Summer Circus: Lenore, Heather Edgley, Tobias the Owl, Season of Strangers
Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA

The festivity, wonderment, and allure of the big top came to Tractor Tavern as Heather Edgley curated the “Summer Circus,” a night of grand sights, spirited music, and daredevil feats. Independent musical and circus acts entertained the audience for a night of original art and captivating community.

Opening the night was the trio of Season of Strangers—think, the ethereal sound of Explosions in the Sky mixed with distortion rock. Mellow sounds and vocals at times gave way to moments of catharsis. It was certainly a nice wrinkle to compliment the other performers.

Tobias the Owl took the stage next with his 6-piece troupe. They have quickly established themselves as one of the strongest folk voices in the city. Their songs spanned the spectrum of emotion, mindfully offering their sound to the crowd.

Coming off the success of their album, Every Eye is a Universe, TtO’s set included many favorites such as the anthem “The Wind and The Echo” (featured in the animated movie, The Steam Engines of Oz) and the haunting “Murmurs.” Their ever-evolving band has added Alyssa Martini on harp and Rachel Cunha on vocals to add layers and depth to the already refined musicianship of the rest of their band.

They recently sold their last copy of Every Eye is a Universe and are now looking forward to the release of their next “owl-bum,” A Safe Harbor For Wayward Echoes, due out August 24th. The album includes collaborations with Ben Harper, Andrew Joslyn, and Gabriel Wolfchild. If their first single, “Let Go” is any indication of the quality of the rest of the album, it will be certainly one to watch out for.

In between each band was a unique circus-style performance from some very talented individuals. There were the AcroMusketeers perform feats of strength and flexibility, Flowpotion captivating the audience with her fluorescent light wands, and the impressive strength of rope performer Dana Orion.

One of the hardest working musicians in Seattle, Heather Edgley has performed at notable clubs including High Dive, Sunset, and Central Saloon. At the beginning of Heather’s set, she appeared in a ringmaster’s jacket and sequined top hat—a fitting outfit.

She is currently recording a new EP at Robert Lang Studios and gave some of these new songs a test run, including two that stood out. “Sky” was an inspiring song about weaving through depression with the central idea that “you are the sky and depression is the clouds.” And “Circus Lights” was almost a continuation of her tune “Chase The Music.” It explored the theme of pursuing her passion for music in the face of those who doubt her, kind of like joining the circus. She and her band are continually becoming a tighter unit and it showed with this mature performance.

Closing the night was Lenore. Their sound combined folk and pop, sometimes with the ghostly harmonies of Simon and Garfunkel and then pivoting to a raw, driving sound a la The Eagles or Fleetwood Mac.

Lead singers Rebecca Marie Miller and Joy Pearson were divine when their voices came together. “Ethers Arms” highlighted how their harmonies can be tender, yet disarming. This was a night featuring bands that have tangible chemistry, and Lenore has that in spades. In “The Sun,” each member was highlighted in each of the verses of this hard-driving tune. Their witty banter juxtaposed with their strong songwriting, Lenore effortlessly took the audience home with deep melodies and captivating stories.

Review and photos by Phillip Johnson

Summer Circus: Lenore, Heather Edgley, Tobias the Owl, Season of Strangers