To be completely honest, I was most excited to see Seabear on this incredible bill showcasing some of the best in indie-folk. Seabear is from Seattle’s sister city, Reykjavik, Iceland. Fresh off of the 2010 Iceland Airwaves Festival, Seabear performed a set of contagious folk rock with a seven-member stage presence, equipped with keys, mini-baritone, violin, and even a mini-megaphone. The band sounded great, displaying a percussion style similar to that of The National’s Bryan Devendorf and at times playing songs that had three separate vocal lines, all of them incredibly catchy. One couldn’t help but think that there is something very special about this band.
Fruit Bats did not disappoint either, playing a set of Americana folk that even bordered on honky-tonk at times, twang heavy on the upbeat. Eric D. Johnson, who is currently a member of The Shins, had a nasally tenor voice that sounded great paired with the frequent use of lap slide guitar. They went from one song to the next with hardly a break, seeming indifferent to the audience who were thoroughly enjoying the performance.
Blitzen Trapper capped off the night with a long set of folk, harder indie-rock and banjo twang. Objectively speaking, they were the most entertaining band of the night to watch – the six members moved in sync, each moving in his own way that created a whole stage spectacle rather than an overt focus on one or several members. Front man Eric Earley shared the lead vocals with the bespectacled and bearded Marty Marquis. Earley put his musicianship on display, oftentimes taking the lead guitar role with confidence, bringing out his banjo for an impressive bit of plucking before leading the band in “Furr.” Additionally, he wore his “new headgear” in the harmonica-driven song “Silver Moon.” For several songs, including “Destroyer of the Void” and “Lady on the Water,” Earley was alone on stage — Marquis eventually joined him with a mouth piano. Overall, Blitzen Trapper put on a polished and engaging show, one that a fan of any type of music would be sorry to miss.