This is going to sound… I don’t know how to say it. Okay, I’m just going for it: Until Bumbershoot, I had never watched an entire Hey Marseilles set. I’ve seen Matt Bishop, the charismatic front man from the symphonic band, play solo in living rooms and red rooms and rooms where food is being eaten. I’ve listened to Hey Marseilles on the radio but caught only a few songs at festivals because of sets overlapping with moments I couldn’t bear to miss from other bands I probably wouldn’t see again. I’ve seen and heard them while standing in beer gardens and listened to their sounds reverberate over the water as I stood skipping rocks in Otter Cove. After seeing them play at the Mural on Monday, though, I just can’t believe it took me so long to stay, or that I ever had more beguiling places to be.
I loved their set. More important than my feelings that night was the enjoyment clearly felt by the large audience that fanned out and grew into a singing, clapping, snapping mass. “Thank you all for coming and staying with us this evening… I know you gave up your coveted spot in the Skrillex line,” Matt joked. The audience laughed appreciatively, moved closer and were so charmed by the khaki-clad crooner (yeah, I said crooner. He croons, okay?), they didn’t even mind when Matt effectively told 100 or so fans that they should get up off their blankets and lose their personal bubbles.
I found myself clapping and snapping, at first a half beat too late due to my newness to the whole thing. I smiled and sang along silently, felt like I fit right in with the people dreaming of Brazilian boys, while falling in love with the effervescent singer standing front and center. The band’s bevy of instruments built and broke and paused; they made music that could have easily sounded like singer-songwriter musings swell into waves of sound and shape. Whimsical accordion and rich strings gracefully intertwined, giving songs the deep hues of timeless classics.
Matt mentioned that even though they live here, they don’t play much in Seattle, and it seems like a damn shame because Seattle loved them—almost as much as Skrillex.
Too embarrassed to admit you haven’t seen Hey Marseilles play, or just addicted to their lovely sounds? You can catch them today (Friday, 9/14) FOR FREE at noon at Occidental park in Pioneer Square. More info on shows and things here. And for you Bellingham folk, tickets go on sale today for their 11/01 show at The Wild Buffalo.