When you move across the country to a new city where you hardly know anyone, as I did this summer, it is comforting to see

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Familiar Folk

Jana Hunter at Sunset Tavern, Dec. 5, 2006

When you move across the country to a new city where you hardly know anyone, as I did this summer, it is comforting to see a few familiar faces among all the fresh faces in the crowd. Last night at the Sunset was one of those instances. Jana Hunter, the Houston-based songstress that I had the pleasure of seeing live on many occasions in my former hometown, came to Seattle, my current hometown, with her brother John, and close friend Matt Brownlie. Needless to say, I was elated when I immediately saw Brownlie across the room. Of the three Houstonians in the room, I knew him the best. We would often attend the same shows, and drank at the same bars. And I can not tell you how many times I have seen his band Bring Back the Guns. My buddy Andrew, who moved here from Houston last year, was supposed to meet up with us, but alas, he was sleepy.

Reunion aside, I have been looking forward to this show for sometime. Hunter, whose music I admire, was sharing the bill with Austin-based Weird Weeds and Seattle's own The Dead Science, two other groups I find particularly fascinating. I showed up at 9:15 to catch the last song by Kazu, a local guitarist who had the audience uproariously laughing at the lyrics to his bizarre folk songs about tomatoes, or dogs, or bikes, or something. Jordan O Jordan, a banjo playing, cardigan-sweater wearing solo artist with an ampersand (or was that a treble clef) painted on his face, played four Xiu Xiu-inspired songs about talking a great deal about nature, before Jana, who I had only seen solo in the past, got on stage with Matt and John in tow

John switched between the lap steel, bass, and guitar, and Matt played drums and bass while Jana stuck to her acoustic and electric guitars (unfortunately, the acoustic didn’t have an electric pick-up so it was nearly inaudible with all the background chatter). To be honest, much of the set was newer songs that I haven’t heard before. There were a few familiar oldies that sounded refreshing with the new arrangements, but thanks to one too many Mirror Ponds, the names were flushed out of my memory.

Weird Weeds and The Dead Science both approached their unique hybridization of pop music at its most experimental and avant-garde fringes, but the much of crowd dissipated soon after Jana’s set. For those who stuck around, we witnessed two exceptional sets. Weird Weeds said it was their best show of the tour. I couldn't agree more.

 
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