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|Key Note Speaker / Peter Parker / Llama
January 18, 2007 – The Crocodile – Seattle, WA
by Sara Huguenard
It really is too bad that this Thursday night show was seen by so few. Each and every one of these bands was so tight that if you stuck a lump of coal in their metaphorical asses, you would have had produced diamonds. Perhaps people are still recovering from the season and this freaky weather we have been experiencing, because I absolutely refuse to accept that a market still teeming with so much talent may not be able to find solid audiences. Moving on…
I want to say first of all that having somehow managed to miss everything that Peter Parker had to offer during their first run on the local scene, I was happy to have finally been able to catch up with this band. Unassuming as they were when they took the stage, I was not really expecting much (they only recently reformed), nor was I really knowing at all what to expect. This crowd favorite certainly did not disappoint (I read when they started out they couldn’t even play…they have come a long way!). Their range and influences were all over the place, from straight-forward thrash/punk to the more artsy rock. All were well integrated into their own style, with the rhythm section expertly holding together their raucous frontline, making them as noted previously, tight as hell for a band of their genre. Now positioning for a comeback, these guys seem know exactly what they want and where to go with it. Case-in-point: There was absolutely no denying that their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” was anything short of stellar--even without the USC Marching band to support them. Welcome back, guys. I am sorry I missed you the first time around but will not make that mistake again.
Equally as inspiring was Key Note Speaker’s cover of Tom Waits’ “Goin Out West,” which retained every bit of the power displayed in their tribute from The Musical. It not only blew away the live performance posted on their MySpace page, but offered a very fitting (okay, if not somewhat expected) close to their set, leaving no question in the mind of audience members that these guys possess a prowess for turning individual instruments into a unified voice that masterfully envelopes singer Scott Gallagher's storyline.
Thursday’s set incorporated all of the songs that would leave pretty much any fan satisfied at the end of the evening, starting off with “Nightly News” and of course including “Reaction," “Champagne and Cocaine” and “Love and Happiness,” all from The Musical. The only disappointment for me was the exclusion of my own personal favorite “Polkadots” (would have loved to see them hit those harmonies live), which I am sure will find its way into their set in their upcoming Goin’ Out West tour.
A final note--I would be cheating this review as a self-professed “low end music” lover if I didn’t take time out to specifically credit the Key Note Speaker rhythm section. Every time I hear these guys I increasingly believe that KNS would be just another indie-type rock band without Ed O’Brien (bass) and Joe Couden (drums). And Thursday they lived up to everything that has allowed me to create that pedestal, dead on and sharp as fuck. Thanks, guys, for being live all that you are on disc.
The show at the Croc opened with a relatively new local band, Llama; a very straightforward pop-rock trio, whose rhythm-driven songs--especially the vocals--reminded me of early Tom Petty. Professing to have been formed “out of necessity,” they are still building a catalog but worth checking out (songs posted: www.myspace.com/llamapage). Note: You may need to pay close attention. It would appear that they are still in the early stages of building a local following.
More on Llama: www.rustywilloughby.com/llama .
More on Peter Parker: www.myspace.com/peterparkerseattle.
More on Key Note Speaker: www.knspeaker.com / www.myspace.com/keynotespeaker.