Mary Onettes at the Sunset Tavern, Seattle | 10 May 2008
If you’ve heard of the Mary Onettes, you’ve probably heard how they’re a total throwback to the 80’s and the Cure, Jesus & Mary Chain, U2 and the Icicle Works. That takes me back to my high school years of listening to all of those bands and always getting weird looks or derogatory comments for the music was that I was into. Sure, I had a few friends (they were usually girls) that were into the same stuff, but for the most part my Midwestern school mates thought the stuff was just not cool. The Mary Onettes kind of get the same treatment. If it’s not for sounding too 80’s then they seem to be derided for sounding too emotional with the vocals and guitars soaring a little too much. Then as now I thought it was the detractor’s loss.
The Mary Onettes album was released last year on Labrador and it’s not very often bands from that Swedish label make it over here to the States and even less often that they make it to the west coast. The enthusiastic crowd at the Sunset Tavern seemed to appreciate that these Swedes had made the trek to Seattle on their inaugural tour of the US. Every song was met with cheers and you could tell that people were totally into the show, calling out for songs, and singing along to most every song. I was actually a little surprised at how good they were. The album, has its good moments, but is a little bit over produced with some of the slower songs sounding a little same-y. Live, you see how good they really are. Singer Philip Ekstom has a great voice and he totally belts it out, but the entire band is tight with the double guitar attack of Ekstrom and Petter Aguren (Fender and Rickenbacker) darting back and forth over top of one another. I was looking forward to the Mary Chain-ish Lost and the Cure-like Void, but the song that totally floored me was Under the Guillotine. Ekstrom’s vocal was channeling Bono and Ian McNabb while the Chameleons-like guitar just put it over the top. I was in heaven, or rather 1985 again and it was pretty damn great!
Openers, the Hotels were cool in a tightly wound Oingo Boingo, Thomas Dolby kind of way. They’ve got a sense of humor, each wearing bell boy clothes with name tags. They like to get into a very tight groove, with the drummer’s hands mostly a blur for most of the set. They were giving away a free three song ep which I picked up and have been enjoying quite a bit. On record they show little more Chicago post-rock influence to their sound…Looking forward to the full length from this Seattle band.
Rest of the Mary Onettes US dates:
May 12 Hi Dive – Denver, CO
May 13 Recordbar – Kansas, MI
May 14 The Bluebird – St Louis, MI
May 15 Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL
May 16 My Old Kentucky Blog @ Radio Radio – Indianapolis, IN
May 17 Garfield Artworks – Pittsburgh, PA
May 19 Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
May 20 M Room – Philadelphia, PA
May 21 DC9 – Washington, DC
May 23 Union Hall – Brooklyn, NY
May 24 Middle East – Boston, MA