Alvvays at Belltown Bloom - shot by Elena Marti for Soft Sound Press

Photo Gallery: Belltown Bloom at The Crocodile (Seattle, WA)

Back in April the bedroom artists Alvvays, Crumb and Wet co-headlined the Belltown Bloom music festival at The Crocodile. Originally made famous by 90s artists like Nirvana, The Crocodile is tucked away in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The venue was full of longtime Alvvays fans who had never seen them perform live as they don’t tour as heavily as many other bands and the pandemic halted… well, everything.

The smooth sound and radiant stage presence of Brooklyn trio, Wet, blended with the warm lights and soft glow to melt the audience into the first of a dreamy sequence of artists. As the opening beat of their most popular song (released in 2016) ‘Don’t Wanna Be Your Girl” reverberated through people’s ears and legs, a hushed ‘It’s just not right…” echoed over the speakers. Recognition began washing over the crowd and several audience members exclaimed, “I didn’t know this was their song!” There was an inescapable gleam in the performer’s eyes as Kelly Zutra, Wet’s lead singer, looked out from the stage and saw faces staring back at them. We were not alone in our homes anymore, but instead lovingly squished together, a part of a larger moment with strangers, once again.

The second set of the night featured another Brooklyn group, Crumb, whose swaying psychedelic sounds will carry you into spring. Featuring typical indie instruments such as guitar, bass and synthesizer, Crumb’s mellow beats casually build in songs such as “Locket” and “Bones”, the latter accentuated by an explosion of saxophone played by Bri Aronow (who also plays electric piano for the group).

At the time of this performance, Alvvays hadn’t played live in several years as they tended to tour when releasing an album and hadn’t come out with new music since 2017. Despite this gap, I can assure you their fans are by no means less dedicated. At the show I met Alejandro, an Orlando native who had never been to Seattle but flew out by himself to attend Belltown Bloom or in his words, “See Alvvays twice in one weekend!” And you could tell he wasn’t the only one who had spent a lot of time waiting to see them; concertgoers were echoing every single lyric and drumming along to each song. The roar of sounds wasn’t enough to hide the girl – who then gave me consent to photograph – crying with happiness after Alvvays took the stage, because at last they were right in front of her. And this show did have some surprises.

Unfortunately, just a couple days before they were expected to perform, Alvvays’ drummer fell sick which meant the band was preparing to do their first show since the pandemic with a backing track. However, at the last minute a partner of someone in the touring party who was a drummer (although not a trained musician) learned every single song in two days! Lead singer, Molly Rankin, shared that it was hard every other song to not just turn back to their stand-in and gives him a thumbs up. The drummer honestly did an incredible job, hitting every beat, even on more complex songs such as “Adult Diversion”. Alvvays is working on their 3rd studio album which is expected to be released in mid-October, lead singles “Pharmacist” and “Easier on Your Own” are available as well as concert tickets to their upcoming US Fall Tour. If you missed them earlier this year (or just in general) I highly recommend grabbing tickets! See you there!

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Elena Marti

Elena Marti (she/they) is a Latinx photographer looking at life through a viewfinder, currently on Duwamish land (Seattle, WA).

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