Decibel Festival 2014 Review

Decibel Festival 2014

Photo by: Cameron Jessup

Femmecult attended Decibel’s 11th year, which is growing up technologically advanced, with a broad spectrum of sounds and visuals to be experienced across the Emerald City’s landscape. This year’s Decibel was mainly home to the Belltown area of downtown Seattle, with home base hosting three venues at EMP, the Crocodile, Showbox at the Market, Illsley Ball Nordstrom Recital Hall, the Triple Door, the Re-Bar, plus The Islander Cruise Ship. This year the two venues hosting on Capitol Hill, were Neumos and Q, as the “official after-hours” spot. We found ourselves many times as many Decibel go-ers may agree, torn between selecting who we were going to attend, being the curation captures 40 individual showcases, over the course of 5 days, with talent being booked in over lapping sets between venues. This being actually a good problem, highlighting the fact there is quality talent booked for Decibel.

Decibel Festival 2014

JusMoni (Photo by: Sam Stenson)

Night one found us at the Gala & Pop Up Art Showcase hosted at the Sky Church of EMP. Amazed by the grandeur of this impressive floor to ceiling HD LED screen, filling a 65’ high room, the visually filled room and its sounds couldn’t take us away from our determination to capture JusMoni’s set at Level 3 of EMP. The vast room is straight out of a sci-fi novel with two levels, of ambient filled lighting that seem like scenes from inside a spaceship, with the only organic elements being the inhabitants of the space. We arrived before the show began, with our first view of Jusmoni peering elfin like from behind a laptop and noticing the crowd was growing, she greeted everyone with a bright smile and a hello warming the dim lit room. Her opening song “Ode to You” brings light to being invited to her spaceship, which fit the ambience of the space. Jusmoni shared the stage with a lively dj and also had a special guest joining her for a song mid-set. Her poetic warm rhythmic voice and charm captivated the audience, and her encouragement to bring the audience in closer wasn’t difficult. In no time the crowd was grooving to the futuristic beats and being elevated by the soothing sounds of Jusmoni and her positive vibes. We look forward to following this young women’s career. We’re excited to catch her set this Wednesday, October 8 at Chop Suey for the Red Bull Sound Select, featuring emerging artists from the Pacific NW.

Alice Boman Decibel Festival 2014

Alice Boman (photo by: Melissa Gonzales)

The 2nd evening of Decibel, Alice Boman joining us from Malmö, Sweden, opened the Optical 2 Huminary showcase with her remarkable, unique, memorable voice, featuring a full band with a live drummer, a flugelhorn player, saxophonist/keyboardist and Alice playing the Nord 4 Electro. If you ever have experienced loss, loneliness, or heartache, Alice captures the story in her music and lyrics. Alice’s ethereal songs, mixed with her melancholic songwriting about vulnerability and longing, pulls at heartstrings. As she peered from the stage, behind her keyboard, her gaze seemed as if she could see into the souls of the seated audience. In between songs, Alice spoke with her sweet gentle voice, hearing her speak brought power to her singing voice. The receptive audience was graced to hear a contemplative, tempo building, rhythmic drum and synth song, which hadn’t ever been sung, nor released and currently has no name other than “blah blah blah, yet will be renamed soon,“ this hints there is more to come by this delightfully talented Swedish artist.

On our 3rd night, mid-festival of Decibel found us at the Crocodile for Eden Hagos dj set, opening up the Soulection Showcase. Early on in her set, the all-ages side of the venue was filled, roaring with youth, their hands raised and full on dancing. Even though the 21 and over side wasn’t as full in the beginning, the room soon became less bare and the crowd gathered and grooved. Eden pulled in the sensual sounds of R&B, mixed in futuristic nu-soul, bass space sounds, and elevated the room with polyrhythmic tempos. As her set progressed the room filled in unison, all the while Eden was enveloping the room with her mixing specialty, talent and cultivating sounds. Eden Hagos and the Soulection crew are on our radar. Later that evening, we got the chance to see Steffi, techno producer, label owner and resident DJ at the world famous Panorama Bar in Berlin, at the Q Nightclub afterhours sponsored by Rane. Her set was flawless from start to finish, and she had a commanding presence that dared you to even try to check your text messages while on the dance floor. The energy was palpable with every song ratcheting up the intensity, making a believer out of even the most discerning critic. There was some serious dancefloor action going on, and the buzz was that she was the festival highlight for many attendees.

Saturday, night 4, found us at the Showbox for the Dance Nostalgic Showcase in support of Avalon Emerson and Midnight Magic. Earlier in the day we had an opportunity to sit down with Tiffany Roth, singer/songwriter for Midnight Magic and interview her about her inspiration, creative process, musical background, and insider facts about the band and their collaboration. We look forward to sharing our video interview here on, so please do stay tuned. The cosmic, live, NYC nu-disco, funk ensemble is unlike any other band. This time the four-piece band seemed to catch the audience by storm, dressed in vintage attire, as if they walked off the set of Twins Peaks, following Avalon Emerson’s dj set and before Lindstrom, and Com Truise. The band warmed up the audience with each song building tempo, as Tiffany’s vocal range also was amplified, and adding her comedic humor in between songs. By the time “Beam Me Up” was played mid show, this track really charged the crowd. As the heat in the room escalated, the crowd livened up. Tiffany and the bands natural presence on stage, was like seeing your friends on stage. Being part of their live experience is like stepping foot into the cosmic vortex of NYC in what the late 70’s must have been like. Midnight Magic’s new release “Vicious Love” is expected to be released on Soul Clap Records, October 20. All in all, it was a great festival albeit a bit spread out. If only we had more time, we could have seen it all! -Review by Melissa Gonzales