Beth and I went down to Ballard last night to catch the Clientele at the Tractor Tavern. We got there with plenty of time to spare, so we went for dinner at a vegetarian Thai restaurant called Jhanjay. I can’t remember what Beth ordered, but I got the Tofu Paste Garlic Fried Rice. I don’t know what “tofu paste” is, and I’m not really a fan of garlic in Asian cuisine, but it felt like a good idea at the time. It turned out to be a delicious choice. It was probably the best fried rice I’ve ever had; great service, too. The best part, though, is that about halfway through our meal, the Clientele walked in. They copied us because we are on the cutting edge of Seattle-area dining trends and know all the good places.
Beth and I went over to Sonic Boom for a bit after dinner, but I couldn’t find anything. I found the Clientele’s House on Fire EP there a few visits ago, but it’s been a dry store ever since. Beth got some stuff, though. She usually does.
We walked back over to the Tractor Tavern. We got there in time to see the first opening act, a group called Surf City. Music-wise, I liked the band quite a lot. Their rhythm section was pretty good and their lead guitarist sounded a bit like he was in New Order circa 1981. I like that. Unfortunately, their vocalist ruined it all for me.
We went over to Bop Street Records at the setbreak, but they turned off all the lights on us for an in-store performance. Who turns off the lights for an in-store? We got out of there…which is a good thing, as the mold stink was already starting to stick to our clothes. That’s one record store that needs some Febreze.
The next band was called the Wooden Birds. Beth liked them because Matt Pond was their lead guitarist, but I thought they were kind of dull. Their lead singer was up there with Jay Farrar and Josh Rouse as the most boring frontmen I’ve ever seen. He kept saying, “Thank you for that,” in between songs. That got annoying after the fourth time. I liked their music best when the singer let the second guitarist in on the vocals. She had a nice voice and things were much more interesting when she stepped up to the mic.
The part about the Clientele should go here, but I’ve already written too much and my back hurts because Beth’s desk chair doesn’t have any support to it. All I really want to say right now is that the Clientele is a far more engaging live band than I ever would’ve suspected from the sleepy, rainy-day feel of their studio albums. I like those albums, but I mostly use them for walking to the library in the rain or lounging around the house in a cardigan. I wasn’t sure if that vibe would be interesting in a live setting. It was…a few people even danced.
Oh, I also want to say that Alasdair MacLean pronounces his band’s name “klee-ahn-tel“, not “klahy-uhn-tel“.
Here’s the setlist:
Main set: Bonfires on the Heath/Never Anyone But You/Somebody Changed/I Wonder Who We Are/Since K Got Over Me/We Could Walk Together/I Know I Will See Your Face/Reflections After Jane/Here Comes the Phantom/I Hope I Know You/Harvest Time/Lamplight/My Own Face Inside the Trees/The Garden at Night
Encore: Bookshop Casanova/A Picture of Dorian Gray (Television Personalities cover)