While billed as something of a smackdown, the first ever Chamber vs. Chamber event was anything but. Held within the woody confines of Seattle’s charming and historic Sorrento hotel in early November, the event featured a bevy of musicians who are as friendly and considerate as they are spirited and transfixing. The original concept for the evening was to pit a traditional chamber group against a pop chamber group. But what it became was an evening of performances where the only challenge was in seeing how many eager music fans could fit into the Sorrento’s space to witness a gut-punch performance by Portland pop group Loch Lomond and the energetic compositions of the internationally inflected folk instrumentalists of Spectratone.
The evening began with Spectratone member Lori Goldston. The cellist, whom you might remember from Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged, performed four songs, including this Bach Cello Suite.
Lori Goldston was then joined by the rest of Spectratone, including Kyle Hanson on accordion, Kane Mathis on oud and Jane Hall on percussion. The group performed its own compositions, with a tip of the hat to contemporaries the Black Cat Orchestra, as well as chamber innovator Bela Bartok
Loch Lomond closed out the night with a full set of music from throughout its five year history, including this electric performance of “Elephants and Little Girls” from a split 12-inch the band released with fellow Portlanders the Builders and the Butchers in 2008.
Shortly after this song, the band was beset with technical difficulties due to the building’s aged electrical system (the price for all that historic beauty) and abandoned their electric instruments for all-acoustic versions of their songs to closeout the night. A seeming disaster, the hiccup felt purposeful as the band’s music washed over the assembled crowd with no help from modern technology. For a moment, it was timeless.
Keep an eye out for the next episode of Chamber vs. Chamber hosted by City Arts and the Sorrento this spring.
All videos filmed and edited by Brad Curran.