Oh, I did feel sorry for them, my beloved Starlight Mints, I did. To play Seattle on the hottest day here EVER in recorded HISTORY, on a Wednesday night too, well, damn. That is some rough luck. I felt sorry for me as well because it was so hot I worried the show might be canceled. This band doesn’t tour very often and I’ve never seen them and I really really like them and and and…WAAA! People here just aren’t used to this kind of 100-degree-plus temperatures and err buddy FREAKIN’. But after getting the kiddies tucked into bed, I figured heading in fashionably late would : A. Let the temp cool to maybe 90 or so, and B. Save me the extra hell of standing in a sauna (The Crocodile Club) for the two opening bands.

Shows what I know. At 9:30PM, after doors opened at 8PM, it was still 95 outside, GOD KNOWS WHAT inside the club, and NONE of the bands had been on yet. AW! Fail. Hey, I figured, like a good suburban mom, that people go to work n’ shit on a Thursday morning and they’d start the show early on a weeknight. HA HA. I forget sometimes, I do. It’s been awhile since I haven’t had to consider any morning responsibilities or not wake up with the puffy eye debauched look from a simple night out.

I had never been to The Croc before, a legendary Seattle club that re-opened earlier this year after being shuttered for some time. The staff were very pleasant folks, there were cool photographs on the walls, the bottled water was only a buck, the bathroom was clean and shiny, and the sound was pretty good. Not a bad space at all. Getting a first look-see, I could see and look that there weren’t very many people there – no shocker. There was ONE FAN in the whole place, and no I am not talking fan-person. ONE ELECTRIC FAN TO COOL EVERYTHING. And that was placed on the stage. Oh, MAN. The air was just dead with hanging humidity and heat. Ugh. It was hard enough just standing there with a few other people; I couldn’t imagine how hot it must be to be up there and playing under the lights in this. Enjoy your fan, musicians. But hey, I was here, some other folks were here, the show was going to go on, and I was going to have me some fun, or pass out from heat stroke trying.

The first band up was a local trio called SilverTeeth
( -- Shane Berry, frontman/vocalist, guitarist and keyboardist, Kyle Risan on the drums, and barefooted Aaron Hilst on bass. Truthfully, I had listened to the two demos they currently have up on their MySpace in prep for the show, and I wasn’t thrilled – too many ‘80s twee sonic references, not enough originality. But as Berry greeted the few of us with a smile and genuine good humor throughout their set, I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were. They have songs! They were well-rehearsed and tight, and had a much more aggressive and interesting sound live than their demos showed. Risan was a very precise drummer and I wondered while watching him if he had played drums as a kid in the school band. I bet he did. Get some more recordings done, guys, and get ‘em out there, and feel free to cast off some of the beep beep boop boops – you sound good all natural!

Next up was JP, Inc. from Los Angeles, supporting the Starlight Mints throughout this entire tour, I believe ( Well. Yes, I also listened to their MySpace work beforehand and I could say VERY comfortably that I was SO VERY VERY NOT up for listening to a “comedy/rock/indie” thing that I did not find amusing or rock, especially in the oppressiveness of the melting club. TIME TO DUCK OUT FOR SOME NOMS. I hadn’t had any dinner, and this was a good excuse to take a walk down the street, get some air, and find something to eat. Thank gawd for their re-entry policy.

Ah, Seattle’s Belltown section and its urban ambience. Hipsters with flame-red hair, a guy on a 6-ft-tall bike, a dude dressed like the Lucky Charms leprechaun, skinny Asian girls in just a t-shirt and very high black patent heels, and everyone smoking cigarettes. A block or so away, a Thai place is still serving food, and there’s a table outside to watch the people parade. I eat some Tod Mun and some teeny tiny little fresh rolls that look like, well, I probably shouldn’t say, but the food was good as was the big Thai iced tea I downed for some energy. Walking back to the club, JP, Inc. is not finished yet, so more gazing at the populace is on the agenda. I am in no rush to get back into the sweatbox.

Two big dudes who are covered in tattoos drive past in an old converted cop car, still with the side spotlights and the cow catcher on the front. I really so don’t want to imagine what they get up to for fun. A hipster and his gf walk by. He looks like he is carrying a baby, but it turns out to be three loaves of baguette bread. A big fat black dude in an Olds and an old rich white dude in Range Rover drive slowly by, having an altercation which consists of slowing, stopping, and giving each other the scary stinkeye.

Uh oh. Here comes a woman, maybe in her mid-30s with reddish long hair, wearing a black long dress and black Skechers. She is talking and swearing bitterly into the air. “FUCK YOU BITCH!” she says as a car of young girls goes by. One girl leans out and replies, “CRAZY BITCH! FUCK YOU!” The Crazy Belltown Bitch yells more foulness, but the girls keep driving. Now she is swearing and trying to pick a fight with everyone going by, and anyone who makes eye contact with her standing outside the club.

I am asked not to make eye contact. Heh. No fightin’ for me, tonight. Heh. She eventually swears her way down the street, followed by a guy who is interested in bagging even a crazy messed up chick. Sweet. Time to go back in!

Oof. Hot. Hot hot hot hot hot. Another water is purchased, and I end up on a barstool to the front and left of the stage, a very nice viewpoint. I am pleased to see a few more people have turned up, and I figure if you are out and here tonight, now close to midnight, you must really love this band, and that is good. I look around. Everyone is a nerd like me. Even The Ruiner, the one guy at every show who has to be a jerk or spoil something, is not a Ruiner at all. He’s just a big white blarby sweaty dude in a soaking wet t-shirt who is jiggling himself at the front of the stage. No problem. He seems very happy and is not throwing too much sweat around.

The band, consisting of Allan Vest (vocals/guitar), Marian Love Nunez (keyboards), Javier Gonzales (bass), Andy Nunez (drums), and Ryan Lindsey (keyboards/guitar) take the stage with a groovy projector screen in the back and glowing neon light poles on the stage. The Starlight Mints have been around in various permutations since the ‘90s, but as I was preoccupied with birthing and cleaning up poop and toys for that decade and into the next, I somehow missed them. But last year I was clued in, got all their releases and am now a big big fan. Ah, they are so good! They have a quirky indie sound – think some kind of combination of the oddness of XTC, The Soft Boys, Jeff Beck’s weirdest moments with the Yardbirds, and their Oklahoma state-mates, The Flaming Lips, and the solid, dramatic, clever pop songwriting of Robert Smith-60s era Pete Townshend-Elvis Costello-A.C. Newman. That said, they have a sound all their own, with very diverse instrumentation, structures, vocals, and keen little riffs that snake around in your brain, little fireworks and bursts of guitar. I don’t know what they do on their off-time in Norman, OK, but somehow it wouldn’t surprise me if they were physicists/indie record store owners.

I don’t give a rat’s ass about the unspoken Stand When The Band Is On Rule because I have EARNED my bar stool over these long concert-going years of mine, and tonight it is just too hot. So I very happily bop and dance on my stool, legs swinging and keeping time to “Submarine #3,” “Natural” and “Zoomba” from their new album Change Remains (Barsuk Records), “Valerie Flames,” “Eyes Of The Night,” and a bunch more. SO SO GOOD! Marian in her little black dress adds lots of energy to the show as white towels mop up stage sweat and the crowd claps and woos and sings along, happy to be there even on the hottest day of ever. After an encore, the show is done and the drenched move to the cooler air outside. Going over the 520 bridge to home, the car windows are open, and I can feel the delicious cooling air from Lake Washington, ears ringing, a smile on my face.

Marian addressed the crowd near the end of their show, “Thank you for having us!” Ah, man. Thank YOU guys for coming here, and for your wonderful songs.