Walking into a fairly empty venue on Sunday evening, I was surprised to see only about fifty people in attendance at what turned out to be a great show. I had missed the opening act and Nina Nastasia was already on the stage accompanied by one of the greatest drummers that I have ever seen, Jim White. The crowd, although small, was appreciative and more importantly, was quiet and respectful during the entire show, which is an absolute anomaly in Seattle.
They performed a lot of material from their new LP, the excellent You Follow Me. Nina Nastasia is a good songwriter and is talented at playing the acoustic guitar with her adept fingers, but I couldn’t keep my eyes off of Jim White. His drumming is simply phenomenal. He has such a unique and non-traditional way of playing. He often uses brushes instead of drumsticks and he doesn’t play any mundane 4/4 bass drum and snare stuff. He has been a member of the Dirty Three since their inception and has performed with a multitude of artists over the years including Nick Cave.
Nina and Jim mostly performed together, but there were a few songs that she did solo. In between songs, the banter was pretty interesting as well. Apparently, she lived in Seattle at some point for about a year. She claimed that she liked the city quite a lot, but left for some undisclosed reason. Among her memories of living in the city were skinny dipping in the water at Gasworks park in the middle of the night and buying a futon and subsequently dating the guy who sold it to her, whom she ended up befriending years later in Chicago. She has no recollection of going out with him, but he never forgot about their date.
I will never understand why acts such as a reformed Van Halen can sell out massive venues and why quality artists like Nina Nastasia can’t even fill up a small venue. I guess that there is no hope for humanity after all.