Maja Ivarsson of The Sounds (all photos and video by Robert Hanna)
The Sounds live at Neptune
Fresh off the heels of their fourth full-length album, Something to Die For, The Sounds have been touring constantly and have proven themselves to be one of the hardest working indie bands in the world. Fronted by charismatic frontwoman Maja Iversson, the group has been leading a revival of ’80s New Wave music while at the same time crafting a unique identity and creating something new. Immediately at the beginning of their set Iversson lit a characteristic smoke and the band lit into their upbeat electronic-influenced indie rock. The show was set in the recently renovated Neptune Theatre, once a kitschy movie spot in the University District. The Neptune’s curved walls provide excellent acoustics and the funky ’70s decor and nautical accents are a great backdrop for a live show.
Maja Iversson of The Sounds
While The Sounds have received much notoriety and cameo appearances in the public eye in the past few years, they have remained fiercely independent about everything they do, and rely predominantly on word of mouth and live shows to get their name out into the world. Iversson’s dominating presence is unavoidable and infectious, and the floor rumbled with the crowd’s frenzied excitement as she engaged the audience. The band played an exceptionally tight and energetic set of material spanning all four albums, with a particularly heartfelt rendition of “Night After Night,” which is certainly one of the last great rock ballads of its time. There is something unmistakably satisfying about the unabashed rock music The Sounds create. While they utilize quite a bit of synth to help add atmosphere to their sound, they are first and foremost a rock band, and a razor sharp one at that.
Touring alongside The Sounds were Los Angeles-based Funeral Party, a somewhat dark and dance-friendly indie/post-punk band whose sound is akin to The Sounds in that it is a celebration of ’80s music with a contemporary twist. Quickly gaining momentum over the last year, the group has recently been nominated for the 2011 Breakthrough Artist of the Year in the UK Festival Awards.
Funeral Party live at Neptune
Opening the set was synth-pop connoisseurs The Limousines, formed in 2007 in San Francisco, who recently signed a deal with Dangerbird Records to release their debut full-length, Get Sharp. Flanked by ominous glowing neon light towers and shrouded in darkness and fog, the singer/programmer duo has exploded in the past two years, opening for acts like Duran Duran. The group played a surprisingly memorable cover of Paul Simon’s ’80s hit “You Can Call Me Al” (see below), but it’s not certain that the predominantly younger crowd in attendance caught the reference.
The Limousines live at Neptune