Chop Suey Introduces Seattle to the Residency Concept

And it's anything but redundant.

Everyone else is doing it, so why shouldn't we? That was essentially the impetus for launching Apt. #1325, Chop Suey's new residency program in which a single band is booked each month to play a string of Monday nights. In January (the inaugural month), local band Throw Me the Statue were invited to perform and curate three nights of music, the last of which will occur this coming Monday. The idea for Apt. #1325 came from Kris Kierulff, a former booker for Chop Suey who is now employed at the new Paul Green School of Rock on Lake City Way. "The first residency I heard of was Shuba's in Chicago," says Kierulff. "And I just thought, 'Why the hell can't we do this in Seattle?'" For a first run, TMTS's residency has set a nice precedent, creating a relaxed environment for bands to inspire collaboration among their peers, something Seattle could use a healthier dose of. Throw Me the Statue frontman Scott Reitherman is quick to note that his own band had limits on how creative it could be. Chief among them: TMTS is a really young band that doesn't know many songs. So, instead of hastily learning a handful of covers to play on different nights, they tailored their sound to better fit with the other acts they picked to play each night. They played it straight the first night, since the pre-headliner was Husbands Love Your Wives, who signed with Reitherman's Baskerville Hill label. For a change of pace, Reitherman dubbed this past Monday "big rock" night, in which TMTS toned down the bedroom twee-pop quotient of their sound and ramped things up to full-bore synth-fuzz rock. This made for better bill sharing with local psych-pop groups Welcome and Sam Squared, says Reitherman. For the third and final night, they'll be taking a backseat from their usual headlining slot, passing the mantle to local indie singer-songwriter titan Damien Jurado. In the fashion of Jurado's quieter aesthetic, TMTS will precede with an acoustic set, with an organ replacing their usual synthesizer. If nothing else, Reitherman says that the residency has given his band a chance to grow, experiment, and stretch its wings in ways it would not have otherwise. "As far as I know, there are no other clubs in town doing anything like this," says Reitherman. "If there are, I haven't heard of any." When talking about the concept at large, Reitherman mentions musician/producer Jon Brion's Friday night residency at Club Lago in Los Angeles. For a while now, Brion's residency has featured him taking audience requests for Kanye West covers, noodling at the piano, sharing the stage with Fiona Apple, and singing Lou Reed's "Pale Blue Eyes" with Grant-Lee Phillips and Tom Petty's keyboardist, Benmont Tench. In other words, Brion's residency is loose, creative, and sometimes silly. But the "creative playground" atmosphere often results in flashes of unique brilliance you would never find on another stage. If Apt. #1325 comes anywhere close to Brion's legendary gigs, Seattle, with its seemingly limitless pool of talented and well-connected artists, could be home to one of the most original and exciting nights of live music in the country. "In L.A., when bands are asked to do a residency, it's almost like a rite of passage for them," says Kierulff of what he'd like Apt. #1325 to become. "It stretches these bands to come up with different ideas. Ideally, [Apt. #1325] would make them work harder to be more creative and exciting." But at this point, Chop Suey has no one nailed down for a February residency. Given Kierulff's departure and subsequent replacement by Pete Greenberg, the club is probably playing a little catch-up. A quick e-mail to Greenberg, however, and it seems he's pumped to keep Kierulff's idea alive as soon as he gains his footing. "We're pretty excited about it," he says. "Ithink it's agreat idea and would love for themto continue and grow.Seems like it could be a very interesting way for local musicians—or even national, for that matter—to build and develop their careers and their art."

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