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Friday, September 26, 2008

Decibel v.05, Night 1

posted by on September 26 at 10:56 AM

Stewart Walker @ Sole Repair. Photo by Kelly O.

My night began at Grey Gallery to catch the Oi Vay! disc jockeys (Eddie, Struggle, and D’Jeronimo). They had me trainspotting the whole time I was there, always a good sign. These guys know their high-quality techno and house (Michel Ho, STL, etc.) and dig deep in the crates for your pleasure. Recognize.

Zipped to Sole Repair to catch the Peloton DJs transitioning into Matt Corwine’s epic set. As Eric noted, Sole Repair has a killer vibe: think boxy warehouse crossed with sleek, urban lounge, accentuated by attractive wood paneling. Corwine (aka Mister Leisure) instigated dancing and smiles with his patented bumpin’ house accented with PhD-level sound design. After his stint, he was sweatier than any of the folks he magnanimously inspired to dance.

Stewart Walker clearly has years of experience making Europeans and other farflung peoples shake their asses till sunrise. He immediately swung into peak-time mode (130+ bpm and mesmerizing) with maximally pleasing minimal techno full of precision propulsion and hedonistic percussion. His tracks were surprisingly sexual and tribal—maybe because he looks like a mid-sized corporation’s accountant.

Sole Repair filled to capacity (120) and had a long line forming outside of it—very impressive for a Thursday bill of uncompromising techno and house. Though I wanted to catch Tujiko Noriko, I didn’t want to risk being shut out of [a]pendics.shuffle. Anybody catch her or any of the other Deconstructing Pop acts? How was it?

Las mujeres enjoying/enhancing the Peloton Records showcase @ Sole Repair. Photo by Kelly O.

[a]pendics.shuffle (thickly bearded LA party monster Ken Gibson) maintained Walker’s sexy-as-fuck techno steez and added an ominous undercurrent to it. Maybe it was just me, but it seemed as if every kick-drum thump and snare crack ratcheted up the libidinal temperature in the room. Was Sole Repair pumping Ecstasy through its air vents? Seemed like it. I kept flashing back to early-’90s Detroit warehouse parties. The dance floor filled up and throbbed. A dude twirled rainbow-colored balls (later at Neumos, someone doing the same hit a magazine photographer, according to one eyewitness). A young lady told me to smell her hairy armpit (I did; it was kind of rank). Nearly everyone seemed to be cruising at high altitude, despite the imploding economy and extensive exposure to Sarah Palin’s please-kill-me-now voice and words.

[a]pendics.shuffle made me feel as if I had consumed a hallucinogen cocktail, neat. As his set progressed, the percussion and textures became stranger (were those the shrieking strings from Hitchcock’s Psycho, warped almost beyond recognition?). He didn’t even bring his weirdest material to Decibel, but Gibson sent bizarre erotic shivers through the joint.

I cut out of Sole Repair to hit Neumos shortly after Sean Horton, Decibel director and birthday boy (when asked how old he was later, the dazed multi-tasker said he “thinks” he just turned 33), was starting a live INCITE! set. I wanted to see Jahcoozi, a Berlin duo featuring a Sri Lankan female vocalist/trumpeter and a white, dreadlocked bassist/laptop operator dude. They peddle an M.I.A.-like, polyglot beat banquet, plus extreme bass and bleep splatter that makes you wish your ass were bigger and rounder. Jahcoozi did their hit “BLN” (a riposte to Lily Allen’s “LDN,” according to one fan). Later Jahcoozi played this metal/Big Beat/industrial techno hybrid that was incredibly galvanizing. They built up the dance floor pretty well, from sparse to halfway full—a considerable feat after 1 am on a school night.

I had to bail after that and missed Jeff Samuel’s special afterhours DJ slot to celebrate Mr. Horton’s birthday, which went down at a new Seattle collective-run space. How did it go, Donte?

RSS icon Comments


We also had a great time at Sole Repair -- good, sweaty fun. During a dip in my energy levels, I ran across to Neumos hoping to catch some of Tujiko Noriko's set, but instead got opening band Balun. Their lead singer was adorable -- especially after she strapped on an accordeon -- and their slightly wispy pop was a nice palate cleanser. Coming back to Sole Repair, I got caught in the line from hell but finally got back in for the start of the [a]pendics.shuffle set and more sweaty fun.

I had been really fired up about seeing Jahcoozi, but Neumos was running late and we couldn't survive Barbara Morgenstern's interminable buzz-kill of a set. When we got kicked out of the upstairs lounge around 1:00 and she seemed determined to continue noodling on her electric piano, we left to go home.

Eric Grandy's post suggested that Neumos was empty last night but that wasn't my experience. While not exploding at the seams like Sole Repair, there seemed to be a respectable number of people there throughout the evening. Good to see so many people coming out for these shows!

Anybody see Cubenx at the Baltic Room?

Posted by Piranesia | September 26, 2008 12:21 PM

My post only said the Neumos was empty at 10:30, when I peeked over there, which it was. Glad to hear it filled up.

Posted by Eric Grandy | September 26, 2008 12:37 PM

Thanks for the review, Dave. I'll be experiencing DB vicariously through you for the next couple of nights until the babysitter arrives. You're keeping my excitement up.

Posted by boyd main | September 26, 2008 1:12 PM

After helping set up the dj booth Baltic Room and then at Sole Repair I left to go home to clean up before heading back out, only to find that Sole Repair was at capacity. After talking with a bunch of friends I headed inside Neumo's and caught the tail end of Balun, which was very pretty and cute and nice, and there were about 80-100 shoegazers in attendance. This was about 10:45 or 11p. Then Tujiko Noriko came on and initially was very nice and drone-y, but that drone quickly stepped up into a painful wash of feedback that obviously threw off poor little Tujiko. It was too painful to watch, her confidence so shaken, that after trying to stick it out and nothing getting better I headed back out into the street and over to Sole Repair, where there was still a line but it was moving very quickly. Once inside I took my jacket off and started dancing to [a]pendics.shuffle, whose set went from straight techno to some brooding thumpy pings and back to a more uptempo party feel. The crowd at Sole Repair was very hipster, but also damned sexy and cute. I loved the girl with the bicycle helmet (It was the Peloton release party, after all). I agree it seemed like someone had popped a bunch of amyl nitrate into the vents or something, the vibe was very erotic and funky and cute, with that laid-back small-town feel that Seattle is famous for. Great first night of the Fest, really looking forward to tonight and doing the Sole Repair/Neumo's thing again!

Posted by TheNaFun | September 26, 2008 1:35 PM


Posted by Erika | September 26, 2008 2:00 PM

Um, it was a clean, healthy, sexy kind of rank--produced from righteous activities like bicycling and dancing. Yeah, yeah...

Posted by segal | September 26, 2008 2:47 PM

@1 the people i've heard from who caught cubenx said he was fire. looks like a lot of people, myself included, missed out.

Posted by bailee. | September 26, 2008 3:02 PM

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