photo by Christopher Nelson
Four Friday nights in August -- and every one of them filled with warm sunshine, cool vibes, and great tunes among family and friends on the Seattle Center’s Mural Amphitheater lawn. We were lucky that everything came together perfectly for this year’s free concert series, presented by KEXP and Seattle Center. Concerts at the Mural have become an institution and a destination for music lovers of all ages to enjoy some of the city’s best artists alongside some traveling bands as well. From new groups like Posse to veteran rockers like Love Battery, the artists on this year’s lineup were typically diverse yet representative of Seattle’s ongoing music scene. If you were able to enjoy the music live or want to feel like you were there, check out the photos and videos gathered here:
Friday, August 3rd, 2012
Plenty of blankets, babies, and dogs adorned the lawn in front of the stage for No Depression Night, the first show of four in the Concerts at the Mural series presented by KEXP and Seattle Center. The free show was packed with concertgoers who were treated with plenty of grooving, stomping, twanging, and howling from four americana roots groups brought together in collaboration with No Depression, the long-standing roots music authority, namely Fly Moon Royalty, Legendary Oaks, Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside and Shovels & Rope.
Action Jackson and Adra Boo of local duo Fly Moon Royalty
kicked off the evening with a refreshingly smooth blend of hip-hop and R&B, while sneaking in a sultry (and kid friendly!) cover of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back.”
The local alt-country group Legendary Oaks
took the stage next, bringing plenty of twang along with them. Performing songs from their debut album, One Inch Plantation
, the sunglasses-clad Legendary Oaks settled in with soothing country jams just as the shade began to set in over the audience.
Portland’s Sallie Ford & the Sound Outside
followed, blending blues and rockabilly with Ford’s unique, captivating and powerful voice, transporting the audience back in time with sounds reminiscent to when the Seattle Center’s mural was brand new.
Closing the night was husband and wife duo Shovels & Rope
. Despite the fact that the two took up only a fraction of the stage, between their stomping and howling their sound was big enough to fill the amphitheater, though they’re probably just as comfortable on a back porch.
Friday, August 10th, 2012
Continuing the winning streak started by No Depression night last week, the second installment of KEXP and the Seattle Center’s 2012 Concerts at the Mural was a killer from start to finish. Hosting energizing sets by Brad, The Young Evils, and Posse, the night was a celebration of some of Seattle’s finest bands, both young and old.
Local trio Posse
started the night appropriately enough with the ‘90s-influenced indie-rock sounds as co-frontpeople Sacha Maxim and Paul Whitmann-Todd traded vocal leads above moody guitars and hooky melodies.
Seattle group The Young Evils
carried the 90′s indie rock torch further with their deadpan Vaselines-esque vocal harmonies and dark, yet still fun fuzz-pop, showcasing songs from their latest release, Foreign Spells
‘s closing set was a slam dunk. The Veteran Seattle group, featuring Shawn Smith (Satchel, Pigeonhed) and Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) sounded better than ever, as they mixed classic rock and R&B with monster hooks and Smith’s soulful crooning. Smith ended the night solo with an encore medley of Prince’s “Purple Rain” and Mother Love Bone’s “Crown of Thorns.”
Friday, August 17th, 2012
The third night of the series featured more great Seattle bands, with a bit of something for everyone -- from the sunny, carefree rock of Wayfinders to the dark, aggressive punch of Absolute Monarchs to the muscular 90′s grunge of Love Battery.
Self-described “glam hippie four-piece made up of recognizable heads from the sidewalks and stages of Seattle’s music scene”, Wayfinders
met the warm summer evening with an equally warm rocking vibe.
drew the largest crowd with their aggressive blend that’s post-metal, post-hardcore, post-punk, post-noise. No, wait, there’s plenty of noise! Their ferocious, riff-heavy rock seemed to tear the sun down from the sky.
A bit of Seattle’s rock history, Love Battery
closed the night with a set energetic enough that they could have played it 20 years ago, back when they were local grunge mainstays alongside Mudhoney, Mother Love Bone, Green River and many others. The consistent core of the band -- guitar and vocalist Ron Nine and guitarist Kevin Whitworth -- were joined by Curt Eckman (founding member of The Walkabouts) on bass and Ben Ireland (Sky Cries Mary) on drums.
Friday, August 24th, 2012
Although all good things come to an end, some good things can be revisited on video. The final installment of this year’s Concerts at the Mural series, for example. Featuring sets from Fresh Espresso, Reptar, and BOAT, the night of August 24th captured the feeling of that bittersweet end-of-summer joy. Two local bands, one from outer space, the theme of the night was party! Relive the festivities by watching videos of the performance below and be sure to check out some photos from the night over here.
Seattle band BOAT
delighted fans -- amusing kids and adults alike -- with their smart, quirky rock.
Adults who not long ago were kids might remember the Rugrats
dinosaur name-checked by Athens, GA, band Reptar
, who took BOAT’s “quirky” to a whole other level, making for perhaps the most fun session of all the nights this year.
But when it comes to fun and partying, Seattle’s hip hop group Fresh Espresso
, let by P Smoov and Rik Rude, are hard to beat.
You really couldn’t ask for a rowdier send off to cap the entire series.