The Complex Dialect w/ Dude York, Whitney Mongé, and The Hollerables
Showbox, Seattle, WA

It was quite the night at The Showbox as The Complex Dialect, an 8-piece music collective out of Seattle, celebrated the release of their debut album, Change. Supported by a lineup of buzzworthy openers, it was a night of local music through and through.

First up were The Hollerables. A hip-hop group started by Amos Miller, they were up on stage looking to have one thing: fun. With analog gear and a 16-bit sampler, they brought a fresh take on 90’s hip-hop to the masses. Stand out of the night was “Please Don’t Turn My Music Down,” an anthem that we all can relate to when it comes to the volume of our tunes.

Moving along, we got straight up rock n’ roll from Whitney Mongé. A staple of the local music scene for quite some time, Mongé has established herself as a force in the community by crafting a style of rock and soul that resonates. On tracks like “Get Gone,” a deep groove got feet tapping and then shifted to “Crash,” on which she broke into a jam session with her band and got the crowd head-banging. She is quickly becoming a must-see artist around Seattle.

The final opener was “America’s Band,” Dude York. The trio of Claire England (bass, vocals), Peter Richards (guitar, vocals), and Andrew Hall (drums, vocals), exploded from the beginning of the set with their distorted, morose power pop. Their sound was bright, but their songs touched upon serious and emotional subjects. Whether it was the struggles of simply asking for help in “Black Jack” or the debilitating effects of losing someone in their closing song “Paralyzed.” Richards’ relentless energy and England’s reserved cool were a great compliment to each other and they definitely got the crowd warm for the headliner.

Made up of a solid backing band combined with three very different vocalists, The Complex Dialect are a band that does not adhere to convention. Guitarist Earnie Ashwood described their music as, “socially aware, multi-genre, and complex.” Their debut album, Change, is a two-part album focusing on problems and solutions. Covering such sensitive topics as police brutality, capitalism, the tense political climate, and racism, it is certainly something to behold and has something that most everyone can relate to.

The set started with the in-your-face sensory experience of “Radar.” While clips of watershed civil rights moments flashed across the immense LED wall at the back of the stage, vocalist Adam Cignatta the charge of this metal-funk anthem about the hate and violence of the present day.

Lola Campbell slowed things down with her soulful styling of “Looking For a Friend for the End of the World.” Companionship, friendship, and community are more important than ever in a divisive world and this song spoke to being “distracted by the antidote, there is no cure” and “it is beautiful from far away, hold my hand and tell me that it is ok.”

With an incredible ability to flow and rhyme, Michael “Deadmics” Kindelan burst onto the stage with boundless energy. He unleashed amazing multi-syllable rhymes onto the crowd during “Rude,” a song about the impoverished, their struggles and aspirations, and how they should be treated.

The band was flexible and able to play so many different genres of music to fit the ever-changing styles of the collective. Led by Ashwood, they between alternative rock, funk, metal, and soul without missing a beat.

The CD have strong opinions and are passionate about the social issues that affect our time. Eight musicians brought eight different perspectives and the result was a melting pot of styles. They were grateful to release their music in such a historic space and were obviously proud to honor such a unique and honest album by leaving it all on stage.

Review and photos by Phillip Johnson

The Complex Dialect, Dude York, Whitney Mongé, The Hollerables