theesatisfactionneumos33.jpg
Keegan Hamilton
THEESatisfaction

Thursday, March 29

Neumos

They've got the beats, the rhymes, the hair, and, most definitely the moves. The piece that's missing from

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THEESatisfaction Flex Their Strengths, Bare Their Weaknesses, Last Night at Neumos

theesatisfactionneumos33.jpg
Keegan Hamilton
THEESatisfaction

Thursday, March 29

Neumos

They've got the beats, the rhymes, the hair, and, most definitely the moves. The piece that's missing from THEESatisfaction's live show - and it's not an insignificant one - is the band. As Stasia Irons and Catherine Harris-White danced their way through a triumphant, highly entertaining show celebrating the release of their Sub Pop debut, awE naturalE, last night, appropriate instrumental accompaniment was noticeably absent from the equation.

Somehow it's remained permissible for hip-hop acts to perform rhymes on top of pre-recorded beats, most often with the aide of a live DJ. THEESatisfaction didn't even employ anyone to spin their tracks. They were beholden to pre-recorded music the whole night. This wouldn't be such an issue if the band's music wasn't swelling with live potential that's left untapped in their current show.

Though awE naturalE is 13 short tracks stuffed into a half hour, it includes generous nods to rap, soul, jazz, and funk. These aren't just a pair of ladies getting up and spitting rhymes. The music's bigger than that, and with the aide of a live ensemble, they could use their record as a canvas, and take their music to new places on stage.

There's really no good reason for them to not employ a band. Finding talent should be the least of their worries. This city is lousy with under-utilized instrumentalists, a favorable byproduct of uncommonly strong jazz programs at local high schools. In fact three high school big bands in town -- Ballard, Mountlake Terrace, Roosevelt -- are headed to New York in May to compete in the finals at the Essentially Ellington competition, the nation's most prestigious high school jazz band event of its kind, and one that Garfield has made a habit of winning.

THEE duo weren't without instrumental assistance last night. Producer Erik Blood stood in on an essentially inaudible electric bass for a few songs, as did Shabazz Palaces' multi-instrumentalist Tendai Maraire, whose noble conga contributions were largely lost in the mix. Treated as an afterthought, the instruments were irrelevant. But if a producer were to spend as much time developing and strategizing an instrumental compliment to THEESatisfaction's live shows as one did to the tracks on awE naturalE, it would further unlock the potential of one of the most promising acts in town.

There's comfort in the fact that this is very much just the beginning for these two.

P.S. It must be said that while bringing Shabazz Palaces' Ishmael Butler out for a handful of tracks - including SP's "Swerve" - made for a winning set, it did steal THEESatisfacation's thunder a bit.

 
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