Aplscruf's Music Blog

Diary of a Married Groupie

Star Anna, Dusty 45’s and Dead Rock West at Neumos 5.20.2011

Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs

Dusty 45’s

Dead Rock West opened

Neumos on Capitol Hill, Seattle

Friday, May 20, 2011

We tried to be Capitol Hill Hipsters on Friday night, but it just wasn’t happening; I wore cowboy boots, and P did not sport a full beard and black-rimmed glasses.  So we just played off being middle-aged parents with a night off.  We didn’t completely have the night off, as our boy was suffering from a bad cold and sore throat.  We spent pre-show time texting him to see if he needed something stronger than ibuprofen and nose spray, reassuring him that we would call him right before entering Neumos and would leave right after the show.

We escaped Bothell about 6:15 and hit the usual Friday traffic on I-5.  Quickly exiting at Northgate, we decided to wind our way there via Roosevelt.  I’m pretty sure the stop ‘n’ go traffic on the side streets was quicker than sitting on the freeway.  We arrived on Capitol Hill sometime after 7:00.  We were starving.  We paid the eight bucks to park in a lot and walked across the street to the Elysian Brewing Co.  We immediately got a seat next to the giant vats behind the glass walls.  I liked the atmosphere: not too hipster, a mixed clientele.  Who cared at this point; we were ready to eat and get some good brew.  Actually, I was warm and didn’t want anything heavy, so I ordered a mojito instead.  Good choice for a warm day.  It wasn’t too sweet, either.  P ordered a Loser Pale Ale, similar to Manny’s, only without the bite.  We had delicious food, too.  I had pork chile verde, and P ordered a lamb burger served with pita.  Both were tasty and satisfying.  The service was a bit slow, so we didn’t get outta there until after 8:00.

We walked a couple blocks down Pike to Neumos, only to find the first act, Dead Rock West, didn’t start until 9:30.  That was ok, we had room for dessert.  We got our wrists stamped, then checked out the bar next door briefly before going back out to the lively street.  Capitol Hill is a buzzing, bustling place on the weekend.  We enjoyed people-watching while strolling around looking for the perfect place to have dessert.

We found the perfect place: Poquitos.  We downed four churros, extra crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside, with warm caramel sauce complemented with El Dude (vanilla-infused tequila with horchata and kahlua).  El Dude Abides!

Stuffed, we then headed back to Neumos after calling our son one last time to be sure he was feeling ok.  He assured us he was feeling better, so we ducked in to find the place still almost empty.  That was ok with us; we found a spot on the right side of the stage and were thankful to have a place to at least hold on.  There was a balcony upstairs along the side, but it wasn’t open near the stage side, so standing was the only option.  I know, I’m getting old.

DRW Setlist

Dead Rock West, an L.A. band featuring Cindy Wasserman on lead vocals, rocked the house slowly with some smooth country rock.  We liked their style.  Neumos started filling in, and we stayed the course on Stage Left.  DRW just released a new album in April entitled Bright Morning Stars.   Their new album features some old-timey covers that date back a couple centuries, as well as a Jesus and Mary Chain cover called “God Help Me.”  Another song, “Green and Blue,” had an almost psychedelic feel.  “Ain’t No Grave” was my favorite song they performed.  I enjoyed her harmonies with guitarist Frank Lee Drennen.

Dead Rock West

Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs were on next, and the crowd thickened, but politely so.  No one crushed up near the stage tonight.  I recognized the woman next to us; she had been to one of The Tractor shows to see Star.  She was very friendly, and seemed to know the band.  She exchanged a bit of banter with Justin Davis, the guitarist, while he set up equipment.  I was cranky that we weren’t on the other side of the stage in front of Justin and Ty Bailie.  They’re so much fun to watch.  P said they always look like they’re having a great time.  And how could they NOT have a great time?  This band rocks, the lead singer Star is one of the most amazing, soulful singers I’ve ever witnessed, and they are about to release an album on Local 638 Records on July 12.

Star Anna Setlist

Star and the band entered the stage to shouts, claps and whoops from the growing crowd.  The audience obviously adored this band.  First on the set list was “Running Man,” a soul-bearing slow crush of a song.  Star is just so good at reaching within and pulling out her soul and sharing it with us.  It’s heartbreaking at times, and hits an emotional and sometimes spiritual button.  At the same time, she makes us want more, on some animalistic and base level.  I think P felt that Friday night.

P’s been pretty tolerant of my crazed passion to experience live music, and loves to go to shows, but not necessarily for the same reasons as me.  That’s ok, we always have a great time together.  But Friday, I think he felt what I’ve been trying to decipher in writing for years: he connected.  That’s how powerful Star’s voice can be.

Star Anna

She stopped about a third of the way through the set to announce the release of her third album, Alone In This Together, coming July 12.  She drilled it into us that her album will be released July 12.  July 12, got it?? My Neumos neighbor proudly announced to me where they’ll perform for the release date.  Not sure if that is public info yet…but I’m pretty sure we’ll be there, wherever it is!

She played “Time” from the new album, and I will be definitely purchasing a copy.  Her songs have so much power behind them, as well as an excellent backing band that know how to pull it all together.  She blasted into the bluesy number “For When I Go,” and we watched in awe at her gut-wrenching expressions, throaty vocals and her feet, lifting off the floor with each expressed note.  Ty churned out the blues on organ and Justin had blasting solos.  Just watch:

Her single,  “Alone In This Together” has recently been played on KEXP.  It also blew us away and we wanted to purchase that album NOW.  It’s hard to categorize it.  Country mixed with rock, bluesy, rootsy, and deep.  Just listen.  Just go to a show.

We missed Dusty 45’s altogether.  That was okay, we’ll catch them next time.  We were in a trance-like state both from watching Star and from being up since 5 that morning, so it was time to go.

We stopped at Dick’s and brought home a Special and chocolate shake to our smiling, but sniffling and coughing boy.

Check out my Randomville review of Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs: http://randomville.com/wordpress/?p=9929

Pictures:

Cindy Wasserman and Frank Lee Drennen

Star

The Well-Dressed Keith Ash

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May 22, 2011 - Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Music, Neumos, Star Anna, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs | , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Love the photos!

    Comment by Tracy Perkins | June 1, 2011 | Reply

  2. Thanks, Tracy! That was a great show.

    Comment by aplscruf | June 1, 2011 | Reply


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