Calling all clowns to Belltown: Seattle’s punk and aerial arts scenes collide this Friday to create a veritable Cirque du Crocodile: Summer Circus. Like a fair for all self-identified freaks, the party features face-painting and acrobatic acts between sets by four local bands.
Singer-songwriter Heather Edgley first concocted this fever dream in early 2018. “I wanted to turn the live-show script into more of a full-fledged event,” Edgley explained to me over the phone, “to help attract more people than just friends and family as a band’s fan base.”
While living with friends who are circus performers, she was inspired to mix local musicians’ DIY vibe with spectacles usually reserved for seated theaters.
After an inaugural event at the Tractor Tavern, the second annual affair has grown large enough to need the Crocodile's roomier dimensions. Aerialists Rahbecca Ann Henry and Meghan Wyatt will glow up the venue with three different sky-dances throughout the night. The Croc’s interior will also showcase classic carnival decor, much of it made by Edgley herself.
Headlining band Razor Clam is ready to raise the bar, which is really saying something, given their already-ultra, goth-pop stage presence. Keyboardist and vocalist Natasha Lumba told me, “Usually, in all of our performances, we choose our outfits based on the event, so our costumes are definitely going to be circus-themed.”
Lumba lauded Edgley’s vision. “So much work has gone into it,” she said. “Even just the amount of organization involved with switching between the bands and the circus performances. Heather’s been working on all these decorations and props. We want it to be more than a regular show.”
Edgley and other artists will trade off playing ringmaster to announce each avant-garde oddity. Actionesse are up first, bringing rock bombast and brass instruments to the stage (read about their Capitol Hill Block Party set here). Edgley’s eponymous five-piece band follows with cinematic sounds, complete with a storytelling piano and erhu. Fruit Juice is a glam-rock thunderstorm who’ll be right at home with their seductive histrionics. And of course, Razor Clam will accord the grand finale like a carousel on hyperdrive.
“Really big artists with big budgets get to do things like this, easy—but that live, local-show level is what I’m trying to do,” said Edgley. “I just want a really extra experience.”
Summer Circus happens this Fri, July 26, 8 pm, at Crocodile. Admission is 21-plus.