Ages and Ages, Keaton Collective: Aug. 21 at the Wild Buffalo

It was a summer show in Bellingham, which means, regrettably, a lot of people missed out on a fantastic show. Seeing (formerly local band) Keaton Collective for the first time I was expecting some kind of tame indie band, but was pleasantly surprised by their loud, rhythmic, and lively rock. Their ability for two drummers, three guitarists, and a bassist to all coordinate and play perfectly in time is not only a testament to their good musicianship, but also a sign that they’re probably some pretty cool people if they’re able to collaborate that well. The crowd was drawn into eerily perfect semicircles around the stage, like the music had created a magnetic field of involuntary head bobbing.

With the musical styles of the two bands on the bill being so different, I tried to find something they had in common.  While Keaton Collective had a more than usual amount of drummers and guitarists, Ages and Ages had a more than usual amount of vocalists. All six members of the band stood with microphones, as well as instruments, creating complex and well balanced harmonies.

I consider Ages and Ages a hidden gem of sorts.  Though for whatever reason they aren’t too well known around here, I could see their hook-heavy melodies catching on everywhere. Their sound is so genuinely fun, that it almost feels like a guilty pleasure in the best way possible.

Not only was the musical aspect of their performance skilled and well executed, the human connection aspect of their performance was there too. They were casual with the audience and engaged in sincere and entertaining banter. They informed us that their song in which they sing “Anacortes” repeatedly actually has nothing to do with Anacortes, and they only chose that name because the syllables fit the song perfectly.

Though the Wild Buffalo was far too sparsely populated for the amount of energy and talent that Ages and Ages brought, the few who were there were dedicated, passionate fans, and rightfully so. One audience member travelled two hours from Bainbridge Island to see them that night, and several hours another night to see them in Portland – an indication that there’s something pretty special about this band.

Aside from their finely-tuned harmonies and good energy, there was something about the band members themselves that radiated genuine coolness.  Not the kind of coolness that makes someone too cool to talk to you, but the kind of coolness that makes band members stick around after the performance and talk to concert goers about art and music and life, which they did.  Ages and Ages put on a show in which they could connect with audience members musically, and personally — something I’d definitely like to see more of.

–Caitlyn E. Glinski