Kelley Stoltz and the Essex Green ended their mini west coast tour in Seattle last night to a pretty empty Crocodile. It certainly couldn’t have been the rain keeping people away. Stoltz seems to be one of those numerous under-appreciated solo artists making his way through the hyper trendy indie world. Sauntering on stage looking like he just woke up, with his messed up hair and half a beard. His personality is dry and deadpan, but his songs are earnest and very immediate.
About half of his set consisted of brand new songs, which he said would be on his new record sometime this fall. Two or three of the new ones he played had killer pop hooks, and he seemed genuinely excited to play them. The new songs seemed to be done in a bit more of a straight forward style, with a couple sounding bluesy. The rest of the set came from his last record Below the Branches with the exception of Are You Electric from Antique Glow. I could hear Memory Detector and Birdies Singing every day and never tire of them and both were worth the price of admission. His band was tight musically though a bit stiff otherwise, I guess they figure it’s Stoltz’s show. The band did loosen up for the last number, bring members of the Essex Green back up to join them in the Theme from Welcome Back Kotter.
The Essex Green sounded so good, you could tell that they have been touring these songs for over a year. Sasha Bell has a great voice and it goes so well with Jeff Baron’s mellow croon. They covered nearly all of Cannibal Sea which was fine with me since it was one of my favorite records last year. The opened with the same one-two as the record, This Isn’t Farm Life and Don’t I Know Why. Mrs Bean from Everything is Greencould have been the highlight of the show with the band kicking off the dust and really making a jam of it, but Sin City and Rue De Lis were also very beguiling. They ended their set with a cover of Flying Burrito Brothers’ Older Guys and closed with the funky Cardinal Points. Live it seemed like the Essex Green’s country influences came out a bit more and it really added to the songs. They must be really big Flying Burrito Brothers fans, doing the Older Guys cover and also naming one of their songs Sin City. It’s funny how seeing a band live can make you like and appreciate them so much more, and that’s what seeing Essex Green did for me.
Check out a few more photo’s from the show after the jump.