Pablo brings heart to the High Dive

People in Seattle used to know Pablo. They were a KEXP darling; a success story of the best kind. John in the Morning loved to play their music, and had them play the KEXP’s New Year’s Bender shows at Chop Suey at the end of 2006. They must have felt like they were on top of the world for a new, upcoming act. But what’s happened since then?

At tonight’s show at the High Dive, DJ Shannon, one of the great KEXP latenight DJs, was in attendance with some friends and shared my sentiment that this band deserves more than Seattle was currently giving them. It’s a real shame when a band like Citizen Cope — a band that has one song and performs it 15 times in slightly different ways over the course of a show — can do a three-night stand at the Showbox and draw thousands of people to see them, while a down-to-earth true original like Pablo plays one night at the High Dive and draws a crowd barely larger than 3 times the size of the band itself. Pablo is what Citizen Cope promised but never delivered on. Pablo is the real deal.

Regardless of the size of the crowd, or the fact that it was a Tuesday night in Fremont, the band didn’t let up. They performed a short set of music (less than 45 minutes), played songs from both of their full-length releases, and the gathering of people enjoyed themselves immensely. The largest response came from “The Talk” and “Half the Time,” standouts from their first album, also titled Half the Time. I wasn’t familiar with their new stuff (off of the album There’s Rope to Leave), but the two final songs of the set, “Morning” and “Wall Street,” both from the new album, brought the level of energy in the venue to a climactic high. Overall, Paul Schalda’s songs, vocals and guitar playing, also with a full family of backup instrumentalists and singers (literally, Paul’s dad and brother are also in the band), made me long for more. Here’s to hoping that next time we give it to them.

(Originally posted at Click & Dagger.)