Under the Weather

Album Leaf + Under Byen + Arthur & Yu | Neumo’s| 3 July 2007

Arthur and Yu at Neumo’s, SeattleThis post will likely be a bit odd, since I seem to have caught a summer cold and have felt strange of late.  Summer colds…you’re not supposed to catch a cold in the summer, but alas I have and it’s probably worse than it could have been because I went out on Tuesday night to see Arthur & Yu open at Neumo’s for the Album Leaf.  If I was smart I would have left after their set and gone home to bed.  Like their album, their set was short, but excellent.  They have a full band with a second guitarist which seems to fill in a lot of the space that is on the record.  It’s not a bad thing, just different, even rocking out a bit on Afterglow.  Only one song from their set doesn’t appear on their album, not sure if it’s a cover or not.  The set list calls it 3 Horses,  is it a cover of the Joan Baez song?  Not a Baez fan, so I’m not sure.  Whatever it was it sounded just as good anything on In Camera. 

My curiosity was piqued with Under Byen so the music obsessive in me won out over the rational side which wanted to go home to bed. Under Byen were, um, a bit underwhelming.  In my mind, two drummers, and a cello player would seem to be a winning combination, but their set never really took off.  I hope that the band aren’t claustrophobic, because the stage was jammed full of people with the singer Henriette Sennenvalt sounding a bit like a pedestrian Bjork and treading very carefully about the stage.   They do have a cool sound, but they’re definitely not working in the realm of the pop song.  Each song was an experience in restrained experimentation. 

Album Leaf at Neumo’s, SeattleBy this time rational me is about ready to take over and call it a night, but not quite.  Album Leaf come onto what looked like a very sparse stage after the crowded Under Byne set up.  Jimmy LaValle has a full band with drummer and violinist, but no bass.  They also have a giant screen behind the stage to put pictures, and stuff on.  The songs are really engaging, especially when they go into the three part harmonies on a few of the songs.  It’s funny, with all their gear (stacks of key boards and electronics) it was the really the voices that really caught my attention.  I like the instrumental stuff well enough, but sing more guys! I couldn’t quite make it to the end, but it had nothing to do with Album Leaf, but I’m glad I stuck it out as long as I did.

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