Published: February 20, 2014
By: Johnny Jones
Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood is home to some rather peculiar sights: A giant, bronze statue of Lenin. An 18-foot concrete troll crushing a Volkswagen beetle. A summer solstice parade that features hundreds of naked bikers. Its unique atmosphere made it the perfect home for the downtempo soudscapes of Evan Bartholomew, better known as Bluetech.
Fremont’s Nectar Lounge is an incredibly intimate venue. Its shallow pit wraps tightly around the raised stage. Patrons and performers can easily exchange high fives or daps if they so desire. Two glass garage doors can be opened to connect the pit to a partially covered patio area, and a balcony filled with tables and chairs overlooks the stage.
With President’s Day falling on the following Monday, the large Sunday night crowd took advantage of the holiday. Opening sets by a trifecta of Seattle-based DJs (Young Benoit, Pressha, and Decibel Festival curator Sean Horton aka Nordic Soul kicked the evening off with a mixture of mellow and funky vibes. The soft glow of twirling LED hoops and poi illuminated Nectar’s cozy ambiance.
The Seattle independent electronic music scene is a tight-knit family. There was no shortage of smiles and hugs in this crowd. A few attendees offered to paint faces for free. People were vibrant but not raucous, respectful yet energetic.
When Bartholomew took the stage, he brought a special guest with him: viola player Nils Bultmann. Bluetech’s Facebook page mentioned that his show in Portland at Mississippi Studios the previous night would feature live instrumentation: “Hey PDX! Playing at 11:00 tonight. Going to start playing acoustic piano with viola accompanying. Show up early or miss a rare acoustic intro.” Luckily for us Seattleites, Nils decided to join him for the Nectar show.
Electronic music seems to finally be responding to an overabundance of DJs and composers who rely solely on computers to run their performances. Bluetech nailed it by bringing Nils into the picture to assist in the harmonic interweaving of live and electronic music. Evan’s tranquil bass lines and ethereal melodies danced together with Nils’ graceful bow strokes to create rhythmic magic.