Last Night: Whalebones Unveils New Lineup at The Tractor

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Whalebones played The Tractor Tavern on Sunday, Jan. 31.
When Whalebones first started playing last night, it appeared that the person who was most excited about it was this ancient, hunched-over little dude wearing a yellow jacket, Buddy Holly glasses with thick frames and a wide, mirthful grin that bordered on shit-eating. He appeared to be enjoying himself; everyone else seemed too wrapped up in conversation to notice there was a band onstage. It didn't take more than a song or two for the conversation to taper off, however, because Whalebones' new songs are the sort of classic rockers that have been dominating airwaves ever since the Rolling Stones.

Everyone likes a good guitar solo, and it's safe to say there's a huge market for rootsy throwback rock and roll in the Northwest (see: the Moondoggies, Blitzen Trapper). While it didn't look like Whalebones' old fans had come out in droves to check out the show, they might've earned a few admirers amongst the folks who came out to see the Tripwires and the Cute Lepers. Before long, the guy with the missing teeth was attempting to dance with a skeptical-looking young lady approximately 40 years his junior, and everyone else was actually paying attention.

Justin Deary is an accomplished guitarist, but while his axe-wielding skills never wavered, his vocals were neither decipherable nor audible at first (which is sort of understandable for a dude who hasn't played a show in two years). As he grew progressively more confident, his voice got stronger, and halfway through the set, the band seemed to fall into a groove.

Faustine Hudson, on the other hand, always seems right at home behind the kit, no matter what band she's playing with. She's an expressive percussionist, one who makes a practice of flipping her hair back and forth in time to the music. And though Bradford Button's a sort of unassuming character, his bass lines are worth really focusing on in the spaces when Deary's guitar riffs aren't grabbing all the attention. Definitely keep an eye on these guys; after hearing the band's new songs, it's safe to assume that the new record is going to be excellent.

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