|Adam Green/Kimya Dawson/The Gnomes
April 12, 2005 – Chop Suey – Seattle, WA
by Ashley Graham
April 12 and I just click. Last April 12 I was having the time of my life exchanging words with my favorite band, The Strokes, backstage after their show at the Paramount Theatre. This April 12 I saw two more of my absolute favorites join each other on stage for a set of some of my favorite songs. Amazing luck, I have.
With the addition of Kimya Dawson to Adam Green’s Seattle and Portland show line-ups I was hopeful, but I certainly wasn’t about to expect any sort of reunion. The morning after the Portland show I made no attempt to look online to see if they’d played together the previous night, I didn’t want to know. I wanted it to be a surprise.
And oh boy was it.
Kimya played an amazing set including songs from all of her solo work; most notably “Viva La Persistence,” “The Beer,” “Hadlock Padlock” and “Being Cool.” On stage Dawson is quiet and reserved. She makes shy comments to the audience littered with close friends and responds at one point with “I told you, Seattle makes me nervous!” Her songs never fail and with every quiet comment Dawson becomes more and more endearing and likable. Never is this more apparent than during the night’s version of “Parade,” from her most recent album Hidden Vagenda. She stops midway through to say “My mom’s been sick lately, but if she were here she’d say…” and then smiles and breaks into a shower-worthy version of Whitney Houston’s “The Greatest Love of All.” Sure, she doesn’t have Houston’s range and the high notes escape her but, dammit, she’s charming.
And the same goes for Green, but in a different way. Solo Green is detached. He keeps his cool; he does his slow motion dance moves, his hand gestures, his limited and disjointed banter. He is an entertaining performer and the production of it all is impressive. Seeing him in this way though, the audience knows Green is putting on the same show he’s put on countless times. The bunny ears that introduce “Bunnyranch,” the hip shakes during “Emily,” these are all just a part of the show and they’re endearing but they’re recycled. Green does crack a smile often and it is in these moments that he is most spontaneous.
All of that changes when Dawson returns to the stage. As a reunited Moldy Peaches, both performers change. Dawson becomes more chatty, more smiley, more excited. Green, on the other hand, becomes more reserved, quieter, shy even. The dynamic between the two is quite different than that of their previous solo sets. Dawson does most of the talking and Green laughs with the audience or puts in his two words here and there. Without having seen them in their original settings it’s impossible to know if this was always the case or if the last couple of years of solo work have changed them.
Nevertheless, the set is amazing. They play the absolute best of their, unfortunately, small catalog including “Jorge Regula,” “These Burgers,” “Who’s Got the Crack?,” “Rainbows,” “Lucky Number Nine,” “Downloading Porn with Davo,” “Anyone Else But You,” and a number of others. Both Green and Dawson, also playing with original Peaches members Steve Mertens, Justice Campbell and Jest Commons, are wonderful and vibrant. Dawson becomes quite the performer; dancing, screaming and squealing and it’s amazing to see her in this setting.
Everyone walking out of the venue had the brightest of bright smiles on their faces after this show, and if they continued in the pattern of this attendee, the smiles continued for days.
Phrases like “magical night” and “once in a lifetime” seem fitting to end this review. And I’m fairly certain I made similar comments about LAST April 12’s festivities. We’ll see what the next one holds.