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John Vanderslice/The Double
October 1, 2005 - Crocodile Cafe - Seattle, WA
by Katie Sauro

Amidst the high-pitched squeals and screeches emanating from his fellow bandmates, David Greenhill stood staring out into the crowd, stoic and unmoving, eyes moving back and forth blankly, almost as if lost.

It was difficult to tell if he was simply concentrating on the music, waiting patiently for his cue to start thumping away on the bass fixed firmly in his hands, or if he was severely stoned. 

But, in any case, Greenhill, frontman for Brooklyn-based The Double, led a four-piece noise-rock orchestra of deafeningly loud thrash with a twist of synths, keys, and other unidentifiable electronic sounds.  Their set consisted of much of their latest release,
Loose in the Air, their first for prominent indie label Matador, home to the likes of Belle and Sebastian and Pretty Girls Make Graves. 

Despite Greenhill’s seeming lack of energy behind the mic, he and the rest of the band came alive as the set progressed, with keyboardist Jacob Morris punching keys with his palm at one point, and with his elbow at another, while keeping his other hand dancing over the keys. 

The boys rocked out hard, sending wave after thunderous wave of fast, swirling noise crashing against the crowd’s collective eardrums.  At times they were so loud that Greenhill’s voice was lost, the instruments bled together, and the distinct rhythms they started with began to form an indiscernible wall of sound that may have been a little much, especially for the indie-pop crowd that had gathered.  But most of the time, when they slowed it down a little and an actual melody could be heard, they sounded amazing, with Greenhill’s echo-y, faraway vocals floating over keyboards, Donald Beaman’s crunchy guitar riffs, and a very impressive Jeff McLeod on drums.

Headlining the show was indie hero and Barsuk mainstay, John Vanderslice.  After playing a solo set at Neumos earlier that night, he made his way down to the Crocodile for another.  With a spectacular backing band in tow, Vanderslice opened with the first three songs from his latest album,
Pixel Revolt, before launching into some of his older stuff, including the synth-heavy “Up Above the Sea,” the gritty guitar work and staccato vocals of crowd favorite “Pale Horse,” and my personal favorite JV song, “White Plains,” all from Cellar Door

Vanderslice is dynamic on stage, laughing and joking around with the audience, and even despite a less-than-perfect set (he had to stop and start again a few times, laughing it off), he is still so incredibly endearing, you can’t help but smile.  He dubbed himself an “anti-rock guy” after telling the crowd that he and the band were leaving the stage but that they’d be right back for an encore, and even announcing which songs they would play.  After playing three or four songs, including classics “Time Travel is Lonely” and “Me and My 424,” he told the crowd to stick around for the “crazy krunk dance party” after the show, and then left the stage clapping along and dancing to the rap beats blasting from the sound system.

This was only Vanderslice’s second date of his nation-wide tour, ending November 5th, before he takes off for Europe with labelmate Nada Surf.  The Double is playing with Vanderslice through the 8th of October.