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In concert: Visqueen at Black Cat

visqueenVisqueen's Rachel Flotard led the group through a punchy hour-long set. (All photos by Brandon Wu/FTWP)

By Patrick Foster

"Thanks for coming out" is often an empty, rote concert sentiment, but when Visqueen's Rachel Flotard thanked the crowd for showing up at Black Cat's Backstage Tuesday night, she meant it. The veteran Seattle rocker was genuinely thrilled that people had shown and her gratefulness translated: Visqueen's hour-long performance was a sweaty romp, Flotard's vocals riding wave after wave of bristling, punchy rock songs.

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The bulk of the set was drawn from the band's "Message to Garcia," an under-the-radar gem inspired by Flotard's time caring for her father during his long battle with cancer. Rather than a melancholy reminiscence, the platter strikes a wonderful, celebratory tone. Last night's readings of songs like "Fight For Love," "Tall Grass" and "Summer Snow," ignited by powerhouse drummer Barrett Martin, felt especially buoyant.

Flotard used that propulsion to push her voice and tightly wound song structures to the limit, resulting in a stream of influences - from their native grunge to The Ramones and the Raspberries - flashing through the songs.

Flotard's expansive pipes bear a distinct resemblance to those of Neko Case (who makes a guest appearance on "Garcia"). Live, supported by the bass and vocals of Christina Bautista and the electric cello of Barb Hunter, Flotard coiled and struck like a snake, more powerful and aggressive than Case ever was. And when, as on the pealing "Beautiful Amnesia," that power combined with a soaring melody, Visqueen sounded like the great missing link between grunge and power pop. Which was definitely worth going out for.

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By David Malitz  |  May 26, 2010; 11:40 AM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: Visqueen  
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