the Pilot Lights @ the Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater (3/23/11)

There’s a guy out in Seattle who thinks my name is David. I can’t hold it against him as I sort of look like a David and I’ve never bothered to commit his name to memory either. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but I ended up seeing this guy’s band at a little club called the Rendezvous the last time I was out in Seattle.

I must admit that I wasn’t expecting much going in. I got to the venue and sat down all grumpy. Then the Pilot Lights started their show and I was immediately taken by the singer’s voice.  It was striking and powerful and reminded me of another voice I’ve heard. I spent most of the night trying to figure out who she sounded like. It’s been bothering me for two months, but I still haven’t been able to figure out who it is. The best I can come up with right now is maybe a less grating Polly Harvey with a bit of Feist thrown in.

The important thing here isn’t who the singer sounded like. Those kinds of comparisons are usually worthless anyway. Let’s face it, a band fronted by a less grating Polly Harvey with a bit of Feist thrown in would probably be terrible. The important thing here is that the Pilot Lights weren’t terrible. I’m surprised to say it–as they’re relatively new and haven’t performed a lot of shows and one of their members thinks my name is David–but the Pilot Lights were actually pretty good. They have an impressive singer, intelligent lyrics, and all the band members seemed to know what they were doing instrument-wise. They were definitely worth $5. Yes, I sort of liked them.

I didn’t like everything, though. There was an incessant buzzing coming through the sound system for the entire show. It was annoying and I’m very surprised that the sound guy didn’t catch it and make the appropriate adjustments. The drummer was also way too loud for such a tiny space, but I ended up counting this as a positive. Sure, he was loud, but his drums sort of drowned out the sound system buzz. I’ll take drums over buzz any day.

I left the show in a far better mood than I’d been in when I’d arrived. I liked the Pilot Lights enough that I eventually decided to investigate them online and see if they had any music available for purchase. It says on the band’s MySpace and Facebook pages that they have an EP and other newer songs available and to contact them if you want a copy. I wrote the band and told them I was interested. They refused my request. They said NO. I wasn’t even trying to get something for free; I fully intended to give them money. I’ve tried to support dozens of up-and-coming bands, but that’s the first time any one of them has rejected me. It sort of hurt, but there’s always the possibility that they are super-cool and I’m not. The singer did, after all, have what appeared to be sound holes tattooed on her chest. You know, like on a cello or something. I can’t compete with that.

Here’s the setlist for the show.  I couldn’t figure out the titles for five four three of the songs, but I’ve included lyrical snippets for those.  Maybe I’ll be able to find out the real titles if I ever see that guy who thinks my name is David again. Until then, this will have to do:

1. I’d Rather Be Breathing
2. “We don’t make mistakes…”
3. The Sea Will Take Us Back
4. Good Intentions
5. “…she could feel it…gold and silver…”
6. Mr. Brickboy
7. Speak So Slight
8. “We fell off the deep end…”
9. Running Out

I’m sorry, but I didn’t take any proper pictures at the show. Here are a couple completely unrelated pictures that I took that same day, though. One’s of a cat and the other is of a scooter. I took a picture of the cat because she’s cute. I took the picture of the scooter because there was another identical scooter about 25 feet down the street. I took a picture of that second scooter, but it turned out all blurry. So you get one cat and one scooter.

brush me

ride me

[NOTE: This is the second and final post in my Forgotten Concerts series. The first post can be found here.]

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5 Responses to the Pilot Lights @ the Rendezvous Jewelbox Theater (3/23/11)

  1. phantomxii says:

    They actually turned you down when you wanted their EP? What the hell is up with that? Okay, back when I had a band, we did pass on a few requests from South America along the lines of “I am running the great indie rock ‘n’ roll station here in Los Mierdas, and we would like a free copy of your CD to be playing on our show!” But refusing to sell music to prospective fans? That’s got to be the most hipster thing I’ve ever heard of.

    • M-----l says:

      Have you ever heard the Todd Snider song called “Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues”? It’s about a band that achieves fame and riches by refusing to play. Maybe the Pilot Lights were inspired by that business model. They record and advertise, but refuse to sell.

  2. M-----l says:

    Woo hoo! The Pilot Lights got back to me with a link to their Bandcamp page that now features new songs. It turns out that they didn’t think I was a dork; they were just getting their songs ready.

  3. William says:

    Hey man, this is William from The Pilot Lights
    Just saw this review, over a year later…
    I really appreciate your thoughts, and intelligent input.
    I would like to invite you to one of our upcoming shows, and would love to hear your thoughts on how the band has grown/changed. We are playing July 2nd at the Funhouse, and July 29th at Chop Suey. Let me know if you will be in Seattle around either of those dates, and we can get you tickets.


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