There are a number of adjectives I could use to describe the Tricky Pixie album release party in Kenmore, WA., last night: thoughtful; exciting; wondrous; hilarious; sexy; agonizing; riotous; high-octane; erotic; masterful. Take your pick. Add a few of your own if you were there. You mileage may vary.
We arrived later than expected (having thought that leaving the house at 4PM to catch a 5:10PM ferry was a good idea - just like everyone else thought it was a good idea), so our leisurely fannish tailgating was more hurried than we might have liked. The Kenmore Community Center is something of an intimate hall, but that suited the showing just fine as that many sweaty people pressed together should be intimate. S.J., Alec, and Betsy milled about playing the crowd before actually getting on stage to play for the crowd. Well, and to play for themselves. If they weren't having at least half as much fun as the audience, I'll eat my music sampler CD. I mean it. Without ketchup even.
I'm not the finest judge of acoustics, but aside from a note hear and there (yeah, I know how it's spelled) the stage and sound system treated the emissaries of fae quite well. Sound Tech Guy received his own rousing accolades, but there appeared to be a bug in Alec's mike system. Certainly a coincidence.
(Editorial aside: Early on in the show S.J. remarked on the posters available for sale at the back of the hall, and how the band had chosen their costumes that evening to match the posters as best they could ("I even wore things in my hair for you guys.") This was all fine and good until I noticed that the Alec portrayed on the posters was sans pants, while the one up on stage was fully clad. What's up with that? I wanted to know. So I asked him. He said he wore pants because he's still too young and doesn't have as much fur as the picture. Cursed artistic license!)
Where was I?
Their voices were in fine form, even Betsy's. But Betsy doesn't sing, you say? Of course she does! She sings with her lyrics. She sings with her hands. The cello was indeed stealthy until it had a sense that your attentions were beginning to wander from its song and then it slapped you upside the imagination with a cascade of notes that left you wanting the guitar and fiddle to quiet so the cello alone would play. And then Betsy would smile and wink with her bow and the music would go on. Often I would hear the cello calling the fiddle to join it in the mushroom ring for a bit of whimsy and heartbreak, and damned if that fiddle didn't answer the call. Oh, to have a cellos curves.
It is my own personal opinion that Alec needs to grow another set of arms to manage the instrument changes; barring that, remember that he is happy to see you and he does have a goblin in his pocket. I've never heard him play mandolin live before (I can't swear that I haven't heard it on a recording); he cradled the mandolin with the same devoted care that made it look easy. Almost three years old? He must be some sort of child prodigy because he plays like he's been doing this all his life. His voice was strong and in the moment when he took lead during a song, yet slid under the floorboards when S.J. called down her own spotlight. Why say it slid under the floorboards? Because I couldn't hear it, but I felt it in the soles of my feet and the beating of my heart. Alec and S.J.'s murderous and haunting rendition of "The Mushroom Song" is perhaps the best example of this.
And S. J. is another one who makes it look and sound easy. Shame on her! Her guitar was flirting with the fiddle, and her vocal range was well represented ("Water's In The Hold", "Carousel", "Tough Titty Cupcake", to name a few) leading the rest of us to join in when we could. She has amazing breath control that the untrained voice could easily take for granted until it tries to follow her through any number of melodies. Whew! None of the audience sounded as sweet, but we had a good time so there were no complaints. For the record, Vixie doesn't count as a member of the audience when she's up on stage singing backup. You didn't know Vixie was going to be there? Oops...the alligator's out of the bag and after the raspberries and cream.
You must understand that being a performer is not easy. They sweat, practice, tighten, and sweat some more. I mean, what guy couldn't help but feel sorry for Alec up there on stage with three lovely, talented women and want to help by taking his place? And what woman wouldn't have shooed Betsy, S.J., or Vixie off the stage for a bottle of water and a breather and then taken her place beside Alec?
Did I mention sexy as one of the adjectives to describe the show? Ahem...
Mythcreant was available for pre-sale last night along with t-shirts, small posters, and sundry other CDs. And water. The band loves their fans enough to sell water at the show. All hail the water vendor! Even better, all hail those brave souls who schlep the CDs to the post office with the official release on August 1st. Tricky Pixie is taking donations of ibuprophen and deep tissue massage gift certificates in preparation for that august day (yeah, and I know when to use a capital letter, too).
The best news of the night? I mean, other than the flickering lights signaling the start of the show? That there are a scant handful of songs safely tucked away as seed music for a second album.
Magic is in store for you
You might find your dreams come true
When you wake your wishes may be there