Bigger Than Us

Review of the Sound Off! 2012 Finale at EMP Museum by Jessika G.

Feet performs | Photo by Jessika G.
The results for Sound Off! 2012 Finals are in! With a wide range of chaotic sounds to intense visuals, this show was what music is all about. As you walked into the EMP’s Sky Church at 7pm, the room filled with a musky fog from the machines. If you wanted proper air to breath, it was too late now. As the show began, just a moment after 7pm, Harms from 107.7 The End was introduced as the MC of the night. As he took the stage, the audience went into a fit of cheering for the night to begin.

Up first was the wild card band selected from the second place winners of each semi-final. When Special Explosion took the stage, the crowd went wild with excitement. While they have a special pop-grunge sound, singer and guitarist Sebastian says, “We always have the thrill of having to exceed peoples expectations from the grunge scene.” Through textures and layers, he tells me they write their music based on personal experience and relationships between people in their lives.

Special Explosion | Photo by Brady Harvey
Next in the spotlight was a dream-pop band from Spokane, WA. At first, Nude may seem like a regular band to you, but you have to see this band live in order to fully experience their “dreamy” quality. Their unique vocals and electric drums really give their sound a special, layered feel. After they performed, lead singer Nathan said, “The music scene in Spokane is really underground. You have to look for it, where here you have that special 'Seattle' sound.” If you had seen them perform at the semi-finals or the finals, you would have seen the various facial expressions Nathan uses. When asked about his thoughts while performing, he said, “Most of the time I was thinking, 'Holy sh*t, I hope my amp’s working!' but I also try to really connect to the crowd.” Nathan later explained, “Dreams can evoke very strong feelings and images, and those feelings and images can really stick with you. You don’t control dreams. They change in unexpected, sometimes uncomfortable ways, and you feel it before you have a chance to process it. That’s how we feel about music too. In moments, the music we’re playing feels bigger than us."

Nude | Photo by Brady Harvey
Third to take the stage was Feet. “An Everett reporter put out an ad for a band to bring the riffs and shreds, so we brought the riffs and shreds!” Some of the inspiration for this jazz-based band comes from Miles Davis, Bill Evans, various piano trios, as well as “the desire to be the best you can.” At some point or another, there’s always that one moment when someone awkwardly shouts out “FREE BIRD”. In this case, drummer Michael got up from his set and walked to the microphone with a book in his hands. “And now for a reading from Michael Beswethrick...” Talking with him after the show, he said, “The idea started my freshman year in college, we had to read all these books so one day in band rehearsal I just got up and started reading a passage. After that, we decided to spontaneously read in the middle of our set. And besides that, we needed to bring the happiness back up.”

Feet | Photo by Brady Harvey
The Deep Wake was the final band to compete, and boy are they a band! Their initial members, Adam and Laura, are from right here in the Seattle area, but as they travel the country seeking that new sound, backing musicians are brought with them to the stage. These guys are already at their own level of professionalism. Laura explains, “We get our sound from past experience, other music, nature; especially older musicians and our friends.” With their band consisting of double bass, cello, fiddle, and drums, Laura says she hopes that in the future they will bring in a banjo and saw. “The Northwest has a “homey-ness” and with the weather being bad so often, it inspires for motivation to play music.”

As the night neared end, the judges drew conclusions while photos from the performances cycled through the screen. The four bands gathered on the stage while awaiting the moment of truth. Who would receive the well-deserved title? The crowd crowned Special Explosion with the Audience Choice award by cheering the loudest for their name. Then the time came; Feet took third place, followed by The Deep Wake and second. The band you can see at Bumbershoot and soon look for their upcoming E.P. is...Nude!

Nude, feeling really human | Photo by Rich Hobby
After they exchanged congratulations with the other bands, Nathan described the feelings of the moment: “Standing there waiting felt like the worst moment of my life. I’m not quite sure we’re processing it yet. I really feel like a human being”. After the show, Nude plans to continue writing, record new music, and blow everyone away.

To hear more from each of these bands, visit their websites:
The Deep Wake
Special Explosion
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