Saturday night I found myself tucked away in a cramped corner of a packed Habesha Lounge. Part Ethiopian restaurant, part bar, and part venue, Habesha is a quaint spot full of variety and colorful characters, and the bill that night was built to match.
Comprised of Grandhorse, Tomten and Dedere, the line-up was a diverse one. The show functioned as a tour kick-off for Grandhorse and Dedere, who will be hitting the road for the next 10 days. As for Tomten, Saturday night's show served as the tail end of a mini-tour where they hit Spokane, Boise, and Portland.
Dedere at Hebesha
First up was Dedere, playing a heavy brand of post pop complete with pensive, melancholy songwriting. The band -- who traditionally has been a three-piece -- played as a four-piece, featuring a second guitar to help round out their sound. Dedere played a few songs off their new record which is in the works, with some stand-outs being "Hollywood Future Plans" and "Sacramento".
Tomten at Habesha
Seattle's Tomten came next, which was quite a departure from what we had just heard. My brain was having trouble adjusting to the crazy shift in tone from the first act to the second. Where Dedere ripped our hearts out, Tomten gazed at our hearts from afar and sat in fields with them. Tomten played their light, catchy style of baroque pop in the vein of acts like Belle & Sebastian, Camera Obscura, and even early, psych-poppy Rolling Stones. Their single "Pipe Dream Boy" was particularly striking.
Grandhorse at Habesha
Grandhorse closed the night out with a set full of psych-pop jams. The majority of the set was newer material, which is a bit slower and dreamier than the stuff off their debut album, Portraiturefolio. It's still coated in the same lush, gooey, hazy tones, but it's almost as if it was stretched out like a big ol' psychedelic taffy. It all strikes a nice balance, though, giving the set upbeat, danceable portions ("Short Drive With A Kidnapper") as well as introspective, jammy tracks to daydream to ("Port Townsend" for example). All in all, a fitting ending to a night showcasing a rich variety of styles.
Check out the rest of the photos from the show here!
- Alexie Shishkin