Friday, December 2 turned out to be a frosty night, which made it easy to linger in the cozy confines of my favorite watering hole while I pre-gamed for the evening ahead. It’s always a good idea to have a couple extra beverages before venturing over to the all-ages Vera Project.
My timing was perfect. As I entered the building I was greeted with the opening chords of Pterodactyl’s “School Glue”, the first song on Spills Out and their opener for the evening. It’s a great song with a driving rhythm that grabs your attention with jangly chords and melodic vocals. Mixed in are a smattering of noise and nonsense for good measure.
I understand Pterodactyl isn’t that well known, but bands “on the come” typically do well at the Vera, and this was a light crowd. Light enough that the lead singer called a guy out for texting during the set. Luckily it wasn’t me. (For the record, I was Tweeting for their benefit, but my typing became more discrete after that.)
Though small, it was an enthusiastic audience, particularly for a place known for a lack of crowd involvement and applause. I credit this to the fact that it was also an older audience than I expected, which was a nice surprise. Pterodactyl’s contagious energy and fun spirit didn’t hurt either.
These guys are real pros too: they didn’t let the small turnout diminish their enthusiasm for their performance. They even had really funny stage banter, albeit courtesy of one of their fathers. He had emailed the band after a recent show with advice on how to “banter better” and sell more merchandise by giving song titles and the corresponding album on which the track appears, and where it is located for sale.
The Brooklyn band’s set was full of great music as well. “White Water” into “Thorn” made for one fuzzy, sonic, psychedelic, three-part harmony adventure. “The Break” was another song that really stood out in what was a great performance.
Upon final applause I hastily made my way for the door to head over to the Crocodile for The Sea and Cake.
Walking from Key Arena to Belltown at midnight on a Friday night is a transition, to put it mildly. The absolute solitude of our now-deserted city center had the feel of a cheesy apocalypse movie, but the lack of people and traffic made for swift foot commuting.
As I arrived, the absence of scarf-wrapped smokers tipped me off that The Sea and Cake had already started. Luckily I only missed the first song.
I shouldn’t have been surprised to see a near capacity crowd, but I found myself stuck in the back, transfixed. I hadn’t quite acclimated
from the free range viewing of Pterodactyl to the mass of people slowly churning to the beautiful sounds of The Sea and Cake.
This band’s fan base exemplifies the general accessibility of their music, and the positive vibe permeated all in attendance. They
flawlessly mixed material off the latest album with early stuff and even took requests from the crowd. One fan yelled out a song from 17 years ago, and, with a knowing nod amongst the players, the band jumped right in, which blew my mind.
Another thing that blew my mind was the bass part in their songs. They are clever and funky, and at times wicked fast.
The Sea and Cake are an amazing live band. Their performance kept me entranced the whole time. I’m so glad that I live in a city where I can walk between two venues and see two great bands in the same night.