Sons and Daughters at Neumo’s, Seattle | 29 April 2007
Sons and Daughters new album was a total surprise to me. After not really connecting with their first two albums, I’d kind of written them off. Hiring ex-Suede guitarist Bernard Butler to produce the record seems to have been a genius move. It reminds me of when XTC got Todd Rundgren to twiddle the knobs for Skylarking, Andy Partridge to this day hates Rundgren. Not that he doesn’t like the album, it’s one of their best, but the working relationship was difficult to say the least. Sons & Daughters Guitarist Scott Paterson has said that he and Butler had shouting matches over how the guitars should sound on This Gift. I don’t know who won, maybe it was Butler. But in the end it was Sons and Daughters who really won because the guitars literally snap and slither out of the speakers. Butler’s production and Paterson’s giant leap forward in songwriting and playing have combined to take the band to next level.
Last night Paterson’s playing was totally ace, dressed a bit like one of his heroes Johnny Marr and playing a bit like him as well (think the title track from The Queen is Dead). He’s got the cool guitar moves and poses down too, but not in a overly studied way, it just looks like he’s having a blast playing his songs up on stage. Not one to let by a mere guitar steal the show, Adele Bethel was equal to Paterson’s riffs. It was hard to take your eyes off of her. Her big blue eye liner, over-sized Patti Smith Group t-shirt, glittery wrist bands, and tights combined into a Deborah Harry meets Wonder Woman kind of thing. Bethel’s stage presence would be enough to hold your attention, but her voice seals the whole deal. Sons and Daughter were firing on all cylinders last night, so it was funny when they told us that they’d heard Seattle crowds were tough. Somebody yelled out, ‘that’s because those other bands suck’. The comfortably filled Neumo’s certainly knew these guys didn’t suck, responding with pogoing, a little slamming and lots of hollering.
The songs from This Gift were the highlights of the show for me, but they played stuff from all three. Starting the show with Gilt Complex they kicked the energy level into the red right from the start. They didn’t really slow down the entire set, I don’t think they have a song that you could classify as a ballad, choosing to channel the energy of the Stooges (the riff from Chains is a direct descendant of Iggy’s Lust for Life) and Blondie. Ending the night with a blistering House in My Head, I was racing a 100 mph as I walked out into a cold Seattle rain.