(Photos and video by Bebe Besch)
It felt like February was in full swing as The Neptune Theater welcomed the CSS / MEN “Falling in Love” tour on Tuesday night. Pink lighting adorned the venue in between sets and hearts were strung across instruments on stage. Before the show even officially began, drag queen Jesulicious took the stage for entertainment to welcome the crowd. CSS’s merch lady, named “Berta,” approached crowd members with a heart-shaped Post It note pad which she wrote names on and passed out – CSS’s loving version of “Hello, My name is:” stickers that you would find at a meet and greet. This was all part of the tour’s theme which hoped to bring everyone involved together. In each bathroom stall in the venue and along the mirrors there additionally was this friendly note:
Bodies rocked as CSS took the stage. The crowd was filled with adoring fans, four of which were some die hard chicks from LA who are following CSS for each show down the West Coast portion of their tour. The group’s front woman, Lovefoxx, pumped the crowd up with her flirtatious dance moves and seductive smiles. She bopped around on stage swinging her head full of bubble-gum-pink hair and rocked a pair of high-waisted jeans which she ripped off to reveal her token short shorts. The crowd was a wave of different dance styles all mashed together. This worked well as Lovefoxx joined the crowd a handful of times by crowdsurfing or jumping right in to dance and sing from the center where a circle formed around her. There was also a little improved Q&A section held with audience members, and Lovefoxxx briefly took out her black lipstick and applied it to folks in the front row’s faces. Talk about being close to your fans.
The indie band from Brazil brought out the likes of all sorts of people; no matter your age or sexual orientation, the sound of their feel good pop-rock were enjoyed. In the dead center and front of the crowd there were members from Pacific Northwest bands Ghost Animal, Craft Spells, and Brite Futures also rocking out. At one point, Brite Futures called out to CSS during the show, in which CSS replied, “We love you too Brite Futures!” CSS have special ties to Seattle, as they told the crowd in-between songs their story of how Sub Pop signed them after one of their shows here in 2006. Following the hyped and loving feeling throughout their set and the entirety of the show, CSS finished their performance with their own personalized rap. Lovefoxx along with band members Luiza Sá and Ana Rezende grabbed their mics and told the crowd “We hope that you’re happy and you got your money’s worth/we wish you all the best, ‘cause that’s what you deserve”.
MEN appeared second on stage in matching outfits, all with a zig-zag pattern. The group is made up of primarily JD Samson on keys (previously from Le Tigre) and Michael O’Neill on guitar. Their danceable tunes were equal parts fun and thought provoking. O’Neill demonstrated flare during guitar solos as Samson worked her keyboard and lead vocals. Midway through their performance, they set up cardboard versions (also wearing matching outfits) of former and missing members like Ginger Brooks Takahashi from their performance. Many crowd goers were obvious MEN fans as there was chanting of lyrics for their songs like “Who am I”. As a surprise, a fan jumped on stage and asked Sampson to sign their credit card, Sampson laughed and danced with the fan until finally asking “…security?” as the fan seemed compelled to keep hanging around. It was all in good fun though, as MEN brought their positive vibe to the “Falling in Love” tour.
Portland trio Wampire were the official openers for the night. Their set had no gimmicky prop or theme, only a celebration of electronic and rock ‘n’ roll. Singing is shared by a mix of Eric Phipps who also plays guitar, and Rocky Tinder who handles keys. Their set was a combination of summery rock and also contrasting ominous and pensive electro-work as Tinder would take over under a sea of blue lighting. When Phipps was singing or highlighted, the atmosphere was warm as he brought his feral energy to the stage. Wampire may have been far from the same level of eccentricity as the bands to follow them, but they were a terrific way to lead into the night filled with magnetic performances.
See lots of photos and videos from the show below: