I am now the proud possessor of the further life experience in seeing 4 bands in two days, a broken toe, ringing ears, and bra confetti. I will save explanation for the latter item until the end of this post. Yes, my Summer of Loud ’09 continues unabated, unfettered, and unrepentant. My leetle camera and I shall now illustrate my adventures in rock once more.

First up this week was The Dead Weather at the Paramount in Seattle, in support of their album, Horehound. This, of course, is Jack White’s latest band/project, he of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and all-around general beloved awesomeness. Mr. White in whatever he does is always interesting, so I made sure to get these tickets, choosing the GA balcony this time. Good thinking by me, as I SOMEHOW BROKE MY DAMN TOE and the seat was very appreciated. Go me. I wanted a good sightline to see Jack play the drums too.

Opening the show as I sort of hobbled my way to my nosebleed-level seat in the lovely old venue was Detroit garage/punk band Tyvek. Ooooohhh, I went, I LIKE THIS! Their sound was a very simple, no-fi, and energetic mix of The Fall, The Shaggs, totally unknown cult legends The Performa-Chords, the Velvet Underground, and beer cans being kicked down the street. This is right up my alley, I said, and even though I didn’t dance and jump, I sure wanted to. The trio, Kevin, Shelley, and Matt, seemed very happy to be playing for such a big crowd, and they made me grin. Here’s some video from their show a couple days before in Denver:

And, really, how can you not love guitar + cardboard box?

I was anticipating great things when I first heard about The Dead Weather. I had seen Alison Mosshart open for the Raconteurs here last fall as a member of The Kills and was most impressed with her TOTAL ROCKNESS. Really, she is a formidable presence – beautifully leonine, growling and stalking across the stage like she owns it and her mother owned it before that and her mother before that. It’s as much her band as White’s, or maybe more, as she too is a singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter. And let us not forget there’s Dean Fertita of Queens of the Stone Age and Jack Lawrence of the Raconteurs there as well – a top-notch set of alt playas.

But I tell you whut. Every time Jack White moved a muscle, the Paramount crowd cheered in ecstatic delight. He is a star, and that is that. He was the focus, and he is why people turned out. He’s got the IT factor, and has the talent to back it up. I liked their show quite a bit, because of all the talent and tightness and massive rockage, but it was not my favorite work from any of the four band members. Their songs, although quite good, sound quite a bit like Deep Purple/Blue Cheer-ish jams at times to me, pulled out of time to an audience that either cannot remember this kind of heavy late ‘60s groove, or is old enough to dig the revisit. For me, it alternated between cool and indulgent. Call me crazy, but I liked Tyvek better. But no matter – it was all-around a very good show.

My camera cannot cope with being a million miles away from the stage, but here is the basic idea:

And here is “Treat Me Like Your Mother,” where you can experience seizure-inducing lights at your internet leisure! I am surprised my camera did not melt and explode in my hands:

As I walked back to my car, I smiled to hear several conversations passing by other fans near the band buses, theorizing which door Jack would exit from. Star.

The next night, my car goes the opposite direction to a very opposite sort of concert venue (the outdoor theater at Marymoor Park in Redmond) to see Oklahoma’s finest practitioners of indie/alien rock, The Flaming Lips. This is an event, not your everyday rock n’ roll show, you know. Beside hearing some very cool songs, you also get to see audience members dressed in costume and dancing onstage, a human hamster ball which rolls over the audience, 8 million pounds of fat colorful confetti, a gong, smoke, things that sparkle, manic laser pointers, an angry gorilla, and orange-suited roadies imploring the crowd to BE MORE MORE MORE LOUDER. OMFG. This is a fact: I have NEVER in ALL OF MY LIFE, ever been near anything MORE LOUD. Imagine thousands of people screeching at the top of their lungs. My ears seemed to collapse and man, do they hurt today. Bad toe, bad ears, woo rock4life. Art is all. And look! The ball nearly got me!

But hearing loss aside, what a wonderful, wonderful show. Another joyful crowd, silly high on the band and other things. For a rock band, Wayne Coyne and pals seem pretty happy, appreciative of the crowd, at the perfect summer night, the way everyone came together for the time and made the scene happen. I swear, every single person there was singing along to a quiet and sweet version of “Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Part 1,” including me, the two grade-school boys in front of me, the dad behind me, the pogoing fuzzy haired dude next to me, and a teenage girl who yelled out the words as loud as she could, thrilled. Here’s the longview:

Here’s the other vid I did, the band’s biggest hit, “She Don’t Use Jelly,” song of psychedelic goofiness:

Photo time! Another Oklahoma band, Stardeath and White Dwarfs started the show. The crowd enjoyed them and they had a rather similar sound to the Lips. They were good, but nothing other than a cover of Madonna’s “Borderline” stuck out for me. But they were fun. And check out the rock unitard!:

Here’s a few of the shots I got with the trusty Venue-Friendly camera. Thanks to the tall dad who let short me stand in front of him the whole show. Sir, you are a gentleman and a fan.

The show ended with an epic version of Oklahoma State Rock Song, “Do You Realize??” with the lights up and confetti raining down everywhere, a party just for us that seemed to come down from the dark blue night sky itself. I walked across the soft newly-mowed grass of the huge park back to the car, so glad to have gone. I didn’t shoot this vid; I was singin’.

When I got home and got undressed for bed, I saw this float down to the floor:

Bra confetti!

Thank you, bands. Off to Elvis Costello tomorrow, ears, toe, and all!