The True Loves & Smokey Brights Electrify The Neptune at Seattle's "On Ice"

Smokey Brights - Photo by Rich Zollner courtesy of Ballard VOX

The 2nd Annual “On Ice” took place on Thursday, December 6th at the Neptune and was a night of pure musical magic. The theater, having transformed into a winter wonderland, showcased some of the best bands in Seattle and included transcendental and moving performances by The True Loves, Smokey Brights, Cumulus and All Star Opera.

A packed house danced the night away underneath a snow globed ceiling and set the mood for getting into the holiday spirit. Kicking off the night with an energetic and over-the-top set was Seattle-based hip-hop infused soul six-piece, All Star Opera. Formed around the talents of emcees Flow Carter and Oz, the band lit up the stage and set the mood by wearing all white and upped their performance game ante by bringing on the talents of saxophonist Frank Vitolo and cellist Natalie Hall to accompany their set. A lively showcase, they helped set the mood for a truly memorable winter night in northwest paradise.

Second to grace the snow

All Star Opera - Photo by Rich Zollner courtesy of Ballard VOX

-flaked stage was Seattle indie rock outfit Cumulus, grounded by front-woman Alexandra Niedzialkowski, who helped melt our winterized bodies with her warm vocals and romance-infused guitar pop.

Freezing everyone in their steps was the much anticipated performance of Seattle’s favorite soul band, The True Loves. Having been on an unstoppable rise since the release of their debut instrumental album last January, the 8-piece has become known for their unrelenting pocket and funkadelic energy, having sent the theater into a joyful craze.

The True Loves’ guitarist Jabrielle “Jimmy James” Williams shredded his divine light unto those dancing underneath the Neptune’s snow-globed ceiling and there was not one person who wasn’t moving and getting lost in joy through the music. Commanding the stage with intuitive precision and a mighty percussion and an electrifying horn section, the band gifted us with Christmas early when The True Loves unveiled some never-before-heard music. James had an especially inspired performance. Sharing his soul in the form of unleashing several powerful bluesy solos, he captivated the audience and seemed to have channeled celestial spirits, even playing with his teeth at one point and having the audience cheer in amazement.

Cumulus - Photo by Rich Zollner courtesy of Ballard VOX

It was a truly special “Seattle” moment when The True Loves invited husband and wife duo Ryan Devlin and Kim West of the Smokey Brights, slated to close out the evening onto the stage to sing with them. West, wearing a show-stopping white-sequined gown, sang her groovy heart out looking like an ice-queen goddess and the audience loved every minute of it. As if it wasn’t enough for these quintessential northwest bands to share the same bill, seeing The True Loves share the stage with Devlin and West to close out what was already an impeccable set felt like witnessing a piece of Seattle music history. Covering the 1968 classic “Everyday People” originally sung by Sly & The Family Stone, the audience sang along in glee, ramping up for what was to be an unforgettable Smokey Brights performance.

And nothing quite speaks the holidays more like rock and roll and romance, which the Smokey Brights seemed to have mastered as an art form. There’s just something absolutely mystifying about Devlin and West. As if their catchy disco beats and alluring couple harmonies didn’t draw us in enough, their stoney blend of psychedelic rock is entrancing. A flawless pair, Devlin shreds on guitar and sings soulfully whilst West pulls us in further with her accompanying vocal melodies, vintage synthesizer sounds and perfect hair flips. Closing out the night strong with a lively and danceable set, they made us believe that we too can fall in love this holiday season, if not with each other, than at least with these undeniably great bands on the Seattle music scene who made going out on a freezing night in the Emerald City completely worth it.

The True Loves - Photo Rich Zollner courtesy of Ballard VOX
Jimmy James - Photo by Rich Zollner courtesy of Ballard VOX

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