The group I went to see was The True Loves, an instrumental soul group based in Seattle, WA. Starting out in 2015, the group consists of eight musicians, and vocalist Grace Love, who all improvise almost everything they do on stage. They built their fanbase after improvising as a group of three and eventually built up to eight members playing brass, woodwind, and string instruments, and have even released their debut album Famous Last Loves (2015), of which they played snippets of during their show at the Kirkland Performance Center.
I first heard about them through KEXP, and once I found out that they were a primarily instrumental-improv based group, I decided to take my family with me to the TeenTix sponsored event on November 2nd, and it was an amazing experience to say the least.
The Kirkland Performing Arts Center reminded me of my high school’s auditorium- great lighting, ample seating but not so much that it made the performers seem removed from their audience. That’s actually what I liked the most about this performance- the intimate seating arrangements and how engaged and responsive both the performers and audience members were with each other.
It seemed to me like almost every single audience member had been following The True Loves for a really long time with how enthusiastic and happy each person was to be listening to great instrumentals. I never did think that listening to just an instrumental group would actually be interesting or riveting at all, simply because I never found listening to instrumentals on Spotify or YouTube interesting. I’m personally a fan of hard-hitting, jarring music with lyrics, and the current genre I’m into is electroswing, of all things. But hearing and seeing the True Loves perform live was much more interesting, not only through the audience engagement but also because a pair of beat-up headphones can’t really do any justice when listening to bass riffs or really amazing trombone playing.
But enough commentary on the audience and my general lack of knowledge surrounding instrumental tracks- this was the very first concert/performance event I had ever been to, the boring high school musicals and plays I attended notwithstanding. And it was amazing! I was genuinely enraptured by every single musician on stage and just how well each of them had mastered their craft. It’s not everyday that one is able to see such talent and I know I keep on saying that they’re an improv group, but they’re an improv group!!!! That’s a feat unto itself. Not only are they able to remain completely in sync with each other but they do it beautifully. This isn’t mediocre music this is bona-fide what some would term, the good shit.
To conclude this very fangirl-y ish review, the atmosphere, the quality of the group, how amazing the music was, how the audience seemed to be so engaged with the group, and how they responded in turn to the audience was all beautifully orchestrated, and I’m so immensely glad I got to see them in person and now, not only do I have a new group to binge music from, but also an entirely new type of music to explore as well. Overall wonderful experience! 10/10 would recommend!! Family friendly too!
By Aditi Kumar, Fall 2018
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