Aplscruf's Music, Art, and Literature Blog

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo 12.13.2008

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Black Daisy, The Purrs, and Brent Amaker and the Rodeo

Sunset Tavern, Ballard


I had a rowdy weekend with P in downtown Seattle for my early b’day celebration. I thought [29 – ha] was going to be tough, but we managed to shop at Pike Place Market, eat till we were stuffed, see a show, take a whiskey communion, and taxi back to our hotel at 2 am. Not bad! And it snowed…even better!

P also surprised me with an acoustic/electric guitar! He’s so sneaky, he brought it down to the hotel that am and had it brought up to the room! I told him I didn’t need anything, I just wanted to go out on the town. So he asked if he should take it back. Are you kidding me?? ha

Before the show, we shopped a little at Pike Place Market. We also stuffed ourselves at McCormick’s and Schmick’s on 1st Ave, just up the street from our favorite hotel, Hotel 1000. We also had drinks and appetizers at Boka next door to the hotel, and were amazed by the large snowflakes pelting the window of the taxi as we headed in to Ballard to see our Rodeo boys.

We saw Brent Amaker and the Rodeo (new album entitled, “Howdy-Do!”) in this little divey bar called the Sunset Tavern in Ballard, just up the street from the Tractor. I think it used to be a Chinese restaurant back in the day. Still has red velvet wallpaper. Two other bands played first: Black Daisy, a Tenacious-D style band with extremely funny yet tasteless lyrics, then The Purrs who’d been playing for many decades, apparently.

The Rodeo came on last, so we had to pace ourselves to make it to midnight, but always worth the wait. Johnny Cash with a potty mouth. We brought them some whiskey for the communion, danced along to their crazy, campy cowboy songs, and I kissed P under the mistletoe. We even received little gifts from the boys. One lucky audience member received the grand prize, Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots!

The next morning, although a very cold 19 degrees, we decided to walk back to Pike Place Market. It was so interesting there. We decided to eat breakfast at Lowell’s, which has been at Pike Place since forever. It was crowded, so we ate at the bar, but had a view of the sound from across the restaurant. It was a sunny, chilly day. People were flocking in after the Jingle Bell Run, all decked out in running gear and Santa hats. It was interesting watching all the runners with their flushed cheeks and panting breath. I had never been at the Market when vendors were setting up their booths. They were carting big plastic containers of their wares, boxes of fruit and vegetables, meats and fish. It was fun walking amongst the organized chaos and chatting vendors. We also did some shopping in The Market and purchased family Christmas gifts at Market Spice Teas and Beecher’s, a local cheese shop.

A wonderful birthday weekend!

February 16, 2010 Posted by | Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, Concert Season 2008, Music, The Sunset Tavern | | Leave a comment

Tom Petty at The Gorge 8.16.08

August 16, 2008 

 Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 

Steve Winwood opened 

The Gorge 

Good ol’ Tom. 

Opened with You Wreck Me, Closed with American Girl. All the greatest hits in between, and a couple of extras. 

Here are most of the songs, not in this exact order, plus some long jam sessions on several, including Breakdown, a blues song called Willie something, Don’t Come Around Here… 

You Wreck Me 

You Don’t Know How it Feels 

Free Fallin 

Even the Losers 

Mary Jane’s Last Dance 

Runnin’ Down a Dream 

Don’t Come Around Here 

Blues Song 

It’s All Right 

I Won’t Back Down 


Honey Bee 


Saving Grace 

Break Down 


American Girl 

I’m sure there were some more in there, but he did extend several of the songs with some great jams that never seemed too long. 

We had a terrible time getting out of Bothell/Redmond when we were ready to leave last Saturday! We spent 2 ½ hours stuck at lights, stuck in traffic, getting food at Whole Foods, stuck trying to get on the freeway in Issaquah! They were working on 405, so we decided to take the surface streets to 90. What a pain. We almost wished we would’ve taken Highway 2 and gone over Stevens, but then it’s quite a drive past that to the George. 

Once on the road we made really good time. There was no line up to get in, so that was great. By the look of the campground, many people spent the night Friday and made a weekend of it. Tom played 2 nights. Unfortunately, we did not get in the premier campground, and had to park where they told us, which was very disappointing. We begged the security/parking guys to let us get to the fence where we could see an opening, but they would not budge. I told P to watch his mouth so we wouldn’t get kicked out of there! 

As it turned out, we were in the middle of a quiet young couple on one side and people our age on the other who had a big camper van and large gazebo, so we were ok. But we were surrounded by some other pretty noisy campers that night. I think I’m getting too old for this! 

We set up our tent fly and almost didn’t because in 100 degree weather, we were ready to rip the thing to shreds! We were so hot and tired when we got there, and we couldn’t figure out how we set it up before. It took us about ½ hour to get it set up, attached to our truck hatch, and then get the chairs and the cooler out. Then it was finally time to relax for a couple of hours before heading down the long trail to the amphitheatre. 

Our seats were stuck right in the middle of a very long row. Once in, we were pretty much stuck for the whole show. P got out a couple of times to use the restroom. I just decided to hold it and stay put. I’m glad I did because it was near impossible to move in those rows. 

Overall, we had a good time, but it paled in comparison to being so up close at the Troubadour. Nothing will beat that. 

February 16, 2010 Posted by | Concert Season 2008, Music, The Gorge Amphitheatre, Tom Petty | | 1 Comment

CSN Chateau Ste Michelle 6.6.2008

June 6, 2008 

Crosby, Stills and Nash 

Chateau Ste Michelle Winery, Woodinville


We had a Peace-and-Love Friday with CSN. Rain or shine. Well, it didn’t rain. But it was so cold I was wearing my ski parka while drinking wine and eating cheese and crackers.  The weather held out and the sky cleared just as they started the show. They had propane heaters up on the stage for the boys. It was so cold, the poor guys were bundled up! Crosby wore a little striped stocking cap all night and looked like a homeless Santa, but he could still sing! 

They were great. I was warned by a co-worker that the last time he saw CSN they did not sound very well. He said they were just not harmonizing like they used to, and were even apologetic. This time, they were on their game. They really sounded amazing. The boys did a great job with harmonies, hammering out hit after hit. They started with some slower songs, then picked up pace in the second half. 

They had to take turns warming themselves under the heaters. It was really blustery and cold. But at least it didn’t rain. In fact, the clouds cleared away as the sun set. It was really a beautiful evening. We’d never seen them before, and they were on my list of concerts to see before they (or I) died. 

What we found incredibly sad was the fact that their anti-war songs still have meaning today. One funny thing David Crosby said was, “If our President cannot pronounce the word ‘nuclear’, should he be allowed to…” 

Crosby and Nash constantly made jabs at each other, even swore at each other a few times, but all in good fun and humor. 

At the end, we started leaving, until we realized there was an encore. We hustled back up to the front of the stage and got some great shots up close. That was well worth the trouble of then getting stuck in the crowds on the way out. 

We dodged most of the crowds and headed across the street to the brewery for some more food before taking a taxi home. Another fun time! 

February 16, 2010 Posted by | Chateau Ste Michelle, Concert Season 2008, Music | | Leave a comment

The Gourds 2.14.2008

February 14, 2008 

The Gourds at the Tractor 

The Gourds are special to P and me.  They were a great band to see on Valentines Day to lift the spirits and enjoy with the company of loved ones. We stayed in a hotel in the U-District, of all places. Seems weird for Cougs to be in Dawg country. I think it was called the Deco Hotel, and was recently renovated in that style.  We enjoyed its cozy atmosphere in the heart of such a busy, noisy District.   We ate downstairs in the very quiet, dimly lit, little hotel restaurant. We had some good food, drinks, great conversation, and even got the knowing, admiring smiles of an older couple who were also there celebrating Valentines Day. 

The Gourds are a full-on, in-your-face, full-body, mind, spirit show. I just love their Cajun/Tex-Mex sound. The keep the place hopping for hours. Afterward, I had Kevin and Jimmy sign my CD.   We spoke with Kevin briefly, then we snuck backstage to talk to Jimmy, the bass player, who looked exhausted and was slumped down on the couch.  He was courteous, slurred he was really tired, signed his name and drew lines all over a page of the liner notes! I mentioned something about leaving our boy at home this time, but he told us The Gourds were his favorite band at Bumbershoot. Jimmy asked how old our boy was (12), and how he missed his own boys. We let him be after that, and taxied back to our hotel. 

February 16, 2010 Posted by | Concert Season 2008, Music, The Gourds, The Tractor Tavern | , | Leave a comment

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals January 2008

January 26, 2008

Ryan Adams and the Cardinals

Paramount Theatre

P and I enjoyed Ryan Adams and the Cardinals on Sat, our first show of 2008. We stayed in the Paramount Hotel, right across the street from the Paramount Theatre. This was quite a fun night. Ryan was right up there with Todd Snider on the laugh-out-loud scale. Really funny guy, extremely talented and very entertaining.

After a very short ride into Seattle, we pulled up to the Paramount Hotel and P went in the lobby to check in. As I was waiting in the truck (wishing I were in the Mini) here came the whole band out the front doors, making their way to the theatre for a sound check! I almost peed a little! Had I any nerve I would’ve jumped out of the truck and had them sign my CD that was right there in the console! Damn! And no sharpie! Ryan looked right in the truck at me, so that was cool. I’m such an almost-groupie.

I’ve liked Ryan since the days of Whiskeytown, and am enjoying his latest album, Easy Tiger. Ryan and the band put on a terrific show. He’s such a quirky character, but the rest of the talented band seemed patient and knew when to wait for him to calm down, light his cigarette, have a little chat with the audience, etc.

He was very eager to involve the audience in his show. He even made a digital “movie” with his camera and requested that we all stand up and act like zombies, then put our hands on our heads to form “eyeballs” <*> and chant something like, “All Cardinals Activate!” It was crazy! And in between all the jokes and interruptions and a short intermission (he told us to have a smoke or take a 5-minute poo) the music was a phenomenal mix of old and new music from his prolific library, alt-country to Zeppelin-infused psychedelic rock, as well as a cover of Alice In Chains.

An amazing night, and perfect first-concert-of-the-year weekend! Oh, and the best line of the night…someone yelled out for him to play “Summer of 69” (Bryan Adams! Which is funny, because I had to keep explaining to people including my guitar instructor that I was seeing RYAN not BRYAN) and so he yelled back, “Hey, I heard you talking about that Summer of 69 dude from Canada. It’s YOUR Karma, dude, not mine!”


February 15, 2010 Posted by | Concert Season 2008, Music, Ryan Adams, The Cardinals, The Paramount Theatre | , , | Leave a comment

Tom Petty with Mudcrutch at The Troubadour 05.02.2008

In honor of Tom Petty’s 2010 Tour, I decided to post my favorite show…

Friday, May 2, 2008 Tom Petty and his new/old band Mudcrutch The Troubadour, West Hollywood, CA


So anyway, after getting that off my chest…I can clearly remember standing there near the stage saying, “I can die now. My life is complete!” Unbelievable.  Musical Salvation.  Ok, here’s the story…

So P calls me during my second week at my new job. Do I want tickets to see Tom Petty at the Troubadour in Hollywood? “Sure, Hon, that would be great.” I’m thinking to myself, what a joke. There’s not a chance in hell we could get tix to see him in some small nightclub.

He later called back and said they sold out. End of story. But wait, there’s more! P called again and said they opened up another night for the next Friday, May 2! Could I go? Well, I have to work, but we could leave right after work. I told him I could figure it out later, wondering how the hell I was going to tell my new boss. He called back and said, WE GOT THE TICKETS!!!!! Holy sh**. I yelped at my desk! I worked out taking the time off, and promised to make up the time, while P booked a room and reserved a flight. That was a little more difficult due to flight times.

Eventually we booked a room at the London Hotel in West Hollywood. Sounded nice, and the price was right. It was an old hotel, and they were still working on the restaurant, so they were offering suites at a low price. The flight was pretty cheap, but later in the day than we would have liked. I ended up working about two hours, then taking off to see if we could talk our way on to an earlier flight.

Luckily, we did take an earlier flight, because after arriving in L.A, renting a car and merging on the freeway, we were hit with nasty early rush-hour traffic . Plus, we weren’t exactly sure where to go, so we ended up missing an exit and winding through some side streets. It eventually worked out, and we found our beautiful little hotel up on a hillside, kitty-corner from Whisky-A-Go-Go!

We asked the front desk about the history of the old hotel. Well, had I watched the show, I would have known immediately: this is the hotel portrayed in Beverly Hills 90210!!! Wha’? Not only that, but the new restaurant will be the next Hell’s Kitchen! The winning chef of the current season will get to run the restaurant. Wow. How cool is that!

Our room was spectacular: a long suite with couch and chairs, separate desk, a nice deck overlooking the hills, beautiful king bed and then a very large walk-in shower, separate bathtub and gorgeous tiled walls. We were very impressed and felt lucky to get such a perfect deal in a great place. We had to really hurry after being stuck in traffic to get ready for the show. I didn’t know what to expect, but I wanted to look a little nicer than my sweaty self! We were very crabby and hungry by this point, after going non-stop since early this am.

We zoomed out the door only to be road-blocked by a very slow taxi service. Apparently they haven’t worked out all the bugs of running a newly renovated hotel; there were about 10 doormen and bell boys standing around and no taxi in sight. They called one out, but the taxis were not lined up due to the very small entryway. Fifteen precious minutes ticked by before one arrived. We should have called from the room!

We got down there with a little time to spare. The line at the Troubadour wasn’t too bad yet, with maybe 50 people in line. We were starving and thirsty from our rushing around. We went next door to an Italian restaurant, which is where the rest of the people were, apparently!

We couldn’t even get in the bar, so we walked down the block to an Indian restaurant on the corner called A Taste of India. Perfect! There was hardly anyone there. The prices were decent, and the Chicken Tikka Masala and naan were amazing. We scarfed it up and mmmmed and ohhhed our way through it, while downing beer and water. The polite waiters were so nice and kept refilling our water. It was pretty hot out and we were cooking from all of our running around getting ready and zooming down the block. I went to the restroom and saw all the pictures on the wall of famous people who have eaten there or ordered takeout. Quite impressive!

Ok, on with the show! We walked back up the block to wait in line. The line was now around the corner and down the block, but still maybe only 100 people long. Not too bad, but it did limit our chances of getting close to the stage. P showed me a pic on the web of the Troubadour a few days before we left, and it looked interestingly small for such a big name playing there. There was a history of musicians that debuted there, such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, other big 60’s bands, and, uh, The Knack (ha more on that story later). The Troubadour has been around since 1957. Way cool.

As we waited, we noticed the sign across the street that read, “Beverly Hills”. We then noticed all the cars that went by us: Mercedes, Lamborghini’s, Ferrari’s, Land Rovers, Hummers…unreal. I couldn’t believe the high concentration of money (or debt) in such a small area. I felt very pale and poor, but  the population in line was more in my poverty bracket, I believe. There was an exception: a woman who was very tan and leathery, with fake boobs, fake blond hair and fake lips as well as pulled eyebrows that made her look like a surprised clown. She was the epitome of what that town was all about. Ugh. She looked terrible. There’s something to be said about just letting things be. I remember her when I look in the mirror and wonder if I should get a lift here, a tuck there.

After about 45 minutes, the line started moving! I was getting anxious about not being able to see the stage. The venue was small, but wide. The stage went almost the length of the inside wall on the right. At the back was a bar. Around the top was a balcony, and then little curtained rooms above that, where the band was hanging out with their friends and family. Way cool! You could kind of see through the sheer curtains and make out Tom’s silhouette as well as other band members’.

More waiting. I think we had to stand there for close to an hour before it started. We took turns going to the bathroom and getting a drink. I only had one drink, then only wanted water after that. It was pretty stifling hot with all the bodies standing so close together.

Also, and most important, we managed to get one of the best positions in the house, just right of center, about 3 layers of people back from the stage! Tom’s mike was only about 10 feet away from us! The stage was only about 2 feet off the ground. I looked at P. Sh**! We’re close! I really don’t know how we managed to get that close, but most people either crowded to the middle or went directly to the bar to get a drink first and didn’t care about how close they were. Actually, it was so small in there, anywhere was fantastic! A lot of people sat up in the balcony, too, including Tom’s Heartbreakers bass player, Ron Blair! We kept looking back at him and staring like star-struck fans! Cool.

We could see movement behind the curtains. People were getting restless and called for Tom! Yes! Here he is! Here’s the rest of the band, Mudcrutch! I looked back at P again…F***! He’s right there in front of us!!! I was in heaven. I couldn’t believe we were that close, in Hollywood, seeing my Rock-n-Roll Jesus!!! I thought I might cry, but I didn’t. I was sober, in complete bliss, and enjoyed every minute. I couldn’t stop smiling!!

Mudcrutch ran through their set list of all the songs off their new/old album, as well as two Bob Dylan covers (including Rainy Day Women) and Summertime Blues, and a couple of other oldies that were so fun to bounce around to. Mudcrutch was there to play Mudcrutch and not any Heartbreakers music; which was ok by me, but it would have been nice to hear one or two songs. But that wasn’t why they were there.  Luckily I had purchased the CD before we left so I knew what to expect. That really helped us enjoy the show!

Tom and the band seemed loose, happy and just out to have a good time. No big light show, no grandstanding, just a regular band out to have fun and enjoy themselves and connect with the audience. And connect they did! Tom and the boys would look out and smile, hold guitar necks out above our heads, (I could’ve touched Tom’s bass at one point!) and talk to us. A few times, I thought I made eye contact with Tom as he looked out. And then, one time, and P saw it too, Tom looked right at me and smiled. It was brief, but it was eye contact and a nice grin. It really made my night. My musical Jesus, right there, right in front of me, noticed me. I was born again! P tapped me and said, “He smiled at YOU!” SH**! I had a very bad potty mouth that night because I was in complete ecstasy.

The Knack: Tom told a very amusing tall tale about being “Tom” in the late 70’s and going to the Troubadour for the first time. He decided to get some drinks there, and heard there was a new band playing called The Knack (ma-ma-ma my-y-y Sharona!). The band recognized Tom. He said he usually does not drink, but that night he drank, which was a big mistake.  The band asked him to join them onstage. He decided to do so, being Tom and all. They hooked him up to the biggest amps he’d ever seen. The Marshall 10,000! They said they would give him his cue when they wanted him to join in. He turned the thing up to 10 and waited for his cue. “Hit it, Tom!” He hit a power chord and promptly flew across the tables (they had tables in the front of the stage back then) knocking over drinks, ruining wardrobes, and destroying furniture! The next day he received a bill from the bar and a call from his agent. $481.00 for one night at the Troubadour, not a bad deal! Then Bruce Springsteen met up with him for dinner that night, and asked if he wanted to go out for drinks at the Troubadour, because he heard this new band The Knack was playing. Everybody in the audience laughed heartily through his story! Tom warned Bruce, “Whatever you do, do NOT fly across the tables.”

After an encore, we sauntered out of there, first purchasing a Mudcrutch tee for me. We loitered around with the paparazzi who were waiting for the band. I was pretty wiped out and hungry again, so we didn’t stick around too long. Although we did see the tour bus pull up to the front of the building…we really should have waited for the band, but oh well.  I kicked myself later.

We hailed a taxi and went back to the hotel. We freshened up, then decided to venture out to Sunset Blvd to see what was happening. Wow, the city doesn’t sleep. We ended up going to a little restaurant called La Mirabella or something. We sat in a corner and scanned the horizon for stars. The only one P recognized was some guy that played a pimp in Deuce Bigelow American Gigilo. Gimme a break!

We decided to head back to the hotel after a delicious dinner and dessert.  I think we finally got back around 1:30, then promptly crashed on the couch in a heap.  At one point we made it back to bed and tried to sleep in as long as possible.

Later that morning we drove over to the coast via Santa Monica Blvd. Wow. How much money is in this town?? The beach was big and gorgeous. In the distance was the great Santa Monica Pier, with carnival rides in the mist.  It was an early Sunday, and not many people were out. I wish we had time to take a walk, but instead we just drove along through the parking lot and on the road parallel to the beach. We had to continue our journey back to LAX and back home.

What a trip–and a show–of a lifetime.

January 27, 2010 Posted by | Concert Season 2008, Music, Tom Petty | , , , | 2 Comments