Seattle Center's Mural Amphitheater is misnamed - behind the stage, you'll find a large mosaic, not a mural. But, as my friend and I agreed, "Mosaic Amphitheater" sounds kind of pretentious. Mural Amphitheater somehow doesn't, which is fitting for a stage that has hosted the likes of Mudhoney and other Seattle bands over the years. Once upon a time these free summer concerts were called the "Pain in the Grass" shows. Now, as local radio station KEXP is trying to revive them, they're simply called "Concerts at the Mural".
It's a great setting for an outdoor show. A grassy lawn slopes down towards the stage, behind which the Space Needle towers, offering the chance to watch the elevators glide up and down its spine like golden beetles. That is, if you can take your eyes off the people - an outdoor concert is prime people watching territory, ranging from kids chasing after soap bubbles to the guy in the blue shirt who never sits down or stops hammering his fist to the music, even during the slow songs. Most of the crowd sits nowadays, which I initially find pleasant, but after a few hours, you do feel kind of a pain in your, well, you know.
Last night Johnny and the Moon, the Moondoggies, and the Fruit Bats took to the stage. Liz took a liking to Johnny and the Moon, and everyone seemed to get just a little more into the Fruit Bats (you can tell when a few more heads pick up that slight nod to the beat, and when a small crowd actually gathers in front of the stage - a very small crowd in this case, but still). As the evening grew to a close and the sun began to set, the Fruit Bats played the best known of their old songs, "When You Love Somebody", with many in the audience happily humming along. Happy to listen to the music, happy for the sunshine, and happy that the weekend was just beginning.