Last night Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground played the recently re-opened Crocodile in Seattle. Croc 2.0 is gorgeous. The back bar is huge and well staffed; it didn’t take long to get a PBR. All the fixtures and finishes, from the balcony to the men’s room, are first class. The new, wide stage also suited Kay Kay’s large ensemble perfectly.
I counted 11 members in the troupe for last night’s performance. A violin, melodica, euphonium, lead guitar, trumpet, bass, backing singer and drummer joined the familiar of core of Phil on cello, Kyle on keys and Kirk fronting the band and playing guitar.
The Crocodile features an amazing lighting setup. Unfortunately, no one ran the board during the set. The band was draped in red lights for the entire performance. While the lights were bright and covered the entire stage, I found it difficult to create a variety of styles with my exposures. What I didn’t realize was that the harsh lighting acted as a de facto red filter. The results I pulled off my memory card were ripe for creating black & white images in post with Adobe Photoshop CS4’s calculations feature.
Most of Kay Kay’s set comprised of songs from their debut album, Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground. The performances were as tight and polished as ever. After several of years of playing together, the band makes executing a near flawless performance look easy while still being relaxed and having fun on stage. The whole ganged stomped along in unison at the end of “Simon Courage Flees the Coop” and at one point Phil even bowed his cello while laying on the floor.
Kay Kay also debuted several new tracks from their forthcoming album, Introducing Kay Kay and His Weathered Underground. Songs included “My Friends All Passed Out” (mp3), “Diggin” and a song that I think is titled “Dirty Motherfuckers.”
I was near the front for most of the show. Ask any “taper” and they’ll tell that the optimal sound in any given club is where the audio guy runs the board. Since the recording medium I chose was visual, not audio, I compromised and got near the lip of the stage. With the main speakers behind me, I heard a mixture of the live band, monitors and house PA echoing off the back wall. The sound was still pretty good, and certainly better than being up front at The Moore. Once I moved a few feet back, the room sounded great. For a club, I still think Neumos has the best sound anywhere in the room. If you disagree, feel free to leave a comment and tell me how wrong I am.
BONUS: Michigan State University, Seattle Campus
Before Kay Kay ever took the stage, several Spartan Seattleites gathered at Spitfire in Belltown. The Michigan State men’s basketball team staged one of the greatest March Madness comebacks in recent history. Despite the fact we were only steps away from the Space Needle, the amount of green and white present made the bar feel like East Lansing. Thankfully, it still smelled like Seattle.
Overheard: “That’s just like the flag my roommate hung in our Brody dorm room.”
Overheard: “I’d totally murder a Wolverine for some Big 10 Burrito right now.”
Overheard: “The last time I was surrounded by this many excited Spartans I was at The Dollar.”