The Builders and the Butchers’ Killer Show

by on April 15, 2010

The Builders and the Butchers photo courtesy

The Builders and the Butchers (B&B) graced us with an all-ages show at El Corazon last weekend with Zechs Marquise and headliners Rx Bandits. Sunday night was the Portland-based band’s second visit to Seattle this year, and I’m really excited they’ve made a habit of dropping by. The first time I listened to B&B’s CD at Sonic Boom a few months back, I noticed they were playing the Crocodile (the next day as a matter of fact), so I bought the album and a ticket. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it turned out to be amazing.

Their live show matches the veracity of the recorded music.  They play with wild enthusiasm–having two drummers hammering on tom-toms through more than half their songs can do that–and they even throw out tambourines and noisemakers so the audience can take part. It’s the combination of driving, heavy drums, and the higher pitch of the mandolin and banjo that really makes them great.  It will remind you of a high-energy group of Irish guys having a fantastic time with their friends amid a flurry of music. If you’re into The Decemberists or Murder by Death, then you’ll love this band.

The Builders And The Butchers “Golden And Green” from Alicia J. Rose on Vimeo.

Flash forward to last Sunday. After their set I went over to thank them for a great show and sat down with lead singer Ryan Sollee to chat about the band for a bit. I was really curious whether he liked the Seattle fans versus their Portland ones, or compared to anywhere else for that matter. Diplomatically, Sollee claimed that it “really depends on the crowd. If they get into it, then it makes the show so much more fun.” About being on tour, Sollee said that “even though we end up playing the same songs every show, the crowd and the energy makes it a new experience each time,” also noting that he loves playing all-ages shows. “I actually like it better than the 21+ shows. The younger crowd seems a lot more uninhibited. Almost like the over-21 crowd is more concerned about their peers and don’t get into the show as much.” 

The members of B&B separately made their way from Alaska to Portland, but came together because “a lot of bands were all breaking up around the same time, and we were looking to get into something new–so it just worked out.” As to the band’s song-writing process, Sollee says, “I write the lyrics out and then we just start playing and put the music around it.” They’re a great bunch of musicians and super nice to boot. I love it when stories have a happy ending.

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