« Murder Party/Modern Arms/Die Fledermaus »

The Sunset, Seattle, WA, March 16, 2008.

Despite the auspicious surroundings of The Sunset, three up-and-coming bands put on a great show this relatively quiet Sunday evening in Seattle, highlighting unique sounds for the few in attendance.

Kicking off the bill were show organizers Die Fledermaus, whose trademark Chambergrass sound filled the venue with banjo, guitar and cello.  At their strongest for the song She Always Walks Alone,” Die Fledermaus brilliantly blurred the line between classical and Americana by seamlessly mixing the sounds of baroque chamber music with the twang of the South.  Co-vocalists Dan Yost and Benjamin Newton nailed their complicated originals behind Yosts guitar virtuoso and Newtons inventiveness on the banjo and ukulele.  Their cheeky remake of A Little Less Conversation was also a highlight, as it put a clever spin on a classic song.

Next up was Modern Arms.  Forged out of an appreciation for country storytelling and classic rock musicianship, this four-piece band showed off its chops with beefy guitar solos and excellent drumming.  Though its vocalist was a little out of sync with the rest of the band, Modern Arms delivered fresh interpretations of a somewhat clichéd sound.

Finally, Murder Party took the stage to play what turned out to be one of their last shows ever, since breaking up to pursue other projects.  Though it wasnt readily apparent that they wouldnt be together much longer, Murder Party played with the urgency of a band with nothing to lose.  After dedicating their set to guitarist Lino Fernandezs grandmother, they were awesome to rock through their psychedelic-fuzz set.  Of particular interest were Margaret Rasmussens vocals which, normally drowned by the sound of the rest of the band, were crisply on display tonight.  Creative bass lines by Susan Williams countered Fernandezs staggering musicianship on guitar and keyboard, especially in Song 3.”

Such diverse sounds made this an evening to truly enjoy, and hopefully Seattle will see much more from Die Fledermaus and Modern Arms.  As for Murder Party rest well, as we hardly knew ye.

-Review by Rob Bergquist;
photo by Ashley Oaas

This article originally appeared in the West Coast Performer.

&dagger  This turned out to be the last show for 922 days, much shorter than ever.”
&Dagger  The break up was short lived, obviously.

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