Zeke with Kings of Cavalier and The Lucky Boys at Darrell's Tavern
I'll admit it, it's usually the lyrics that hook me. That's not entirely accurate. My favorite music is classical. Beethoven wasn't knocking out ballads. But with songs that do have lyrics, I like to understand them and think about them. I saw Zeke play last night at Darrell's Tavern in Shoreline. If you've listened to Zeke, you know they are fast. I didn't understand many of the lyrics, but I thought everything about the show was awesome.
Six months ago I'd never heard of Zeke. That's further confirmation that I'm a music amateur. Zeke is a well-known band with a loyal following, good press, and a touring drive that would put me in a rest home after one week. Still, I'll try to offer up a weak defense. I've only been in Seattle (and the Pacific Northwest) for a little over a year, and I'm not all that familiar with hardcore punk, despite having lived in DC on and off for 20 years starting in the 90s. I know the name Bad Brains, but that's it. It might even be punk sacrilege to mention Zeke and Bad Brains in the same article.
Luckily, I have friends who know their music. Better still, I have friends who knew that Zeke was playing a relatively rare Seattle show at Darrell's Tavern to help celebrate the venue's 8th birthday. Kings of Cavalier and The Lucky Boys kicked things off.
If you've read any of my previous posts here, you know that I don't write much about the music. It would come off as fraudulent. But I do like writing about the experience. The show started at 2100, so I picked up my friend Edyn at about 1930 to give us time to get from Capitol Hill to Shoreline with enough time to spare for grabbing some food and buying earplugs. Safety first kids.
Edyn's a long-time PNWer, so she definitely knew about Zeke. So did her childhood friends, several of whom responded enthusiastically to her Facebook post about the show. We didn't have anything particular in mind for food, so we decided to eat at Darrell's. On the way in we stopped and talked to Kings of Cavalier next to their band van (Hank?). I thought about asking for a band shot by the van, but they were busy with the load in. Besides, it was cold, and I was hungry. On that note, Darrell's has a limited menu, but the small pizzas are tasty.
Darrell's was busy before the first set started. There was an air of excitement and anticipation. Part of that perception was no doubt influenced by my own excitement, but I haven't seen that kind of energy at a show in a long time. I recognized a few familiar faces from Capitol Hill, but I felt like we were a good ways outside Seattle. It was a nice change.
Kings of Cavalier opened. They were great. I mentioned to Edyn that they get better every time I hear them. There's a problem with that wording, though. I've seen them three times; they were probably equally awesome all three times. I think instead I'm getting more familiar with their music and everything they pour into it. There was a lot to take in the first couple of times I saw them: new band (for me), new venues, chasing photos, checking camera settings.
This third time, at Darrell's, the music got through my own distractions. [Note: Deleted the rest of this paragraph. Sometimes you write something with one thing in mind, but it's clear it came across as something else. I tried poking fun at our social media culture, but it ended up sounding like I was saying something negative about the music. Since that was definitely not my intention, I axed it. It's our blog, not Rolling Stone, so we can do that ~ Scott.]
The Lucky Boys took the stage after Kings of Cavalier. I'd like to see them again. I liked their sound and their vibe. I was battling a headache, though, so I missed a good portion of their set when I ducked outside for some air and to see if I spotted any potential for a nearby cup of coffee. No luck. Edyn told me they finished strong, with their drummer going off. I'm not sure what the drummer did, but when I walked out front he was stylishly dressed in a jacket and tie. When I came back in he was attacking the drums in a tank top. I saw several people approach him after the set to compliment him.
After The Lucky Boys it was the moment everyone was waiting for. Zeke. I'll keep this safe for work and not spell out the refrain I heard throughout the night. But in case you're wondering, it went like this - Mother F&^*ing Zeke! And it's easy to see why people say that. Zeke went from 0 to 100 in 3 seconds and didn't slow down until they walked off stage. Darrell's Tavern went nuts. The area in front of the stage quickly became a pit, with fists and middle fingers raised high. Further back, people were standing on anything they could find to see over the crowd. It was intense, and I'll stop there.
Better music writers have written better descriptions of Zeke. I recommend visiting the following links. One is a general overview of the band. Even if you don't want to read about the band, check out that page, there is a great photo of the band. I'd like to know who took that photo. The other is a great interview with lead singer Blind Marky Felchtone. The questions are solid, but the answers are genuine, thoughtful, and expansive. I like reading interviews, mainly because of the accompanying photos, but I usually assume that interviews with people who have been in the business (any business) for a while are likely to be canned, safe, and scripted. I don't think Zeke is capable of doing canned, safe, and scripted.
Side Notes: It was a challenging venue to shoot, for several reasons. It's a small place, and it was packed for Zeke. One of the best vantage points was unfortunately right in the path of a giant speaker. That area also became pit central. The area to the band's immediate right wasn't bad, but it was in the tight corridor leading to the bathrooms.
I was shooting with my Fujifilm XT2 with a 35/f2. I really like that lens, but I was too far away to really get some good shots. I'm also too old to contend with a pit filled with enthusiastic Zeke fans. That said, I envied a photographer who walked in with a camera and on camera flash and just went for it. He marched straight into the pit area and just starting taking shots. I threw on my flash and copied his example. Sort of. I was never in the thick of things. I didn't get much from those shots, but I'm glad I did it.
Finally, Edyn took some of the shots with an X100T. We weren't sure what it would get given the lighting. She got some cool photos, which I've included above. I keep meaning to try the X100T out with a big on camera flash. The flash would dwarf the camera.
Here are some outtakes.