Aplscruf's Music Blog

Vicci Martinez at Big Daddy’s Place Woodinville, WA 4.29.11

Vicci Martinez

Opener: Red Cup

Big Daddy’s Place

Woodinville, WA

April 29, 2011


CHECK OUT MY REVIEW ON RANDOMVILLE ! Vicci WON the “Battle Round” on The Voice Tuesday, May 10! GO, VICCI!

Vicci Martinez

Last night at Big Daddy’s in Woodinville the sold-out crowd of middle-aged suburbanites witnessed budding fame personified.  Vicci Martinez was just featured on NBC’s  The Voice on Tuesday, April 26.   I wouldn’t expect someone who is a contestant on a vocal talent show similar to American Idol to appear in a small suburban nightclub, but there she was, singing her heart out while we danced, ate, drank and shouted for more.

Backing up a bit…

We first took notice of Vicci when we discovered a little cafe on Bainbridge Island called The Treehouse Cafe.  It showcases various artists (including Vicci, who is from Tacoma) who also play in small Seattle clubs; but it’s a ferry ride away.  We thought it would be fun to stay at a little B&B nearby sometime and go see a show.  It would be a costly weekend, though, so we never got around to it.  Vicci was featured there recently and received much praise on the cafe’s website.  We checked out Vicci’s website which had a notice that said she would appear on The Voice on Tuesday, April 26.  I listened to a few of her songs that streamed on her website and liked what I heard.  She has such power in her voice;  I was curious to know how she’d do on The Voice.

P and I watched The Voice intently last Tuesday.  She came on early into the show, and totally impressed the coaches.  The four coaches (Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine and Blake Shelton) seemed excited when she belted out a song  by Adele called “Rolling in the Deep.”  Christina and Cee Lo fought for her (the premise is, they will “coach” the unsigned singers to eventually compete and earn a chance for a recording contract and big money).  She ended up choosing Cee Lo as her coach.  The show moved on to other contestants.  We’ll be watching over the coming weeks to see what happens to her.

We got to Big Daddy’s about 7:30.  Not only is it located northeast of Seattle, it resides in a one-level industrial park.  Not very pretty, but the rent’s cheap compared to a Seattle venue.  The place was already packed.  It’s a nightclub from 9:00 on, but before that, they do allow families in to eat in the restaurant section.  We paid our $10 cover and found a couple of stools and a tiny, round table right by the door.  We had an angled view of the stage, but were pretty close.  We ordered some food: P had a large, tender steak and I settled for a “naked” chicken and steamed veggies.  I’d eaten lots of crappy food that day, so I thought I’d go light for dinner.  Big mistake.  More on that later.  We settled in with a pitcher of Manny’s and did some people-watching while awaiting for the opening band, Red Cup.

Red Cup’s lead singer, Steve Stefanowicz  is blind, but that doesn’t stop him from playing quite a nice blues guitar.  The bass player is owner Mike Summerfield, a.k.a. Big Daddy.  Eric Robert played organ and Darin Watkins was on drums.  The band played several covers, including B.B. King’s “Thrill is Gone,” Steve Miller’s “Fly Like an Eagle,” Van Morrison’s “Moon Dance,” and The Eagles’ “Hotel California.”  They also did an original song called “Desiree,” and finished the nice set with Steppenwolf’s “Born to be Wild.”  Stefanowicz had lots of nice solos and jammed with Robert and Watkins.

Big Daddy's House Band, Red Cup

I was getting a little sleepy during the intermission; it’s hard for me to go out on a Friday after a long day at work.  My day starts at 5:20 am, so it takes some fortitude to stay out past 9:00.   I guess that shows my age.  I tried to get comfortable and relax a bit, knowing Vicci would be on soon.  The bar stools were not so comfortable, and it was so crowded; people kept hitting our legs trying to get through the narrow aisle.

I was hungry again, as the diet food just didn’t cut it tonight.  Screw it, I ordered a plate of chicken nachos and a cosmo.  P laughed at my lack of will power!

After another half hour or so, Vicci Martinez took the stage to a shouting, whooping crowd.  Many people there were already fans of hers, some most likely saw her on The Voice (validated by the cheers of the audience when she asked if people saw her on TV this week), and some were there to see her for the first time.

Vicci started the show by first saying, “I know it’s TV and it’s cool, but we still do what we do the way we do it.”  Cheers erupted from the audience.  In other words, she’s staying true to herself and her band by playing her original music the way she wants to do it.  She actually tried out for American Idol at sixteen, got through to the Hollywood round, and then decided she wasn’t quite ready.  Pretty big decision for such a young woman.  Now, in her mid-20’s, she’s about to make it big.

Vicci, Darin and Jeff

Her voice is clear, bluesy, powerful and emotional, very surprising for her diminutive frame.  When she gets into the upper octave of her range, she tends to get raspy, but in a rocking, Melissa Etheridge sort of way. The rest of the band was tight, and wavered between pop/jazz sessions and blues, with organ and guitar leading the way.  She got down to business during the long set.  Most songs were original, except for a Michael Jackson medley near the end.  She played rhythm guitar, letting the long solos go to her lead guitarist Rod Cook.  She crouched down while getting into a song, threw her head back and wailed, smiled and hammed it up with the dance crowd.

She played over a dozen songs from her five albums.  She also has a new live album that was recorded at Tacoma’s Jazzbones.  Some of the songs from her set list included:

Fire In Her Eyes

Leave The Light On (great slide guitar, with very bluesy feel)
Check out a YouTube video of this song here:

Hold Me Darlin’ (featured on The Mountain 103.7)

Wake Me Up (she switched it up to a little reggae beat in the middle)

Michael Jackson Medley (included “Billie Jean,” “Rock With You,” and “ABC”)

Mexico (one of my faves…just a cool vibe to this song)

She interrupted the set at one point to plug the purchase of her version of Adele’s song on iTunes to help her stay on the show.

We left after “Mexico.”  She promised to play a couple more songs, but we were pretty tired and ready for a soft bed.

No matter the outcome on The Voice, Vicci Martinez will keep doing what she does, the way she wants; and her loyal fans will be right there with her.

More Pics…

May 2, 2011 Posted by | Big Daddy's Place, Concert Season 2011, Music, Vicci Martinez | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

David Bowie Earthling Tour September, 1997


April 27, 2011 – I dug deep this weekend, down into the archives (i.e., an old file cabinet in the corner of our garage) and found my journal on David Bowie’s Earthling Tour at The Paramount Theatre in Seattle, circa 1997.  I added a few things in brackets, and scanned the old article from The Seattle Times, as well as my tickets and a link to Bowie’s tours at the bottom of the blog.

September 8, 1997

I am a lucky person.  I was one of 3,000 people lucky enough to purchase tickets to the David Bowie concert held in The Paramount Theatre on Sunday [1997].  A few weeks ago I heard an announcement on my favorite radio station, The Mountain, that a big star was coming to play at a small venue.  I listened later that day to find out David Bowie was that star.  I wanted to see him back in 1983 when he played the Tacoma Dome on his “Let’s Dance” tour.  Nobody I knew liked him, so I didn’t go.  When I got to college, my roommate said she had gone to see him, so we were instant friends.  We listened to “Let’s Dance” while standing on our dorm chairs with the door open so everyone could view our silliness!  But I digress…

When the tickets went on sale, I decided not to make the same mistake I made for the Rolling Stones concert (I went to the record store to buy the tickets, and so did 200 other people!), so I went to Payless in Totem Lake.  There were only 4 people in line when I arrived.  We only had to wait about 15 minutes, then the rush began.  Buying tickets [in the old days, before purchasing online] is a stressful activity.  There is such a limited window of time that the tickets are actually available, since the whole state of Washington sells them at the Ticketmaster outlets at the same time.  Three thousand tickets can sell out in minutes.  If a person doesn’t have exact change or hems and haws about their choices, they will be accosted by the people behind them with words like, “Hurry, damn it, before they sell out!”  The choice was either main floor, which was standing room only (The Paramount has fold-into-the-floor chairs for concert events) or two balconies high above the floor.  In a short amount of time I had to decide whether to be comfortable but far away in balcony seating, or be uncomfortable and possibly crushed by getting the main floor tickets.  I quickly made up my mind when I heard the fourth person in line had to settle for Row M on the second balcony.  I looked at the few people in line and made the generalization the crowd would be older and more mature than the moshing crowds at most rock shows, so I might be safe after all.

I asked my co-worker M if she would like to go with me.  Of course, she said yes, because she too is a Bowie fan.  When I told her that I had to buy floor tickets, she had no problem with that.  Good, I thought, I just hope I don’t have a problem with it!  I’m feeling much more mortal now that I have a son.  I don’t feel like being irresponsible and wild anymore.

The night of the concert came.  I was supposed to meet M at her apartment at 5:00.  She was going to cook dinner for me, and then we would leave at 6:00 sharp.  I wanted to get there somewhat early so we could get close to the stage.  I arrived at her apartment with 10 minutes to spare.  She wasn’t close to being ready; she hadn’t even taken a shower yet!  I expected the food to be prepared also.  I didn’t say anything, though, because I knew at this point there was nothing I could do about it.  She made dinner and we talked and talked.  It was actually quite fun and relaxing to just shoot the breeze.  She cooked a great stir-fry.  We ate till we were stuffed.  She still had to take a shower, so I played with her cats.  She was ready in about 20 minutes.

We left her house just after 7:00.  I drove.  Luckily, M knew her way around a little better than I, so we got there in just a few minutes.  We found a place to park (I was amazed; I thought we’d be driving around the block for hours!), right across the street from The Paramount.  When we walked up to the theatre, we saw a large line to the right, but people were also going right in at the front doors.  We decided to just walk right in.  After a search by a female security guard, we were in!  We hit the restrooms and noticed the beautiful tile work and marble all around. It had recently been restored.  I don’t know how old the building is, but it is so ornate [I looked up on their website: 1928].

Once inside, we noticed there were hardly any people crowding the stage, so we joined them gleefully.  I thought we’d be too late, but there were only about 100 people milling around.  I really got excited when I saw how close we were going to be to the stage!  We were only about 15 feet away, just to the left of center stage.  It was only about 7:30 by this time, and we had plenty of time to take in the crowd, the details in the structure, and the stage.

The inside of The Paramount is a glimpse into the past.  I wondered how many people had seen the inside, with its golden walls of intricate details of flowers, designs and patterns.  It’s almost gaudy, yet so beautiful.  It has stunning crystal chandeliers around the sides.  The dome looks like something from a Roman cathedral.  There is an oval in the middle with designs in it.  Circling it are lights that illuminate the whole dome.  It is quite a spectacle.

We weren’t sure what to expect when we saw the stage.  There were three gigantic eyeballs, about 4 feet in diameter, filled with air.  I immediately guessed they would be thrown out into the audience and used as beach eyeballs!  In the background were three large alien-shaped heads without faces which later had images of faces projected on them.  There was a huge sheet draped loosely at the back of the stage used for projecting various videos and images in psychedelic colors.

There was a DJ [DJ Kamikaze] onstage playing some techno-funk style mixes.  The music was very loud.  It started to grate on our nerves after a while, especially when 8:00 rolled around, and the show had not begun.  We waited and waited…the crowd was getting thicker.  We watched as people above in the balcony looked over the edge to find friends down below.  We noticed that we were able to keep our places, without any rude people crowding us out, so far.  By this time, our lower backs and legs were already aching from standing so long in one place.  We kept waiting and listening for a sign of Bowie.  Then I started wondering if he was going to have an opening act.  I thought I would die if I had to stand through another hour before he got on.

Eight forty-five rolled around and still no Bowie.  We then thought that maybe this annoying music was the opening act (as it turned out, it was).  Finally, when our backs could take it no more, the stage grew dark.  The crowd started cheering loudly.  I couldn’t see Bowie come onto the stage because of the tall people in front of me, but I could tell by the crescendo of the noise that he was approaching his microphone.  We whooped and screamed!

I had never been so close to the stage before for such a big-named star!  Wow, we were close!  I had a perfect view of him from the waist up, once he reached the mic.  He immediately smiled and talked to the crowd a little before he began the set.  He threw his acoustical guitar around his neck and said how excited he was to be starting his American tour at The Paramount (we were his first stop in the US!  He did one show in Vancouver, BC a few nights before), and began his show.

He started with an “unplugged” song.  It sounded great.  He looked great, yet I noticed (as did M) that he was starting to show his age a little.  He had just turned 50 this year.  His hair was gelled and spiky, but in a more classy style than in the past.  He had a little goatee also.  He just couldn’t stop smiling [nor could I, as M pointed out after the show!].  He looked like he was really enjoying himself.  His shirt was dark brown with little blue dots all over it.  It was unbuttoned to reveal the top of his chest, adorned with a gold cross.  The sleeves were long but had large, flowing cuffs that looked like lilies hanging from his arms.  The bottom of his shirt had the same blue, only in a thick band that hung loosely down to his hips.  Occasionally his belly button (an innie) could be seen where the shirt wasn’t buttoned at the bottom.  His pants were a shimmering, silver-gray satin.  I only got a glimpse of these when he jumped up on his speaker in front of his mic to dance around a little.  We were so close I could see both of his eye colors.  As he performed, I could see the perspiration under his arms and between his shoulder blades.  We were that close!

The rest of the band was also very interesting.  It consisted of a lead guitar, Reeves Gabrels, who looked like a fifty-year-old himself, bassist Gail Ann Dorsey and keyboardist Mike Garson, all with shaven heads.  The drummer, Zachary Alford was in dreadlocks.  I don’t thinK they could have made him conform!  He was the same drummer for the B-52’s.

We were hoping for more of Bowie’s old music, from the Ziggy Stardust era; but after 30 years of the same thing, I guess he’s probably sick of it.  He did play about 7 songs that I recognized, but the rest were from his new album, Earthling. The music was powerful, clean, and professional.  It ROCKED!  There was only one song about Mother or something that was a bit of a downer.  Most of the songs were fast and hard.  There was an article/concert review in The Seattle Times [see article below] on Monday which listed some of his songs:

The Man Who Sold the World

Jean Genie (one of my favorites, which he did with a bluesy twist in the beginning

Baby What You Want Me to Do

Panic in Detroit


Look Back in Anger

Under Pressure (another favorite, originally done with Queen’s Freddie Mercury–the bass player, Gail did an incredible job singing)

Scary Monsters (played in a Johnny Cash style on The Mountain radio station Monday)


White Light/White Heat

All the Young Dudes (concluding song…awesome!)

From the Earthling album came:

Seven Years in Tibet

Looking for Satellites

I’m Afraid of Americans

Little Wonder

From the album Outside, he played “Hearts Filthy Lesson.”

Throughout the songs, Bowie danced, waved to us, smiled, sang with all of his energy, toyed with the band members, even rubbed his hand over the bassist’s bald head, strutted, pointed at the crowd, etc.  He was extremely entertaining.  At one point, near the beginning of the show, he responded to a guy who had yelled, “How’s Iman?” Bowie’s wife is the exotic African model.  He responded, “Oh, the wife’s fine, fine…and yours?  How’re the kids?”  Everyone laughed, including Bowie.  He also belted out some great sax music with an alto and baritone sax as accompaniments to a few songs.

Near the end, he and the band left the stage to ready themselves for the encore (we knew he would be back; the house lights didn’t come on).  As the crowd cheered him back, he sashayed up to the stage, cigarette in hand and said, “Oh, sorry, we just had to step out for a cigarette!”  They played another four or five songs before finally saying goodbye.  It was so exciting to see such a big star and influence on rock/pop/punk music in such a small venue as The Paramount. [I also distinctly remember two teenage boys and a very tiny teenage girl next to us who were completely awestruck, even more so than we were.  They couldn’t believe how close they were.  The girl climbed on the shoulders of one of the boys to see over the tall crowd.  The smile on her face was priceless.]

Monday morning, back to work.  M and I stole our manager’s portable radio and listened to The Mountain’s live broadcast of Bowie in their “Mountain Music Lounge.”  Of course, he was a half hour late!  I missed part of the interview because the phone kept ringing, but then they repeated the show the next night.  He was very funny.

A handful of listeners got to have their questions read aloud by the DJ and answered by Bowie.  One listener got a little too “deep.”  She asked about his various “masks” he wears for society, and if these are part of his persona or a way to hide his inner self from the public, or something to that effect.  He laughed as the question was being read, and said, “Oh, you’ve got to be kidding!”  Then he answered in a very cockney accent, “Well, the only mask oy wear is when oy go out on Sunday mornings to get me Sunday paper and some cigarettes.  Yes, it’s a mask of Michael Jackson.  People look at me funny when I wear that, what with Michael’s head and my white hands.  You see, oy have to wear it because oy don’t have my usual entourage about me!”  Everyone was cracking up!

Someone else asked him about his various movie roles, and which one he prepared for the most.  He said he read everything he could about The Elephant Man when he was offered the role.  He said he even looked at the remains, but didn’t offer to buy them as Michael Jackson did (laughter).  He played the part of Andy Warhol in Basquiat recently.  He did an excellent job, except he said it was an “English” Andy; he didn’t have the American accent down very well, but the body movements were right on.  I thought he did a superb job in The Man Who Fell To Earth, and more recently, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence.  Great movies.

Reeves, his guitarist, was also funny.  Bowie mentioned that when they were on the little underground train at the airport, Reeves set his hat on the floor and played some tunes.  Someone gave him seventy-five cents.  I don’t know if that’s true, but I wouldn’t doubt it would happen in this town!

Bowie also mentioned that on his first stop in Vancouver, he knew he was in for a long tour when he met the limo driver.  Bowie had whispered to Reeves while walking toward the car, “Hey, I bet that guy in the Mormon suit is our driver!”  It was indeed, and Bowie then mimicked the driver in a funny Canadian accent: “Hi, uh, my name’s Steve.  I’m yer driver tonight.  I didn’t know you were a big rock star, eh.  I grew up with yer music.”  In which Bowie replied, “Oh yeah?  Then who am I?’  And the driver said, ‘Uh, the car is over here…’ And so began our tour,” laughed Bowie.

Here’s the scanned Seattle Times article by Patrick MacDonald:


1997 Tour Dates/Venues:


April 27, 2011 Posted by | 1997, David Bowie, Music, The Paramount Theatre | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wanda Jackson and the Third Man Band

Check out my review of Wanda Jackson on Randomville.  Wanda’s new Album, The Party Ain’t Over is now available through Jack White’s Third Man Records. 

March 3, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Music | , , , , , | Leave a comment

George Harrison (via Leading Us Absurd)

Happy Birthday, George! I also heard they are streaming “Concert For George” all day on his site: www.georgeharrison.com.  The following is a post from a DC music blog I enjoy called Leading Us Absurd:

Solo: “Wah Wah” Today would be George Harrison’s 68th birthday.  Oddly enough, I was listening to All Things Must Pass earlier this morning without realizing it was his birthday until I saw it on list of birthdays I have on one of my news aps for my phone.  Thanks for the inspiration, George. Beatles: … Read More

via Leading Us Absurd

February 25, 2011 Posted by | George Harrison, Music, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Old 97’s at the Showbox 01.24.2011


Monday, January 24, 2011

Old 97’s at The Showbox at the Market, Seattle

Langhorne Slim Opened

See my Randomville review here

Monday’s show at The Showbox was quite a ride.  Not only did the opening act Langhorne Slim totally deliver, but the Old 97’s shook the Showbox with a steady, churning mix of old and new material.  The diehard fans packed the house and partied like it was a Friday night.

We wandered around the cavernous Showbox and scoped out our spot, a railing on the right side, a.k.a. Murryside (Murry Hammond, the Old 97’s bass player’s customary side of the stage–thanks, West Coast Fan!).  We were two people deep from the stage, pretty much under the speakers, which helped keep our ears away from the speaker blast zone.

Langhorne Slim

Slim and Moore

Langhorne Slim took the stage just minutes after we arrived.  I was thoroughly entertained by his short set of five or six upbeat folk/Americana songs, infused with a lot of soul.  Slim has a high, soulful voice, which at times reaches a throat-tightening scream.  His charismatic performance was fun to watch; he reminded me of the quirky Ryan Adams.  He bounced around the stage and lost his hat, fell to his knees seemingly begging the audience to hear his words, and at one point lay on his back with his legs straight up and kicked the air.

Slim and Moore Jamming

I don’t have the exact titles of the songs he played except “Collette.”  I’ll try to find a set list soon.

Raised By Wolves

I Ain’t Dead Anymore  (soul/r&b sound)

I would Do Anything For You


Slim was accompanied by drummer Malachi DeLorenzo, Jeff Ratner on standup bass, and David Moore on keys/banjo.  They played off each other’s energy and absorbed the audience’s joyous noise.  Their tight, percussive sound was so much bigger than their compact appearance on the large stage.  And David Moore temporarily left the planet every time he picked up his banjo.  He shredded that banjo and pounded out percussion sounds in a trance-like state.  Moore could give Scott Avett a run for his money.  In fact, Langhorne and the band will be opening for the Avett Brothers this spring, throughout Florida, Georgia and Texas.

After about a 20 minute intermission, the lights dimmed, and Stealers Wheel’s “Stuck in the Middle with You” blasted over the speakers.  The veteran fans knew that was a cue for the Old 97’s to take the stage.  With our choice viewing spot, we were able to see the Old 97’s rush out of the green room and up the short flight of steps to the stage.  The screaming increased in decibels with each step!

Rhett Solo

The Old 97’s, the Texas alt-country/rock band fronted by the hideous Rhett Miller (yes, girls, I’m being sarcastic) delivered all night, with lots of sweat, spit, windmills, thundering solos and a few broken strings!  They fired up the evening with “Grand Theatre” off their latest album by the same name.  Throughout the set, they mixed in several new songs, and the faithful fans gave them enthusiastic props.  Within the first few beats of the older songs, the audience (myself included) jumped up and down, hollered and sang along unabashedly.  They played many favorites, including “Oppenheimer,” “Barrier Reef,” “Rollerskate Skinny,” and “Big Brown Eyes.”  A few of their newer songs are on their way to becoming Old 97’s classics, such as “A State of Texas,” “Champaign, Illinois,” that Miller said he “co-wrote” with Bob Dylan (he added lyrics to the Dylan song), “Dance Class” and the biting and bouncy “Every Night is Friday Night (Without You).”


Ken and Rhett

Set List:

Grand Theatre (latest album title)

Get Me Through This Lord (not sure of exact title)

Dance Class (G.T.)

On a Bus

You Smoke Too Much (Murry)


Champaign, Illinois (G.T. – Rhett “co-wrote” with Bob Dylan – he added lyrics)

The New Kid

West TX Teardrops (Murry)

A State of Texas (G.T.)


I’ve Got a Question

Merle Haggard’s Mama Tried, False start (Murry)

Waltz-paced Love is What You Are (G.T.)

Barrier Reef

Rollerskate Skinny

Smoker (Murry)

Please Hold on While the Train is Moving (G.T.) Funky psychedelic middle part, like a Beach Boys Pet Sounds song, muted guitar

4 Leaf Clover

(Short break, Encore)

Singular Girl  (request from internet)

Valentine (Murry)

Won’t be Home No More

Big Brown Eyes (my fave)

Every Night is Friday Night (Without You) (G.T.)

Time Bomb

Miller still has that front man “it” factor.  He had the girls in the front row swooning and screaming over “I’ve Got a Question,” the cheesy marriage proposal song.  Throughout the set, he shook his booty and strutted around the stage.  His manscaped chest glistened with sweat.  His dripping hair looked like he’d just stepped out of a shower; and when he was head-banging to Ken’s Bethea’s amazing guitar solos, many lucky front-row girls (and boys) got to take a little bit of Rhett home with them that night!


The rest of the band added fuel to Miller’s fire.  Murry Hammond, the beloved bass player with Harry Potter rims, had his turn at the mic quite a few times.  He sang “You Smoke Too Much” off Grand Theatre, “West TX Teardrops,” Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried,” and “Smoker.”  After a short break, he also came out and did an acoustical version of “Valentine,” honoring a song request from several audience members. Ken Bethea’s guitar skills are legendary, and he proved himself worthy as he dove into raging solos and teased the front row by bending low for an up-close view of his moves–and his soul patch. Drummer Philip Peeples is also impressive.  I’m sure he must hit the drums three times more per minute than a typical rock drummer; his sticks were just a blur.  He also had to pay close attention to false starts, solos, and keep up with sudden changes in the set list.

The near-capacity crowd got the Showbox shuddering when Old 97’s performed their traditional closer, “Time Bomb.”  There was a frenzy of cheers as Rhett departed while the rest of the band stayed to play the final notes.   It no longer mattered that it was a Monday; the Old 97’s make every night a Friday night.

Ken Solo

January 29, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Langhorne Slim, Music, Old 97's, Randomville, Seattle, The Showbox | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Old 97’s Are On The Road (Again)

Rhett Miller

The Old 97’s are making their way up the West Coast to Seattle, and I have a press pass.  My first ever.  My “commoner” husband purchased his own ticket.  I’ll be reviewing Monday’s show at The Showbox for Randomville, and my adrenaline is already rushing.  We just saw the Old 97’s in June, a highlight of our 2010 concert season.

January 22, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Music, Old 97's, Randomville, The Showbox | , , , | 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


*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


Hawks on a Pole


Through the Winter

For When I Go

Don’t Go Yet

Truth is Gonna Burn


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

The Paperboys with Benjamin Doerr 12.17.2010

Benjamin Doerr

Tom Landa

Joyful Fiddler

The Paperboys featuring:

Tom Landa (Founder): Guitar, Jarana, Vocals, Piano, Bass

Geoffrey Kelly: Flute, Whistles, Bass, Percussion

Sam Esecson: Drums, Percussion

Kalissa Hernandez: Fiddle

Brad Gillard: Banjo, Bass

Nick La Riviere: Trombone, Bass

Kareem Kandi: Saxophone

Greg Lyons: Trumpet

Benjamin Doerr of St. Paul de Vence Opened featuring:

Benjamin Doerr: Vocals, Acoustic Guitar, Concertina

Alex Malloy: Bass, Vocals

Mike Sievers: Accordion, Piano, Concertina, Vocals

Tractor Tavern, Ballard


We book-ended 2010 with The Paperboys.  The band joyously rang in the New Year on January 2nd at The Tractor, and we saw them again on Friday, December 17th.  Not a bad way to end the year.

Friday evening started with a tour of Ballard’s side streets, our usual troll for a parking space.  Finally, after circling for 20 minutes or so, one opened just a couple of blocks from The Tractor.

P and I were hungry and wanted to try out the new restaurant called 5 Corner Market Bar & Kitchen, located on Market Street, where Lombardi’s resided for a couple of decades.  It is supposed to have amazing roasted meats as well as lots of beer on tap.  We could see from the street that other people agreed with the positive reviews, as eager diners were queued up at the door.  Impatient and hungry, we settled for our old standby, Hattie’s Hat.  I love the old mahogany bar and dim lighting in Hattie’s.  We snuggled up in a small booth in the bar and shared meatloaf smothered in Guinness gravy with steamed veggies.

We strolled a couple of doors down to The Tractor and were happy to nab our favorite spot, left of the stage, with a little table in front for drinks and camera.  As usual, the place was pretty empty, but people slowly entered in small groups.  We looked across the stage and noticed our favorite older couple (the man is a doppelganger of P’s dad), who have been there the last two times we saw The Paperboys, seated against the right side of the stage.   The crowd grew around us as 9:00 approached.

The opener, Seattle transplant Benjamin Doerr, entered the stage a bit late, to a large crowd of cheerful, noisy patrons.  His recently-formed three-piece band, called St. Paul de Vence, is named after a small French town in which his grandfather lived during World War II.  Benjamin Doerr assembled a concept EP called When Our Boys Have Been Buried,  songs that are musical interpretations of his grandfather’s experiences growing up and joining the military during The War.  Doerr played acoustic guitar, with two bandmates:  Alex Malloy on electric bass and vocals, and Mike Sievers on accordion, piano, concertina and vocals.  The songs are simple and heartfelt, and are a beautiful way of capturing his grandfather’s stories.

St. Paul de Vence

The Set List:



Way Down

She’ll Go

Hummingbird, Heron & Honeybee


War Love

When Our Boys Have Been Buried

The folk songs had that hint of French flavor as the accordion played such a crucial role in most of them. The song “She’ll Go” picked up the pace with fast acoustic strumming and keyboard.   “Hummingbird, Heron & Honeybee” included nice harmonies with the phrase “Fly Over Me” repeated.   Doerr introduced the song “War Love” by explaining that his grandfather had two insignia (pins) on his military uniform, but only one remained because he “…might have given one to a girl,” his grandpa told Benjamin with a wink and a smile.  Doerr said, “If an 85-year-old man tells you that, you’ve gotta write a song about it!”

Between other songs, Doerr spoke of his talks with his grandfather, and mentioned that when his town was freed from German occupation, “…his heart sang out–his heart sang out.”  It was a lovely, meaningful set of music; I only wish the noisy audience were a bit more respectful of his work and listened to the heartfelt stories he told.

During the intermission, I screwed up my courage and worked my way through the thick crowd to talk to P’s doppelganger and his wife.  What a nice couple!  I asked if they were related to the band, but they said they are only friends, but have gotten to know all of them and their girlfriends, etc!  The sweet wife seemed embarrassed when she confessed they follow the band around to different shows, and will be attending one in Tacoma on the 18th and Bellingham on New Year’s Eve.  I told the man we enjoy seeing him here, because he looks so much like my husband’s late father.  He said he feels like he’s the oldest one in the place.  I told him there is nothing wrong with that, and we hoped to be doing the same thing at their age.  The Paperboys were gathering onstage, so I let them go to enjoy the show.

The Paperboys

The Paperboys, a Vancouver-based band, have been lifting people’s spirits with their high energy shows for 16 years.  There is no way to pinpoint their music to one genre.  Their music incorporates such a wide variety of cultures, instruments and tempos.  On their website, The Paperboys try to explain who they are: “Call it Guinness with a tequila chaser while listening to an Americana jukebox.”  Tom Landa, the Mexican-Canadian lead singer, plays acoustic, electric and Mexican 8-string guitars.  On Tom’s right, his flute-playing Scotsman, Geoffrey Kelly, who plays several pipes of varying sizes and sounds.   Behind is the drummer Sam Esecson who keeps alive the various tempos, ranging from Celtic jigs to reggae beats.   On Tom’s left, his adorable, smiling fiddler Kalissa Hernandez who holds her own with upbeat Celtic solos, pop melodies or emotional songs of love.  The banjo/bass player Brad Gillard is versatile, and steps in with accordion or keys as needed.  A trio of brass rounds out the eight-piece band.  The sax, trumpet and trombone get their turn at solos near the end of the set.

Sax Solo

Trombone Solo

The Set List:

Zambonie (instrumental)


Country Life



America (played with capo on third fret)

Goodbye Berlin

Worms (instrumental)



McGoldricks (fiddle solo, then banjo and rest join in for rollicking instrumental)

Toenail Moon

Watchtower (Dylan cover)

Rain on Me

Oh Maria (medley on last two songs include covers of “Pass the Dutchie,” “I Wanna Be Sedated,” “The Gambler,”
“Three Little Birds” and others, kept at same tempo and key)


After a brief wardrobe malfunction during the first song (XYZ, Tom!) we settled in for a night of rollicking, uplifting Celtic/Latin/Caribbean/Folk/Pop/Americana/Canadiana/Rock/Polka/World Roots music!

All of their songs, save one, were up-tempo, upbeat, positive vibes.  My cheeks hurt from smiling all evening.   My favorite song of the evening was “California,” a cheerful pop song with flute and fiddle solos adding that Celtic rhythm.  The audience joined in on the chorus, “Califooorrrnia! Califooorrrnia!  I think I’ll stay here, I think I’ll stay here for a while.”  “Fragile” was the only song that had more of a somber tone, but any seriousness was quickly doused with the next instrumental, “McGoldricks,” which began with the fiddle solo and ended with the whole band joining in.  The whooping audience clapped along and stomped their feet to the music as it became more intense; the volume increased when each instrument joined in.

The encore included the last two songs melded into medley of various pop, country and reggae covers, and the audience was encouraged to sing along.  I loved how easily one song slid into another, keeping the same tempo and key.


Tom Landa’s smiling eyes and beautiful vocals,  and the band’s positive, upbeat songs energized the audience the whole night.  We left at 1 am feeling strangely refreshed and a little hungry.  A Dick’s Special and a milkshake solved our hunger issue.  We made our way home, fulfilled and happy.

Flute Face

December 26, 2010 Posted by | Benjamin Doerr, Concert Season 2010, Music, St. Paul de Vence, The Paperboys, The Tractor Tavern | , , , , | Leave a comment

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo at the Crocodile Cafe 10.22.10

Brent  Amaker and the Rodeo

The Atomic Bombshells

RA Scion

Head Like A Kite

Crocodile Cafe

Friday, October 22, 2010

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo


Last night was the most eclectic show I’ve ever attended.  Usually, bands are matched up with a certain genre or theme, but the show at The Crocodile, part of Seattle’s CityArts Fest, was something to behold.  Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, RA Scion, The Atomic Bombshells and Head Like A Kite took turns and sometimes combined their unique talents to entertain and energize the sold-out audience.

Before the big show, I had a chance to interview Brent Amaker (in character, mind you) via email, and posted it on randomville.  See the hysterical, R-rated interview here: http://randomville.com/wordpress/?p=9533

On the day of the show, we took time off from work in order to pack up, get Max to his doggie daycare, and make sure the boy knew his instructions for locking up the house on his way to his overnighter before we headed for Seattle.

We arrived at The Warwick Hotel around 5:00, after circling the block a couple of times to get on the right one-way street.  P said he got a good deal on a room, and the hotel clerk also gave us breakfast vouchers and free parking.  They’re remodeling and are trying to attract and keep customers.

We ascended to the 19th floor to the Queen Elizabeth Suite?!  OMG, it was gigantic!!  We had a separate dining area with a round table and four chairs, a desk and table by the window, then a sectional couch and TV.  There was also a bathroom and shower in that area and a bar/counter.  Our bedroom was through a door and also had a TV, large closet, giant bathroom with two separate vanities, and a jetted 2 person tub!  We stood there and wondered who we could call to join the party.

We went downstairs and had happy-hour appetizers and drinks Margeaux, the hotel restaurant.  We even got a bargain there:  bought two appetizers and got the third free.  We chowed on kalbi ribs, sliders, and bruschetta.  Yum!

We went back to our enormous suite and got dressed for The Rodeo, which, of course, included donning my black cowboy boots.  We hustled down a couple of blocks to the entrance of The Crocodile Café, right on time.  The security guys said no one was allowed in yet.  I pulled out my ticket and it said, “Doors open 7:00.”  He said slyly that they’d have to fire their intern.  Someone obviously goofed up.  So, back to the hotel we went.

We ventured back out right before 8:00.  This time, there was a small crowd forming at the door.  We moved in, bought a drink and sauntered over to a long bench on the left side of the stage.  The stage was about twice the size as The Tractor’s, and elevated about 4 feet.  There was a fairly large, square floor area and a small balcony.  P found his way up to the balcony, and motioned me to join him.  I’m glad I did.  He found a small, round table and two stools, right at the edge of the balcony, with a side view of the entire stage.  Perfect.  There was also a small bar up there, and other tables and chairs.

The crowd grew, and soon a hip-hop artist by the name of RA Scion took the stage.  He had a small turntable and another piece of equipment he used to change songs, sample, mix, etc.  He would get the song going, and start the rap.  He was really interesting and engaging, but the crowd seemed shy at first.  He had a good sense of humor, and begged the mostly white audience to please come in closer to the stage.  He kicked it up a notch and the audience finally crowded around close to the stage and waved their hands to the beat.  He picked up their energy and picked up speed.  It was interesting to watch the crowd grow and flow with the music.  P and I really enjoyed him.  He put out a very positive vibe.

There was a short intermission, and another man, Tilson,  introduced The Atomic Bombshells!  They are an old-fashioned burlesque act.  I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I just decided to keep an open mind and enjoy the evening.  I was actually thoroughly impressed and entertained.  Each girl had a separate act/theme, with names like Ruby Mimosa and acts called Hips Ahoy and “…better shakes than Dairy Queen.”  The first girl was all decked out in a red negligee, and had a big, curly blonde wig.  The strip tease ensued, 50’s style.  It was so much fun to watch her; I felt transformed to another era.  All the acts were tastefully done, playful and naughty, but never felt pornographic.  Lots of feather boas and fringed skirts and long stockings–and carefully placed rhinestone pasties.

After the fallen feathers, bras and stockings were picked up, the lights dimmed and a lone sign was placed on the edge of the stage that said, “Please Stand By.”  This is also the name of Brent Amaker and The Rodeo’s new album.  The background music was very dramatic and reminded me of a Hitchcock movie soundtrack.  The spotlights frantically swirled about, and then The Rodeo took the stage to the cheering audience.

Of course, Mr. Amaker was not present when his five cowboys started playing on stage.  He made a grand entrance by first having his attendant, Bunny Monroe, help him don his red satin cape while they stood on one side of the stage.  He strutted the middle of the stage in grand fashion as the cheers grew louder.  She followed him to the microphone, where he then removed the cape and gave it back to her in the usual Rodeo Ritual!

“Let’s get this show on the road!”  After a line of expletives from Mr. Amaker that would have made George Carlin proud, The Rodeo began their set of fast-paced, campy country tunes.  They added a cowboy percussionist and they have improved; the sound was tight and more complex.  The long set list included several new songs off their album (this was the CD release show, although I didn’t see any tables set up with their CD’s for sale—maybe it was on the other side of the room??) as well as some of our old favorites:

Captain of the Ship

Break My Broken Heart

Walkin’ In My Sleep

Girls Are Good

Tiger Inside Her

I’ve Got a Little Hillbilly In Me

Blood Dripping Blood

Man In Charge (With Bunny and Tilson)

Hammer Hits the Nail

I’m the Man Who Writes the Country Hits

Saddle Up



Sissy New Age Cowboy

Pocket Calculator


They really got the audience going by bringing out Tilson,  and he added some hip-hop flavor to one of the new songs.  While he was rapping, one of the girls also took the stage.  Cowboys, hip-hop and Bombshells.  You can’t get more eclectic than that.  The only thing missing was the ritualistic whiskey baptism.

Up next was Head Like a Kite, a small band with a very large sound.  I checked out a couple of their videos before the show, and I liked their style.  They have a great electric guitar sound mixed with synth, drums, and hip-hop.  Again, another genre-crossing band with a very danceable beat.  They were a bit loud for me, but kept the audience rocking and swaying to the pounding beat.  They were joined by a cowboy on percussion, an occasional Bombshell and other girls throwing Mardi Gras beads to the audience.  We stayed upstairs through the first enjoyable song, “She’s Wearing That Costume,” and then decided to mingle about down on the floor.  We were getting hungry at this point, so we reluctantly left after a few more songs.

We strolled up the block and hunted for open restaurants.  It was now approaching midnight.  We made our way to Tom Douglas’ Palace Kitchen and shared some delicious ricotta ravioli followed by Mexican chocolate cake with jalepeno marshmallow crème.  Oh, so good!

What a fabulous evening.  We got back to the room sometime after 1 am and collapsed, but woke up late the next morning and realized it was only Saturday!  I could get used to three-day weekends.

Check out cool pics of the show from Back Beat Seattle: http://backbeatseattle.com/wordpress/?p=34566

October 24, 2010 Posted by | Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, Concert Season 2010, Music | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Stevie Ray Vaughan B’Day Tribute 10.03.10

Hard Rock Cafe, Seattle WA

Ayron Jones and The Way

Stevie Ray Vaughan Birthday Tribute

Benefit Show for Seattle Humane Society

Featuring: The Chris Eger Band, Ayron Jones and The Way, The Satellite 4, Dudley Taft, and The Randy Hansen Band

Sunday October 3, 2010

Stevie Ray’s spirit walked–ROCKED–among the living Sunday night.  I got chills as I heard song after song played in honor and celebration of Stevie’s birthday.  Stevie would have been proud of the enormously talented local bands who covered his songs.

We were invited to attend the show via P’s friend who works for F5 Networks, one of the show’s sponsors.  Although Sunday isn’t my favorite night to go out, we couldn’t pass up a chance to watch some local bands get into the blues for Stevie and a good cause–The Seattle Humane Society.

We got to The Hard Rock a little early and grabbed a bite and a drink.  We shared a pretty delicious Hawaiian Chicken with steamed broccoli and cheesy potatoes.

We rushed upstairs to the party a little after 6:00.  The first band had already started, but we found a spot at a railing behind the dance floor about 20 feet from the stage.

The Chris Eger Band dove right into “Pride and Joy” and we were hooked.  Aww yeah, this was going to be a great night!  Chris skillfully rocked a purple Fender Strat and had a quality band, including an amazing B3 organist.  Other songs they covered included “Empty Arms”, “Leave My Little Girl Alone” (Chris dedicated that song to Mackenzie, the show’s organizer from www.randomville.com), “Cold Shot”, “SRV”, which was a tribute song, and “Crossfire”.

Chris mentioned at one point that he first started playing guitar at age 13, ten years ago.  Wait, he’s only 23, and he is out there shredding the hell out of that Strat!  We will definitely follow him to future Seattle gigs.

Next up was Ayron Jones and The Way.  I thought Chris Eger was doing Stevie justice, but then Ayron took the stage and absolutely blew us all away.  He also sported a Strat, but it had a different sound, closer to Stevie’s bluesy, gritty growl.   At this point, I put away my pen and notebook and just listened, awestruck.  I did remember the first song he blasted out of the water was “Texas Flood”.   From that point on, we stood with our jaws hanging open.  Ayron had stage presence, too.  He grimaced or smiled through his solos, depending on the mood of the song.  He jumped off the stage a couple of times and just hung with the growing crowd on the dance floor while he jammed out riffs and channeled Stevie as well as a Jimi Hendrix cover.   The killer move was when he played a behind-the-head guitar solo, with total accuracy!  I looked up Ayron’s MySpace page.  He is 23 years old.  Watch this kid become a monster in the blues world.

Satellite 4

After huge applause for Ayron and his tight band and a short intermission, Satellite 4 took their place on the stage.  The bassist was aptly played by  Johnny Horn of KEXP, and the B3 showed up with some ripping solos.  The lead guitarist played a Telecaster in a more jangly old-fashioned style.  He let the guitar do the talking while he ran through a nice set, including “Say What”, “Scuttlebuttin'” (Memphis-style, he said), “Rude Mood” and “DFW”.

Dudley Taft of Spike and the Impalers played next, but unfortunately we had to head home.  The boy was waiting patiently for his wayward parents.  I think we’re pushing the empty nest thing before the bird is ready to fly.

We had a fantastic night, but wished we’d stayed to hear the rest of the bands.  I own Stevie’s Live at Carnegie Hall CD.  At the end of his show, Stevie exclaimed to the cheering audience, “Thank you very much for making this my best birthday ever…for-ever.”  He would have been thankful for this amazing tribute on what would have been his 56th birthday.

Check out Randomville’s site for more information about the event and the bands:


October 5, 2010 Posted by | Ayron Jones and The Way, Concert Season 2010, Dudley Taft, Hard Rock Cafe, Music, Randy Hansen Band, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Chris Eger Band, The Satellite 4 | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment