Motopony w/ Shelby Earl
Victory Studios, Seattle, WA
The stage at Victory Studios screams Seattle, where vintage influences meet modern charm. And it was an ideal setting for Band in Seattle featuring great local music from the lovely Shelby Earl and the enigmatic Motopony.
Up first, Earl walked on stage with a beaming smile and seemed genuinely surprised by the smoke effects. “I’m glad I wore my flight suit today,” she exclaimed when the smoke startled her into small hop in her all white one-piece jumpsuit. When it comes to her music, the word that comes to mind is no-nonsense. Earl carried herself with the air of classic female rockers like Joan Jett, Pat Benatar and Patti Smith.
As with many other musicians, pain was a common theme of Earl’s set. “Sea of Glass” took us on a heart-wrenching journey of someone who just wanted to be loved by someone they knew would put them through pain. But she had some great transitions, “Time to go from sad to sexy,” she said as she went from “Like I Do” to “Stay With Me Tonight,” a song she affectionately described as a “baby-making song.” It was sultry with a smooth groove. Transition successful.
Motopony was more of an experience than just a performance. One of the more recognizable musicians in the Seattle music scene, lead singer Daniel Blue was as charismatic and evocative as they come. His facial expressions and movement drew the crowd in, and with a new lineup of solid musicians behind him, the entire set had plenty of energy and spanned the emotional spectrum.
Their opener, “A Little Death,” was a hard driving song with plenty of spirit, dark lyrics contrasting its lighter sound. Blue displayed an endearing sense of vulnerability while talking about losing his mother to cancer and how even after something like that, “things could get worse,” when something reminds him of her. In “She Is Spirit,” he harkens back to her advice and musings.
After performing crowd favorite, “Wait For Me,” Blue brought them all together by proclaiming his love for Seattle, even with affordability going down the toilet and all the change that is occurring, he pointed to the crowd and told them that they are what matters. The community is what is beautiful, and it is on us to spread that love.
Their last song, “Impending Doom,” described the end of the world, but the focus was on highlighting each member of the band individually. The sheer musicality and intensity that each put into their instrument was evident and added to the raw and genuine quality of their performance.
The end of the show left guitarist Tim Graham and Bassist Joseph de Natale on the floor creating distortion and Blue throwing his guitar, only to come back on stage to present a Sparkling Ice (one of Band In Seattle’s sponsors), crack it open, and drink it in the most epic fashion one can drink a Sparkling Ice. As I said before, Motopony is an experience, and it was a fitting end to quite the night.
Review and photos by Phillip Johnson