Anna Arvan, The Shows, Nov. 16 at the Business

The Business, a tiny independent record shop in Anacortes, got a heapin’ helpin’ of local music with a rare solo performance from Anna Arvan (I Love You Avalanche, Biagio and The Argonauts, etc.). Also performing were the The Shows, who as far as I could tell, is a new band with a name that is sure to cause confusion in the future (i.e., Dude no.1: “Hey are you going to the show tonight?” Dude no. 2: “Who’s playing?” Dude no.1: “The Shows.” Dude no 2: “I know, you already said there was a show. I wanted to know who is playing at the show?” Dude no.1: “Dude, I already told you. The Shows!”…anyway, you get my point. Moving on…)

The evening kicked off with the lovely Anna Arvan. Her amp wasn’t working, so she just went au naturale with no mics or anything: just her voice and her acoustic guitar.

She opened her set with “Everything Mends,” a beautiful song that will be featured on the up-coming I Love You Avalanche record (she got enough funding via Kickstarter last month! Yay! Keep an eye out for it!) The audience of about a dozen teens, standing only a few feet from her, listened to every lyric that came out of her mouth. It was perhaps the quietest audience I’ve ever seen. Arvan was perhaps a little nervous without a backing band behind her, but, with every forgotten lyric or bumbled chord, there was a sense of fragility and humility, and it was effective. In fact, it made the performance feel more intimate than it already was—like you were watching her play alone on her couch in some dim basement bedroom, or something.

In between songs she would tell stories about her lyrics and the meaning behind her songs. It was interesting to hear how her mind works, and how it translates in her songs, and I think it was something the entire audience appreciated.

Sometime, about half way through the set, the entire audience took a seat and stared up at her while she looked up at the ceiling and sang. She eventually took a seat on the floor with the rest of the audience and closed her set with a sing-along cover of Neil Young’s “Dreaming Man.” All in all, it was an honest and beautiful performance.

The Shows closed out the show (see how confusing that is? I mean, just trying looking them up on Google!) with a much louder set than the one before them. The Shows are a three-piece band from B’ham that definitely have the cute factor. Their sound was raucous indie-pop/garage rock with some killer guitar playing. One thing that really struck me about their band was the guitarist’s impeccable taste when it came to effects (of which he used a lot.)

The guitarist and the singer have the boyfriend/girlfriend or brother/sister vibe going on, and it was just downright adorable. At times they reminded me of The Kills, with the guy and the girl trading vocals back and forth and stuff. It was cool. As I have never heard of this band, I hope they play more shows in Bellingham, as there is a niche just waiting for them to fill. Start booking some shows in town, The Shows!