Aplscruf's Music Blog

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo 12.14.2007

December 14 Brent Amaker and the Rodeo at the High Dive in Fremont 

For the third time this year, we saw The Rodeo.  This time, we were celebrating my birthday.  We stayed at the Residence Inn, right across from Hooters on Lake Union. We got a kick out of our “waterfront” view of Hooters. We ate at Chandlers before the show, and enjoyed some nice seafood in a quiet atmosphere. 

The Rodeo played at the High Dive in Fremont.  We liked it, but it was totally loud. I was smart and wore ear plugs this time. We did have seats, but there were two opening bands. 

We ended up leaving before the Rodeo came on and went to El Camino, across the street for some awesome mole enchiladas. We got back just in time and moved to the front of the bar to watch the show. 

The guys were great once again, rowdy, full of cuss words, whoopin’ and hollerin’. They had a huge number of shot glasses brought up for communion. This time, I decided to decline, and glad I did. We didn’t spend any time chatting with the band. This very big-breasted lady was pushing her boobs up to all the guys, so I didn’t think I wanted to compete with that. Each one weighed more than my legs.  We had fun people-watching and getting up close to the stage for the full Rodeo experience.   A nice birthday night out. 

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, Concert Season 2007, Music | , | Leave a comment

Blues Traveler 11.24.2007

November 24, 2007 Blues Traveler at the Showbox
Blues Traveler was on my list of people to see before they or I die. John Popper’s harmonica playing is legendary. He now lives in Snohomish, so I figured it wouldn’t be long before he came out of his shell and played again. I guess they have a new/old album out that is a remake or cover of their old favorites. We really enjoyed his harmonica works and powerful vocals, but the standing in the mix of an overly drunk and pushy crowd for over 3 hours really got to us.
Before the show, we went to the Fox Sports Bar, just around the corner from our hotel, The Grand Hyatt. We stayed several hours and watched the Apple Cup (Cougs won!!) from a comfy couch.
We walked to the Showbox, right across the street from Pike Place Market.  We were able to stand pretty close to the stage, maybe 20 feet away.  There was an opening act, so we were afraid to lose our place by leaving until Blues Traveler came on. So we struggled through the standing and the waiting. Finally they came on just after 10:00. I think we left by 11:00, after hearing most of the old favorites.
We’ve decided we’re not very tolerant of drunk and pushy people anymore, especially when they’re older than we are!
We taxied back to the Grand Hyatt, which was really nice. I’d stay there again.  We had a long day, and ended it with having some appetizers at a Japanese restaurant across the street from our hotel.   


March 28, 2010 Posted by | Concert Season 2007, Music, The Showbox | | Leave a comment

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo 10.5.2007

October 5, 2007 Brent Amaker and the Rodeo 


We couldn’t pass up another opportunity to see Brent Amaker! They had been in Belgium and other parts of Europe for a while on tour, so we lost track of them through the late summer/fall time. We stayed at the Sheraton this time, which was nice, but more of a business hotel. Taxied in to the Tractor again. 

We were ready to meet the band this time. First thing we did was bring their cd around to get it signed. We talked to Brent for a while, who was actually very charming and not so gruff as his Rodeo persona. He encouraged us to go around to the other guys and have them sign it as well. We found as many as we could, but then they had to take the stage. 

I met a girl in the bathroom who said she found out about them by accident. She was taking a plane to Europe, and they were on the same plane! They wore their black costumes and hats on the plane!!! What a sight they must have been getting off that plane and in some European airport! I guess they really eat up that over-the-top Americana stuff over there, according to Brent. 


I took part in the communion this time, which really sent me over the edge. We drank a little too much that night, but had a rowdy, great time. Again without friends, but oh well. We have learned to enjoy each other’s company this year and it’s been great. 

After the show, we met the drummer, Curtis. He’s about 6’5” and skinny as a rail. He has a bass drum and an upright snare drum, and I believe one cymbal. Very rockabilly. He immediately plopped his hat on my head so P could take our picture. He said he remembers my taking communion. Yep, that was me. Then this other drunk guy jumped in the middle of our conversation and started talking to Curtis. So P told the guy he’d take their pic, but it would look better if he kissed Curtis. The guy obliged, and that became one of my favorite pics. I posted it on my desktop screen at work for the rest of the year! The look on Curtis’ face…the shame and pain, is priceless! 

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, Concert Season 2007, Music, The Tractor Tavern | , | Leave a comment

Weird Al Yankovic 9.12.2007

September 12, 2007  Weird Al Yankovic at Puyallup Fair 


I know, I know. I’ve seen so many amazing concerts, famous musicians and artists over the years. And then there’s Al. Weird Al. My son wanted to go, so how could I refuse. 

I bought tickets for this in early summer, and P didn’t want to go. By the time the fair came along, he decided it would be ok to go. He ended up sitting in the grandstands by himself, but he had a good time. The boy and I had reserved seats. I thought I’d get good ones, but waited a couple of days, and got Row 36. They were ok, right near the aisle. 

I think this was the most entertaining show we have seen all year. Weird Al really did it up big! He has a new parody album out right now and it received a Grammy! It’s too funny, with parodies of pop, rap and hip-hop songs played on the accordion, etc. He has about 25 years of music under his belt, so it was a real blast going back to the days of Michael Jackson’s “Just Eat It” and “I’m Fat” and Madonna’s “Like a Surgeon”. And of course his homage to Star Wars that involved storm troopers, Skywalkers, Yoda, Darth, etc. In between songs or sets of songs, he would play videos of “interviews” with stars such as K-Fed and Jessica Simpson. They were so funny! My son was howling. My cheeks hurt from smiling and laughing through the whole show! We met up with P afterward who also enjoyed it. 

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Concert Season 2007, Music | , | Leave a comment

Bumbershoot 9.1.2007

September 1, 2007 Bumbershoot-Seattle Center

We did manage somehow to get away to Bumbershoot for the first time! I was so excited because several of my new favorite bands were coming: The Gourds, The Avett Bros, The Shins, Ted Leo, and others.

It was hot and packed. We went to Memorial Stadium to see the Shins first after getting some lunch. We didn’t have very good seats because we were right next to the walkway where everyone stands to see where their friends are. We stayed for about 4 songs and got out. I couldn’t believe the stadium was so packed. I was mad that we didn’t get there sooner. P and the boy were already getting cranky because of the crowds.

We wandered around, looked at the craft booths, and tried to get a view of some of the bands playing by the fountain. We decided to leave and take the Monorail down to Westlake for an early dinner before the Gourds came on. That was a nice break away from the noise and people. The place was almost deserted. After filling up and relaxing, we went back to the stage where the Avett Bros were finishing up. We really liked their harmonies and unique mix of country, rock, bluegrass, and Americana sound.

We found seats in a VIP section on the side of the stage in the Starbucks fenced area. Thanks to P for going online and getting the free passes! So not only did we have stools and a table just feet from the side of the stage, we were in the shade of a tree, and we had Starbucks coffee!

We had fun watching the performers, including The Gourds, get their gear out, go back and forth in front of us, etc.  They came ready to play for the adoring crowd, now growing larger around us.   Our boy enjoyed the Gourds, too. P wanted to go a little early, so we didn’t stay for the whole set. We did hear some of our favorite songs including “Pill Bug Blues”, which has become P’s song to me. I’ve since learned it on guitar, and want to learn it on mandolin someday. I could have stayed all day and listened, but the boys got restless in the crowds. Overall it was a good experience for all of us.

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Bumbershoot, Concert Season 2007, Music, The Avett Brothers, The Gourds | , , , , | Leave a comment

Todd Snider and R.E.K. at Zoo Tunes 8.8.2007

August 8, 2007 Zoo Tunes with Todd Snider and Robert Earl Keen

August was a busy month, but we didn’t want to miss this show. We wanted to take our son to see Todd Snider, but hoped he’d clean up a little for the family-friendly Zoo Tunes. Well, he kinda tried, but…anyway, another fun evening, this time with the boy.

The Woodland Park Zoo has a big open field where they set up a stage and booths for summer concerts. It’s a good time, and lots of families attend. Todd was in fine form, and was in his storytelling mood. He did try to cut out the swearing, “…for the children,” he said, but was having a hard time! It was really funny listening to him try.  At one point, he gave up because the songs just didn’t sound right without the swear words. The boy got a kick out of it. He knows Todd’s music anyway, so he laughed.

He played lots of my favorites, including Iron Mike’s Main Man’s Last Request, If Tomorrow Never Comes, Enjoy Yourself, Kingsmen, Seattle Grunge-Rock Blues, etc.

Robert Earl Keen was good, but we decided we liked Todd better. I did like the guitarist Robert had. He had a real rock style. Robert had a few favorites that got the crowd going at the end, including Highway Never Ends. Todd joined him for a couple of the songs at the end of the set. Cool.

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Americana, Concert Season 2007, Music, Todd Snider | , , , | Leave a comment

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo 7.21.2007

July 21, 2007 Brent Amaker and the Rodeo 

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo. Wow. We were scheduled to go to Hootie and the Blowfish this weekend, but it was canceled. The lead singer, Darius Rucker had a staph infection in his knee after a surgery and had to cancel his Roslyn show. We were bummed. So instead, we booked a hotel room at the Hotel Andra on 4th downtown and taxied in to the Tractor.

We’d never seen these guys before, and we were in for a rollicking good time! They put on quite a show. They all dress in very nice black slacks, western shirts, cowboy hats, boots. The lead singer, Brent, dons a red cape with the help of his assistant while the Rodeo keeps up a steady rockabilly/Johnny Cash beat. He walks to the stage, his assistant helps him remove the cape, and hands him his acoustic guitar. And they’re off! The Rodeo’s in town! 


We had so much fun! He cusses, he has a whiskey communion in which he encourages people to buy shots of whiskey, then lines them up to pour it down their throats! We were howling! All the songs sound the same with the bass guitar keeping the beat: dum-dee-dee-dum-dee-dee-dum-dee-dee-dum…

March 28, 2010 Posted by | Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, Concert Season 2007, Music, The Tractor Tavern | , | Leave a comment

Willie Nelson and Friends 7.4.2007

4th of July 2007 at the Gorge-Willie Nelson and Friends: The Old 97’s, Drive-By Truckers, Son Volt, Amos Lee

The next big gig was at the Gorge in George. Not only were we pumped because Willie Nelson was playing, but also because he was bringing along his “friends”, 4 other bands! And we were also going to go to the Oregon Coast after that!

We first drove to Wenatchee on the 3rd and spent the night with family. The kids had fun in the pool, and the dogs hung out together. The next morning, we left the boy and dog with Aunt and Uncle and drove through the desert over to the Gorge, about 45 minutes from Wenatchee. It was 98 degrees that day.

We found a pretty nice parking spot to camp, but the shuttle van had broken down. That meant hiking at least a half mile in the heat to get to the amphitheatre. Great. We decided to stay at the truck as long as possible. We set up a makeshift shelter with a rain fly from our tent. We brought lots of food and water, and just lay low for a while.

We thought we could probably hear the music once it started, but we were wrong! We were too far away. We missed Amos Lee completely, and only heard part of Drive-By Truckers. That was ok, though, because it was too hot to sit on those metal seats on black top. We stayed as cool as we could, and then finally made our way down to the seats around 4:00.

Old 97's

We fell in love with the Old 97’s. We downloaded some of their live music a few days before, and really liked their Texas rockabilly sound. They really delivered in the heat of the Gorge. Son Volt was ok, but not too exciting. Their music is kind of a downer. We couldn’t wait to see Willie Nelson. He’s truly an American icon.

Willie came on just as the sun was going down. Beautiful. Gray braids, red, white and blue guitar strap, old beat up acoustic guitar with a hole in it….Willie. I was in tears through many songs, including my favorite, Angel Flying Too Close to the Ground. I later learned to play it on my own guitar: On the Road Again was a big hit. He played all his old favorites. At the end he played a song about finding a peaceful solution to the wars. It was touching.

We headed back to Wenatchee the next morning and picked up the boy. We headed down 97 to Cascade Locks, just West of Hood River. Stayed overnight, then trekked on to Newport and Seaside. We had a nice trip, but not much relaxation! Lots of driving. The beach was a cool 60 degrees, too. Quite a change from the 100 degree weather we were in the day before.


March 28, 2010 Posted by | Concert Season 2007, Music, The Gorge Amphitheatre, Willie Nelson | , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gourds at the Tractor 4.5.2007

Thursday, April 5, 2007

The Gourds at the Tractor Tavern

Opening band: The Spigots

Kev Russell on Mandolin

Well, yet another very fun evening at The Tractor! Since it was on a week day again, we decided to drive back home after the late show. Our boy stayed the night at the grandparents’ house, since he had to go to school the next morning. I was off for Good Friday and P took a half day. We were glad we had the morning off; we didn’t get home until about 2:00 am!

After dropping the boy off, we headed down to Ballard early and spent about ½ hour looking for a place to park. We finally squeezed in to a spot a few blocks away from the Tractor. We were hungry, so we decided to try a little tavern across the street called the Lock & Keel. They had a nice selection of sandwiches and regular tavern fare. We ordered drinks and shared a very good turkey sandwich with coleslaw. I had two tasty cosmos. P stuck with straight vodka so he wouldn’t have to pee all the time. Ha

We sauntered over to the Tractor, but it didn’t really open until about 8:00. I don’t think the Spigots came on till 9:00. So we stepped outside and browsed through an old record store where they had tons of vinyl, cassettes, and used cd’s for sale. It was a blast from the past. I used to love going to Tower Records on Mercer St. when I was a kid and just browse and wish I had money. My best friend and I would always stop in there before hockey games on Friday nights.

We walked back in, ordered more drinks and found a nice dark corner where there was a bench and a small rectangular table. We had a really good talk about our relationship. Eventually more people showed up. A nice couple from Alberta joined us on our bench. They said they had all the Gourds’ cd’s and came down just for the show!

The opening act, the Spigots included a lead singer on acoustic (female, with a very nasaly folk voice) and a great harmonica player, another guitar/mandolin player and drummer. They started out pretty lively, then had some weird jazzy stuff in the middle that we didn’t like. The Spigots ended with some livelier music and great harmonica sounds. We then had about a ½ hour wait till the Gourds came on.

We got another round and then got some fresh air. It was getting packed in there, with standing room only. I went to the restroom and P found a great place left of the stage. We were kind of blocking the step by the restrooms, so eventually we crowded in a little closer and ended up actually right next to the stage and had a place to set our drinks.

The Gourds were one hoppin’ foot stompin’ singin’ mandolin playin’ honky-tonkin’, Cajun, bluegrass playin’ accordion squeezin’ crazy-ass fun band from Austin, Texas! Kevin Russell is the lead singer and played mostly mandolin, but also played harmonica, electric and acoustic guitar. There are four other members on drums, keyboard/accordion, fiddle/slide/banjo, guitar/bass/vocals. Very talented group. Kevin looks like a Soggy Bottom Boy with a floppy hat and pointy beard, and big beer belly.

We stomped and clapped along all night! They must have played close to 3 hours. We had so much fun. We met some nice people around us. That’s the great thing about the Tractor. The crowd is mostly older and is somewhat in control. There were one or two pretty drunk guys near us, but they were funny. They got a group of the guys altogether and made them hold each other, including P(!) to feel the love of a slower song. Everyone was high-fiving and singing along.

We’d just downloaded a live cd of their music a couple of nights before, so we weren’t real familiar with the songs. It didn’t matter, though, because they were all so fun to stomp and clap to. I felt like I was down south, in a Texas bar, or maybe down in New Orleans.

After the show, all sweaty and tired, we pulled out of their latest cd entitled Heavy Ornamentals that P purchased earlier that night. I waited around to see if any of them would come out from backstage. Kevin, the lead singer, came out. He was talking for a while to some guy who seemed to be a big fan. He saw us unwrap our cd and pulled out his pen to sign the liner notes. He interrupted the man so he could meet us. I gave him a hug and thanked him for coming to Seattle. I told him we saw them on Austin City Limits, and really enjoyed the show. We’d come back to Bumbershoot to see them again! He thanked us after signing my cd. It was a great ending to a very fun night!

We got back to the car and noticed it was already after 1 am!

March 21, 2010 Posted by | Concert Season 2007, Music, The Gourds, The Tractor Tavern | , | Leave a comment

Todd Snider at the Tractor Tavern 3.1.2007

March 1, 2007 Todd Snider, solo acoustic

Tractor Tavern in Ballard

Opening: Rachel Harrington on acoustic guitar with mandolin accompaniment

Good ol’ Todd, up to his old tricks again! We had a great time seeing him in October 2006, and even more fun this time. But first, we had to wake up to 3 inches of snow! I couldn’t believe it. Almost snowed out of another concert! Luckily, it melted by the end of the day.

The boy had no school, so I took him late to daycare. I got to work late and left at 2:00! I was counting the minutes! I already planned with the boss to leave early so I could go run my thousand errands before picking P up in Ballard. I had to get gas, pick up boy, put my check in the bank, take dog to the kennel, take boy to my parents’ house in Mountlake Terrace, then hop on the freeway to go get P at work.

P had to work a little later than planned. We didn’t get downtown till about 5:15. We checked in to Hotel 1000, a small but cool hotel right on 1st Avenue. We quickly changed and headed downstairs to the Boka restaurant for drinks and appetizers. I had a delicious white peach cosmo. P drank mojitos. We then laughed at our food choices. I went for a large grilled cheese sandwich, thick with gooey gruyere cheese, with a tomato bisque soup and small salad. P had two tiny bite-sized riblet burgers that were literally only an inch high by an inch in diameter. They looked microscopic on the plate in front of his big frame! The waiter warned us…luckily, P wasn’t very hungry. I (reluctantly) shared part of my meal. We then changed again and prettied up for the show.

We caught a taxi to Ballard. The Tractor was fairly empty at first, but filled up quickly once the opening act got started. We sat in the front row, on the right. Unfortunately, we were in front of the hallway that led to the outside door, which was propped open most of the night. I got pretty cold until Todd came on, and they finally shut the door! The good part was we could see if he was coming up the steps from his gigantic tour bus, so I could warn my neighbors!

Our neighbors to the left were so funny. I didn’t catch their names, but it was a fairly young mom and her early-twenties daughter. They were a hoot! They were pounding down the Pabst Blue Ribbons. We stuck to vodka and cranberry juice or sodas. They were way bigger fans than I was! The mom brought flowers for Todd and had seen him several times and “partied” with him on the back steps of the Tractor a few years ago. The mom even had a pen and scratch paper to write Todd’s set list down as he went along. The daughter was a smoking vegetarian, which I thought was pretty funny. She was a huge Bob Dylan fan, too, so we talked a lot about Bob, and about his book and his concert a couple of years ago that we both attended. I think it was a relief to P to know there were people much crazier than me out there!! This girl knew everything about Bob and his music. I don’t even compare as far as my musical knowledge on any musician! And the mom knew a ton about Todd and knew of Will Kimbrough, too.

The opening act, Rachel Harrington, was good, but a little nasaly for my taste. I did like her harmonies with her partner who played mandolin. It was fun to listen to the mandolin played right.

There was a huge delay between their act and Todd. I don’t know what was taking so long. I guess he moves at his own pace. A little eccentric, I believe. Finally, we watched him saunter in through the door, with his little felt hat on, vest, checked shirt and silk tie, baggy, rolled up jeans, and loose canvas tennies. He slipped off the shoes on the steps of the stage, grabbed his black acoustic guitar and got to work, first smiling to the audience. He has a big, wide, toothy grin that warms my heart.

He started out the show with The Ballad of the Kingsmen, one of my favorites. I’ll have to call my friend S and let her know he played her favorite song first! She’ll be so jealous. She wanted to go, but had her baby just two weeks ago, so that was out of the question. She wasn’t due till next week, but he came early. I teased her that she should plan on going, and wouldn’t it be funny if her water broke during the show! P chimed in that Todd would probably scoop it up and use it for bong water! Ha We laughed so hard about that! I “named” her baby Diesel (after the Tractor’s slogan, A Nice Diesel Place to Hear Music) Bongwater!

Other songs included (but not in order because I did not write down the set list): The Devil You Know/ Carla (which he started to play but changed his mind until our neighbor mom yelled up and asked him to play it, and he said, “Oh, you know Carla?” then they bantered back and forth for a minute, and he thanked her for the flowers. Then said something about don’t talk to him while he’s up there because it f’s with his head! Enjoy Yourself (he asked us all to sing along)/ Alcohol & Pills/Train Song/Looking for a Job/Happy New Year/If Tomorrow Never Comes/Easy Money/Tension/ Talkin’ Seattle Grunge Rock Blues/Conservative Christian/Incarcerated (my favorite, but I was incarcerated in the restroom!)/B-double-E-double-R-u-n (cute tongue-twister of a song) and another song from a previous album I didn’t recognize.

He  also sang a song he made up while driving home after meeting his wife Melita’s parents for the first time. It was a very sweet song. He opened it by telling that he met Melita in drug rehab, and how going to meet her parents was scary, because the last thing her parents wanted to hear was that she met her boyfriend in drug rehab. And when they asked him what he did for a living, the last thing they wanted to hear was that he was a folk singer! That didn’t go over too well, but it all worked out, and they had a nice drive home.

The final song was a little a capella ditty about “I’ll stand by you” or “I’m there for you” something like that, where he named/described a bunch of crazy stars like Britney Spears’ stepping-out-of the-limo with her [hoo-hoo] showin’, Paris Hilton, etc… I don’t know–it was funny! But then the ending line said something about how life is for living, and only comes around once. He repeated it three times. Then promptly waved, gave another big smile, and looked right at us, too, then walked out. Everyone cheered, of course.

Typical Todd, eccentric, dirty, sweaty, funny, poignant, folksy, and very entertaining. My favorite lines of the evening included: “I smoke more pot before 9:30 in the morning than most people smoke all day!” The other was after he messed up and started repeating lines he had already sung before the chorus: “Oh, I forgot my lines…but THINK of how many lines I REMEMBERED!”

We then acted like a couple of kids in our twenties. Our neighbors bolted out right after Todd left. We realized they were heading for the tour bus to get autographs before he left for Bellingham! So we decided to do the same thing. I brought two liner notes from The Devil You Know and That Was Me and a Sharpie pen. I was prepared this time!

We walked all around the block to find the bus. There it was, huge and foreboding, behind a chain-link fence, with a gate opened just enough to let a person through. We faltered at the fence. We saw our neighbors, the mom and daughter, happily walking away with a signed poster. The mom said they had to hand it up to the bus driver, but Todd did sign it.

Ok, so we decided to go in, after I told P, “C’mon, you only live once, and all they could do is say no!” So we hurried back, saw the driver and waved. He saw us, then walked back behind the curtain. He came back out a few seconds later and opened the door. I said in my most polite voice: “Hi, I was wondering if Mr. Snider could sign a couple of things for me?” The driver, and elderly man, smiled and said in a kind voice, “I’ll see what I can do.” A minute or two later he came back with my things signed! I’m assuming Todd signed them, but we never saw him. Darn. He drew a peace sign and a heart next to each other, then signed what looked like TS below that. He did that on both items. So that was cool.

 We were all giggly after our little 20-something night, and walked a couple of blocks in the cold air to find a taxi. We then went straight to our hotel restaurant for more yummy appetizers and drinks. I don’t think we went to sleep till sometime after 1:30 that night! We finally left our awesome but temporary abode and headed to work about 9:30 the next morning, tired but happy.

March 19, 2010 Posted by | Americana, Concert Season 2007, Music, The Tractor Tavern, Todd Snider | , , | Leave a comment