Live Review: Hey Marseilles & The Comettes

feb. 21 • The shakedown

The Shakedown hosted a night of indie music from two of Seattle’s finest, the Comettes and Hey Marseilles. Hey Marseilles was winding up a mini Northwest tour (that also included a week performing on a cruiseline), stopping in Bellingham on their way to Vancouver.
The Comettes opened up the evening. These guys are hard to place, riding a heavy psychedelic surf style that’s very 60s, yet keeping their mood very sentimental and Northwest, saturated with delays and reverb. There is no bass player in the band, so the lead singer played through a rich synthesizer to fill that role, using that as a framework for most of the songs. It slowly added layers of heavily reverberated guitar to create a wall of sound supported by the simple, rhythmic spell that the drummer casted. The Comettes grab the listener and hypnotize them, forcing them to roll in the waves. The band is comprised of former Bellingham residents Timmy Sunshine (vocals and keyboard) and his wife Jettie Wilce (drums), with local resident Zack Van Houten (guitar).
Hey Marseilles was the second and only other act, headlining the evening. They’re six members: two guitars, cello, violin, keyboard and drums, and each member is SOLID. There is something striking about their stage presence, their note-for-note perfection, their perfect vocal harmonies, the way they integrate classical instruments seamlessly into their rock set up, the unique charm that each musician radiates; something that is made subtle by the restraint that each musician has, adding their signature without making the band heavy or unbalanced. There is something… refreshing. It was straight forward, tight, and clean, and most importantly, extremely fun.
Bellingham knows how to make a band feel at home, and by the time the show began at 10 o’clock, with the dance floor and balcony filled up with eager fans, it was clear that Bellingham’s hospitality was as palpable as always.
–Jake Werrion