REVIEW: Jenn Ghetto’s S. plays subdued but memorable performance

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Jenn Ghetto, of S., sang just above a murmur, but the sweetly somber tunes kept audience members rapt. - BEN SCHULTZ
  • Ben Schultz
  • Jenn Ghetto, of S., sang just above a murmur, but the sweetly somber tunes kept audience members rapt.

When Kristy Scott, aka Starlings Murmurations, starts to talk, she starts to panic. She couldn't help it, though.

“I feel like I’m going to say more—I’m really excited about tonight,” she told a crowd at The Crux on Wednesday, Sept. 4.

She had good reason to be excited. The audience may have been small—the head count never reached 25—but Scott was still opening for the Seattle bands S. and Night Cadet. And regardless of the modest turnout, all three acts gave solidly enjoyable performances.

As small as the crowd was at The Crux, attendance at Neurolux’s On An On show was apparently even sparser. Sun Blood Stories’ Andy Rayborn, who performed at the latter concert with local opener Mt. Joy, said that only four people were in the audience when he played. Both concerts may have suffered from having to compete against Adam Ant at the Revolution Concert House and MGMT at the Knitting Factory.

Considering the headlining band’s pedigree, it was a shame that more people didn’t come down to The Crux. S.’s leader, Jenn Ghetto, fronted the cult indie rock band Carissa’s Weird in the late '90s and early 2000s. Members of the earlier band included Sera Cahoone, who headlined the Radio Boise Tuesday on May 28, and Ben Bridwell, who now leads Band of Horses.



The musicians didn’t seem to let the small crowd inhibit their performances. First up was Starlings Murmurations, whose spare melodies and suggestive lyrics got the night off to a good start. Kristy Scott’s voice sounded lower and stronger than it has in the past, but still retained its high, vulnerable beauty. Her clear vocals contrasted nicely with her guitar’s fuzzy distortion. Despite her initial reservations about talking, her open, friendly banter helped keep her songs’ frequent references to water and drowning from feeling too ominous.
Kristy Scott, aka Starlings Murmurations, sang clear and strong, but stayed true to her voice's high, vulnerable beauty. - BEN SCHULTZ
  • Ben Schultz
  • Kristy Scott, aka Starlings Murmurations, sang clear and strong, but stayed true to her voice's high, vulnerable beauty.

Night Cadet played next and kept up the pensive mood established by Scott. Seth Garrison’s swooning vocals and misty keyboard blended with Barret Anspach’s soothing violin, Garrett Vance’s chiming guitar and Spencer Bray’s nimble drumming. The group’s wistful melodies and driving rhythms created a sound that was at once dreamy and tough.

S. finished the show with a well-honed performance. Jenn Ghetto may have sung barely above a murmur and gazed at the floor for most of the set, but the band’s weaving guitar lines, understated bass and quick, light drumming were forthright enough. The sharp arrangements and sweetly somber tunes called to mind The Hot Rock-era Sleater-Kinney.

The audience stayed seated for most of the show, but that didn’t indicate lack of interest. Rather, people applauded warmly throughout and grooved in their seats during S.’s set.

“This is our last one,” Ghetto announced near the end.

“No!” three girls sitting up front shouted in unison.

Scott wasn’t alone in her enthusiasm, apparently.