Upstream Music Fest + Summit, Day 3: Gazebos

all photos by Bebe Labree Besch (view set)

It’s hard to think of a band more fitting than Gazebos to close out KEXP’s Broadcast from Little London Plane, and nearly impossible to pick one who would have more fun doing so. The Hardly Art darlings’ four-song session brought out the most entertaining qualities of the band’s oddball pop.

Frontwoman Shannon Perry sneered surf-pop melodies like she’d been recently sunburned. Guitarist TV Coahran backed her up with nonsense word choruses as bubblegum-y as Bazooka Joe himself. Suggesting some of the band’s glam rock influences, Perry played with different personas, shifting both the expressions on her face and the inflection in her voice to fit each particular song. On “Sauna,” from 2016’s Die Alone, for instance, Perry took on the proper tone of a manners coach, dictating comical advice on how to escape a spiral of self-destructive habits. “There are things one can do,” she sang-spoke. “Things like putting on shoes.”

This sense of humor — drummer Tyler Swan also plays in the wonderfully named electro-hip hop outfit, Truckasaurus — shone through just as brightly as Gazebo’s musicianship. Bassist Kimberly Morrison could not have looked more chill, nimbly plucking fast-paced bass lines. At the end of closer “Therapy,” Perry sat down on the ground by the bass drum, leaving all attention on the rhythm section, which Cochran coached through a minute and a half-long ending so grueling it made pedestrians stop behind the window to confirm that Swan’s hands were, in fact, still connected to his body. Swan sweat, Coahran yelped a count off, and Gazebos hit a hard stop. The audience applauded wildly as the band shuffled offstage for a group hug.

And just like that, KEXP’s Broadcast from Little London Plane during the first year of Upstream was over. We couldn’t have asked for a happier ending.

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