  I was only familiar with two songs back then - "Give In To Me" and "At War".  They were the band that resonated the most with me from that bill.  I left that show with a t-shirt and CD.

Fast forward to last Friday at El Corazon and I was ready for the show having listened to the CD numerous times since that gig in September.  On the road with Adelita's Way, Letters From The Fire have been touring consistently in support of their album, "Worth The Pain".  

A good turnout at the club helped set the tone for the evening.  There were definitely fans of the band in attendance.  There were also plenty of people there to convert to the bands' ways.

Hitting the stage with the album opener, "Perfect Life", the band was off and running.  Alexa, Mike, Cameron, Clay, and Brian definitely showed that their time on the road is making them an even better live band (they were already good to begin with).

What came to mind seeing them this second time was that there are no weak links in the band.  Musically all five of them are strong musicians.  Headbanging like maniacs at times (especially Clay), the band comes across much heavier live than on record.  They are a very melodic band that rests on a bed of heaviness.  Much like the old adage that five fingers makes a fist, Letters From The Fire are a fist to the face of rock n roll.

I was glad to hear, "At War" again to showcase Alexa's vocal prowess in their 30 minute set.  "Last December", "Worth The Pain", and "Give In To Me" were also aired to much success.  

I got the feeling that after their set, a lot of people were now fans of the band.  Those that were already waving the Letters From The Fire flag (like me) were even more hooked on the band after this second visit to Seattle.

And guess what friends?  They are returning with Black Stone Cherry in June!  Right back at El Corazon.  

They're currently finishing the run with Adelita's Way.  Then they hit the road with Seether.  The aforementioned run with Black Stone Cherry is up next.  And then it's back for more Seether dates.  In other words, they're touring their asses off, building up their fan base, one show at a time.

One of my top 10 albums of 2016, "Worth The Pain" is worth seeking out as is seeing Letters From The Fire live when they come to your town!  You will not be disappointed!


Special Thanks:  Mike for guesting me.  El Corazon staff for recognizing me - heh.

Photo Note: I tried to capture more of the personality of the band than just typical live shots this time around. Are they the "best" shots? Depends on who you ask. I think they show the various sides of the band members personalities live on stage.

Cameron - sorry I didn't get any shots of you that turned out - next time!