Meet Nadia Abdelrhman, a Stranger reader who has vowed to do everything The Stranger suggests for the entire month of March. Look for her reports daily on Slog and Line Out. —Eds.
Neumos—including Moe Bar and Pike Street Fish Fry—seems to contain everything one would need for a night out in Seattle, and last night I put that theory to the test.
The Stranger-suggested Ted Leo and the Pharmacists show was packed. Despite showing up late, around 10 pm, I was greeted with a slow-moving line of folks itching to get into the show. Instead of waiting in line myself, I popped into the very crowded Moe Bar for a drink, hoping the queue would let up while I submerged my brain in gin.
After the drink, I got in line, where folks were selling tickets to each other at discounted prices to avoid the wait. Soon enough, I was inside the club.
I had missed the first act and Calvin Johnson and the Hive Dwellers were on stage. Calvin was singing, sans microphone, and his backing band was barely amplified, so there wasn't much too hear unless you were right next to the stage. Despite the din of the audience overpowering his act, he didn't seem to care. And with an almost imperceptible groove going, the band was all smiles. During the end of the set, Calvin busted out with some kind of primal chanting and a few members of the audience responded with pointed booing. In the end, the majority of the audience was on Calvin's side, and combated the booing with enthusiastic applause. I think his set would have been great for a bunch of wide-eyed listeners sitting Indian-style in a tiny art space; at Neumos, opening for a rock-n-roll show, it felt like a joke was being played on the crowd.