Spinning Whips / Wild Powwers / Country Lips
Live @ Tractor Tavern
May 14, 2016
Words by Gary Horn
Photos by Rich Zollner
When you see a show billed at the Tractor with the Country Lips headlining, you half expect The Gourds and Steven Tyler to be involved. That was not the case on May 14, no sir. The Tractor had other ideas – lull you in the door just to karate chop you like GI Joe with the kung fu grip.
Spinning Whips opened the night with attention-grabbing feedback then spent the next 30 minutes delivering post-punk rebellion rock. Jordan West (vocals & guitar) was constantly in motion, hair flying between bouts at the microphone alternating between high pitched screams and guttural growls. The juxtaposition carried over into their music as well. Power chords were paired with rim shots, heavy guitar distortion was married with maracas, and (my favorite) a tambourine was coupled with the speed metal vocals of Claire Weaver. The only noticeable bummer was that their solos were both few and short.
Next was Wild Powwers, a band NadaMucho.com included in our list of “41 Seattle Bands We’re Watching in 2016.” Comprised of Lara Hilgeman (guitar and vocals), Lupe Flores (drums and vocals), and Jordan Gomes (bass), this trio of seasoned Seattle musicians brandished a fast, driving sound with vocals that somehow seemed to lull you as well. There was a lot of synchronized guitar and bass, conveying a humble yet confident sound. They made the night extra special by celebrating multiple band member birthdays and world-premiering their latest original, “Bull Shit.” Take a listen.
Headliner Country Lips is an 8-piece local favorite that walks a fine line between “traditional” country and “let’s get this f-ing party started” country. “Trailer sludge” seems like an apt description.
The band’s songs are instantly likeable, filled with southern accents and long drawls that left you wondering if the band was actually being sarcastic. The perfect example was “Grizzly Bear Billboard” (CD release in August, show audio below), self-described as “about a specific person, part love lost and part nostalgia with lots of memories and reflection, some bad but mostly good.” Their sound was both clean and full, turning the Tractor Tavern into square dancing mosh pit.
The lineup had a wide variety of genres, both interesting and exhausting, and everyone left with a smile, sore feet or both.