Though I have plenty of reasons to feel “blessed,” being a music fan that lived in Seattle around the turn of the 21st century is right up there at the top.
I will be the first to admit that the music from Seattle in the early ’00s wasn’t earth-shattering — I can count the number of really great bands to come from that time on one hand. But those bands were the first steps to expanding my musical taste and teaching me that your favorite bands are typically not the flavor of the day.
Looking back, I bet I wasn’t alone. I swear within two years, the Seattle scene went from pretty much ALL New Bomb Turks and Heartbreakers rip-offs to every other type of band. Phrases like “Killed By Death” and “No Wave” seemed to have become common vernacular within a year.
Though bands like the Spits, Blow Up and the Cripples helped bridge this gap by playing shows with generic rock ‘n roll bands, people like me had to specifically find an A-Frames show to attend. After hearing constant buzz from friends, I finally caught a set of theirs at the Sunset in Ballard. Couldn’t tell you who the other bands were, but I remember their set like it was yesterday.
I couldn’t fully appreciate their sound at the time, which my friend Cody would always imitate by going *BRap BRap BRap,* but in the middle of the set, singer/guitarist Erin asked the audience, “Do you want to hear a slow one?”
To this day, “Surveillance” is one of my favorite songs, and from that moment on I was a dedicated A-Frames fan. (And I’m not alone in my conversion by “Surveillance.”)
Seeing them at the Hemlock brought me back to those days when every song they played was a hit, especially the ones that appeared on a cassette they released back then: “Crutches,” “Complications” and “Membrane.” It was so good, I made sure to go to the Stork show 2 weeks later, where they not only played those songs again, they busted out “Surveillance” too. (Sadly, I didn’t record it, but the band probably got a recording of the set from the Stork’s board…)
All those early recordings, including a bunch of demo tracks, have been compiled on 3-Lp set called “3” released on SS Records. Do yourself a favor and pick it up.