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Tomo Nakayama, Hey, King! and special guest Alice Sandahl (of La Luz)
September 17, 2022 9:00 pm PDT
Doors Open: 8:30 pm$15.00
“When music journalists say things like ‘this artist is a fixture in Seattle music,’ there’s probably no one right now who fits that title better than Nakayama.” – KEXP
Born in Japan and raised in Seattle, Washington, Tomo Nakayama is an artist whose melodic, complex and emotionally compelling music has been praised by NPR, New York Times, and The Stranger. After two critically acclaimed indie-folk albums “Fog on the Lens” and “Pieces of Sky” (named “Best Folk Act” by Seattle Weekly), he surprised his fans by releasing the synthpop album “Melonday” (on Seattle label Porchlight Records). Co-produced by Yuuki Matthews (The Shins, Teardrops, Sufjan Stevens) and mastered by Dave Cooley (M83, Paramore, Tame Impala), “Melonday” was named one of the Top Albums of 2020 by Seattle Times, KEXP, and Seattle Met Magazine, and debuted at #1 on the NW Charts. He has toured across the US and Japan, sharing the stage with Cornelius, Wye Oak, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, Ben Gibbard, Damien Jurado, and Shugo Tokumaru. He has collaborated with Dave Matthews, Sera Cahoone, Jherek Bischoff, and Jeremy Enigk (Sunny Day Real Estate). An active, longtime member of the Seattle music and arts community, Tomo has also curated and produced events for Forterra (Ampersand Live) and Town Hall, where he also served as Artist in Residence. He also composed music and appeared as an actor in the Lynn Shelton film “Touchy Feely” with Elliot Page and Rosemarie DeWitt.
When you first hear indie rock act Hey, King! it immediately becomes clear that each musical moment is rendered with precision, care, and a whole lot of heart. These are powerful and humanity affirming songs from songwriter, vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist Natalie London and her partner, vocalist and percussionist Taylor Plecity. A formidable and boisterous live force that often results in an eight piece orchestral band, they’ve previously toured extensively with Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals. Their debut songs, which are being released this summer via ANTI-, show their love for each other and their craft is tangible. They evoke the exuberance of Arcade Fire, the freewheeling simplicity of Tom Petty, and the wit-filled resonance of Fiona Apple.
If Hey, King! makes resilient songs, it’s because London has overcome a life’s worth of near-death illness. Though she had started her career while at Columbia University, she contracted Lyme disease and co-infections Babesia and Bartonella on an early tour, forcing her to be bedridden for over four years. “During that time, I couldn’t walk, talk, read or write, I lost a great deal of my memory. I felt like I had a complete chance at a brand new life and everything from my writing to what I listen to reflects that,” says London. She adds, “Starting my life over, I felt like a kid again. There was so much unharnessed passion, longing and a need for both adventure and home.”
As London navigated her recovery, these free and genuine new songs became part of a new band called Hey, King! which gets its name from the ferocious story Where The Wild Things Are. As London began to explore her new musical identity and lease on life, she met Plecity. Their relationship evolved to the couple making music together. “While it makes for a really complex dynamic, you get to share every incredible experience you’ve been waiting your whole life for with the person that you love the most,” says London. Their obvious chemistry is bursting through songs like the smoldering “Half Alive.” Boasting dual vocal melodies and some spine-tingling harmonies, it’s a cathartic taste of what Hey, King! can accomplish, especially during the raw declaration “I was only half alive before I loved you.”
“Half Alive” was produced by Ben Harper and mixed by Sheldon Gomberg (Fiona Apple, Lucinda Williams). “We got really lucky because Ben gave us a ton of freedom to record the songs how we imagined them,” says London. She adds, “Ben’s audience feels like they are attending church every time they see him live, they are so deeply moved. Touring with Ben and watching that connection with the audience helped us evolve greatly in the way we play.” On the confessional “Don’t Let Me Get Away,” London belts over impassioned acoustic guitar strums, “I’ll tell myself to fuck it up first just in case / Tell myself anything in hopes to keep me safe.” Few artists can turn their vulnerability into such vibrant power.
While Hey, King! have been able to find their resonance through bare bones and simple singles, their song “Lucky” proves how compelling and explosive their sound can get. Plecity explains the track: “We want to make music that we feel our younger selves needed to hear. With ‘Lucky’, we wrote what we’d want to say to ourselves during the times where our lives were the hardest, and tell that child it is going to be okay.” The two sing, “Let me go, let me go back and tell me / ‘I’ll survive and say someday you will find me.” It’s a spellbinding and powerful moment, complete with a vivid horn section and a hair-raising chorus. It’s the kind of song that feels like an anchor, one where you’re supported and loved by the people walking alongside you.
In 2021, Hey, King! will release their Ben Harper-produced debut album on ANTI-.
On solo debut Bright and Blue, Alice Sandahl (La Luz) excavates with unvarnished vulnerability themes of loss, grief, and hope for the future with keyboard-driven music that combines pop, jazz, and the Great American songbook—Nina Simone meeting Harry Nilsson in a smoky bar anywhere in the world. Visiting from Los Angeles and back in Seattle for the weekend with her band La Luz, Alice gives us a sneak peak of her upcoming record out this October.
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Ages: 21 and up
Items Not Allowed: NO VIDEO OR FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY