Although the skies seemed to threaten Ballard with rain in the early parts of Saturday, never did the it happen. Good thing too. Up until>"/>
Although the skies seemed to threaten Ballard with rain in the early parts of Saturday, never did the it happen. Good thing too. Up until the very day of REVERBfest, I had doubts that an outdoor music festival in fall was a good idea, partially because of the Seattle's fickle fall weather. Boy, I was wrong.
People didn't let the cool weather or the threat of rain stop them from coming in droves. All morning at Sonic Boom, people who were unaware of the events happening, asked me what was going on. "REVERBfest, man!," I'd say, "Nothing but all local music, all day/night long!"
Some people, including a fellow from Vancouver, felt as though the whole thing was a sham when didn't recognize many or any of the names. "I know a lot of bands from Seattle and I don't see any of them here," he said, as though he knew more about Seattle than Seattlelites themselves.
Sure, you're not going to get every big name out of Seattle to play for a local music festival. In some cases, not even one. But that's part of what makes REVERBfest so special to begin with. You don't really know who you're going to see next, what talent will blow you away, or just what exactly you're getting yourself into. Myself included. Although I moved here fourteen months ago, I still consider myself a newbie to the scene. I haven't seen every band in the city - not even close. REVERBfest gave me a chance to take in bands I've either missed out on or never had the chance of seeing before, since everything was centrally located.
The first few hours were spent at Sonic Boom, where the scruffy long-hairs from across the Sound, The King's English, kicked off at 4:20pm at an extremely high volumes. I had to stuff some toilet paper in my ears as the band riffed and strutted their way through some high energy, glam boogie.
T.V. Coahran was the biggest surprise of the day. At first he played a song on the guitar, then made his way to the Micro-Korg and toy piano for another few, before bringing a band, including Charles Leo Gebhardt IV on bass. It came out sounding like psychedelic pop for the kids. In fact, a number of kids were present for this curious figure, and they all seemed to enjoy themselves along with their parents.
Only stuck around for half of Charles Leo Gebhardt IV's set, since I had been bottled up in Sonic Boom all day and wanted to see what else was out there. It was odd folk music, with Coahran on the tamborine-topped snare drum. Enjoyable, sure, but not enough to hold me interested the whole way though.
Fleet Foxes can never do wrong, so I made sure not to miss their set at the Sunset. Not long after I arrived to an already packed floor, I noticed that they weren't allowing any more people in, since the venue reached capacity. Even if I wanted to leave, I wouldn't be allowed to re-enter. So I stayed put and listened to Pecknold and Co. strum and hum and harmonize through a set of beautiful, truly classic sounding pop songs.
Over at Lock & Keel, a venue that I've never been to before, the small stage was situated in the back corner of the room and unfortunately lacked any proper monitors for the musicians to hear themselves. Battle Hymns set suffered because of it. Frontman Cameron Elliott's voice was monotonous and pitchy at times, possibly due to the fact that he couldn't hear himself. Elliott's vocal abilities are in tact, but I just think they would've sounded better had there been some monitors to tell him his voice sounded off. I also came to the realization during their set that I've had it all wrong about their music: Battle Hymns are like this sweet hybrid of Son Volt and mid-90s indie guitar rock. Good stuff.
Popped into Bop Street, then Sunset, where Locke was performing, before shuttling back to Sonic Boom for No-Fi Soul Rebellion. By the time I arrived, their frontman Mark Heimer was talking to the audience. I guess that was his way of closing the set. People had thrown jackets and coats and hats and scarves during their set, and Sonic Boom was a disaster area. From everyone I talked to, I missed an amazing set. Dammit! But after twelve hours, I felt it was time to call it a night and just go home early.