Aplscruf's Music Blog

Joe Smith, Jeff Finlin, Will Kimbrough, Brigitte DeMeyer, and other Cool Cats

I’m changing the format here for a bit. Life continues to bombard me; so instead of posting individual reviews, I will post several short reviews or links to artists who have caught my ear recently.

Atlanta’s Joe Smith and the Going Concern have a catchy new single out. Joe, originally from California, was heavily influenced by the punk scene, including John Doe’s X and Mike Watt. This new song, as the title suggests, has much more of a bluesy vibe. Check it below, and be sure to click on the other songs from previous albums to get the full punk flavor. Purchase their merch and check their Facebook page for upcoming events.

Will Kimbrough and Brigitte DeMeyer collaborated on a soulful new folk album called Mockingbird Soul. They will make appearances in Northern California this week, and will head to Europe this spring. Check their tour schedules on their websites. Oh, did I mention they moved up to #11 in the Americana Charts this week? Lee Zimmerman of No Depression recently gave their album a glowing review: http://nodepression.com/album-review/two-perfect-pair

Here’s a pic of the pair in Seattle a few years ago:


Will and Brigitte at The Royal Room – Columbia City (Seattle)

Jeff Finlin continues to amaze with his prolific artistry. He just finished recording a new album entitled The Guru in The Girl with Holland’s wildly talented Wild Verband. The record is now mastered–release date coming soon. I am delighted to say this may just be his finest work yet. Finlin fans will be truly blown away.

Finlin also spent most of February on a successful UK tour with Pete Bruntnell and Clive Barnes , selling out several venues along the way. I will defer, once again, to Paul Kerr of Blabber ‘n’ Smoke to wax poetic about their show in Glasgow:


Before he left for the UK, Jeff Finlin released a stunning video which brings to life his poem, “The Tantric Co-motion of Parvati on I-75” from his collection of poetry, Seduction of Radha. Finlin narrates. The video was beautifully directed by Verginia Grando.




Seattle’s Jackrabbit released the rock-driven Dead Man’s Song in December. Take a listen and catch a rare show in Ballard.

At the Tractor Tavern back in December, we met a nice fellow by the name of Mark who manages a singer-songwriter website here: http://singersongwriterslive.com/ On it, he lists Seattle-area shows at venues who cater to singer-songwriters. He includes artist links, and an easy-to-follow legend for those bands he’s seen before and recommends, to those whom he heard were worth a listen.

Support indie artists! Go see a show and be sure to purchase the merch!


February 21, 2017 Posted by | 2017, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment


Massy Ferguson Photo Copyright 2011 Michael Profitt


I was looking forward to seeing Massy Ferguson again, after witnessing their opening for Brent Amaker and the Rodeo back in July at the Tractor Tavern.  I was glad to see another local band embrace the Americana/country rock genre.  I purchased their latest album, Hard Water at that show, and it hasn’t left my CD player.  This time around, they celebrated the release of their EP,  Damaged Goods.

Opening for Massy Ferguson was Tony Fulgham and his new band, Jackrabbit.  Jackrabbit is the outcome of a hard-won search for new bandmates after the death of North Twin.  I was still in stage 6 of the grieving process over that one.  The demise of North Twin happened in the spring of 2010 after their drummer Rick Cranford moved back east.  I was looking forward to getting some closure this night.   Fulgham found an energetic drummer, Aimee Zoe Tubbs from The Starlings and writer/producer Moe Provencher on bass.  For this show he also included Portland’s Jason Montgomery on guitar/pedal steel, which added country flavor and depth to the live show.

Here are some pics from the show:

Tony Fulgham of Jackrabbit

Tony and Jason

Jackrabbit Setlist


Ethan Anderson

Tony Mann

Guest Female Vocalist

Massy EP

Massy Setlist

Ethan and Adam

October 23, 2011 Posted by | Americana, Concert Season 2011, Jackrabbit, Massy Ferguson, Music, Nectar Lounge, Randomville | , , , , , , , , | 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

Flight to Mars at the Showbox April 8, 2011

Tim DiJulio and Mike McCready

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Showbox at the Market

Seattle, WA

The Flight to Mars show on Friday, April 8 at The Showbox was the kind of loud that reverberates in the chest cavity and rings in the ears hours later. It was a two-fisted-devil-horn evening; too much RAWK for one hand!

Flight to Mars, a UFO tribute band, features Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready (guitar), Paul Passereli (lead vocals), Tim DiJulio (guitar), Mike Musburger (drums), Gary Westlake (bass), and Ty Bailie (keys). The show was the the 9th annual benefit for the Crohn’s and Colititis Foundation of America (CCFA). Up to this point, the benefit concerts have earned a total of almost $200,000 for the Foundation.  Some of the proceeds also benefit Camp Oasis, for kids with Crohn’s and Colitis.  The show was also being broadcast live on Sirius’ Pearl Jam Radio.  Throughout the night, there were auctions, announcements, raffles, and lots of top-notch music.

But first we had to get there.  We invited P’s brother and sister-in-law so she could get some concert photo experience for her photography business.  M and LJ picked us up just after 5:00.  Traffic was slow going (Mariners home opener), so we avoided the stopped freeway altogether.  It took just about an hour to get down to First Avenue, after winding our way through North Seattle neighborhoods, through Ballard and into town.  We got very lucky on parking, and parked directly across the street from The Showbox.  We hoofed it north, past Pike Place to Post Alley’s Pink Door.  We didn’t have reservations, but took a chance we could get in to the lounge area.  We were immediately seated, much to our surprise.  It was pretty busy, but not packed.  We ordered fancy drinks and great Italian food.  We vowed to eat there again.

We were still a bit early, a little before 8:00, but decided to queue up for the show.  We wanted to see if we could at least get up close, if not get a booth or a couple of stools.  There was a benefit event/auction, which delayed entrance to somewhere around 8:30, and all seated areas were reserved or already taken.  This show benefited the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, so there were openers, interruptions with raffles, announcements, etc.

LJ and I both received photo passes, which was fine, because I got to go in the “inner sanctum” of coolness:  the space between the front row railing and the stage!  I pretty much looked like a dork with my Cannon Power Shot, which is the size of a deck of cards.  I took a few grainy shots, and trusted LJ would get some great ones–and she did.  Check out LJ’s phenomenal pics here: http://ljwkphotography.photoshelter.com

Buckets of Rain

Buckets of Rain, a local band, opened the marathon evening late, because the pre-show auction ran overtime. They were a bit small for the cavernous Showbox, and seemed to get drowned out by the noisy, rowdy crowd. It was very hard to catch the vocals in the loud setting. I did enjoy the song, “This Train,” which had a nice repetitive bass line throughout and was a little more upbeat and memorable than the others. I would like to see them in a smaller venue to be able to fully enjoy them. Buckets of Rain finished their short set with The Who’s “Squeezebox,” which got everyone energized and singing along.

There was a short intermission while the next band set up.  A CCFA spokesperson made announcements and asked the audience to check out the merch table for books, Pearl Jam tour posters, and other cool swag.  The 9th annual benefit concert was broadcasting LIVE on Sirius Pearl Jam Radio this evening.  Part of the proceeds also benefit Camp Oasis for kids w/Crohn’s & Colitis.  Raffle tickets were being sold for Mariners tickets (Mike M’s seats), concert tickets for My Morning Jacket and other cool stuff.

Lazy Susan, another Seattle band took the stage.  They reunited for this benefit show for the first time in 14 years. Their country rock sound was led by vocalist Kim Virant and Tim DiJulio on lead guitar. They reminded me of a female version of Seattle’s late great North Twin. DiJulio also played guitar for North Twin, so it’s no wonder his guitar personality spilled over into both bands. She rocked the song “Wish,” among others, and I wondered why they ever broke up. Lazy Susan will make another appearance on June 11 at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard. Kasey Anderson will open.

Lazy Susan – Kim Virant and Tim DiJulio

More announcements followed Lazy Susan.  Mike McCready announced there will be an all-ages benefit concert at The Crocodile on Saturday, April 30, from 12-4 pm. Tickets are only $10, and raffle tickets go for $20. Twelve lucky raffle winners will get to sing Karaoke with Mike (Mike-A-Roke!).

Mike then played a three-song acoustic set with Brad Sinsel. Brad was the lead singer of TKO, a very glam Seattle metal band from the 70’s and 80’s. He still had that glam image, only in a David Bowie-sings-folk sort of way. And his voice was beautiful. I was very impressed and wished to hear more.  They had a nice, folk sound together, accompanied by mandolin and organ. The quick set included “My Lily of the West,” “Kill the Pain,” and ended with “You Are My Sunshine,” and the audience joyfully sang along. It was an ironic song choice, considering there was going to be a blast of metal and screaming lyrics from Flight to Mars within minutes.

FTM Show Begins

Flight to Mars landed on stage in heavy fog while the “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” theme song blasted through the speakers. Paul Passereli, from the 80’s band Lipstick, reminded me of Jack Black both in stocky frame and stage personality. He dominated the stage instantly. Passereli got the audience moving while he pointed at them, hung the microphone over the crowd, smiled, grimaced, and let out some huge rock screams. He did UFO serious justice.

Paul Passereli and Tim DiJulio

The UFO set list was pure fun, vintage metal, good old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. They started out the evening right with “Doctor Doctor,” then blasted right into “Mother Mary” before introducing Dave Coalter from Florida, who apparently “paid a shitload of money” to play with the band.  Dave and the band rocked “Too Hot to Handle,” and Tim DiJulio had a rollicking solo (poor Dave’s amp was not turned up, so his solo was lost).

Dave Coalter Jamming with the FTM

They slowed down a bit with “Love to Love,” skillfully sung by Passereli; but then picked right back up and kept the audience cheering and pumping their rock hands through “Lights Out” and “Shoot Shoot.”

Both DiJulio and McCready had earth-shaking solos and jams throughout the long set. Gary Westlake, the bass player, also got his share of moments with the band, while Mike Musburger kept up the rock beat on drums.

Mike and Tim

And then there was the other-worldly Ty Bailie on keys. Ty is also in another of my favorite bands, Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs. He can rock the keys like Benmont Tench. He had some great solos and hammed it up near the end with the last song of the set, “Rock Bottom.” Ty entered the stage wearing a silver sequined cape and sported a giant white keytar, turning the rock to eleven.   He later relinquished the cape to Passereli, who played it off in rocker style.

They left the stage briefly while everyone’s ears were still ringing to the last notes of “Rock Bottom.” The audience stuck around and clapped and stomped until the floor was shaking even harder than before. Back they came for the encore, appeasing the roaring crowd.

Passereli then took to the mic: “The next time some mutha fucka says rock ‘n’ roll is dead…” and proceeded to explode into AC/DC’s “Let There Be Rock,” and then Van Halen’s “Everybody Wants Some” to end the crazy, raucous night…and all for a great cause.

The show was over about 1 am.  It seemed like the FTM set passed quickly, and we were surprised how late it was.  We walked down the street to a stop light, where Star Anna happened to be crossing and coming toward us with a friend.  Pat and I both yelped at the same time….I said, “Star! (It’s Star!)  Hi!  I worship you!!” and gave her praying hands…why the hell did I do that??!!  She just smiled back, took a little bow and kept walking.  My apologies to Star in my moment of dorkiness….my inner thirteen-year-old came out once again.

We were hungry, thirsty and tired, but settled for 13 Coins; hunger and thirst were soon vanquished.  Home by 2:30 am, to our smiling son.

Here are some more pics:

Gary Westlake and Paul Passereli

Kim Virant

Buckets of Rain

Tim and Mike 2

Paul – Fringes

Mike – Solo

Paul and Tim


Paul Passereli

Tim DiJulio

The Set List – a few changes during show

April 17, 2011 Posted by | Concert Season 2011, Flight to Mars, Music | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 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

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

The Avett Brothers at the Paramount 07.18.10

The Avett Brothers

We had a nice evening of food, conversation and music on Sunday evening.  We would have loved to stay across the street at the Paramount Hotel, but we needed to get home and go to work the next day.  We’ll bank that for a fall or winter retreat.  We drove in to Seattle about 6:00 and quickly found a little covered parking area east of the freeway on Pike.  We then hoofed it back toward the Paramount Theatre.  On the way by the theatre, I checked out the tour bus parked outside and happened to see The Boys walking toward it!  I was holding P’s hand and pulled hard to make him stop a moment.  He said he felt like he had a big fish on the line! There’s the band!! The light turned, and we had to keep moving to get across the street.  I had a fleeting feeling of running up the sidewalk and getting their autographs.  But alas, my shyness and sensibility prevailed. 

We decided to get some dinner at Von’s.  Our first choice was Machiavelli’s, a little Italian restaurant right next to the Baltic Room, but it was closed on Sunday.  Bummer!  Von’s was a good second choice.  They have some serious home-style grub.  I settled for a thick, open-faced turkey sandwich (the turkey was roasted and carved that day) with brown gravy and potatoes.  There was also broccoli and cranberry sauce on the plate.  P ordered a teriyaki pork dish, but it was a very small portion for him.  I shared some of my thanksgiving meal with him.  I also ordered a pomegranate cosmo and P had his usual Manny’s. 

Next to us (the tables were very close together) was a couple from Brussels.  P started up a conversation with them and they said they’d just arrived from an Alaska cruise.  They went on the same cruise we did a few years ago, so we compared stories.  They were nice and were happy to talk to some Seattleites.  

After they left, we met a couple from Nashville who had been up to Vancouver on business, then were taking a few days to explore Seattle.  They enjoyed it, but we made sure to point out that it rains here all the time!  We want to go to Nashville someday, so they told us about a bar we should visit called Tootsie’s.  They hadn’t heard of our favorite Nashville bands (Todd Snider and the Nervous Wrecks, Daddy, etc.) but we were interested in anything they knew about the city.  We gave them tips on touring Seattle. 

It was time to go to the show.  There was an opening band, and I wanted to make sure we didn’t miss a minute.  

Thao and the Get Down Stay Down

The opening band, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down was interesting and extremely sexy.  The lead singer was Asian- American, with long, layered locks, toned legs pushed into cute cowboy boots and a shimmery gray dress cut just below the butt.  She played a hollow body Gibson with lots of head-banging and jerking motions.  P forgot there was music playing for a few moments!  She was accompanied by a violinist (much more demure than she) and a drummer who played just about every percussion instrument during the show, including a tiny triangle during one song.  She also had a skinny, young bass player who kept the beat alongside the drummer.  Her voice reminded me of Beth Orton or KT Tunstall.  More female artists are going that somewhat annoying, yelping, Oh, Oh style, but it worked for her.  Her music was pop, rockabilly, pretty cool stuff. 

After a long wait in the restroom line, we got back to our seats sans water (the water line was ridiculous with only one concession stand for 3,000 people) and waited impatiently for the Avetts.  The crowd got restless and started clapping and chanting for the boys to come out and play.

Folk/Punk.  Only the Avett Brothers can take a perfectly good five string banjo and punk the hell out of it and bounce all over the stage!   Only the Avett Brothers can head bang with their cellist!  They can harmonize like the Oak Ridge Boys or scream like the Sex Pistols.  They are such an enigma.  Are they Folk? Americana? Punk? Bluegrass? Pop? Yup.  And they’re just…dreamy!  Such an entertaining night of music.   

The Avetts played most of the songs from their new album, I and Love and You.  It’s a little more mellow and more pop than some of their previous stuff, and also features a keyboard throughout.  They kicked it up a notch live, and brought the audience to their feet for the entire show.   They played a few of my old faves including “I Killed Sally’s Lover,” but beyond their live CD from 2005, I didn’t recognize other songs.  That was ok though, because each song was worthy of our attention.  I plan to pick up more albums soon.  Add them to the list.

flickr pics from Hilary Harris: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hilaryharris/sets/72157624540121692/show/

Here’s what the Seattle Times had to say:


[9/2010 – Update–I have since picked up their latest CD, I and Love and You and have fallen in love with them all over again.  I can’t seem to eject  it from my CD player in the car!  Check out the song “Laundry Room” to put you in a seriously romantic and nostalgic mood.  Dreamy, I say.]


July 20, 2010 Posted by | Americana, Concert Season 2010, Music, The Avett Brothers, The Paramount Theatre | , , , , | Leave a comment