Monthly Archives: December 2006
I found out about Snow Patrol from a tossed aside sheet of paper with some key dates on it for evo store staff. Usually I’m late in finding out about events in the store because I spend most of my time working on the web (evo.com) figuring out ways to play the internet game. I found out later it was an exclusive, acoustic show for some contest winners from local radio station KISS 106.1. Initially, I grew excited because I wanted to tell everyone I knew about the special appearance, but I soon learned that employees were not guaranteed a spot on the ‘list’ and friends and significant others were not invited because it was supposed to be an exclusive show for the aforementioned contest winners.
Grace Kim, evo store manager, somehow managed to get all those who wanted to be present on the list. She went around to each employee and asked if they were going and if there was some hesitation she recommending opting out so others who wanted to be there could come (and bring others). The significance for me wasn’t that a popular rock band was going to play in our store, but that a Snow Patrol concert was the second date for my current girlfriend and me. The significance was sentimental and, of course, I enjoy the music as well. Plus, a band called Snow Patrol in a snowboard/ski shop is just too good of a juxtaposition not to be involved in.
The setting was a calm Saturday with mottled sunlight breaking through the clouds. There wasn’t a parking space anywhere around evo and already a line had started from the main entrance to around the building. Radio station assistants were handing out autographed photos of the band, which I later folded up and creased, not realizing that they were real signatures–usually photos of this type are photocopies. My girlfriend and I hoped in line and enjoyed the brisk weather. A few minutes later the doors opened and the crowd disappeared inside. Out of the corner of my eye I saw an old friend crossing the street.
Once inside we found the store to be cleared out and a small stage set-up towards the front glass garage doors. We were milling around making small talk with guests. A long lost friend popped in the from the cold to my surprise and we started talking excitedly. One of my coworkers told me my snowboard had arrived so I rushed up stairs to embrace it openly. I came back downstairs and withdrew to the back with other friends. After introductions were made the band appeared onstage and from that minute they had the crowd anticipating each word. Lead singer, Gary Lightbody, has one of the most carefree stage presences I’ve ever seen and instantly establishes a rapport with the crowd that makes you feel like you’re in his living room, having a beer, and kicking around nonesense ideas that will eventually lead to sensible songs. I never got the ‘too cool for school’ vibe from any of the band members–it’s like they were just happy to be playing some music–action beats boredom anytime.
Although Snow Patrol’s music is good, it was the times in between songs that made the biggest impression on the crowd. The acoustic feel was enjoyable, but the consistent jokes from the band kept the smiles on peoples faces. There was the episode(s) of a “mobile” conflicting with the sound equipment and the constant jokes about how no one in the band snowboards–one girl offered to teach him. Gary said, I don’t go snowboarding with anyone whose middle name I don’t know and proceeded to offer his full name: Gary John Lightbody. He said his mother named him after John in the Bible and then said he was named after the Bible…shortly after he apologized to any Christians in the room “or any religion for that matter.” Lightbody’s timing and wit makes me believe he’d be a worthy candidate for Saturday Night Live as a guest host, not a musical guest. Perhaps he and Dane Cook should go on tour together.
The concert carried on and I’ll admit there were few songs I sang along with. It’s impossible not join in for the sentimental types out there. Our store is unique in that it doubles as a concert venue. Talib Kweli, Swollen Members, DJ BMello, and now Snow Patrol have brought in crowds to our store and I’m sure there’ll be more. I hope to see a photo wall showing all the artists who have passed through. A few more songs and laughs and the show ended. Afterwards, that long lost friend I mentioned earlier told me he stumbled upon Snow Patrol’s bass player in Ballard the night before. They wound up trading stories and drinking beers into the night. Seattle can be a Hollywood of musicians only the stars are usually unrecognizable.
I’m glad I got on the list to see a band that I’ve followed since their release of “Final Straw”–the one before the most recent “Eyes Open.” Catch Snow Patrol in your area soon.
All photo by Tre