Monday, January 31, 2011

January Retrospective

In January I saw the All Ages Project show (Kimya Dawson rules! and I enjoyed seeing Duston's band My Parade) with 3 bands; I'd seen Kimya Dawson before (CHBP and 2x at the Vera).

I saw the Veracity show with 3 bands, all new to me. (Dead Coats, the Masque) I got an some excellent audio recordings, I'll have to figure out how to post those to the web.

I saw Jon's 50th Birthday Bash with Ryan LaPlant and Wired, got some good audio recordings from this too.

I saw the Rock-N-Roll carnival with 6 bands, Hounds of the Wild Hunt, Eric Miller, Mini-Rex, Sex Offender, Badlands and Creem City, I'd seen Badlands before at a Veracity show.

I also was a table host at the Vera 10th Anniversary auction, so I got to see Thee Satisfaction - I saw them at Bumbershoot last Summer in the Sky Church. Here's a photo from the Sky Church show:
Bumbershoot 2010 Monday
Highlights: Ryan Laplant rocking our butts off solo, Kimya Dawson brilliant and unpredictable, making me cry twice, Wired's intelligently composed tightly performed suite of rock history, the Masque playing an awesome song that I missed in real time due to cooking tacos that knocked my socks off when I played back the recording, lots of talented and appealing performers that I'd never seen before, lots of music and good times.

Lowlights: the things I missed: Forgetters, the head-liners of the Rock-N-Roll Circus: RepoMen, Church for Sinners and Strong Killings, the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger

So I made it to 4 shows and an auction in January and saw 15 bands including 12 bands that were new to me. Not a bad way to start the year!

Nothing special going on for the next few months, festivals don't start for a while yet. I don't know if I can keep up a 15 band/month pace for the next couple of months, most likely it'll drop off to 6 or 9 per month, we'll see how it goes.
The festivals should help pump the numbers up, but it'll be hard to actually get caught up with blogging about them: so many bands for days on end, an embarrassment of riches.

Rock and Roll Circus at the Vera

Went to an interesting show on a weekend in January at the Vera called the "Rock-N-Roll Circus" and caught quite a few bands.

They used the main stage for amplified bands, then have an acoustic set out in the lobby/gallery while the equipment was taken down and the next band set up, then back to the main stage for the next electric band, switching back and forth and squeezing in 2 acts an hour from 5:30 on. I got there late, around 7, so I missed several.

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The first band I saw was Hounds of the Wild Hunt.
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They rocked out, played a range from punk (1st video) to melodic mainstream rock (2nd):

Next we went out to the lobby for Eric Miller's acoustic set. He accompanied himself on guitar and harmonica, didn;t get any harp on this video but you can hear his smooth friendly delivery of the song, good personality showing through and helping him pull off the performance:

The acoustic sets were fairly short, so we headed back into the main stage room for Mini Rex. They had a cute costuming notion, all wearing horizontal red and gray stripes with the letters to "MINI" on their shirts, the vocalist had REX on hers. All female group, here's a picture:
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The bass player carried the song structure, two guitar approach with keyboard fills, pretty full sound.

Next up was Sex Offender, a 3 piece band with a woman singing and playing acoustic guitar, a woman singing and playing keyboard, and a dude playing drum pads.
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Good sound, reasonable dynamics and interesting vocals, occasionally 2 part vocals, I enjoyed watching this band.

Back to the main stage for Badlands:

I saw Badlands at a Veracity show a few months back. Good punk sound, a little ragged which is by design.

The last act I was able to catch was Creem City:
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Classic power trio lineup with the vocalist sporting the distressed lingerie look. Interesting band, I didn't get enough of them recorded so my choices are limited, but you can hear what they're doing a bit:

I ended up missing the last 3 bands, which was too bad. I think I should do a monthly wrap-up where I can list the stuff I missed.

Jon Noe's 50th Birthday Bash with Wired and Ryan LaPlant

We celebrated Jon Noe's 50th birthday at the Shanty Tavern on Lake City Way.

The Shanty has a nice roomy parking lot and a comfortable vibe with a moderate crowd rinking, playing pool, and listening to the music. We got drinks, said hi to Jon and some friends, and settled in to listen to Ryan Laplant.

Ryan put on a great set of powerful, bluesy roots oriented rock and roll. Excellent slide work in "Baby Please Don't go" and great rhythm and leads combined with his distinctive voice made for a memorable show.

Next Jon introduced Wired who led off with the Beattle's "You Say It's Your Birthday" with Jon on cowbell and continued with a virtual tour of rock history, hitting songs from the fifties, sixties, and seventies, and probably the eighties and nineties too, I tend to lose track, with at least some bits from this century as well.

Very tight performance, they had their intros and finishes down and when they played with dynamics they nailed it as a band, never getting sloppy about the quiet bits or the loud bits: they had a plan and it worked well.

I drank too much and danced my butt off and had a great time, staying on the dance floor for most of Wired's set. All in all an awesome birthday party!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

January Veracity

Saw The Masque and the Dead Coats and I'm Not Dead Just Sleeping at the free Veracity show in January.

I'm Not Dead Just Sleeping was a guy playing guitar and singing solo. Good voice, guitar got a bit out of tune, but he had some talent. The mike on my Flip doesn't do him justice. I should track down a field recording, the mic and level set are much better. The video gives you an idea what he was like, anyway.

Next up was maybe the Masque, anyway it was these guys:

They did some good vocal work with the guitarist and bassist both singing and an interesting sound.

I think this was the Dead Coats, the last band we saw. Another fun band putting on a good show. All at a free show, another excellent Veracity show.

All Ages Movement Project show at the Vera

Heather volunteered as a front door assistant and I volunteered for cleanup at the All Ages Movement Project (AMP) show in January. The headliner was Kimya Dawson (awesome!) but I'd never heard of the intro bands. I was checking out "My Parade" on youTube and enjoying some political punk music and the camera finally panned enough to the left that I saw a guitarist that looked familiar. I could swear that was Dustin, the guy who sits at the front door a the Vera Project. The camera tracked back to the middle so you could see the female vocalist and the rest of the band, so I wasn't completely sure but it sure looked like him.

The day of the show I ended up chatting with a dude I had never met before the bands started. I mentioned tracking down the band's video and thinking I'd seen that kid from the Vera Project - Justin (doh! I knew it was Dustin, I just mis-spoke). The guy laughed and said "yeah, Dustin is in the band." Turns out he was the bass player. I didn't know until later when they took the stage.

First up was these guys, they may be Silicon Girls but I'm guessing.
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They put on a solid short set, and the Vera was lively with people staying from the AMP stuff and more dropping in to see the show. One guy came in all made up in green so I had to talk to him. He was coming from an appearance at a kids birthday party.
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He asked about what we did at the Vera and I told him about music, the art gallery, the screen-print and recording studio.

"What about performance?" he asked, and I could see what he was getting at. We've had the occasional break dance show, fashion shows, and quite a few seminars. Not much in the way of acting or plays, and not a whole lot of spoken words stuff.

Next up was "My Parade" - the band with Dustin in it. The mix wasn't great, so it was hard to hear the lyrics or much else clearly over the bass, but the beat was fun and the band got the crowd moving pretty well. I got a CD from them so I can listen to their lyrics and hear the different parts.
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We had Selector Dub Narcotic spinning disks, turns out he runs K-Records in Olympia so he's a local legend and a bit famous. He got a crowd up on the stage dancing for a bit right before Kimya went on.

...and finally Kimya took the stage. She was in rare form, comparing rose petal tea to bath water and playing her numbers briskly. The sound was a little ragged at first - there's a charming bit where she screams due to the feedback in this video:

...but they dialed in the sound after that and it was a classic fun upbeat Kimya Dawson show. She took a couple of requests and Yoda did yoga and ended up on stage for an extended bit with Kimya, riffing on corporate control and having a great time.

Kimya did a rap song that was interesting, she's always had a way with longer less repetitive lyrics and the rap format actually fitted her odd song structure approach fairly well. She had Your Heart Breaks playing a simple drum line against the rap for surprisingly effective result - quite political of course, which is what you expect from Kimya: intensely personal, highly political, life and death, suicide, depression and friendships, the subjects are what Kimya's passionate about.

She played a song I was unfamiliar with about a transgendered pre-op friend dieing of cancer that made me cry, and I discovered new depths in "I Like Giants" that made me cry as well. Really a very moving show and a great way to start out the new year.