"Would you like to go see Sean Lennon?" asked Nancy, my girlfriend's mom, holding up a picture of Sean on the entertainment section of the Sunday Seattle Times, "I'd kind of like to, since I never got a chance to see John."
I hadn't considered it, since I've never been much of a fan of the Ono-Lennon love child. But when Nancy, visiting from Florida, showed interest in seeing that show, how could I say no?
The day of the show, Nancy and my girlfriend went shopping, while I stayed home. Around 4:30 p.m., only an hour and a half before Neumo's doors opened, consumerism still had the two in its grasp. Oh well, I guess I'll go alone, I figured. After all, I never got the chance to see John either.
As I walked up to Neumo's, Nancy's reasoning for seeing Sean kept repeating in my mind. I wondered if there would be others like Nancy, baby boomers who loved the Beatles, at the show just because Sean was the spawn of one of 'em. Would I see aging hippies and people wearing round wire-rimmed glasses and Imagine T-shirts? Would I hear "Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)"? How would such a crowd react to the opening band, 8mm, a female-fronted trio from Los Angeles?
A 6:45 p.m. set time is early by most rock standards, but people seemed to dig Juliette Beavan, the petite lead singer for 8mm who looked like a blonde PJ Harvey, as soon as she came onstage. Filled out by guitarist/husband/producer Sean Beavan, drummer Jon Nicholson, and a laptop, the band wasted no time tearing into their moody, sultry rock landscape that headed straight toward Portishead Point, complete with a handful of one-word song titles ("Bones," "Stunning," "Liar"). Sure, I love Portishead, especially on a dark, rainy night, but on this dark and cold night, it came across only as some rehashed, bloated trip-hop. Oh well, the half-filled room seemed to enjoy it.
I took the time to break away from the drink-free zone downstairs (it was an all-ages show) to scan the crowd and those patiently waiting up on the mezzanine. I saw many middle-aged women (right around Nancy's age), 40-and-up gray-haired dudes in ball caps (including one with the Frasier logo), an older hippie-type fellow with a braid and funny hat, young dudes in tweed or corduroy blazers and paperboy hats, dapper teen and twenty-something young ladies, and even some youngsters age five to 15, but I didn't see wire-rimmed glasses or Lennon T-shirts, and I didn't stick around long enough to hear Sean (potentially) cover the song about himself. When he came onstage, shortly before 8 p.m., someone in the crowd shouted "I love you!" to which Sean replied, "I love you, too!" Typically, this is friendly fan-to-artist, artist-to-fan banter. But maybe the artist should be careful about how they word it, especially when they're the son of a legend. Fan response: "You better John . . . I mean Sean!"
Opening Act is a weekly look at a band you didn't go to see, but saw anyway—because they played before the band you went to see (and were maybe even better).