Aplscruf's Music Blog

Weird Al is Taking Over the World with “Mandatory Fun”

Weird Al Yankovic is ordering us to have Mandatory Fun.  The fun has already started this week, with the release of one music video a day to promote his new album.  Here’s the first one, guaranteed to make you happy:

http://www.nerdist.com/vepisode/weird-al-yankovic-gets-tacky-with-pharrells-happy/

July 16, 2014 Posted by | Concert Season 2014, Uncategorized, Weird Al Yankovic | , , | Leave a comment

Heart Heats Up Marymoor Park July 1, 2014

Nancy and Ann Wilson Heating Up the Stage

Nancy and Ann Wilson Heating Up the Stage

Just when we thought it couldn’t get any hotter on this record-breaking scorcher of a Tuesday, Heart lit the stage on fire.

Pat and I have lived near Seattle our entire lives and we’ve never seen Heart in concert. Looking back, it seems like a sin.  Last spring, we witnessed Ann Wilson as a surprise guest at PettyFest. She belted out Tom Petty’s songs with such rockin’ fury, we knew we had to see her with a full band sometime.  We didn’t have to wait long; soon after, Heart tickets for Marymoor Park went on sale.  They were overpriced, but we decided to go for it.

*  *  *   

I knew with the July heat and weekday traffic, that this night would either be hit or miss.  We planned our route, left a little early from work and were surprised at how quickly we entered the park and found good parking.  

Now the wait began.  A huge line was already forming, yards away from the gate.  Of course, the line was situated directly in the 95-degree sun, so we hunkered down as best we could.  I brought an umbrella, but we chose to just bear it and turn away from the sun as long as possible (I know I’ll miss that sun come November).  I finally gave up and found a shady spot while Pat dealt with the heat and the line.  It started moving fairly quickly in about 20 minutes, and I re-joined him when it turned a corner into the shade.  We got in after a quick bag search.

Our eighth-row seats were stage left, just right of center.  Nice.  We could handle this spot.  The seats were at a triangular configuration, so it was easy to get in and out of there without having to crawl over too many people.  We made our way back over to the beer and food trucks. Luckily, we entered the food line fairly quickly because I’m sure the people last in line behind us had an hour wait.  We settled on a Surf Infusion truck and ordered yummy tacos and a pulled pork sandwich.  They held us over for the rest of the night. Alright, the logistical details are finished. All went well, and better than expected. We were looking forward to relaxing and enjoying the show.

As we were finishing our food, Michael Grimm took the stage.  He was the winner on Season 5 (2010) of “America’s Got Talent” and played a nice solo acoustic set.  His smooth voice had just a touch of grit.  Grimm and Ann Wilson sang a duet for his debut, self-titled album, but we weren’t blessed with a duet tonight.

 

Michael Grimm opens the Heart show at Marymoor Park, Redmond, WA

Michael Grimm opens the Heart show on the massive stage at Marymoor Park, Redmond, WA

We found our seats as he finished up his last two songs.  We gave him a hearty applause, but there were still rows of people who hadn’t shown up yet.  Lots of them were stuck in the enormous food lines. I don’t think the show was sold out, either, which surprised me.  

IMG_0739

I was always a Heart fan, but in a “Well, they’re from Seattle, so of course I like them,” sort of way. I listened to Heart throughout my adolescence, but only own one vinyl album (Dog and Butterfly) and a more recent Greatest Hits CD.  They made an hourly appearance on our classic rock radio stations for decades.  I guess I took them for granted, even though they’ve sold over 35 million albums and keep making more, including the most recent album, Fanatic.

What I didn’t expect is to be completely blown away by Heart. I knew it would be a good show, but I was kind of expecting to just hang out in the summer heat and enjoy the music.  I did not realize the magnitude of their talents and the impact they would have on me.

Nancy Wilson starts off the rockin' night with "Crazy on You"

Nancy Wilson starts off the rockin’ night with “Crazy on You”

Nancy Wilson entered the stage to growing cheers as the crowd hurriedly found their seats.  We all stood and hushed up as Ms. Wilson strapped on a gorgeous acoustic guitar and played the intro to “Crazy On You”  with such power and emotion. Oh, I had chills on this 90-degree evening! I showed Pat my goose-pimpled arm.  She threw her golden tresses around with a toss of her head, posed, postured, and thrust the guitar up and down as she worked her magic on the strings with ease.  She is truly a guitar goddess; and I must admit, by the end of the night, I had a serious girl-crush on her. Pat didn’t seem to mind that one bit. Her lacy leg kicked high as she finished the intro, and Ann Wilson joined her on stage with a roar from the crowd.  

Ann Wilson, the raven-haired rock diva, hasn’t lost her vocal prowess. Her legendary female Voice of Rock is known throughout the world.  She belted out “Crazy On You” with the same gusto as she did in the 1970’s, and nailed the high notes in the chorus.

Ann Wilson, Queen of Heart

Ann Wilson, Queen of Heart

The 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees worked the entire stage, moved close to the edge and bent down for a closer view of their audience, waved to the crowd, smiled, grimaced and used their entire bodies to convey the music.  Their stage presence was one of the best I’ve seen in years.  Their backing band was great, too, but they held back and let Ann and Nancy shine. Current members include: Ben Smith, Debbie Shair, Craig Bartock, and Dan Rothchild.

The Setlist:

  • Crazy On You
  • Heartless
  • What About Love  – After this massive hit, Nancy exclaimed that Marymoor Park is very special to them because back in the day, they used to come to the Park with a 6-pack and a guitar and hang out.
  • Dreamboat Annie  – featured Ann on flute
  • Straight On
  • Little Queen
  • Let Me Roll It – Ann wanted to dedicate this Wings cover to Sir Paul McCartney, since he was sick recently.  They held nothing back, and I stomped along to the intro, in total heaven.
  • Heaven – a psychedelic tune, not quite accepted by the Music Industry execs, but one of their favorites.  Nancy played her guitar like a cello, upright and with a bow.
  • These Dreams  – Dedicated to Marymoor Park
  • Alone
  • Mashallah – from their new Fanatic album
  • Magic Man
  • Barracuda
  • Encore:
  • No Quarter
    (Led Zeppelin cover)
  • The Ocean
    (Led Zeppelin cover)
  • Immigrant Song
    (Led Zeppelin cover)
  • Kashmir
    (Led Zeppelin cover)
  • The Rain Song
    (Led Zeppelin cover)
  • Stairway to Heaven – Ann was a little raspy near the end of the long set, but was forgiven as she belted out Robert Plant’s falsetto vocals on “Stairway to Heaven” The Total Experience Gospel Choir joined them on stage for a couple of the Zeppelin tunes!  Amazing.

The crowd was super-polite, which was yet another treat for this fantastic night.  We didn’t see any drunks or rude behavior, other than a few people trying to work their way to the large gap between the front row and tall stage. We actually ended up at the front during the encore, due to ‘blind’ security officials. They just smiled and gave up trying to stop people; everyone was so well-behaved, it wasn’t a problem.  I actually rested my arm on the stage!  It was fantastic.  I was in heaven.  My soul smiled once again, and I turned back to show Pat—he smiled back.  He knew!

*Note: My pictures are horrible due to lighting and using my phone as a shabby excuse for a camera.  See Heart’s Facebook page for some incredible shots of the band from some amazing local photographers!

 

July 10, 2014 Posted by | Ann Wilson, Concert Season 2014, Heart, Marymoor Park, Music, Nancy Wilson | 1 Comment

Will Kimbrough, Rodney Crowell and Jedd Hughes Toured The West

Jedd Hughes, Rodney Crowell and Will Kimbrough played a specacular show at The Triple Door - Seattle. Photo Credits: Jacob Knight

Jedd Hughes, Rodney Crowell and Will Kimbrough played a spectacular show at The Triple Door – Seattle. Photo Credits: Jacob Knight

 

I just finished a blog for No Depression regarding our fantastic trip to California which ended with a fabulous show at Slim’s in San Francisco to see Will Kimbrough, Rodney Crowell and Jedd Hughes.  We then followed the boys to Seattle where they tore it up at The Triple Door.  Spectacular.  Here’s the link to my blog:

http://www.nodepression.com/live-review/will-kimbrough-rodney-crowell-and-jedd-hughes-gain-new-fans-san-francisco-and-seattle

June 29, 2014 Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Jedd Hughes, Music, Rodney Crowell, Seattle, Slim's San Francisco, The Triple Door, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Flight To Mars Tonight!

Flight to Mars members Tim DiJulio and Mike McCready

Flight to Mars members Tim DiJulio and Mike McCready

Flight to Mars, Seattle’s star-studded UFO tribute band, is going to Rawk the Showbox tonight.  We saw their high-octane show in 2011 and loved every minute of it.  You never know who is going to show up on that stage!  Plus, the show benefits  Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

Here is my review of the 2011 show:

https://aplscruf.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/flight-to-mars-at-the-showbox-april-8-2011/

Also, see my sister-in-law’s awesome pics of that night here:

http://ljwkphotography.photoshelter.com/#!/index/G0000HqfCi3zyWrk/97

May 16, 2014 Posted by | Concert Season 2014, Flight to Mars, Seattle, The Showbox | 1 Comment

Old 97’s Got Messy at The Showbox May 12, 2014

Rhett Miller and Murry Hammond of Old 97's with Nikki Lane

Rhett Miller and Murry Hammond of Old 97’s with Nikki Lane

Old 97’s have been kicking around over 20 years now.  They are one of the best live shows around and appeal to rockers, country lovers and punkers alike.  Their genre-bending, full-throttle tunes move the crowd into a frenzy.

I haven’t seen Old 97’s since their floor-shuddering show at The Showbox in the fall of 2012.  See that review here on Randomville: http://randomville.com/concert-review-old-97s-at-the-showbox-seattle-942012/ 

The foursome shook the Showbox again Monday, in another amped-up performance.  They are on tour once more to support a brand new album called Most Messed Up which is getting rave reviews, including a four-star review in Rolling Stone: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/albumreviews/most-messed-up-20140429

And how ’bout this fiery-hot review from Paste Magazine: http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2014/04/old-97s-most-messed-up-review.html

Opening for Old 97’s was Nikki Lane, a Nashville chart-climbing songstress.  Her appealing retro looks and country songs with biting lyrics are getting national attention, from Americana Radio (charting at #5 last week for her new album, All or Nothin’) to Vogue Magazine.  Her voice has been compared to Tammy Wynette, Amy Winehouse and Wanda Jackson.  She’s touring the nation, so check her out or pick up her album.

 

 

 

May 14, 2014 Posted by | Concert Season 2014, Music, Old 97's, The Showbox | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

UPDATE! Rodney Crowell Nominated for Americana Music Award!

Rodney Crowell at Silver Platter Records in Seattle

Rodney Crowell at Silver Platter Records in Seattle

Rodney Crowell, who is currently touring the country, just received an Americana Music Association nomination for Artist of the Year!  See the list of all nominess here: http://americanamusic.org/americana-announces-2014-award-nominees-cash-ellis-isbell-lead-nominations

He is also listed in the #1 spot for his new album, Tarpaper Sky on the Americana Music Association Radio Chart: http://americanaradio.org/ama/displaychart_beforetracks.asp?mode=lw&dtkey=

Mr. Crowell is coming to the West Coast in June.  Check out his website above for tour details.

Check out my post on Rodney’s last visit to Seattle here: https://aplscruf.wordpress.com/2014/04/03/rodney-crowell-at-silver-platters-seattle-wa-3-31-14/  I also posted the article on No Depression: http://www.nodepression.com/profiles/blogs/rodney-crowell-s-solo-performance-in-seattle-to-promote-tarpaper

 

 

May 14, 2014 Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Rodney Crowell | , , | 3 Comments

Jackrabbit, Colt Kraft Band, Deception Past at Tractor Tavern 4.26.14

Jackrabbit at The Tractor in 2012

Jackrabbit at The Tractor in 2012

UPDATE: HERE’S MY BLOG OF THE SHOW I POSTED FOR NO DEPRESSION:

http://www.nodepression.com/article/jackrabbit-colt-kraft-and-deception-past-rocked-seattles-tractor-tavern

 

I’m looking forward to a night with Jackrabbit at The Tractor–and a Saturday night to boot.  Lately, it seems our favorite shows have been during the week, which makes for an exhausting night and a fuzzy work morning.  Saturday gives us a little time to relax and be prepared for a late show.  Yes, I am old.

Jackrabbit hasn’t played publicly since late last year.  We went to their private final show on a chilly winter’s eve, and it was a fantastic night of music and celebration.  The band was surrounded by their close friends and family.  Early this year, the girls, Moe Provencher and Aimee Zoe, took a sabbatical from Jackrabbit and cycled across New Zealand and Australia for three months. What an adventure! Not only did they travel on bicycles, but they played gigs at many stops along the way.

Jackrabbit’s frontman Tony Fulgham had his share of traveling around the globe for World Famous Inc. He wrote and directed a movie called Box Walk which is now showing at independent film festivals (most recently in Nashville).  Check out World Famous. The man is prolific.  How he has time to raise his adorable family is a mystery.

Deception Past is celebrating the release of another album Saturday night.  We saw them destroy it at The Green Frog in Bellingham last month. We’re anxious to hear some more great foot stompin’ country from them and to see how many people they can fit on their stage by the end of the night.

Colt Kraft Band is also dropping a new EP.  We haven’t see them before, and new music is always good for the soul.

Hope to see you Saturday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 24, 2014 Posted by | Americana, aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Deception Past, Jackrabbit, The Tractor Tavern | , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rodney Crowell at Silver Platters, Seattle, WA 3.31.14

Rodney Crowell at Silver Platter Records in Seattle

Rodney Crowell at Silver Platters Record Store in Seattle

Read this article on No Depression: http://www.nodepression.com/article/rodney-crowell-promotes-tarpaper-sky-seattle

After a busy day at work, “Operation Rodney Crowell” commenced.  I left a little early for our home in the ‘burbs, with the hope of beating some of Seattle’s rush-hour traffic on this Monday afternoon. My son Jacob–my handler and navigator–texted that he was on his way home from the high school.  I sent a note to his track coach excusing him early, stating that Jacob had a “family event” to attend in the afternoon.  I wasn’t lying.  Jacob and I are family, and we were going to an event.

On Saturday, just two days earlier, I happened to see a Facebook post on Rodney Crowell’s page that mentioned he was performing free solo shows in Seattle and Portland to promote his new album, Tarpaper Sky.  He was scheduled to perform at Silver Platters at 6:00 Monday, March 31.

Jacob’s first concert was in Coos Bay, Oregon in 2006 where Rodney and The Outsiders (including Will Kimbrough on guitar) played at an outdoor music festival. Jacob got to meet both Rodney and Will after the show.  At ten years old, this left quite an impression on the boy.  It was time to see Mr. Crowell again.

After topping off the tank, Jacob and I headed down the road to I-405.  Slow traffic in Bellevue was expected, but we soon found ourselves speeding over the I-90 bridge across Lake Washington, cruising by Safeco Field into the fray of Opening Night (sorry, Officer, I was in the wrong lane, and no, I don’t want to park here, I just need to pass through!), and continuing several blocks down First Avenue South, also known as the SoDo district of Seattle. Jacob’s eagle eyes spotted the Silver Platters sign.

I parked near front of the record store and I felt my nerves set in.  Jacob, donning his “handler” cap, told me to calm down.  I told him I wanted to be sure to tell Mr. Crowell everything I’d rehearsed.  “What’s the problem?” he said, “Just tell him we’re big fans, we saw him in Coos Bay, we know Will, and you’re going to write a blog about the show tonight.” Sure, I’ve got it down.  I can do this!  Sometimes, though, my shyness has paralyzing effects.

We walked into Silver Platters and I expected to see a big crowd, especially since Rodney Crowell and Emmylou Harris just won a GRAMMY for their Americana album Old Yellow Moon.  Both Rodney and Emmylou have churned out country hits for almost 40 years.  Although there wasn’t much of an advanced notice about the show, I believed the true fans would get their fannies down to SoDo to see him up close. Surprisingly, the store was almost empty except for rows and rows of new and vintage vinyl.  About a dozen people strolled the aisles, and a few more gathered near the little stage in the back.  I was almost relieved it wasn’t packed because I knew we’d have a great view of the stage and a greater chance to meet him afterward.  Selfish, yes.  Out of respect for Mr. Crowell, though, fans should have been lined up around the block.  Where were they? I felt privileged to be one of the few to witness this intimate solo performance, and I was a little indignant that more people didn’t make the drive to the show.

With our successful scheduling and navigation, we had enough time before the show to purchase an advance copy of Tarpaper Sky and receive a free poster.  I fidgeted for several minutes and pulled out my camera, checked my phone, assigned Jacob to book and poster duty and readied my journal and pen.

Just after 6 pm, Rodney sauntered up to the stage and strapped on his guitar amid hearty claps and whoops from the sparse crowd.  I noticed more people pushed in a little later.  I’m sure the increasing Seattle traffic hindered many people from attending the show on time.

Mr. Crowell’s a little shy, too, I suspect.  He acknowledged the audience, and with head bowed down toward the mic, quietly mentioned he wanted to play a few other songs first before diving in to Tarpaper Sky. He started with two songs from Townes Van Zandt, including a tender version of “Pancho and Lefty”, also famously covered by Emmylou Harris and the Willie Nelson/Merle Haggard duo.  With eyes closed, he tilted his head back to hit the higher notes.

He loosened up and and smiled as he started a third song that he said will be on his next album, as he’s trying to stay ahead of the curve.  I believe the upbeat song was called “Miss Claudia”.

A train horn sighed  in the background.  SoDo is an industrial area, and the tracks nearby run to and from the shipping docks, north and south to parts unknown. “I feel like I should play a freight train song,” Rodney chuckled, and the audience followed suit.  In fact, he said he just recorded a train song with Emmylou two weeks ago.  “Let’s see if I can remember it.” He plunked away at a soft melody for a few seconds, then sang “The Weight of The World” as the train blew past.  I’m looking forward to another album from the legendary pair.

He then moved on to a handful of Tarpaper Sky songs.

“Famous Last Words of a Fool in Love” was prefaced with the unseemly custom of older men trading in their spouses for younger women.  Rodney also quipped that his second wife left him for a younger man and a better producer, although he said he is a better producer in other ways.  Love is love, and he’s not here to judge, he disclaimed; he’s just here to observe and write songs:

Younger woman/Older man/Can we make this work?/Ah, you know we can/Famous last words of a fool in love

“God I’m Missing You”- Rodney shares writing credits on this song with his collaborator Mary Karr.  I found myself shaking my head in awe as the ache in his voice and mournful lyrics grabbed my heart:

You’re every curled rosebud/Enchanting my eye/Each turned up coat collar/And your gaze slides by/There’s a sanded down moon/In a tarpaper sky/God I’m missing you

“Frankie Please”- Rodney switched gears to roots rock. Lord, have mercy! I loved the playful rasp and yelp in his voice. I want to see him perform this with a full band sometime and include that rollicking Jerry Lee Lewis piano style so prominent on the album’s version:

You tore through my life like a tornado looking for a trailer park/And your white trash mishmash short of cash culture clash hit the mark
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NGK55BNCuFg
“Fever on the Bayou” -Collaborating with Will Jennings (of Titanic’s “My Heart Will Go On” fame), this song was twenty years in the making.  Jennings gave him the chord progression and melody, but Rodney struggled with the last verse.  He didn’t want the song to become some “Cajun cliche shit”.  Instead, he added some Cajun French lyrics in his own way, and finally produced this lively mixed-breed love song, which I cannot remove from my head.

“The Flyboy and The Kid”-A tender dedication to Guy (Clark, perhaps?) on the album:

May the wind be at your back/And the world sit at your feet/May you waltz across Wyoming/With a rose clutched in your teeth/May the answers to your questions/Fall like raindrops right on queue/May you set up shop in heaven/’Fore the devil knows you’re due

The store manager gave Rodney the signal, or “the hook”, as Rodney said teasingly, and it was time to put the guitar down.  I was disappointed the show didn’t last longer.  I wanted to hear some more songs from the album, and maybe a couple of my favorites from the past, such as “This Too Will Pass”, his ode to George Harrison.

We then formed an organized line while the manager told the fans he would set up a table next to the stage so Rodney could sign autographs on our advance copy of Tarpaper Sky.  Well, Mr. Crowell was ready to go right now, no table necessary.  Clickety-clickety, he shook up his silver liquid Sharpie pen. One couple stood in front of us.  He signed their CD while I fumbled around, trying to get my CD out of my purse and out of the plastic wrapper.  I looked up.  My musical hero stood in front of me and smiled.  My mind went blank.

I did manage to tell  Mr. Crowell my name is Lisa (after he asked, so he could sign the CD), and I then told him the last time we saw him was at Coos Bay in 2006.  He remembered the lovely outdoor setting.  I failed to mention that we knew Will Kimbrough, and how our family befriended him and hosted him at our home during his tour in January.  Will’s backing vocals, guitar and accordion make a guest appearance on Tarpaper Sky.  Good Lord. I couldn’t find my words.

I also brought Marshall Chapman‘s book, They Came to Nashville.  In one of the chapters, Marshall interviews Rodney about his journey to Nashville, his struggles, and eventual rise to fame.  I marked the chapter for him to sign with my blogger business card. I clumsily switched out the CD for the book, turned to the marked page (and stuffed my card in my purse instead of handing it to him) and watched as he fiddled with his pen, trying to get it to work on the coarse paper.  I whispered, “Good ol’ Marshall…”  That’s it, Lisa?  That’s all you’re going to say?

He then looked over my head at Jacob who towered behind me while Rodney reached for our poster.  “And you are…?”

Jacob also smiled sheepishly and searched for words (See, Jacob? I told you it was not going to be easy!).  I interjected with, “Oh, this is Jacob.” I turned around and looked up at him when I said his name.  Rodney, half-hearing the name, wrote, “To Jay” on the poster.  Too late to turn back now!

“Thank you for coming, Jay!” smiled Rodney.  Jacob nodded and smiled back.  He will forever be known as Jay to Mr. Crowell. Who are we to correct him? We giggled about that later.

I glanced back and noticed the line was probably 40 people deep.  Our time was up.  Other people were waiting impatiently for their turn to meet this legendary artist. We said a quick goodbye, and I hoped I remembered to thank him for signing our things.

Oh, for ten more minutes.  I would have told him how honored we were to meet him again, how amazing the new album sounds, how dumbfounded that more people didn’t show up to this Seattle show, how I hoped he would come back to Seattle with a full band, how Jacob raved about him and how he was so glad he came with me, how I wanted to write a blog and ask him questions about the songs he sang for us and take a picture with himI’ll save it for next time.

“Anything else to add, Jacob?” I asked, after I let him read my draft.

“He was pitch-perfect.”

That just about sums it up.

 

Official Release Date of Tarpaper Sky is April 15, 2014.

 

 

 

April 3, 2014 Posted by | aplscruf, Concert Season 2014, Rodney Crowell | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Hard Rock Rising 2014 The Global Battle of the Bands

I was invited to be a judge tonight, March 21, for Hard Rock Cafe’s “Hard Rock Rising 2014 The Global Battle of the Bands” in Seattle. Four local bands are competing in this fourth round. The competition will eventually move on to an international arena, which includes a global online vote.  The winner gets to play in front of 40,000 fans at a music festival in Rome.  Not a bad gig!  The show tonight is free, and all ages are welcome.  Come join us!

March 21, 2014 Posted by | Concert Season 2014, Hard Rock Cafe, Music, Seattle | , , , , | Leave a comment

McDougall, Massy Ferguson and Deception Past at The Green Frog 03/07/14

I’ve probably stated this a few times on previous blogs, but I must stress again that the smaller venue is where I really belong. Right there, right in the front of the stage, taking pictures, getting sweaty with the crowd, and sometimes even dancing.  We venture out to larger shows once in a while, but they just don’t exude the same kind of energy for me.  The collective energy of the crowd at arena shows is, at times, breathtaking; but I always feel like I’m up in a cloud, looking down, detached from the scene onstage so far below me.

I also like discovering new venues.  Maybe they’ve been there a while, but they’re new to me.  Discovering new bands can be hit-and-miss; but usually, if we know at least one of the bands in the lineup, we’ll have a good time.  Our night at the Green Frog was no exception.  

Deception Past howlin' at The Green Frog

Deception Past howlin’ at The Green Frog

Our music adventure on March 7 started with a quick drive to Bellingham, less than two hours north of Seattle. We checked into our roadside motel and caught a taxi downtown.  After visiting with our dear friend and purchasing his art in a little shop called The Lucky Monkey (part of Bellingham’s art walk), we walked over to The Green Frog.

Once again, the stars aligned.  A table opened up in the already-crowded venue right when we walked in.  It had a perfect view of the stage.  We nabbed it and saved seats for our friends who were arriving later.  This was our first time at The Green Frog.  Many bands who play Ballard’s Tractor Tavern drive north and play here the next night.  Hence, quality shows at a minimal cover.  The Green Frog has a great selection of beers on tap as well as a hearty selection of gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches (I had the Caprese, with mozzarella, basil and tomatoes) with options for chips, delicious home-made smoked tomato soup and salad.  The only drawback was the enormous drink line.  There was only one bartender trying to serve dozens of people.  It seemed a little cruel for both the patrons and the bartender.

Our new friends, Lynsie and Mike, who are visiting from out-of-state, arrived shortly after we ordered.  Later, local ‘Hamsters Lori and Kenny (of Lori Gras fame) joined us.

The first artist, Portland’s McDougall, was bloody amazing, considering he was a one-man show.  He had a fervent and confident swagger in his voice that reminded us at times of Jack White.  He switched off between an acoustic guitar and 6-string banjo.  McDougall sat in front of a kick drum bearing his name, with cymbals to the left of the drum.  He controlled them separately with each foot.  His quick and frantic playing style had me mesmerized.  His passionate vocals pulled us in and kept our attention.

McDougall

McDougall

The crowd cheered in appreciation after his two-part set.

Just after 9:30, Massy Ferguson, Seattle’s world-class, quintessential bar band, jumped on stage and dove in.  The band is heading to Austin for SXSW this week (I also posted a shorter version of this blog for MF on No Depression). The boys are pumped to play there again and will perform at least six shows at numerous venues around town. Check Massy Ferguson’s website for their SXSW schedule, music, merch and other information.

Massy Ferguson, L-R: Dave Goedde, Tony Mann, Adam Monda and Ethan Anderson

Massy Ferguson, L-R: Dave Goedde, Tony Mann, Adam Monda and Ethan Anderson

The talented band includes Ethan Anderson (bass/vocals/flute), Adam Monda (guitar/vocals/harmonica), Dave Goedde (drums), and Tony Mann (keys). They play serious rock ‘n’ roll with an Americana twist, but never take themselves too seriously.

"Prost!" Ethan Anderson of Massy Ferguson Toasts the Crowd

“Prost!” Ethan Anderson of Massy Ferguson Toasts the Crowd

Once again, they brought their rockin’ energy to a fully primed audience.  Unlike the Tagaris Winery show attendees (I’ll forgive them, though–it was 100 degrees that day), the ‘Hamsters came to party. Frontman Ethan Anderson commanded the rowdy crowd to get up and dance.  Dancing is required at every show, including, but not limited to: two-step, freestyle or air guitar.

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It didn’t take much encouragement to get the gang dancing.  The women of our group–Massy Ferguson virgins, obeyed Ethan’s words and joined the happy, dancing revelers.  Some eventually ended up on the stage as Guest Female Percussionists (a usual occurrence at MF shows).  I stayed on the dance floor, though, and captured evidence–uh, took pictures.

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Their set at The Green Frog included high-voltage songs spanning over three full albums, two EP’s and a couple of covers. They opened with a fantastic new song entitled “Backwoods in the Morning” and sprinkled in a few other songs throughout the night that will appear on an upcoming album later this summer.  Midway through the set, they played the poppy “Hello!”, the first track off their most recent album,Victory and Ruins, released in 2013.

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Near the end of the night, The Flute came out.  Ethan held it up ceremoniously as the audience cheered.  He dove into Men At Work’s “Down Under”, rocked the flute solo, and followed it with “Bum Drunk” off their Damaged Goods EP.  The audience danced and sang along in a wild frenzy.  Yeah, it was a great night, but it wasn’t over yet.

This week, I asked Ethan if he could provide “Five Fun Facts” about Massy Ferguson for those not familiar with the band.  He went a step further and provided…

Six Fun Facts About Massy Ferguson:

  • We have a Protestant, two Catholics and a Jew in the band (sounds like a joke, huh?) and once were in talks with a Muslim guitar player about sitting in  [an Equal Opportunity Employer, apparently-L.K.]
  • We attended rival Pac-12 schools (WSU, UW and Berkeley)
  • We have been dubbed by fans as “The Hardest Sweating Band in Showbiz”
  • We have played in Honduras and in San Pedro Sula – Murder capital of the world 2013 – and made it out alive
  • No shows on tour happen unless Dave gets a cup of coffee in the morning and right before the show
  • The only rule we have on stage is no tequila bottles allowed on the actual stage (can fill you in later but let’s just say it was an important rule established after our show at Circus Mexicus in 2008)

If you happen to go to one of Massy Ferguson’s lively shows at SXSW, please report back here and spread the word!

Set List (I’m missing a few songs–sorry, I was dancing):

Backwoods in the Morning

Bent

[new song]Wanna listen to the songs…45??

Powder Blue – Audience Participation/yelling “Powder Blue!” Meanwhile, Pat bought beer for each and passed them around

Renegade

Hello!

Long Time No See

Take It Easy-acapella chorus in honor of a recent Eagles documentary

Cut From The Vine

Down Under by Men At Work – Flute!

Bum Drunk

See other reviews of Massy Ferguson Here:

https://aplscruf.wordpress.com/2012/05/22/massy-ferguson-and-ole-tinder-at-barboza-5-19-12/

https://aplscruf.wordpress.com/2012/03/31/massy-ferguson-at-redhook-brewery-3-24-2012/

Deception Past, another quality Seattle-area country/bluegrass ensemble, filled the stage and the room with their big country sound.  Brothers Andrew, Joseph and Tyler James Pettersson shared the stage with 5 other skilled members of this large band.  It was getting late, but the people stayed danced for their entire set.  The energy from the Massy Ferguson show still filled the room and spilled over the joyful crowd.

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Most songs were boot-stompin’ and two-steppin’ numbers stemming from “Whisky Sunset” (2012 EP) and their latest album, “If You Know What I Mean…” (2013).  There was a sense of community as they invited the boys from Massy Ferguson to join them in a couple of covers, including The Band’s “The Weight”, to which the audience gleefully sang along.

After the rollicking set, we spent a little time hanging with the bands and purchasing some CDs for the road.  Check out Deception Past at their next show at The Nectar in Fremont on March 29.  Purchase some music here: http://deceptionpast.bandcamp.com/  Massy Ferguson has several shows coming up after SXSW, so check their tour list on their website.  Also, McDougall has some Oregon shows and one in Tacoma before heading south to California.

We’ll be sure to see more shows at The Green Frog.

March 13, 2014 Posted by | Bellingham, Concert Season 2014, Deception Past, Ethan Anderson, Massy Ferguson, McDougall, Music, The Green Frog | , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments