Last Night Eric and Encarnación @ the Capitol Club
posted by May 24 at 13:00 PMon
Better to have love and lost than never loved at all, blah blah blah. It’s still sad to know that my first flamenco show at the Capitol Club will also be my last.
Eric Jaeger and Encarnación —married for four years, flamenco partners for six—have been playing the Capitol Club every Tuesday for three years running. New managment has decided they’d rather have DJs playing background music than a serious floor show, so the couple played their final set to a rapt, packed room this past Tuesday. I’m certainly no flamenco expert, but I appreciate the form, and these two were mesmerizing.
Jaeger’s chops apparently come from his former life as axe-slinger in a heavy metal band. Watching him deftly pluck and violiently strum at his soft-stringed guitar was like watching a passionate argument where both sides know they’re right. His solo weren’t foot-on-the-amp style—they were much more technical and tightly composed—but there was no question about the aggressive lead his guitar played.
Encarnación, meanwhile, couldn’t have been more stunning. Barcelona born and bred, she flexed rough, husky vocals, dark and soulful and full of longing. She sat most of the time, eyes closed, accenting Jaeger’s lead with her own rhythm guitar, clapping along with the traditional flamenco palmas, and sending her voice into wounded, willful fluctuations. And when she stood and began to dance, stomping out complex rhythms with heavy heels, swinging her ruffled red dress like a cape… Man, that’s the stuff of dreams.
Hot with early summer humidity, flickering with candlelight, rustic and intimate and dimly lit, the Capitol Club felt as Mediterranean as Seattle can get. Early on, a fire truck roared by on Pine Street. The sound of its siren wailed up through the open window, mingling with Encarnación’s voice, a whiplash of modern across this rooted, traditional sound—a pristine moment. Later, Encarnacion brought up a pair of young girls who danced with her and busted out castanets for a dizzying rhythmic accompaniment.
Flamenco is the blues of Spain, and there are centuries of history, nuance, and inflection—not to mention soul—in its evocative tones. If you’ve ever been to Spain, hearing the music is an instant flashback. And even if you haven’t, flamenco is a raw and powerful expression from a proud culture.
So maybe if aficionados rally hard enough Capitol Club won’t genericize and replace something special and unique like flamenco with a DJ—just what the Hill doesn’t need. For now you can catch Eric, Encarnación, and vocalist Vasilli playing flamenco every Wednesday at Ibiza in Pioneer Square. Their full band, Children of the Revolution, play the Mural Amphitheater at Folklife on Friday, May 25. It’s a free show.