Sara BricknerThe Blakes’ lead vocalist Garnet KeimIt hadn’t occurred to me how

Sara BricknerThe Blakes’ lead vocalist Garnet KeimIt hadn’t occurred to me how long it’s been since the Blakes played a show until Garnet Keim brought it up onstage last night. “We’ve been in hiding for the past year,” he admitted. And it’s true — I can’t remember the last time the Blakes performed. But at least we know it’s all been in service of a worthy cause: first Beads, Snow Keim’s project, and now a new Blakes album, Souvenir, which comes out on October 13. If I heard the band correctly, last night’s show was the first time the band’s played their new songs live. It’s still grungy, gritty rock and roll, but the band’s taken a slower, poppier turn on a few of the songs, which contributes to the very raw sexual energy that pervades all of the Blakes’ music. Garnet Keim’s voice has this rough, husky quality to it that’s very sensual — especially in “Charmed,” a new song that starts with “Hey there, juicy fruit/Take off your diamond shoes.” While the Blakes played mostly new material, they also played some old songs — “Vampire” and “Pistol Grip” among them — but the new stuff sounded great, too, and the crowd’s transformation from a cluster of bored-looking people standing around to little pockets of hipster jumping beans indicated the populace’s approval. EDIT: When I initially wrote this review, I was so tired that I forgot this part: One guy felt so inspired, he picked up a tambourine that was sitting at the edge of the stage next to an amp, jumped up onstage (uninvited) and became the band’s unofficial tambourine-ist. It was sort of bizarre (photos of that are posted after the jump.)The only disappointment about last night is how few people actually showed up. Yeah, it was a Tuesday night, but considering how much buzz this band received back when their self-titled debut came out, I expected them to draw a bigger audience. I don’t doubt that Souvenir will jumpstart all that buzz and rev it back up to its former volume (and it has been two years since The Blakes came out), but I expected a little more local support. For a small crowd, though, everyone there proved to be really supportive and hollered loudly for an encore. Which the Blakes happily provided. Unfortunately, they’re going on a tour immediately (one that will culminate in a CMJ performance), but I’m hoping that by the time they return to Seattle, they’ll be able to play Neumos and fill up the whole place. They definitely deserve it. Garnet Keim attempts to ignore random tambourine guy, who (to his credit) did an ok job of staying out of the waySnow Keim and random tambourine guy