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

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

Flight to Mars This Friday at The Showbox!

My second official press pass…at The Showbox!

Flight to Mars, the UFO cover band features Mike McCready of Pearl Jam fame, Tim DiJulio of the late great North Twin, Ty Bailie of Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs, and other talented local musicians.

The show, an annual event since 2003, will benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America.

April 7, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Music | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

North Twin’s Swan Song 3.6.2010

March 6, 2010

North Twin Final Performance at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Opening: Jeff Fielder and The Tripwires


North Twin, our favorite Seattle band known for putting the Rawk back into Country, performed their final show at the Tractor Tavern last night.  Their drummer, Rick Cranford, moved to Boston, so they decided to call it quits.  Rick came back to join them for one more rollicking night. 

We decided to make the most of the bittersweet occasion by heading down to Ballard a little early and getting dinner and dessert before settling down for our four-hour endurance test of standing by the stage.  We wanted to again try something new for dinner.  We had eaten dessert at the Old Town Alehouse before, but not dinner.  So we gave it a shot.  It proved to be very tasty.  P had fish and chips.  There was more fish than batter and the fries were skinny and crisp with a tartar dill sauce for both.  I had a turkey pesto sandwich on ciabatta-style bread with a delicious side salad made of baby greens and roasted, candied pecans and shaved parmesan.   We also tried a local brew and had some wine.  We were stuffed. 

But, of course, we still needed dessert.  We walked the block in search of just the right restaurant for dessert.  Unfortunately, the eateries were packed.  It was a beautiful evening, and Ballard was hopping.  We slipped in to Bastille, a French restaurant, hoping there would be, first of all, dessert, and a place to sit.  There just happened to be both.  We got the last two seats in the bar.  We were happy to discover a long dessert menu and settled for sharing (although full, I could have easily downed my own dessert, but would have paid for it later) a chocolate mousse cake.  Good lord, it was sooo amazing.  Chocolate mousse piled high with soft cake hidden deep underneath, and a layer of ganache on the top.  We also ordered the trifecta of drinks to complement the dessert:  A sip of Jameson-neat, followed by a sip of Baileys-but leave a little in the mouth, washed down with a sip of espresso.  And then another bite of mousse.  Decadent!  Probably could’ve ordered Irish Coffee, but we found our little experiment more challenging by figuring out just the right order of flavors to sip.  We are sooo dorky.

Ok, on to the show.  We arrived at the Tractor just minutes early, and fumbled with our will-call pass and ID’s.  The ticket guy smiled and said, “Oh, hi!  I recognize you guys!”  Yeah, we’re here all the time. That was a little embarrassing; I felt like Norm on Cheers, and questioned my, uh, habits. 

We settled in with some water and coffee at our favorite spot, left side of the stage.  I don’t know how we get so lucky.  It’s like they hold the place for us.  Uh oh, maybe we really are like Norm!  Usually, there isn’t a huge crowd until the big act, and we are part of a small group who are able to stand for four hours to witness all three bands. 

Jeff Fielder and his two band mates started on time.  Acoustic guitar, stand-up bass and harmonica.  A stripped down sound with lots of rootsy, bluesy, folksy tunes.  The music was something you’d want to hear while driving down a country road in an old car.  One train song was from the 1920’s.  I could imagine hearing that back in the day of my grandma and wondering how people reacted to it then.   Near the end of the set, Jeff kicked it up a notch and brought in Tim DiJulio, the guitarist from North Twin.  They looked like they had a great time playing together and heated the place up for the next band, The Tripwires.

The Tripwires, from Ballard, looked like a bunch of office workers in sport coats and button-down shirts.  They were the self-proclaimed male-pattern-baldness band.  But they rocked the place with energetic rock/punk or punk rock-whatever music!  I loved it.  They were unique, yet had hints of The Knack, Squeeze and Ted Leo.   Lots of jangly guitar riffs and loads of energy.  I kept myself energized and hydrated to prepare for North Twin, finally on next.

It was approaching 11:30, I’m sure, before North Twin came on stage.  Everyone cheered for Rebecca Young, the bassist, as well as the rest of the band.  Rebecca had a black t-shirt on over her dress that said, “FUCK CANCER”!   She is a breast cancer survivor, and a damn good bassist.  And P is still in love with her.  ha

Reb Blowing A Kiss Goodbye

I was so excited to see them again, but so sad to know this would be the last time.  They were full of magnetism, though, and drew the sold-out crowd closer to the stage.  They announced they had many friends and family in the audience that night, as well as their producer.  So much joy.  It was hard to be sad too long when they started performing.  They were so amazing, and belted out song after song.  The audience sang along, clapped, swayed to the songs, and cheered loudly after each.  We were right there with them, giving our full support.

Here is the set list off their two albums (P was kind enough to grab from the stage at the end of the night)

Breathe/Roll On/Hope It Goes Away/Fool/Motorbike/Gasoline/Halloween/You Can Never Go/I’ll Remember/Good Guy/Broken Legs/Falling Apart/No One’s Getting Out/Carol Ann/ Clear As Day/Loaded/Turn Around/Key Heart/It’s Only Rock N Roll (accompanied by Jeff Fielder) I think they did another song or two–they had two encores.

Each band member had a turn at the mike throughout the set and gave their sincere thanks to each other, and the audience for their support.  We’ll miss them, but I’m sure we’ll see them around.  The lead singer, Tony Fulgham, is already involved in another project, and I believe he is playing on the 7th somewhere in Ballard.  We’ll have to catch his act sometime this summer. [3/14/11 update: Tim DiJulio, the lead guitarist, is in a band with Mike McCready and Ty Bailie called Flight To Mars.  Check them out at the Showbox April 8!

They played until almost 1:30 am.  We purchased cd’s for Jeff Fielder, The Tripwires and also received a downloadable card for North Twin’s first album, Falling Apart.  Total purchase: $25.    Tickets to the show: $10 bucks.  What a bargain for such an incredible night of music!

Ended the night, yet again, at Dicks for a Special.  If they start recognizing us there, too, I’m in big trouble.

March 7, 2010 Posted by | Concert Season 2010, Music, North Twin, The Tractor Tavern | , , , , | 1 Comment

Tom and Willie

2008Willie at the Gorge

What a bizarre week.  Two concerts, months apart, yet I purchased tickets for both within 24 hours.  I am broke.  Baby needed a new pair of shoes.  Too bad, Baby.  We’re going to Tom Petty in June at the Gorge.  I’m taking my mom to see Willie Nelson in September at the Puyallup Fair.  That is, if both Mom and Willie are still alive by then (sez Mom).  We are also geared up to see North Twin tomorrow night for their swan song of a show.  Very sad about that, but I believe Tony is starting a new project, so we will be there to support him in his next venture fer sure!

March 5, 2010 Posted by | Music, Tom Petty, Willie Nelson | , , , , | Leave a comment

North Twin at the Tractor Friday 10.02.2009

[Caution: I was quite crabby for this show, but managed to have a good time, eventually]

At the Tractor
Finally, again. A show at the Tractor. I love the Tractor. But first, the day. I took off from work about 11:30. Quite uneventful, considering it’s usually crazy when I want to take time off! And Fridays have been about 50/50 crazy. Got home and rested up. P took the boy to P’s brother’s house to play with his cousin, so that worked out well. Meanwhile, I got ready and ironed P’s shirt.


Off we went, a nice evening. We arrived in Ballard expecting it dead, since it was cooler, hinted of rain, and no longer summer. Wrong! It was packed, and we spent yet another 20 minutes looking for a place to park. Finally, someone pulled out down along the railroad tracks. We hiked up the hill a couple of blocks to The Matador for dinner. We had some serious time to kill. It was now only about 6:30. The show didn’t start till 9:30. We got in and vultured for a seat at the bar. The place was packed, of course. I love it in there. It’s so Tex-Mex, lots of iron and big windows behind the bar that face the sidewalk. 

We ordered drinks…Sangria for me, a Manny’s for P. Then piles of food. I had verde enchiladas, but they were so loaded with guacamole, pico de gallo, lettuce, beans, rice, etc. that they were no longer recognizable. But they were good! P had carnitas. They were very tasty. He gave me a bite!  A little nutmeg in the sauce, I think. P proceeded to have either another beer or whiskey and coke, can’t remember. I had my sangria and barely finished it before we left. It was pretty loud in there, so we had trouble talking. And it seemed like we didn’t have much to say. I think we were both a little tired. 

We left right after the downpour. Luckily, it settled to a light rain. We had a few blocks to walk and cross the street to the Tractor. We were still early; only about 8:00 by this time. So we slipped in to Hattie’s Hat. They had a newspaperthe big Reverb show that was happening all day Saturday. Unfortunately, we would be going to Gig Harbor for football all day Sat. The Reverb show would have been a great thing to experience; maybe next year. They had bands playing all over Ballard and special restaurant deals, too. We read for a while. I ordered my Hattie’s Cosmo that I’d been thinking about for 2 months! I hate Great Expectations…it didn’t quite live up to my hype. A little on the sour side. Pat had a couple more whiskey cokes. I was getting tired and crabby. I don’t know why. The drinks were getting me down.  So I tried to put on a forced sense of cheer, but I’m no good at that. We turned around, and there was the band behind us trying to order drinks. Had I been more mindful, I would have introduced myself and tried to start a conversation. Again, it was pretty loud in there, too, and I was still crabby. 

We left about 9:00 and stepped in to the Tractor. We had our pre-ordered tix in hand, got our Cowboy stamp on our wrists, and we were in. It was dead, as usual, until right before the first show. We didn’t care, we were here. We ordered a couple more drinks. I took two sips of my vodka soda and gave up. I was done. Tired, not talkative. I must’ve been such a fun date! 

At least we got to sit down for a while before the show. Right at 9:30 we moved to our favorite standing spot, left of stage, with a little table to rest our drinks and sweater, next to the keys and bass player (P’s not-so-secret crush) and of course, the bathrooms and water bucket. 

The band, North Twin, was pretty much on time. I got excited then. They have two albums out. We have the second one, the first sold out. The set list (P asked the nice keyboard player for his after the show): 


Roll On 



Motorbike (rockin’ song on 1st album) 


Carol Anne 

You Can Never 

I’ll Remember 




Clear as Day 

They are so amazing. Tight, great lead singer Tony, and of course the Sheryl Crow-esque bassist. The lead guitar is a mini-Will Kimbrough and rocks all the solos on the album and definitely brings the solos to life onstage. The drummer is really good, too. Keyboardist also played mandolin and accordion. Awesome. Very much a southern rock style. 

Well, after giving up on my vodka, P brought me quite possibly the best coffee I’d ever had!! He thought he’d wake me up a bit. It worked! That’s it, I’m switching to coffee when we’re out late! It was in a Tony’s coffee mug, perfectly brewed, with real half-n-half. Yummy! I had seconds and then thirds! Probably not the smartest thing. I couldn’t sleep very well that night! 

After their amazing set, P met a guy in the bathroom who said he was here for the Bottle Rockets and said he had one of their albums from 15 years ago. Wow. He was also blown away by North Twin and proceeded to buy one of their albums on P’s referral. 

The Bottle Rockets are from Missouri. I heard them on MySpace and they had a familiar sound. They have that sourthern/country rock feel. Well, I guess they didn’t bring gear besides their guitars and borrowed North Twin’s stuff for the show. They promptly cranked the amps up. I was glad I brought ear plugs. 

We didn’t know their music, and because of the volume and where we were standing (they had a guitarist where the keys were) we couldn’t hear the lyrics at all. This made for boring music for me, even though the beat was good. It was so incredibly loud it made me uncomfortable. After 3 songs, I asked P if we could step outside for a minute. 

We went outside and I apologized for feeling old and tired, but it was too loud for me. He agreed. I don’t know why they had to crank the amps. It was just right for North Twin. We couldn’t get used to the noise, even with ear plugs. We listened outside for a bit, then went back in when P noticed North Twin members over by the t-shirt counter. We wanted to buy their other CD, but they were out. P talked briefly to the lead singer Tony, and then I gave him my prayer hands of thanks and told him we loved them, they were awesome. He thanked me. I asked P if he wanted to meet the bass player who was nearby, and he said he was ok. It was so loud, we couldn’t have talked to her anyway. 

We decided to leave early. Wow. We are getting old! No more 2 am nights for us! Ha I drove home, as P was now feeling great. I was wide awake. We stopped at Dicks for a burger and milkshake. Yum, as usual. 

We had a busy football day the next day, so we were glad to be home a little early. 

Now it’s on to the next adventure. I don’t know what that is yet. 

February 10, 2010 Posted by | Concert Season 2009, Music, North Twin, The Tractor Tavern | , , | Leave a comment