I used to think “completionist” was a word. I learned a few years ago that it’s gibberish; the real word is “completist”. But that has nothing to do with anything. What I really want to talk about is the fact that I’ve been on Vox and WordPress for over four years and I’ve documented every live musical performance I’ve witnessed during that time. A quick look at my “concert reviews” tag turns up 67 posts.
Well, I must admit that I haven’t actually documented every concert. There should be 69 concert reviews, not 67. I skipped over two shows I went to during my most recent trip to Seattle back in March. I had my reasons for skipping them, but I’ve felt bad about it for most of April and May. Yes, this is the kind of thing that bothers me. Maybe I really am one of those words I mentioned at the beginning of this post. Or maybe I’m something else entirely.
So I’ve decided to go back and write about the two missing shows.
The first one was by a Swedish folk band called Väsen. The trio consists of Roger Tallroth on 12-string guitar, Mikael Marin on viola, and Olov Johansson on a traditional Swedish instrument called the nyckelharpa. They played at Seattle’s Town Hall, a beautiful old church that reopened as a performance hall in the late 90s. It’s got vaulted ceilings and a dome that somehow combine to give the place great acoustics for live music.
The show took place on a Sunday night. Neither of us really wanted to go. It was one of those nights that are usually better served by staying in with pizza and a movie. I hate wasting money, though, so I insisted we head down to Town Hall so we’d at least get something for the $36 already spent on the tickets.
So we went on down and saw the Väsen show. I’m very glad we went. Although I’d never heard this kind of music before, I must admit that I liked it. All of their songs were instrumental and most of them seemed to be polska. That’s a kind of traditional music that typically accompanies partner dances in Sweden and the surrounding countries. There was a wedding polksa, a polska about a botanist, a polska about Indiana, etc. I think they may have even played “Eklunda Polska #3” (shown here in a video recorded in California the night before):
Despite the fact that this was music for dancing, not a single person danced at Town Hall. That’s sort of a shame as the music had a driving pulse to it that really made me want to get up and do a jig or something. It didn’t happen, though. We all sat quietly in our pews and showed the band unprecedented respect. Nobody spoke. I didn’t see a single person whip out their phone or take a picture the entire night. This was probably the politest, most well-behaved audience I’ve ever been a part of. If you ever want to see a concert without all the annoying people, just go see traditional Swedish music performed in an old refurbished church. If you want to dance to it, be sure to buy the CD and do it in the privacy of your own home.
Here are two pictures taken outside the venue after the show. I’ve also included scans of the ticket, a promotional flyer, and an information sheet about the band.