On Inauguration Day, lots of people were out celebrating our new commander in chief, but only a small, familiar crowd chose to celebrate at the Vera Project with charming Los Angeles–based songwriter Devon Williams. The baby-faced Williams, who is the former guitarist for sleepy folk act Lavender Diamond, was happy to amuse the small crowd with jokes about how his grandmother missed his last Seattle show because she passed away (in fact, she's very much still alive and sends him money for candy every Valentine's Day), and more importantly, with his strong, syrupy singing voice. Admittedly, his 2008 debut album, Carefree, didn't impress me upon first hearing it, but this show was something else. He played an orange guitar, the color of a runaway forest fire, which produced a warm, classic jangle, sounding like a reverby sleigh bell. Whether backing him on somber rockers reminiscent of Hatful of Hollow or Phil Spector–like doo-wop with repetitive choruses, Williams's band rose and fell to match every triumphant crescendo and subtle croon of his perfectly pained voice. It's always exciting when a live performance moves you to revisit an album you might have prematurely dismissed, and last week's show has got me running back to my turntable to give Carefree another chance.
Fri Jan 30: Suburban Vermin, Le Attempts, the Greengoes, S.K.U.D at KTUB, 7:30 pm, $6.
Fri Jan 30: The Hugs, Se7en Car Pileup, Ambulance, the Pangeans at Ground Zero, 8 pm, $5.
Fri Jan 30: Cower, Owen Hart, Degania, Sixes at Fusion Cafe, 8 pm, $5.
Sat Jan 31: The Deepsea Goes, We Wrote the Book on Connectors, Happy Birthday Secret Weapon at Ground Zero, 8 pm, $5.
Sat Jan 31: Quiet by Ten, the Heyday, Brier Rose, Sea Feaver at Q Cafe, 8 pm, $7.