Bumbershoot Music Lounge 2011, Sunday: Pickwick

photos by Jim Bennett

After admittedly trying to fit in with the “indie folk” crowd when they formed, Pickwick have since come into their own with a sound that is far more soulful and poppy than the wistful, western folk-iness that has become so prevalent in the local music scene as of late. This soulfulness comes primarily by way of front man Galen Disston’s unchained vocals, as well as from some soul- and gospel-related instrumentation such as the organ. Despite being rooted in 60s and 70s soul, Pickwick’s music is undeniably modern, exhibiting a certain indie aesthetic that reminds listeners that they are far more than just a group of revivalists. Regardless of how you want to label them, Pickwick have been a breath of fresh air to the Seattle music scene.

Pickwick have been especially popular around KEXP this summer. Their song “Hacienda Motel” was recently KEXP’s featured Song of the Day. You can download it and read an interview with the band by clicking here. They also recently stopped by KEXP studios to perform live on the Morning Show with John Richards. Fortunately, cameras were rolling and you can view some videos from this performance here. Not only that, Pickwick also performed at the Mural Amphitheater as part of KEXP’s Concerts at the Mural series.

To top it all off was their closing performance at the Bumbershoot Music Lounge on Sunday. Word must have gotten around after Pickwick’s performance Saturday night at the EMP Stage, because a huge line had formed outside the Lounge before their set was slated to begin at 5:30 PM, everyone hoping to get a chance to see the local soul sensations in an intimate setting. Those who were lucky enough to get inside certainly took advantage of the opportunity; the entire audience was clapping along seconds after Pickwick started things off with “Walking With Your Man.” The next few songs served as excellent showcases for Disston’s voice, which is even more awe-inspiring in person, as well as Pickwick’s spot-on use of the organ and xylophone to accentuate it. Eventually, Disston reminded the audience that they were indeed a “song AND dance” band, and for their next song, “Hacienda Motel,” the Music Lounge crowd obliged him and took to their feet. They stayed there for the band’s final song, “Window Sill,” easily their liveliest of the performance.

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