Call me a biased source, but Antiquiet sure as hell gets it right. Their unofficial daytime showcase showed no weak links with a line-up stacked deep and varied with primarily West Coast musicians. (shoutout to The Coup for seriously and proudly repping Oakland). Opener John Flanagan’s simple act of sound checking was enough to get unsuspecting souls to wander into Rusty’s. A rather impressive, far more fiery cover of The Darkness’ “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” cemented Flanagan as a master of his instrument. The man’s vocals are enough to get him gainfully employed singing for Disney and gain a following across the age spectrum.
Strong pipes carried forth from Jessica Hernandez, whose backing band the Deltas mixed up bits of klezmer, blues and everything in between as she blew through new tracks from the highly catchy Demons EP. Hernandez rocked both guitar and percussion, never once faltering in her command of the stage. As a side note, not enough bands contain trombone. Horn player John Raleeh is clearly looking to change that and assert the instrument as a necessary part of any combination.
Also making big changes is Nicole Atkins, whose breathy singer-songwriter style has loudly and proudly expanded. Case in point is her closing track, “It’s Only Chemistry.” The track’s chorus is a boisterous, swaying sing-a-long and honestly an apt choice to rally a crowd and end a performance. Conversely, 8mm made a case for less most definitely being more.
The husband-wife duo was absolutely mesmerizing, with just enough of a connection to balance a bit of sexy edge without going completely overboard. Just about every band has a member face off with one another either as an act of musical unity or defiance and for the entire afternoon, but no group best represented that push-pull than 8mm. Add to that choice tracks from “Between the Devil” and “Two Black Hearts” as well as their rendition of CCR’s “Bad Moon Rising” and you’ve got a gripping set.
Ume played to a hometown crowd fresh off the heels of new LP Monuments. Their set was a blur of powerful guitar and energy. Frontwoman Lauren Larson was a bit quiet on the vocals but definitely not shy when it came to laying into track after track with ferocious guitar.
The serious wild card of the showcase was eclectic funk-tinged Oakland outfit the Coup. Coming on like p.funk meets Outkast, frontman Boots Riley got his band moving and his many fans dancing. Riley was the only performer to properly introduce is band and with such studied musicians as the Coup, it only made sense. Each instrument was highlighted in a set-ending solo that set the bar high for fan interaction, which is why it was an odd choice to have Battle Tapes take the stage next.
Sandwiched between the aforementioned Coup and Seattle rapper Grieves, Battle Tapes were good, but they weren’t the right energy for the tail end of the showcase. Proving that there’s far more to the Seattle rap scene than Macklemore was the standout performer of the event, Grieves. He’s got sweet vocals and an edge to his flow that sets him apart from the white rapper trope.