Saturday, November 27, 2004

The Iron Composer

Prostitution, DRUGS, and Burglaries
The Crocodile, Seattle, WA

The Iron Composer is a monthly "songwriting competition, drinking game, and obstacle course" put on by Seattle School, a music collective with time on their hands and crazy-assed ideas in their heads. The competitors tonight are Ian Moore vs. Brent Amacher.

It's amazing what a little (well, a lot) of audience participation and general hoopla can do for your standard Boring Indie Rock Audience. These people, including a healthy smattering of local musicians, are WAY into this show, with the notable exception of a gal standing next to me who spends the first 20 minutes of the evening KNITTING.

There is so much stuff going on in rapid succession that a lot of audience members look overwhelmed as they crane to see the action on the floor. People love the fast pacing, the partial nudity, the regulated alcohol consumption, and their own ability to be involved with the show. Some smile knowingly throughout the evening since they are smarter than I am and have been attending Iron Composer events for 6 months. The really clever ones get there early so they can sit down on actual chairs.

The judges tonight are DJ No Name from The End, Q13 hottie Dan Devone, and theatre man-about-town Bret Fetzer. They do a great job, but the stars tonight are the composers themselves. Ian keeps his focus while a gal and a guy both take their shirts off to distract him, and Brent keeps on writing while cheerleaders and other people bleat right into his face.

Forty-five minutes of pandemonium later, we are graced with performances of two songs that have been composed in the midst of all these diversions. Ian's is called something like "Bad Ween End Spleen," and Brent's is called "Prostitution, Drugs, and Burglaries in Spokane" (the muse tonight is from Spokane). Sing-alongs always win, hands down, so Brent wins.

But the crowd, oooo the crowd. We are at the CROCODILE and people are smiling and dancing and doing what they're told and having designated freakouts at designated times which, for a crowd that usually stands in front of the stage sneering with their arms folded, is an AMAZING FEAT, and Seattle School deserves every penny of that $5k.


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