Live Review: Pete Yorn – Showbox 8/19

photos by Puja Parakh
review by Karalee Sargent

Pete Yorn @ The Showbox

August 19, 2009

We arrived at The Showbox just in time to see the silver fog curling around the dimmed blue stage lights as a shadowy figure adjusted his guitar strap. As the first few notes of “Black” from musicforthemorningafter filled the near-full venue, there was Pete Yorn. In all his backlit glory.


Right off the bat, what struck me as odd was the surprisingly high percentage of males present in the crowd. With his half-buttoned, rolled sleeves, collared shirt and coy smirks, it was pretty clear that Pete Yorn was there to entertain the female demographic. But as Yorn crooned about past loves, lost loves, current loves, and all the other loves imaginable, it was the gents who really seemed to be rocking out. Most of the audience was made up of couples, which I am convinced was a façade. I was getting the feeling the audience consisted of a bunch of men who are aspiring to be like Yorn, using their girlfriends as an excuse to attend the show.


As the set continued, Yorn continued to woo the entire audience, men and women alike. “This is the most misunderstood song in my catalogue,” he explained as he tuned his guitar. “This song isn’t about food. It’s about sex in the morning.” The crowd cheered as the disco ball swirled to life and Yorn broke into “Burrito” from his 2003 album, Day I Forgot. This had to be the highlight of the evening, especially the smoochy couple next to me who were grinding on each other like they were at a Brian McKnight concert.


After a very solid mix of new and old tunes, crowd-pleasers and some lesser-known jams, Yorn and his entourage of five band mates exited the stage to wait for the audience to demand an imminent encore. But as the band reclaimed the stage, the audience shifted from a cheering mass of fans to concerned Seattleites. The bassist had a lit cigarette hanging from his mouth and puffed vigorously at it as the band dove head-first into an encore. Now, smoke in venues has never really bothered me much. It is part of musical culture and Seattle had smoky bars and venues for years. However, I was just as appalled as everyone else in the audience at such blatant disregard for a rule that has improved the lives (and after-concert smells) of concert goers in Seattle since the smoking ban went into effect in 2005. Maybe he was confused by the excrement of the fog machine, but it was a bit of a buzzkill for the audience right at the end of the show.


Despite the unwelcome tobacco smoke, the show was solid. Yorn’s set list included plenty of sing-alongs and a cover of New Order’s “Bizarre Love Triangle.” He is able to craft catchy love ballads without laying on the cheese too thickly, and most of his songs include intricate guitar work (necessitating the five other band members). He manages to maintain a sensitive boy-next-door lovability while singing about being with more than his fair share of women – a delicate dichotomy that many other musicians have failed to achieve.



This show was the first of a two-night stint at the Showbox, so check him out tonight if you missed last night’s show. Keep an eye out for a new album called Break Up, coming out on September 15, a Pete Yorn-Scarlett Johansson collaboration project.





~ by clickdagger on August 20, 2009.

2 Responses to “Live Review: Pete Yorn – Showbox 8/19”

  1. i was there…awesome show…he opened with “Black” tho from musicforthemorningafter. i dont remember him playing “close”..even tho im dying to hear that song live.

  2. gah! thanks Karen. we’ll update the post!

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