Aplscruf's Music Blog

Diary of a Married Groupie

Flight to Mars at the Showbox April 8, 2011

Tim DiJulio and Mike McCready

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Showbox at the Market

Seattle, WA

The Flight to Mars show on Friday, April 8 at The Showbox was the kind of loud that reverberates in the chest cavity and rings in the ears hours later. It was a two-fisted-devil-horn evening; too much RAWK for one hand!

Flight to Mars, a UFO tribute band, features Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready (guitar), Paul Passereli (lead vocals), Tim DiJulio (guitar), Mike Musburger (drums), Gary Westlake (bass), and Ty Bailie (keys). The show was the the 9th annual benefit for the Crohn’s and Colititis Foundation of America (CCFA). Up to this point, the benefit concerts have earned a total of almost $200,000 for the Foundation.  Some of the proceeds also benefit Camp Oasis, for kids with Crohn’s and Colitis.  The show was also being broadcast live on Sirius’ Pearl Jam Radio.  Throughout the night, there were auctions, announcements, raffles, and lots of top-notch music.

But first we had to get there.  We invited P’s brother and sister-in-law so she could get some concert photo experience for her photography business.  M and LJ picked us up just after 5:00.  Traffic was slow going (Mariners home opener), so we avoided the stopped freeway altogether.  It took just about an hour to get down to First Avenue, after winding our way through North Seattle neighborhoods, through Ballard and into town.  We got very lucky on parking, and parked directly across the street from The Showbox.  We hoofed it north, past Pike Place to Post Alley’s Pink Door.  We didn’t have reservations, but took a chance we could get in to the lounge area.  We were immediately seated, much to our surprise.  It was pretty busy, but not packed.  We ordered fancy drinks and great Italian food.  We vowed to eat there again.

We were still a bit early, a little before 8:00, but decided to queue up for the show.  We wanted to see if we could at least get up close, if not get a booth or a couple of stools.  There was a benefit event/auction, which delayed entrance to somewhere around 8:30, and all seated areas were reserved or already taken.  This show benefited the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, so there were openers, interruptions with raffles, announcements, etc.

LJ and I both received photo passes, which was fine, because I got to go in the “inner sanctum” of coolness:  the space between the front row railing and the stage!  I pretty much looked like a dork with my Cannon Power Shot, which is the size of a deck of cards.  I took a few grainy shots, and trusted LJ would get some great ones–and she did.  Check out LJ’s phenomenal pics here: http://ljwkphotography.photoshelter.com

Buckets of Rain

Buckets of Rain, a local band, opened the marathon evening late, because the pre-show auction ran overtime. They were a bit small for the cavernous Showbox, and seemed to get drowned out by the noisy, rowdy crowd. It was very hard to catch the vocals in the loud setting. I did enjoy the song, “This Train,” which had a nice repetitive bass line throughout and was a little more upbeat and memorable than the others. I would like to see them in a smaller venue to be able to fully enjoy them. Buckets of Rain finished their short set with The Who’s “Squeezebox,” which got everyone energized and singing along.

There was a short intermission while the next band set up.  A CCFA spokesperson made announcements and asked the audience to check out the merch table for books, Pearl Jam tour posters, and other cool swag.  The 9th annual benefit concert was broadcasting LIVE on Sirius Pearl Jam Radio this evening.  Part of the proceeds also benefit Camp Oasis for kids w/Crohn’s & Colitis.  Raffle tickets were being sold for Mariners tickets (Mike M’s seats), concert tickets for My Morning Jacket and other cool stuff.

Lazy Susan, another Seattle band took the stage.  They reunited for this benefit show for the first time in 14 years. Their country rock sound was led by vocalist Kim Virant and Tim DiJulio on lead guitar. They reminded me of a female version of Seattle’s late great North Twin. DiJulio also played guitar for North Twin, so it’s no wonder his guitar personality spilled over into both bands. She rocked the song “Wish,” among others, and I wondered why they ever broke up. Lazy Susan will make another appearance on June 11 at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard. Kasey Anderson will open.

Lazy Susan – Kim Virant and Tim DiJulio

More announcements followed Lazy Susan.  Mike McCready announced there will be an all-ages benefit concert at The Crocodile on Saturday, April 30, from 12-4 pm. Tickets are only $10, and raffle tickets go for $20. Twelve lucky raffle winners will get to sing Karaoke with Mike (Mike-A-Roke!).

Mike then played a three-song acoustic set with Brad Sinsel. Brad was the lead singer of TKO, a very glam Seattle metal band from the 70’s and 80’s. He still had that glam image, only in a David Bowie-sings-folk sort of way. And his voice was beautiful. I was very impressed and wished to hear more.  They had a nice, folk sound together, accompanied by mandolin and organ. The quick set included “My Lily of the West,” “Kill the Pain,” and ended with “You Are My Sunshine,” and the audience joyfully sang along. It was an ironic song choice, considering there was going to be a blast of metal and screaming lyrics from Flight to Mars within minutes.

FTM Show Begins

Flight to Mars landed on stage in heavy fog while the “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” theme song blasted through the speakers. Paul Passereli, from the 80’s band Lipstick, reminded me of Jack Black both in stocky frame and stage personality. He dominated the stage instantly. Passereli got the audience moving while he pointed at them, hung the microphone over the crowd, smiled, grimaced, and let out some huge rock screams. He did UFO serious justice.

Paul Passereli and Tim DiJulio

The UFO set list was pure fun, vintage metal, good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. They started out the evening right with “Doctor Doctor,” then blasted right into “Mother Mary” before introducing Dave Coalter from Florida, who apparently “paid a shitload of money” to play with the band.  Dave and the band rocked “Too Hot to Handle,” and Tim DiJulio had a rollicking solo (poor Dave’s amp was not turned up, so his solo was lost).

Dave Coalter Jamming with the FTM

They slowed down a bit with “Love to Love,” skillfully sung by Passereli; but then picked right back up and kept the audience cheering and pumping their rock hands through “Lights Out” and “Shoot Shoot.”

Both DiJulio and McCready had earth-shaking solos and jams throughout the long set. Gary Westlake, the bass player, also got his share of moments with the band, while Mike Musburger kept up the rock beat on drums.

Mike and Tim

And then there was the other-worldly Ty Bailie on keys. Ty is also in another of my favorite bands, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs. He can rock the keys like Benmont Tench. He had some great solos and hammed it up near the end with the last song of the set, “Rock Bottom.” Ty entered the stage wearing a silver sequined cape and sported a giant white keytar, turning the rock to eleven.   He later relinquished the cape to Passereli, who played it off in rocker style.

They left the stage briefly while everyone’s ears were still ringing to the last notes of “Rock Bottom.” The audience stuck around and clapped and stomped until the floor was shaking even harder than before. Back they came for the encore, appeasing the roaring crowd.

Passereli then took to the mic: “The next time some mutha fucka says rock ‘n’ roll is dead…” and proceeded to explode into AC/DC’s “Let There Be Rock,” and then Van Halen’s “Everybody Wants Some” to end the crazy, raucous night…and all for a great cause.

The show was over about 1 am.  It seemed like the FTM set passed quickly, and we were surprised how late it was.  We walked down the street to a stop light, where Star Anna happened to be crossing and coming toward us with a friend.  Pat and I both yelped at the same time….I said, “Star! (It’s Star!)  Hi!  I worship you!!” and gave her praying hands…why the hell did I do that??!!  She just smiled back, took a little bow and kept walking.  My apologies to Star in my moment of dorkiness….my inner thirteen-year-old came out once again.

We were hungry, thirsty and tired, but settled for 13 Coins; hunger and thirst were soon vanquished.  Home by 2:30 am, to our smiling son.

Here are some more pics:

Gary Westlake and Paul Passereli

Kim Virant

Buckets of Rain

Tim and Mike 2

Paul – Fringes

Mike – Solo

Paul and Tim

Tim

Paul Passereli

Tim DiJulio

The Set List – a few changes during show

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April 17, 2011 - Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Flight to Mars, Music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments »

  1. Great review…you’re lucky to go to this show. I’ve heard about this benefit for years…Mike McCready truly seems like stand-up guy. (Good guitarist too.)

    Comment by Matt Satterfield | May 4, 2011 | Reply

    • It was a fantastic show! Full-on ROCK!

      Comment by aplscruf | May 5, 2011 | Reply

  2. Reblogged this on Aplscruf's Music Blog and commented:

    Once again, it’s time for Flight To Mars! See my 2011 post below. It’s gonna ROCK. For a good cause, too.

    Comment by aplscruf | May 21, 2016 | Reply


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