This coming Saturday, December 16th, marks the last show (in its current incarnation, at least) at the Paradox, the Ballard all-ages venue that's about to be taken over by the Mars Hill Church, which started the club in 1999 but had maintained a separation between the shows it hosted and the church's particular teachings/mission. Whether or not that will change in the future remains to be seen, but you can celebrate/mourn the Paradox with a great final blowout that features Speaker Speaker, BOAT, Shorthand for Epic, Patience Please, and Ghosts & Liars.
Granted, the Paradox's performance space and lounge never had much in the way of character, but well-run all-ages venues are invaluable to any city's music scene; the all-volunteer staff there was always terrific and hard-working; and I caught a bunch of fantastic shows there over the past few years, including sets by Bound Stems, Xiu Xiu, Damien Jurado, Suffering & the Hideous Thieves, Dear Darling, In Praise of Folly, and many more.
Same went for this past weekend, when I saw two excellent, relatively new (to me, anyhow) Seattle bands. One was Cock & Swan, a moody, sedate trio that reminded me a bit of Long Division-era Low crossed with Boards of Canada. I'm reasonably certain the two principals -- Johnny (possibly the Cock) and Ola (possibly the Swan) -- are a couple, but onstage they neither googly-eyed each other, a la Mates of State, nor glared with contempt at one another, a la Fleetwood Mac. I believe they're playing the High Dive this Friday, Dec. 15th, so that might be worth checking out.
The other was Joy Wants Eternity, an instrumental space-rock/shoegazer quintet that used its 196 guitar pedals to fuse together the sounds of Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, and My Bloody Valentine into a swirly stew of sonic stupendousness (hyperbole and lame alliteration be damned). Apparently the band normally performs along to films and videos they project on a big screen, but technical difficulties prevented that from happening the other night. Despite that, JWE was still plenty captivating and memorable.