Oh, Columbia City. Your charming restaurants, quaint cafes, and zippy little light rail make me feel like I'm in another world, far away from Seattle's gritty downtown streets. I was in this magical bubble, belly full of St. Dames' Carrot/Yukon gnocchi, when I stepped into the lush, velvety interior of the Columbia City Theater.
Abraham was onstage already rocking away. When I spotted what appeared to be a perm atop their drummer's bopping head, I got closer for inspection. It was less Bob Ross frizzy, more a coiffed mop like Roger Daltrey's, and natural or not, that kid had a great head of hair. The floor was empty except for a few dancing female fans singing along, but the three-piece garage band, with a Kinks-meets-Art Brut-meets-Islands vibe were vibrant and sassy, with energy enough for guitar man and drummer (Ryan Standley and Joel Myers, though I don't know who's who) to repeatedly swap instruments. Damn if the sound at the Columbia City Theater isn't always awesome--very full and reverby without any tinny, jangly sounds. I was unsure if the young bassist's Blink 182 tee was meant to be ironic.
New Reunion took the stage next, bringing a wave of friends who packed the previously unfilled floor. The four piece is CryBaby Studio's Leigh Stone's latest and newest project, playing what another venerable Seattle blog calls neo-psychedellic groove. Stone's feminine poise reminded me a lot of Liz Phair, but her music was far from the vein of that singer's angular, muscular rock. The guitar-heavy sound pulled from a bag of late '80s/early '90s ambient influences (think Peter Murphy, Cocteau Twins, Skinny Puppy) and blended lots of minor tuning and autumnal sounds with light vocal harmonies and acoustic instrumentation, perfectly captured when Stone rocked a mandolin on their cover of Love and Rockets' "No New Tale to Tell." They were the clear draw of the evening, and the venue once again emptied out for Deaths Three Daughters set.
By this time, my Columbia City bubble was about to burst. After a few driving yet shouty offerings from all-girl straight-up rock band Deaths Three Daughters, it seemed the fun was over, and the mostly empty floor was disheartening. It was time to call it a night.