Aplscruf's Music Blog

Five…No…Ten Favorite Shows of 2011

I was lucky enough to see a show almost every month of 2011, and some months, two or three shows.  We’re winding down now, getting ready for the holidays and visiting with family and friends.  We’ll still see a couple of shows between now and the end of the year, including The Paperboys on December 23, one of my Top 10 favorite bands of all time.  Click Here For Previous Review.

So far, though, I do have a list of my Five Favorites of 2011.

5.  Screw it.  I can’t make a decision, so I’m going to go with my Ten Favorites of 2011.

10.  The B-52’s at Chateau Ste. Michelle – This show was great because The B-52’s brought the energy, the showmanship and the great songs we all love to a beautiful outdoor venue.  We were there with a large family group and danced and sang along.  Click Here For Review.

The B-52's

9.  Vicci Martinez at Big Daddy’s Place – This was a chance to see Vicci, a Tacoma, Washington local, wail her lungs out in a small suburban venue before becoming a national sensation on The Voice.  Click Here For Review.

Vicci Martinez

8.  Massy Ferguson and Brent Amaker and The Rodeo at The Tractor – Our first introduction to Massy Ferguson and Brent with The Rodeo back on a smaller stage.  Curtains For You, a poppy, energetic band opened the show, and a biker in the front knew all the words.  I love the picture of Brent Amaker smiling while the biker is in the moment.  No whiskey this time, but now that the stage performer liquor laws have changed, we’ll get to hear “Bring Me The Whiskey” at the next show!

Curtains For You, Brent and Biker

Massy Ferguson

Brent Amaker

7.  Star Anna at Neumos – We saw Star four times this year, but this time, even P was completely hooked by her vocal prowess.  He connected.  Click Here For Previous Review.

Star Anna

6.  Jackrabbit and Massy Ferguson at Nectar Lounge – Jackrabbit, reincarnated after North Twin’s demise, and again Tony Fulgham won me over.  Massy was celebrating their EP release, and I got to post my review of the show on
RandomvilleClick Here For Review.

Tony Fulgham of Jackrabbit

Ethan Anderson of Massy Ferguson

5.  Jackrabbit and The Gourds at The Tractor – Jackrabbit opened and rawked the set, warmed up the crowd for The Gourds, another crazy night of crossover music, from 60’s psychedelic rock to old-timey revivals.  Most memorable moment was approaching Mr. Kevin Russell at Hattie’s Hat and telling him I was going to review his show.  His response: “Oh, Shit!” I later gave him the ol’ two-fingered stink-eye when he noticed me in the audience, and I mouthed, “I’m watchin’ you!”  Click Here For Review.

Tony Fulgham of Jackrabbit

The Gourds

4.  Old 97’s at The Showbox – My first press pass!  Right up front.  I loved every minute, and sang my heart out to every song.  Click Here For Review.

Old 97's

3.  Flight To Mars at The Showbox – Another press and photo pass!  My sister-in-law joined me and took absolutely brilliant pics of the boys (Click This Link for her pics), including local Tim DiJulio (Lazy Susan and North Twin) and Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready.  Click Here For Review.

Tim DiJulio and Mike McCready of Flight to Mars

2.  Nashville (Will Kimbrough, Marshall Chapman, Minton Sparks, Slim Chance and The Can’t Hardly Playboys) – the whole Nashville experience was wonderful.  Kept to small venues and the Americana singer/songwriters.  Click Here For Review.

Marshall Chapman and Will Kimbrough at The Station Inn

Zach and Josh of Slim Chance and the Can't Hardly Playboys at Layla's

1.  Los Straitjackets at Slow Food Roots Music Festival – A bizarre series of events.  Marshall Chapman’s book had a chapter on Eddie Angel who once played in Marshall’s band.  Now Eddie’s fronting Los Straitjackets, and just happened to be playing in Seattle and a small fair in Stanwood within two weeks after I finished the book.  I brought the book, my son, our appetites to the festival.   We ate delicious local food, watched some pretty loco boys in Mexican wrestling masks play instrumental surf music, and were completely blown away by their skills and entertaining antics.  My son loved every minute of it.  To top off a perfect afternoon at the festival, they all signed Marshall’s book!  Click Here For Review.

Los Straitjackets

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November 19, 2011 Posted by | Americana, Big Daddy's Place, Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, Chateau Ste Michelle, Concert Season 2011, Flight to Mars, Jackrabbit, Langhorne Slim, Los Straitjackets, Marshall Chapman, Massy Ferguson, Music, Nectar Lounge, Neumos, North Twin, Old 97's, Randomville, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs, The B-52's, The Gourds, The Paperboys, The Tractor Tavern, Vicci Martinez, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Star Anna Update – CD Release Party at Easy Street Records

Freaking awesome show.  We fell in love with Star and the boys all over again.   A warm humid night, free show, CD purchased for under 10 bucks signed by the entire band…priceless.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Star Anna, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs New CD Drops 7.12.11

Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs are releasing their third CD called Alone in This Together Tuesday, July 12.  The CD release party will be held at Easy Street Records in West Seattle at 7:00.  Can’t wait!

July 11, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs | , , , , | Leave a comment

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

May 22, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Music, Neumos, Star Anna, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs 3.11.11

I wasn’t going to write up a blog for this show.  I didn’t write a setlist.  I just wanted to go and enjoy Star Anna and absorb myself into the music.  But I couldn’t resist taking a few pictures.  Star and the Laughing Dogs tore it up once again. 

If you want to see a review from December, click here

Also, I met Tim DiJulio of North Twin fame.  He’s in a band with Mike McCready and Ty Bailie called Flight To Mars.  They’re playing The Showbox April 8.  We’ll be there!

And now for some more pics:

March 14, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Music, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs, The Tractor Tavern | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Star Anna at the Tractor Friday 3.11.11

Star Anna

We just purchased tickets yesterday for Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs.  P and I saw them in December and fell in love with Star’s voice and Justin’s crazy guitar skills. Take a look at the review on Randomville and more pics on my previous blog.

March 9, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Music, Star Anna, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs, The Tractor Tavern | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs at The Tractor 12.30.2010

Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs

Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs featuring:

Star Anna: Lead Vocals and Rhythm Guitar

Justin Davis: Lead Guitar and Vocals

Travis Yost: Drums

Keith Ash: Bass

Ty Bailie: Keys, Organ

Opener: Kasey Anderson

Tractor Tavern, Ballard

12/30/2010

*Check out my post on Randomville for a more polished, condensed version.

Good Lord.  We weren’t even planning to go out that night, but we are so thankful we did!  Our neighbor and his wife invited us to go with them over a week ago, but I needed to get through the Christmas “experience” before thinking that far ahead.  I hadn’t seen or heard either band, nor did I have time to research before the day of the show, so I wasn’t very motivated.  Luckily, we had a slow and short day at work on the 30th, so I took a quick listen, and almost immediately fell in love with Star Anna’s voice and their country-rock twang.  She sounds a bit like Lucinda Williams without the slur, blended with Mindy Smith.

We had New Year’s Eve off, so I was out of excuses.  Let’s do it.  Our neighbors’ friends were also going to the show and agreed to take us all in their giant SUV.  We scored on parking in Ballard and found a two-buck lot just a block north of The Matador.  We got our names on the list at The Matador, and headed over to a little bar with swanky, expensive drinks, just down from The Sunset.

Our table at The Matador was finally ready about 8:30.  We were starving and chowed a day’s worth of Tex-Mex, chips and salsa, and margaritas.

It was getting late, and we didn’t get to The Tractor until almost 10:00.  I was trying to contain my anxiety as I thought about how we usually get to The Tractor by 8:00 or 8:30 in order to get our special left-of-stage perfect spot.  When we arrived, the place was packed, so we stood by the bar.  I had to crane my neck to see the opener, Kasey Anderson.  He was rocking the place, too, and I was disappointed I didn’t get to see his entire set.  He played two or three songs while we were there, and I tried to enjoy every minute.  We witnessed some great, energetic guitar solos from his lead, Andrew McKeag.

Kasey Anderson

I looked around the bar and saw Jeff Fielder, who opened for North Twin’s swan song earlier this year (I immediately purchased his CD afterward!) and then saw most of the ex-members of North Twin, including Tony Fulgham, Rebecca Young, and Tim DiJulio.  I believe some of The Tripwires were there, too.  I wonder who else was lurking in the dark tavern?

P scored again, as our favorite table cleared out after Kasey exited.  He grabbed it, motioned us up, and I explained to our friends how this was “our” table, as I caressed it and gently placed my drink on it!  I was also so happy I brought my camera this time.  I didn’t bring my notepad, but I survived.  I tried to just take some pics as well as some mental pics of the night.

The best shots were the ones I remember, the ones not captured in the camera’s lens.  Lead guitar Andrew McKeag with Kasey Anderson’s band had smiling grimaces and quirky body movements as he shredded his solos.  I managed to take a few pics of Star Anna, but she seemed shy to the camera and to the audience.  Her hair hung in her face.  The rare moments when she pulled her hair back out of her face, she let out a shy but genuine smile.  She has a beautiful, porcelain face with Elvis Presley eyes.  When she was hitting a high note, she raised up on her tip-toes and leaned forward into the mike.  Face to face, she and Justin stood close for guitar jams, and the two became a double-necked guitar monster of sound.

Justin had amazing solos, and fed body and soul into them as his guitar strings bent to his will.   Talented organist Ty Bailie sounded like Tom Petty’s Benmont Tench.  The properly attired bass player, Keith Ash had a strangely shaped bass whose brand we couldn’t figure out [see Comment below].  There was a blend of characters in the audience, from Ellensburg locals and students, the Ballard crowd, to gender-unspecifics, and, well, us: Bothellites??  No matter the cultural, sexual or geographical backgrounds, we were in united agreement that this multi-talented band ROCKED.  We were witness to something big; a band that was on its way to national stardom.  We were awestruck.

P grabbed a set list for me, and we purchased her first album, Crooked Path.

Set List:

High Water

Time

Hawks on a Pole

Shine

Through the Winter

For When I Go

Don’t Go Yet

Truth is Gonna Burn

Stumble

Spinning My Wheels

Bird Without Wings

Gold & Silver

Devil Don’t Remember My Name

Black Cat Blues

Space Beneath The Door

Wolves in Disguise

All Alone

After the show, our neighbor wanted to go meet the band, but I was shy.  He told me I should go, too, so I followed him over to the other side, where we got to meet Justin, the lead guitarist.  He was so thankful we came out for the show, and smiled his broad, friendly smile at us.  We thanked him profusely and loaded him with compliments on his guitarmanship and general awesomeness.  We tried to catch Star, but she was getting bombarded with other folks.  We worked our way back to P and friends, and I giggled like a schoolgirl.  He just smiled; he knows how much I love being a groupie and meeting the band.  We caught Kasey at the door, but we were being pushed out by the manager for blocking the entryway.  S introduced us, and I managed to spit out “…writer for Randomville!” before having to exit.

Dick’s on the way home.  Icy cars, icy roads.  Home after 2:00.  Soo worth it.

Happy New Year, everyone.

Ty Rockin' the Organ

January 1, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2010, Kasey Anderson, Music, North Twin, Star Anna, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs, The Tractor Tavern | , , , , | 2 Comments