Winter Solstice Masquerade with Sarah St. Albin, Heather Edgley, LuVolútion, and Yeah Okay
Conor Byrne, Seattle, WA
Seattle singer-songwriters Sarah St. Albin and Heather Edgley have stirred up quite the buzz with a recent run of themed concert evenings. In October, they hosted “A Night in Neverland,” that brought an array of fantasy and fairy tale characters to the Jewel Box Theater in Belltown. This time, Ballard’s Conor Byrne Pub was transformed into a ballroom full of mysterious souls for their “Winter Solstice Masquerade.”
Opening the night was the trio of LuVolútion, fronted by lead singer Brooke Haze. She had a charming stage presence with flowing red locks and emotive looks. Conor Byrne is a small venue and their sound overpowered the size of the room, especially when Haze hit her apex notes, but it was only a couple of moments through their set. The band laid in the shadows and provided a perfect complement to her energy. Their sound arced from dark piano-pop to pure jazz in one move, reinforced by Haze’s sultry, versatile voice.
During the break, we were treated to an unorthodox act within a concert; an improv troupe called Yeah Okay. It was a bit unusual and unfortunately, the bar wasn’t so attentive, but they had their moments. Their main vignette had to do with Illuminati, tacos, and initiation, with a hype guy who played some horrible piano. Their set was a classic “you had to be there” moment, but they did induce some belly laughs.
Heather Edgley is a dreamer and a doer, which may sound like I an advertisement, but it’s true. A self-taught pianist, she is making her way through the Seattle music scene with her brand of Baroque piano-driven pop. Adorned in a blue gown and black, almost spider webbed, masquerade mask, Edgely took the audience on a journey through the pretty and gritty of her recent life.
She was very earnest in her performance, allowing her melodies to glide along with her soulful voice. The stories she shared took a deep dive through life themes of risk, love, loss, and perseverance. While most of her songs leaned toward the tender sound of piano pop, the first song that struck me was “Not Like A Movie.” It was a relatable track, for anyone who has ever compared their own life to a motion picture, about how expectations and reality are rarely the same, and how love lets us down. The beat of the song was more a rock rhythm that highlighted the sharp on-beats of the chorus.
The highlight of the night was “Chasing The Music,” less for its beautiful tune, more for its story of an independent musician laying it all on the line to pursue their passion. Telling that story in a song was a lovely tribute to the beginning of a daring journey.
The night’s co-host, Sarah St. Albin, took the “masquerade ball” theme and sprinkled some stardust on it, appearing in a shimmering jumpsuit that made her look like the child of David Bowie a la Ziggy Stardust and Lady Gaga…Lady Bowie. The beginning of St. Albin’s set highlighted her solid band—guitarist Marcelo Segura, bassist Andrew Duncan Gemkow (who performed with Heather and Sarah, with ferocity and spunk), and drummer Ryan Hendrickson. They started the evening on a light note, playing the Mario Brothers theme, and they pulled it off with relative ease. There was a lot of video game jumping in the bar.
St. Albin has established herself in the local music scene as a budding songwriter of introspective, piano-based pop music. Her EP, Small Voice, was released just over a year ago and she has been carousing around local venues and festivals, such as the Seattle Acoustic Festival.
It was a balanced set that she delivered to the masked audience. While her sound centers around ballads, she performed some upbeat numbers as well, including “Juliet,” off her EP. The Sarah Barielles-esque story is of Romeo and Juliet from Romeo’s perspective. From there, she slowed it down with the heartfelt ballad, “If I’m Being Honest.”
St. Albin also did a pair of impressive covers. It is difficult, and rarely successful, to cover Radiohead, but she has cultivated her version of “Burn The Witch” to the point of it being a staple of her performances. Finally, she ended the night away from the piano, melting faces with the Heart classic, “Barracuda.”
Together, St. Albin and Edgley treated their faithful Seattle fans to a night of wonder, costumes, and escape, bringing life to the piano and sharing their stories through their songs. Don’t miss their next themed show: Flappers & Dappers: A Prohibition Party on January 25th at the Rendezvous.
Review and photos by Phillip Johnson
Sarah St. Albin