Only $15 and a mile or two away in Ballard. What did I have to lose, going to the Tractor Tavern to see this band? Not much. Well, Stephin Merritt wasn’t there. Had I done a little research I would have learned he wasn’t part of this tour. He wrote the lyrics and most of the music, of course. Still a fun show, though it would have been nice to have him there to sing “Death Opened a Boutique,” which wasn’t part of the repertoire last night.
On the plus side, they did perform “She Devils of the Deep,” which I once decided was the very best song to play on a 15-hour solo drive back from Burning Man because you can shimmy around in the driver’s seat to this music and get some stretches and exercise.
It was fascinating to watch Chris Ewan play music master with his synths and MacBook. One little synth controller he used looked like a stylus with a mouse-like wire attached. It sounded kind of like a church organ with an occasional wah-wah effect. I stood next to the stage in front of him for part of the show. He looks like a kindly uncle with his balding head and thin white hair. Pretty much your dream uncle. Here’s a photo I took of Chris Ewen and Claudia Gonson, who served as primary vocalist and a kind of focal point for the band. Click to enlarge. Then listen to the great new song.