Inside the vast, vaulted KEXP Gathering Space, lit by the streaming sun and the morning rise smell of coffee coming from La Marzocco, the crowd was thick all the way back to the walls – a sea of faces with smiling children popping up from astride parent’s shoulders. Reggae played quietly over the speakers, and the back of the long room is lit by twinkling, hanging lights reminiscent of KEXP’s previous space, a quiet reminder of where we’re coming from.
As the DJs introduced the event to raucous applause, the tone of everyone in the building was thankful, grateful, appreciative. This was emotionally voiced by the very first act: KEXP favorite Grace Love‘s performance of “Halleluja.” The cheering crowd immediately fell to complete silence as she started belting out the first notes, and they stayed silent until she ripped through the line “and from your lips she drew a Hallelujah,” to which people went nuts.
Next up was David Bazan performing “Over My Eyes,” crooning atop dirty guitar, followed by Sera Cahoone, who was comically bashful when she strode onto the stage and whispered into the mic “I’m gonna play a really quiet song for you guys today” which drew laughs right until she started, at which point we all sunk back into an appreciative bliss.
DoNormaal broke into a constant rhythmic motion a capella spoken word, which again touched upon thankfulness and the love of family, which resonated with everyone in attendance.
Closing the solo sets was Mark Pickerel‘s cinematic, gritty western cover of “Back To Black,” which ended with him and DJ John Richards seeing who could thank the other more sincerely.
Sadly, you can’t impress everyone…