Seattleites tend to have a soft spot for good music and great causes. Which is why KEXP's>"/>
Sunset Tavern December 1
SHiPS, Kithkin, Ravenna Woods
Seattleites tend to have a soft spot for good music and great causes. Which is why KEXP's Audioasis benefit shows are pretty much the perfect marriage of rocking out and doing good. In this tradition, Saturday's show at the Sunset Tavern, featuring SHiPS, Kithkin and Ravenna Woods, was the perfect fit.
Benefiting local nonprofit Climate Solutions, the theme of the night seemed to be new things (in all regards): newly shaved faces (groomed in the aftermath of no-shave November) became new fans of power-pop four-piece SHiPS, as those already loyal to Kithkin and Ravenna Woods were introduced to a handful of primarily unreleased (and previously unheard) tracks.
Wilderness rockers Kithkin have already built a following for their progressive, percussive-minded rock tracks, most recently turning heads as part of "A Cascadian Hallows Eve" at the Coumbia City Theatre in October, and Saturday's set - though a bit more controlled than previous shows - kept with the tradition of messy, apocalyptic tuneage.
Abandoning familiar tracks for fresh material, Kithkin's set seemed short, but sweet. Multi-instrumentalist Kelton Sears has clearly stepped it up on vocals, matching his primal screams with Ian McCutcheon's lower register growl over noisy, percussive-driven melodies and wobbly bass lines.
The four-piece has already adopted new cut "Peacock," as a standard in their live set, but on Saturday the track felt more cohesive and fully realized. Still, the animal-like presentation remains.
Ravenna Woods followed suit, playing a handful of new material from their upcoming release, The Jackal, alongside favorites "The Road" and "We Want It All."
But the biggest surprise may have come in the form of a holiday cover called "Get Your Shit Together This Christmas." Though vocalist/guitarist Chris Cunningham admitted the move was cheesy, their snarky attitude about the tune - and its juxtaposition with the "end of the world" motif of the night, kind of made it OK.
All things considered, the best thing about this type of show remains the eclectic mix of musical tastes: where SHiPS' guitar-friendly power-pop was breathy and upbeat, Kithkin was messy and chaotic (in the sort of way that makes you want to shake) - and headliners Ravenna Woods kept the feelings moody and the grooving on point.
Tied together by a heavy dose of weird, there was something for every sort of flannel-wearing do-gooder in the room.