SW Music Awards Showcase

Three views.

A bruiser in a shady Dodge van chugged a PBR, belched, creaked open his door, and heaved snow white all over South Washington Street. It wasn't even 6 p.m., and we hadn't heard a lick of music at the 2004 SW Music Awards Showcase. Good fuckin' omen. I followed his lead and clumsily embraced Pioneer Square's lurid, surreal rock pleasures: standing in Playing Enemy bassist Shane Mehling's "suck zone" at Doc Maynard's and getting dragged around by my face for 10 seconds; incurring a piggybacking during the ensuing Akimbo set and taking a mike stand to the forehead; listening to said piggybacking friend heckle Swarming Hordes and the Lashes just disingenuously enough to knot the audience's undies; waxing incoherent about the "Jeremy" video at the Fenix while Heather Duby's and Amy Blaschke's bands politely refrained from calling the men with butterfly nets and continued debating voting minutiae; watching the modest Central Saloon transform into an erudite hipster soiree for Cobra High's festival-ending blowout. Easily an A-minus, if only because my Oldsmobile left the Square spew-free. ANDREW BONAZELLI

As experimental electro-acoustic trio Climax Golden Twins finished a number from the Bob Wills songbook, they introduced themselves by quipping, "We're Seattle's best avant-garde band." They get my vote; their nuanced and brilliant bending of sounds both old and new, manufactured and organic, make them one of the most forward-thinking bands today—along with the out-jazz Project W, art-punk duo Sick Bees, and art-metal instrumentalists Swarming Hordes. Project W, featuring renowned saxophonist and F.O.T. (friend of Thurston—Moore, that is) Wally Shoup along with Up Record's Brent Arnold on cello and the phenomenal percussionist Greg Campbell, made the New Orleans feel like New York City in the '60s. New York City circa the late '70s was the mood at the Central, where the Sick Bees' Starla exuded brainy post-punk cool with her insanely unhinged vocal range, while drummer Julio screwed excellently with time changes and acrobatic trash-can lid beats. Instrumental speed-metalheads Swarming Hordes are hella far-out, too. Their two-guitars-plus-drums set was, in the words of a friend, "undanceable and brilliant." The avant-garde alive and well on a Sunday night in Pioneer Square—who fucking knew? LAURA CASSIDY

Dance music isn't the sole province of machine-beats merchants, as anyone who shimmied to Sick Bees or jutted their torsos to Akimbo this Sunday can attest. But the soulful tech-house of Randy Jones and Lusine at the Last Supper Club was evidence enough why Seattle's post-rave producers are some of the best in the country. Ditto Codebase, who worked up a smart electro fizz that filled the room nicely. The real surprise, both for myself and my friends, was Siamese, whose live-duo-plus-electronics drum and bass made what has long been a moribund genre come alive again. Their beats had more give than the techstep trudge that genre has trafficked in for the past eight or so years. Not to mention that bassist Jeremy Lightfoot mines his instrument for the deepest, most resonant sounds he can. MICHAELANGELO MATOS

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