St. Marks Cathedral, Seattle, WA
A lack of instruments and an outpouring of emotion, CATHEDRALS went full-on a capella for their twelfth event, live from St. Mark’s. The Capitol Hill, Seattle church was the scene of the criminally-good vocal crop, a roster of local artists giving one-of-a-kind performances against a backdrop of stained glass and reverb, to a blanket-toting audience.
The night kicked off with Nouela O Johnston (Bardot) and a graceful rendition of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” and then DuWayne “DJ” Phinisey brought out a finger-snapping, soulful cover of Rihanna’s “Needed Me,” getting everyone grooving along. Hope Simpson, of Ever So Android, nervously approached and yet delivered the kind of chill-inducing performance that is hard to beat. Sia’s “Elastic Heart” was expressive and original, and then, yeah, she went there with Edith Piaf’s “Rien de Rien.” Portland’s Kelli Schaefer did a couple of new songs – accompanied by three other vocalists in harmonies – that struck a very atmospheric, droning vibe.
After a short break, The Banner Days (Bradford Loomis & Beth Whitney) compiled what felt like an endless medley, including “Steal Away to Jesus,” “Blue Moon,” and “The Lion Sleeps Tonight.” Their four-part harmonies were both sweet and deeply impressive, flaunting eyebrow-raising bass notes. Seattle’s Maiah Manser then took the stage with six backup singers, for a flawlessly-delivered palette of sound. Closing out the night’s affair was Adra Boo (Fly Moon Royalty), barefoot and full of spunk. She opened with Prince’s “Condition of the Heart,” noting that it was probably the first song she ever memorized. She followed with two tracks from Fly Moon Royalty’s recently released sophomore full-length Delicious Trouble, a rollicking, soulful set that had the audience giggling at the truth-spewing lyrics, and Adra giving more attitude than is fair for one person to own. She ended by bringing out all the other performers pulling everyone into her community sing-along with the crowd.
To keep an eye on more CATHEDRALS events, check out Abbey Arts.
Review by Stephanie Dore
Photos by Sunny Martini