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  • Andrey Psyche

Lizzie Weber creates eclectic night of dynamic music

March 21st, 2019: The Sunset Tavern

Once again, The Sunset managed to be a breeding ground for groundbreaking music on Thursday night, thanks to Lizzie Weber, Among Authors, and Leah Lawson.

On March 21st, Lizzie Weber put together a set that would stun the audience. Unfortunately, the turnout was less than expected. When I arrived at The Sunset, there was barely anybody present. No line, just a couple people waiting for their tickets. After spending a few moments chatting with the bands, the start time of 7:30 p.m. came and went.

There were talks that suggested they would push the start time to 8:00 p.m., so I decided to take a short walk and enjoy the pleasant weather we’ve been having. The good news was, when I came back, there was a small crowd. The bad news: Leah Lawson was preparing her last song.

Lawson’s final song, “Kids,” featured a quiet guitar with just enough reverb to create a ghostly presence of a melody. A soft voice slowly gained momentum; lyrics full of rich imagery kept the room quieter than an abandoned house. Lawson used emotion as a sharp blade that reminded me of Julien Baker with a country twang peppered in.

After Lawson’s spectral tunes, Among Authors took over the stage with a thunderous entrance. Setting up a melodic atmosphere that engulfed every observer in that room was a breeze with the mountain of pedals at their disposal, and they wasted no time doing it. As soon as they hit the stage, the crowd’s attention could not escape their clutches.

Frontman Ian Ketterer’s face was the embodiment of a man possessed by music. His face contorted, his body jerked, and his voice exerted haunting tones that triggered something primal deep within. At times, the band set up a gentle melody that led us deeper into the lyrics, then, at the drop of a hat, the drums came crashing through like the Kool-Aid man, and the only thing that remained from the vocals were the heart wrenching screeches that managed to pierce through every layer of wailing guitars, robotic synths, and tumultuous drums. Playing with extreme contrast of the dynamics created an alluring sound that hooked in and refused to let go.

The atmosphere was still hot after Among Authors left the stage, but soon, Lizzie Weber wiped the slate clean and brought us back down with grounded instruments and earthy vocals that mimicked the whispers of temperate winds.

Weber started her set on the piano, performing “Falling Like Fools” with a viola and violin accompanying her. The subtlety of the strings merged together with Weber’s voice and lyrical context to leave images of pillow-talking lovers, setting the tone for the remainder of the show. Weber’s use of instruments and vocal range forced you to close your eyes and sit into your emotions. She weaved love into the air and told stories of growth, trying to find herself, leaving her comfort zone, and long-distance relationships, all the while keeping a light-hearted banter with her audience.

Weber set a lovely tone with the strings at the start, and then she added a guitar into the mix to perform “Heart-Shaped Box,” by Nirvana. Slowly building complexity in her sound, she performed her song, “You,” and added a few more elements: Phil Hamilton on drums — who also plays for Datenite — and Eli Moore of Lake on bass.

With every song, she managed to build up a bigger and wider soundscape. Just as I would feel like she was missing something, she introduced it the very next song, including harmony with Lana McMullen of Lyle, near the end of the night.

There was one thing that I didn’t even know I was missing: during her performance of “Blood Meridian,” something unexpected escaped her lips. For just a moment, she let out her entire chest voice, and, with it, the power to shatter glass. But, it was soon shackled behind her calm, cool, and collected voice just as quickly as it managed to escape.

This night came and went like it never happened. The stage was filled with endless magic and then poof —  gone in a split second.

Originally written for Dan's Tunes Seattle

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© 2018 Andrey Psyche

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