KEXP at Iceland Airwaves, Day 2: Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction

photos by Jim Bennett

Anyone from Seattle knows that this double bill is about as good as it gets. Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction both have exploded onto the Seattle scene in the last two years with excellent LP releases on Sub Pop Records. The two are a symbiotic connection – a yin and yang of sorts. Shabazz Palaces’ Black Up features Cat and Stasia on a handful of tracks, while THEESatisfaction’s awE naturalE features Palaceer Lazaro (real name Ishmael Butler) of Shabazz on two of their own. A couple months ago, when THEESatisfaction played their album release show at Neumos, the two teamed up for an encore performance on all their collaborative efforts – “Swerve” had the entire place off their feet. Now, these two fantastic Seattle acts are playing a proper double bill for Iceland Airwaves. You can only imagine how awesome this is. More than anything, it should get your mouth watering for their collaborative show at the Neptune in December.

Every available corner of KEX Hostel was packed with folks ready to get down with Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction for the set during KEXP’s live broadcast at Iceland Airwaves. A slow start to set up built a lot of enthusiasm from the crowd during sound check, and Björk was even sitting in the front row! The show kicked off with “Endeavors for never” dropping some extra low bass punctuated with sax, Cat and Stasia’s voices floated over the crowd.

The set gained momentum up with “Do You Have Time?” People were really starting to dance during THEESatisfacion’s melodic chorus. They also played “An Echo from the Hosts That Profess Infinitum,” one of the singles from Shabazz Palace’s Black Up, which features heavy bass and a haunting woman’s voice used as instrumentation. Next was “Enchantruss,” a killer Shabazz Palaces/THEESatisfaction collaboration. It was a veritable hip-hop symphony, at times cacophonous, ethereal, jazzy, and everything in between. Their final song, “Swerve,” was super hypnotic, with beats fading in and out in waves. Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction collaborated for the amazing chorus, and left the crowd begging for more.

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