Sunday, June 9, 2013

Jeremy Serwer at the Lake Trail Taproom

I saw Jeremy Serwer last year at the Musiquarium Lounge with Abi Grace and Chris Mathews. The Musiquarium is the lounge upstairs from the Triple Door's auditorium.

I ended up friending him on Facebook so I noticed that he was playing the Lake Trail Taproom regularly. I get there every week or two for a nice local/regional micro-brew or to split a hard cherry cider with my daughter, but I never managed to catch his sets there.

This weekend I finally managed to pay enough attention and got down to see him on Saturday. Well, my wife Dana actually paid attention. She looked it up and told me I'd heave to head over if I wanted to see him, otherwise I probably would have gone too late. Thanks, Dana!

The Taproom was busy and pleasant, sunny and nice, and live music is always a bonus. Everything is better with live music!
We walked over from the house and I only brought the flip and my cell phone, so I didn't get any great pictures. Just a couple of videos of Jeremy Serwer playing and singing, entertaining the crowd at the Trailside Taproom. The beer was good as usual, too.
It's nice to see a local business that includes live music doing well. The Trailside Taproom has live music every Friday and Saturday, I believe. It's well worth checking out, especially if you live near the Burke-Gilman trail and like to bike, or live nearby in Kenmore. It's very dog and kid friendly too, and few live venues can say that.

Tiny Bit of Folklife

I still get out and see shows now and then, but not at anywhere near the intensity I used to. Things get busy, I get lazy and depressed and just don't get out as much. I almost skipped Northwest Folklife Fest this year, even though Shelby Earl (one of my favorites!) and many other excellent acts were performing there. Luckily Dana got interested which helped motivate me, so we headed down and checked it out for a bit.
It was raining so we didn't stay long for the outdoor stages even though the bands were good. There was music all over and a light sprinkle of rain.
For the dancing enthusiasts they had live music in the Armory, I'd guess this is salsa dancing but I have no clue. Normal Folklife - buskers all over, you could hear some excellent musicians and performers and often have no idea who they were, they just set up in various nooks and crannies around the Seattle Center and let there muse flow. Some bluegrass with a couple of very young musicians: The marimbas by the key were fun, never seen that many in one place before. We stopped in and listened to an ambient performance at the Vera Project too. It was a busy weekend so we didn't get to see all that much of Folklife, but what we did see certainly covered a wide spectrum.

Synergia NW Orchestra with Walking Papers and Friends at the Moore

I got to see Synergia NW's annual big benefit show with the Synergia NW Orchestra and Walking Papers at the Moore Theater this year and enjoyed it. The special guest was cool and talented and they covered quite a bit of material. Synergia Northwest Orchestra The Synergia Northwest Orchestra has a wide range of strings, some woodwinds, brass and percussion. You can hear the brass in the William Tell Overture, not sure I can see them: Always a favorite classical number for me - heigh ho silver!
W got a nice b-boy breaking exhibition too:

The Synergia NW Orchestra did a fair number of songs with full rock band arrangements, and they did it well. In this one, the orchestral swell of the strings 25 seconds in sounds much better than the typical synthesized variation most bands would have to use; the interplay of the strings and the organ is sweet. The groove they get going in this is fun, simple music in some ways but so well orchestrated that it has an undeniable power. I start imagining an action film with this as the soundtrack:
I have quite a bit more footage of the Synergia NW Orchestra on the youtube channel, it's worth checking out if you enjoy orchestras and rock music.

Walking Papers was the headline act, and I have a slightly odd relationship with that band. I'd never seen them, yet I'd read a fair amount about them due to Duff McKagan's writing for the Seattle Weekly. His engaging stories made me feel like I'd vicariously been along for the trips as Walking Papers toured South America and Europe. In fact, I had no idea what the band was like - and that's cool, more to discover! It turns out the "lead" personality is the vocalist/guitarist Mike Squires - he was in Harvey Danger and Alien Crime Syndicate, so I'd seen him before, I had no idea he was so prominent in the band. Fun band, they sounded great with orchestral backing.
Great intro to a band I'd heard of for over a year, glad I finally got to see them.
There was a surprise guest too: Mike McCready joined Walking Papers for some songs, nice stuff with talented musicians and an orchestral arrangement. Mike's buzzing, swooping, ringing guitar work ornaments the song nicely, drawing you along with the vocals working well against the grinding music.
This was billed as "Synergia NW Orchestra and friends cover the Rolling Stones" and they did finally get around to playing some Rolling Stones songs too. I grew up on the Stones, so I love hearing these songs. The hooks are such classics, and the little touches - a drum roll here, the lead and rhythm interplay there - take me back to the seminal adolescent years of my life.
I particularly love the rhythm guitar part on Gimme Shelter (hearinbg Mike McCready play it was a treat!), and how the drum comes in and propels the song. While I grew up a Led Zeppelin fanatic, a few of the Stones albums - Let It Bleed and Exiles on Main Street - have held up better than most of Zeppelin's catalog, and those songs just cry out for a loud bombastic rendition in a big live venue. Very satisfying experience - I've seen the Stones live, and technically this was a better version of their material than the Stones themselves were able to deliver when I saw them in the Kingdome with The Clash all those years ago.

They got most of the artists onstage for the last few number like "Gimme Some Lovin'" which highlights some good saxophone and organ work.
Half the fun at this show is how much the musicians enjoy getting to play these songs, it was a great benefit show with some awesome thirty or forty year old Rock and Roll that really took me back, centuries old favorites, and new (to me) stuff from Walking Papers and many other performers that now are on the "I've got to see those guys again" list.