Sunday, September 03, 2006

People Talking and Singing Onstage While Members of the Audience Are Laughing, Crying and Peeing

I'm not sure Friday evening's event "People Talking and Singing" --the 826 Seattle benefit at McCaw Hall--can be topped. Ok, maybe the NY event was better but it doesn't count because I didn't go, so there. Several favorites were on-hand including Sarah Vowell, Dave Eggers and Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket) who did most of the talking while Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab and Postal Service), Colin Meloy (of the Decemberists), the Smoosh sisters and Zach Rogue of Rogue Wave--just to name a FEW--sang, sometimes together, sometimes solo and then as a jam band in the end...but more about that later.

The event was pee-in-your-pants funny. Not just a tinkle trickle either...I mean, having to get up in the middle of Zach Rogue's set and run to the ladies room funny. Yeah, yeah, impolite, I know, getting up in the middle of a performance, but dammit, I forgot my adult-sized Huggie. It couldn't be helped.

The show opened with John Hodgman as the emcee and Jonathan Coulton as his guitar-strumming sidekick who provided intro themes for each guest, including The Scorpion's "Rock You Like a Hurricane" for Dave Egger's first appearance onstage; but before that, the dynamic duo opened with a singalong about a coworker-turned-zombie who pounds on an office door singing "All we want to do is eat your brains. We're not unreasonable, I mean, we're not going to eat your eyes."

And what can I say about Smoosh without repeating what everyone else has said, thereby being redundant? They're two of the most talented teenage girls I've ever seen. It's really too bad the sound guys didn't turn up Asya's mic enough. Her angelic voice got lost among her sister's wicked drumming.

Daniel Handler then called out Colin Meloy, Sarah Vowell and Ben Gibbard to read his three-act play based on his life. In five minutes, the play covered everything from childhood troubles to college lover dumping his ass only later to wind up in a crack house. Gibbard, who played the role of Handler, was also asked to be the Voice of God which, Handler directed, should have the same voice as the one he was using for Daniel Handler.

When it was time to hold out the hats -- or, um, buckets in this case -- the audience lights came up with promises of Dave Eggers providing hugs to $20 donors and buddy punches by Sarah Vowell to those contributing $5 or more.

Before Eggers provided the audience with the tote board total, Colin Meloy made me cry with his band's beautiful new song "The Crane Wife" (the album's due out October 3) and then wowed me as he and Gibbard performed Blur's "End of a Century".

All told, over $10,400 was raised for 826 Seattle. And for being such good donors, we were treated to an onstage jam featuring Smoosh, Colin Meloy, Ben Gibbard, Zach Rogue, and Daniel Handler on accordion as they belted out Meloy's "worst song he ever wrote": "Dracula's Daughter". And while it wasn't like last year's 17 minute-long version of "Hungry Like The Wolf" it still closed the show on a perfect note.

Stay tuned for my review on tonight's mission: MaNaNa goes to the Gorge to see DMB live!

Looky at Meloy and Gibbard sing Blur:

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