In contemplating the evening before me last Sunday as I entered the Neptune Theater, you could say I was confident, if not downright smug that it was going to be one damn fine show I was about to experience. I mean, are you kidding me? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Thee Oh Sees, Sic Alps, and wimps?? Three great garage-psych-punk bands, with a headliner that is one of the most exciting live bands you can see? ROCK. SOLID. FUN. Plus I love photographing at the Neptune because of all the cool vantage points, the funky old movie house building, and the gorgeous lighting. My confidence was completely rewarded, with each band exceeding even my high expectations.

The show opened with local trio wimps (yes, it's not capitalized, Punctuation Police Officers), whom I had seen this summer opening for the Intelligence. Rachel, Matt, and Dave have a classic cheap-beer  happy house-party garage looseness which is super-appealing on its own, but they add in touches of early Brit punk and New Wave that adds structure and a cool edge. Be sure to click on their link there to download for TOTAL FREE their rad demo EP.

(Click on photos to enlarge, and click on the Flickr links to see more for each band!)

(wimps Neptune Theater Flickr set 10/7/12)

Next up, San Francisco's Sic Alps. The band had been on my bucket list to see for a long time, and I gotta say, they were way way way awesome. They actually sound like San Francisco, and in their current sonic mix more accurately echo the original psychedelic garage bands of the mid- to late''60s than any other band I can think of. It's that very particular combination of the British beats and the folky Californians with the kind of endearing DIY freshness that I love about garage rock. Sic Alps have definitely been listening to some dusty sweet LPs of late -- during the show I heard the riffs from both Jimi Hendrix's version of "Hey Joe" and the Kinks' "Come On Now" -- but they are not any nostalgia act by any means, either. They just know what's cool. Get their self-titled album, released last month on Drag City; it's excellent and deserves your attention.

 (Sic Alps Neptune Theater Flickr set 10/7/12)

And closing out the deal...ladies and gents, THEE OH SEES! Oh man, if this band can't get you moving, you are dead and you should go push around some damn daisies or something. They do not mess around: after setting up their equipment, we get a quick hello and then KABLAM-O, the music roars and tumbles over the crowd like relentless battle-bound tank treads grinding through mud. We all try to just keep up. Sweat droplets fly through the air, beers are chugged, and the crowd begins to percolate.

There is something a little thrillingly off, and a little spooky about their music; something to do, I think, with the twinned falsetto voices of Brigid Dawson and John Dwyer floating over the top of the driving noise. It's almost trance-like at points. A live show by Thee Oh Sees is all about movement and expression and just going with that trance, which didn't sit very well with the Neptune's security force near the end of the show when several stage divers had to be restrained from completing their missions. The band was visibly unhappy about this, but in the end everyone seemed to have a very excellent time regardless.

Something you would never guess from attending a Thee Oh Sees show is that they have a lovely, quiet, melodic acoustic side, too, and that's something you can hear on their new Putrifiers II album, along with the sonic crushers. Buy or die.

(Thee Oh Sees Neptune Theater Flickr set 10/7/12)

A prazillion thanks to Thee Oh Sees, Sic Alps, wimps, Michelle Cable, the Neptune and STG Presents, and Colby Perry for a tremendous night in Seattle.