A. Greene, Anna St. Lee, and Elena Loper at Chop Suey, 10 July 2017
I rely pretty heavily on The Stranger for upcoming shows. I haven't got any statistics to back this up, but it seems like Mondays are an off night for most music venues. Which would make sense. Tough to get people out on the first school night after the weekend. But Chop Suey didn't have trouble drawing a crowd for the A. Greene, Anna St. Lee, and Elena Loper show Monday night.
A. Greene brought the country and the energy. A. Greene was excited to be there on that stage, and it showed. There was enthusiasm and genuine gratitude for an audience that included a brother and friends. That doesn't mean the songs were all cheery and light-hearted. Blue Collar Girl is a great song about the challenges of not having much money in the bank, and some of the feelings that can go along with that when you are around others who've never had to work for money and never will.
A highlight for me was when A. Greene brought up Sandi Fernandez for a bit. Sandi is a Seattle musician who works hard at supporting this community. They all do, really. They all show up for one another's shows and pitch in.
Next up was singer-songwriter and pianist Anna St. Lee. July has been kind. I've seen several Anna St. Lee shows recently, solo and with Tobias the Owl. Anna's lyrics get inside your head and stay there. I'm not sure if Soundcloud tracks stats. If it does, there will have been a surge recently on clicks for A Million Ways and Fever Dream.
A Million Ways explores the idea that there are people in our lives who are destined to be there, regardless of space, time, and parallel universes. I don't know the background of Fever Dream, but I think it will feel familiar to anyone who has ever been in a relationship. Might even seem like it was written just for you.
Anna describes her music as sad, but I don't think that covers it. I'd say poignant and evocative. You won't leave the show with your spirits crushed, but you might leave thinking about parallel universes: "I tried erasing you from my mind, but still I keep finding traces of you in my head...there's a million ways this could go, where our paths never crossed at all, where you never entered my thoughts...are we better off?"
After her solo set, Anna asked Tobias the Owl's Elijah Dhavvan to join her on stage. The two started playing together a year ago. They make a great team, and I hope this is just the beginning of that partnership. If you catch them in concert, don't let them leave the stage until they've played Sing Me to Sleep.
Elena Loper closed out the evening, an evening of three talented singer-songwriters serving up original music (and a few covers). Elena alternated between solos and band pieces. Her Soundcloud page lists her as based in Los Angeles, but I think she has relocated to Seattle. I'm glad she did. You can never know exactly what a person is thinking or how they're feeling, but it looks like Elena brings a lot of confidence to the stage and just gets to it. I recommend checking out Easier. It's austere, minimalist, and clean. "You only stayed because it was easier than saying goodbye...since I left I breathe easier, do you breathe easier..."
I'm not entirely sure how I lucked into following this great group of musicians. I think it might have been at a Claire Michelle show in Columbia City with Tobias the Owl's Elijah Dhavvan. It pays to say hello. It pays even more (bigly) to say hello to a musician-doctor (Dhavvan) who works very hard at building an incredibly supportive music community. They all genuinely want one another to do well. That sometimes seems like a rarity these days.
(Here's a little slideshow with some fun extra shots. The last image might be Not Safe/Ideal for Work. It's an irreverent poster from the venue on the wisdom of using protection.)