Nightgowns and Makeup Monsters at EMP | 2 July 2009
The first Thursday of every month the Experience Music Project opens its doors and lets you in for free. The Frank Gehry architected museum that seems to float under the Space Needle is a curiosity that seems to verge on something of a tourist trap. Inside are some interesting tidbits of Pacific Northwest Rock ‘n roll history, some sci-fi memorabilia and and of course the building itself which is interesting to the eye if for no other reason than Mr. Gehryr refuses to build anything using straight lines. The place was packed, mostly with summer tourists trying to save a few bucks, but there was a whole bunch of people in the Sky Church part of the museum to see the Nightgowns and Makeup Monsters, both from Tacoma. The tourists probably outnumbered those to see gig, the line to see the Jim Henson Exhibit snaked through the skychurch, so whether or not they wanted to, families on vacation got their chance to hear the some Fabulous sounds of the Pacific Northwest while they waited to check out some muppets.
The Nightgowns, the headliners, had a tough act to follow. Michael Jackson videos were being projected larger than life on the wall behind the stage while they set up. Singer, Trevor Dickson, joked that they would be playing a bunch of unreleased MJ songs, so everyone should stick around. The Nightgowns, formerly known as the Elephants have just released their first album under their new name and it has elements melancholy elements of the 80’s like the darker, earlier OMD songs or current day Say Hi, but it also incorporates some playfulness that wouldn’t be out of place on an Elephant 6 record. The band switched up instruments a few times and keyboardist Cody Jones took lead vocals for a couple songs. The Nightgowns had no trouble filling the enormous Sky Church with their vaguely danceable indie pop. The album has a few real stand-out songs like Cosmic Clancy and Buoy and those got cheers from the audience, of which many must have made the short 30 minute drive up from Tacoma. The Nightgowns will be back up to Seattle on 7 August at the Sunset Tavern with fellow Tacoma residents Boat, a double bill not to be missed!
mp3: Nightgowns – Cosmic Clancy (from Sing Something)
Openers, the Makeup Monsters are a couple of 17 year old guys that are wise beyond their years as far as pop songs go. They came in fourth place in this year’s Seattle Sound Off , the annual Northwest battle of the bands for those under 21. The duo switched instruments often, each taking their turn as front man and drummer. Their minimalist indie-pop was catchy, but they seemed to get swallowed up by the enormity of the room. These guys probably would sound great on a side of vinyl, though at this point the Sky Church was a little too big for them, but they do seem to have the building blocks to become something special.