No one arrested by these 'Police'...
Maybe it was the name? Monday's Paramount North West debut by the British trio Police isn't going to go down as a night to remember in the chronicles of Seattle rock'n'roll.
There have been worse shows there but rarely such an apathetic one. The lack of interest on everyone's part - the audience, the promoter and band - was as obvious as the half empty house. Even hundreds of free tickets distributed that afternoon didn't fill the void. Most of the crowd seems as unfamiliar with the band as the evening's announcer, who introduced the Police as being from New England.
It probably didn't have to be that way. With an album ('Outlandos d'Amour') pegged at 32 on Billboard Magazine's Top 100 chart, the trio has been performing for anthusiastic audiences and reviewers in Washington DC, San Francisco, New York and elsewhere.
But in Seattle, The Police couldn't have gotten arrested. The band's powerful style of basic rock just didn't connect.
Structured around the bass-playing, single named vocalist Sting, the Police are sort of a post-punk version of the heavy metal mechanics (a la Ted Nugent) who regularly fill the Colisum and Arena here. But with some important differences, the Police are guerilla rockers - stripped down, simplified and solid. The band's songs are more interesting too, and a lot of its sound owes a debt to reggae.
Another contrast with the likes of Nugent is the source of the group's impact. It doesn't depend on either overwhelming volume or manic speed: rather the Police makes its point through intensity of performance.
Sting's way with a bass guitar is also fairly unique. He plays it, adding a lot more to the band's sound than the usual.
Little of which was demonstrated on the Paramount's stage. After struggling to get the audience involved, Sting (and guitarist Andy Summers and American drummer Stewart Copeland) bowed to the apathy and conducted the remainder of the set on automatic pilot.
Opening were the Moberleys and, although the Seattle band was probably as unknown as the headliners, they turned in a performance which was testimony to their continued growth.
Working in a couple of new tunes, the group played in a more muscular, hard hitting style than they've exhibited in various club dates. Aside from some volume problems at the start, the Moberleys set went down as well as anything heard Momday night. The band appears Sunday with Red Dress in an 8pm show at the University of Washington's Ethnic Cultural Theater.
© The Seattle Post-Intelligencer by George Arthur
Ticket image from jooZt