Friday, April 23, 2010

Where Were You?

The End Times played their final show on Friday April 16 in a dark loft snuggled deep in the mixed-industrial spaciousness of Georgetown, a south Seattle neighborhood where the soot and jet-fumes set the right mood for the trio’s stark, Southern gothic sound.

Patrons sat quietly, leaning in as Abi Grace sang, supported by Fred Beldin’s acoustic guitar strums and the woozy curls of slide guitar from Tyson Lynn. The End Times show felt like a church service -- a little Robert-Mitchum-in-Night-of-the-Hunter, but mostly comforting in a “we share your pain” way.

Grace’s voice has the specific charm of the graveyard cherub -- she’s plenty sweet but the words she’s singing ain’t necessarily so. And as Beldin and Lynn hunkered over their instruments, the whole procession felt like the sharing of some secret that the audience knew they needed to hear.

Seeing this line-up of the band again is about as likely as seeing Elvis at the Stop-n-Shop, but that shouldn’t prevent those who never witnessed a live performance from picking up The End Times LP (or buying the download).

This is folk, for lack of a better label, but not of the life, love and unemployment variety. Sure, These Are the End Times could class up your local coffee joint, but you’re better served spinning this on those mornings when you sit in the kitchen and sip something stronger than French roast. It’s thinking music for the wandering mind.

Good work End Times. Seattle still needs you, so thanks for the document.


Post Script
Opening band Pillow Army did their Americana-pop thing -- a surprisingly loud collection of stringed instruments, drums and sometimes flute. If you thought the orchestra nerds from high school didn’t dig the rock, Pillow Army has something to play for you. Bookending The End Times on the late side of the night was The River Empires, an Albany, Oregon outfit (drums, bass, keys/guitar, vocals/percussion, vocals/keys/et al.) that knocked out an impressive set of chamber pop that edged into mid-‘90s Britpop territory. Quite good and a shame that they not only played to a mostly empty house, but had to pack up and drive for four hours back home after their set. Ah, the rock & roll lifestyle.