Quasi is usually a two-person band, with Sam Coombes on guitar or keyboard and Janet Weiss on drums, with other members sometimes...such as the late, great Elliott Smith (who was heard by the most people when he wrote the song "Miss Misery" for Good Will Hunting). I don't know so much about Coombes, but I was familiar with Weiss from her work with the recently-disbanded Sleater-Kinney; she now also plays for Stephen Malkamus and The Jicks. The slightly soap-opera aspect of their lives is that Coombes and Weiss were once married, but decided (like Meg and Jack White of The White Stripes) that they were better as a professional couple than a personal couple. And it works. Oh yes, it does.
The Doug Fir Lounge where they performed is neat: a recently-remodeled restaurant and lounge with two bars (one where I got a late dinner: a very good salmon chowder and a Coke), a wide performance space in the basement, and what I sensed was a nice vibe. People were in a good mood in the place. The "we're NOT too cool for the room" vibe extended to the bands: Broken West at 9 (they had a nice sound: very positive music, not angsty), The Smiles at 10 (actually I think a little too low-key for the night), and most definitely Quasi around 11. I love that Weiss actually grins while she's onstage, wailing away on the drums (and I mean "wail": she has punk-rock experience, after all). I'd seen that side of her back in the summer when she played the last Sleater-Kinney show and duetted with her friend Eddie Vedder. (Yes, Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder.) They were a three-piece last night: a woman whose name I didn't catch was on guitar, and Coombes played keyboards for most of the show (with exceptions like when he played -- then threw -- a tambourine).
My music-analyzing centers in my mind aren't really working yet, so I'll stop trying to describe the show. But I'm glad I went.