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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Eric and Encarnación @ the Capitol Club

posted by on May 24 at 13:00 PM


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.

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they also play ibiza (the dinner club, not the island) sometimes. that's where i saw them. pretty entertaining, but i can't say that flamenco is really my thing, despite my appreciation of the skill.

Posted by donte | May 24, 2007 1:54 PM

Damn, that's sad. Those two are hot and real and rare, and the upstairs bar at CC was perfect since the downstairs space acted like a subwoofer for Encarna's rhythmic footsteps.

Posted by Amy Kate Horn | May 24, 2007 2:35 PM

I've seen these 2 at the Capital Club and with COTR. Although I haven't made it back, your article swept me back to that feeling of being somewhere far from Seattle. It was a shock to step out onto the city streets. I don't think any DJ can make that happen, and you don't have to like Flamenco to appreciate the passion. Good luck to E & E.

Posted by Bob Whidbey | May 25, 2007 1:39 PM

Goto Spain if you want to hear Flamenco. Central Capital Hill, give me urban culture, ie: Hip Hop, R&B ect. Dj spin them wheels!! Luda!!!!

Posted by David Hanley | May 26, 2007 9:06 PM

Eric & Encarna's flamenco performance is one of Seattle's cultural jewels. The Capitol Club is a wonderful venue for their show and a great forum for live music of this caliber. I would love to see the show continue there Tuesday nights!

Posted by Steve Z | May 29, 2007 12:51 AM

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