A Night In the Paisely Underground

The Purrs at Neumos, Seattle | 21 June 2008
Green Pajamas at King Cobra, Seattle | 21 June 2005

Saturday night up on Capitol Hill the Paisley Underground came to life again for a brief fantastic moment. Not that any of those seminal Los Angeles bands like the Rain Parade, Three O’Clock, or the Long Ryders had reformed and were visiting, it was in fact two of Seattle’s very own in the Purrs and Green Pajamas. They weren’t playing together, that would have been nice, but they were playing across the street from one another. Both band’s websites said that they were on at 10:00 pm, poetentially making for a logistical impossibility to see them both. As I walked by King Cobra I spied on the door that the Green Pajamas wouldn’t be on until 11, so I hurried across the street to Neumos to see the Purrs who were in an opening slot for Tacoma’s Mono in VCF.

I walked in to the jangling buzz of She’s Got Chemicals from their latest self-released album the Chemistry That Keeps Us Together. The Purrs have a new rhythm guitarist who goes by Dr. Robert, and they seem all the better for it. Their short set really popped with ripping bass and vocals from Jima and shimmering beautiful lead guitar from Jason Milne. Go Cindy go and Miles Away were both just about perfect and hit that soft spot between Rain Parade and early Church, but it was the inclusion of a couple new songs especially the Fear of Flying, that have me anxiously awaiting a new release from one of Seattle’s best kept secrets.

The Purrs set was over in plenty of time to make it back across the street for the Green Pajamas who I had never seen before. They don’t play out too much and their website states that this date and one later this summer at the West Seattle Fair will likely be the only two live dates for them this year. The Green Pajamas are a band that for a newcomer, seem a bit daunting to get into. It’s not that their albums are spotty, on the contrary, most of them are pretty strong, it’s that they have so many of them. It’s like discovering the Fall or Robyn Hitchcock, where the hell do you start when you go to buy one of their albums? They have two best of cds, Indian Winter that focuses on their early career of releasing singles and cassettes and Through Glass Colored Roses which focuses on their later career, both are worth getting. If you want to start with an album I would recommend All Clues Lead to Meagan’s Bed. It’s from the late 90’s after they reformed, and is a solid album with good songs slathered in garagey psychedlia any of which would fit in nicely on the Children of Nuggets box set.

Since I am one of those newcomers. I wasn’t sure if I’d be familiar with everything they would play. At least I was pretty sure that I would like whatever they decided on, because of the quality of their albums. They ended up playing a good cross section of their later career. It seem like they picked something from nearly every one of their albums from the late 90’s and 00’s. She’s Still Bewitching Me from Seven Fathoms Down and Falling was a real highlight of the set with it’s Byrds sounding chorus and jangly guitar lead from Jeff Kelly. Joe Ross took his only lead vocal of the night on his song Dying to Love You from Strung Behind the Sun. Their wasn’t much dialog between songs, with the band preferring to play. They brought up a friend to play clarinet for Graduation Day which seemed to add a livelier dynamic to the stage. The biggest surprise of the night was Kim the Waitress as their final song. I figured that they’d never play it, since I’m use to jaded bands shying away from their old hit (especially since it was Material Issue that made it a hit). But that was certainly not the case with the band playing it without any irony whatsoever, and the small crowd totally lit instantly recognizing within it’s first chords. It was icing on the cake, especially for this newcomer to this prolific unsung Seattle band.

mp3: Green Pajamas – The Secret of Her Smile (from All Clues Lead to Meagan’s Closet)

mp3: Green Pajamas – Peppermint Stick (from Indian Winter)

Green Pajamas Set list:

One comment

  1. thedown5 · August 28, 2008

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