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Seismic-Sound Commentary: Charles Leo Gebhardt IV, Craig Extine & The Exiles and Dean Johnson (2-16-12)

February 22, 2012

So far, all of my assignments have been “blind” shows, which is to say I have never even heard any of the bands that I am tasked with seeing (because I’m an old lady who never leaves my house, hell, I hardly ever even leave my bed). This gives each show an extra dimension of awesomeness because I get to be surprised. Tonight’s show was no different. I was extra surprised to see my neighborhood buddy Dean Johnson (I never knew his last name until tonight!) is playing tonight. For eons my friend Mindy has been talking up a certain song that Dean plays called “Muscle Relaxin’ With Michael Jackson” and its been kind of killing me that I still haven’t heard it. I was deeply hoping he’d play it tonight.

 Dean’s voice is lovely and sad…much like his guitar playing. I never knew he was such a tender dude. No wonder he drinks. The song that stood out the most was “Feeling So Much Better Now”. It sounded like he was trying to convince himself AND everyone else that everything was going to be okay. I sort of believe him. As Dean plays one last song, he tries to take his guitar off and leave the stage but everyone demands one more song. Mindy and I shout out Michael Jackson! I shout I’ve never heard it and sweet Dean plays it for me. What a magically fucked up song. You can generally surmise the content of the song from the title but hearing it is so much better.

Between sets, I have the weird experience of seeing my first-ever boyfriend, Gabe. It’s nice to see him, but weird since I wasn’t exactly prepared for it. It’s making me feel tender and young again. Which is now the perfect time for Craig Extine and The Exiles to play. They have a few more energetic jams but for the most part they play sad and slow songs. Extine is formerly of a band I love, The Old Haunts, the set ends with a song that has a Daniel Johnston warble in his voice. My favorite of their set is the more punk-ish “Ransack”, the almost Kinks-y “She Is Free”, the slow-building “Lightning Strikes”, and the jangly “Not Worried”. The drummer is definitely the lady boner of the night, with his Dead Moon shirt and cool drummer attitude.

 Last up we have Charles Leo Gebhardt IV, or as I know him “Leo” (everyone in Ballard fucking knows each other, okay?) who is basically the Jonathan Richman of Seattle. You simply must love a guy who starts his set with a Bruce Springsteen cover…. times two if it’s Nebraska or any song off of that particular album. It’s math, bitches. Leo’s songs are charmingly old-fashioned, some with old standard sounds, a Rufus Wainwright-esque feel. He also must have extremely strong lower arms, as he has no guitar strap. My favorite song of the set, “I’ll Stand Behind You”, reminds me of Lou Reed and is stupendously romantic. I’m a fucking girl, okay? This shit gets me. My only complaint: his set was not nearly long enough. I guess maybe his arm was getting tired?

 All this tenderness coupled with an ex-boyfriend sighting equals mama needs a fucking drink! I went to Hazlewood and found lots of people I love dancing with. What a perfect way to end my night. Thanks, Leo! Thanks, Craig! Thanks, Dean! Thanks, friends! Thanks, Hall and Oates! ~Chelsea Robinson

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