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June 14, 2008 8:31 PM

Putting the "Aw" in Rawk

Posted by Jonathan Zwickel

Meat-and-potatoes rock--there's never too much of it.

Just when I write a huge story about the sound of Seattle being "pretty, pastoral, and mellow," along comes a well-stocked Georgetown Music Festival to put the "aw" back in classic rawk. Seattle's got it in spades and it's been well represented here all day.

First by the Hands, a gutsy, don't-give-a-damn band that ran wild with double guitar leads and marial drums. Lots of "whoa-oh"ing behind lead singer John Healy, who was equal parts raunchy bark and unhinged yowl. When a band has that much fun on-stage it's infectious, and their energy carried over into the front rows, the mainstage beer garden, and backstage, where a bunch of other festival-playing musicians dug the Hands' crunchy riffage. Yes, I said "crunchy riffage."

And then by Slender Means, who's sweet, soulful keyboard runs added a side of greens to the bands otherwise meaty, pop-rock feast. The keys stood out as more a lead instrument than mere embellishment. Supremely tight songwriting from these locals, the kind of catchy, bedrock jams that are impossible to deny. With both Slender Means and the Hands, the full-body takeover came in the form of volume, lots of volume. Along with savvy songwriting, that volume is why the music is impossible to deny: It forces itself on you until you relent. Nobody was putting up much of a fight.

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