Show Review: Goodgrief at Holocene

All anyone could do was offer up impassioned howls and flashes of knee-shaking joy.

Ezekiel Rudick (Courtesy of Ezekiel Rudick)

Going to as many shows as I do throughout any given year, I inevitably come across an act that scratches a very particular itch—often an itch I didn’t even know I had. Such was the case when Seattle quartet goodgrief hit the stage at Holocene this past Sunday.

I knew nothing about this group heading into the evening, other than they were appearing at the behest of headliners Starover Blue (that band’s leader, Kendal Sallay, records with goodgrief frontman Ezekiel Rudick under the name The Slow Sound) and that they were celebrating the vinyl release of their debut LP, love birds. Unfortunately, manufacturing delays meant there were no physical copies of the LP on hand, but I can only imagine that they landed a healthy number of pre-orders from Portland after their heated Holocene performance. (Guilty as charged.)

Goodgrief draws easy comparisons to fellow Northwesterners like Pedro the Lion and Dharma Bums through their impassioned, roots rock-leaning melodies. But what takes them a few steps ahead of the curve is Rudick’s thoughtful use of overdriven guitar noise and tones. The intent is not so much to bowl people over with volume. Instead, it felt as though the only way Rudick could communicate his constantly roiling emotional and mental state was by playing and singing with as much intensity as possible. He knows he’s shouting. He likes to shout.

From the goodwill that goodgrief received from the audience—a healthy crowd of around 125 that included Maria Maita-Keppeler of MAITA fame, hugging the walls of Holocene’s main room—all anyone could do was to respond to each song in kind, offering up their own impassioned howls and flashes of knee-shaking joy.

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