Sunday, January 29, 2012

Country Swing at Darrell's; The Barn Door Slammers, Knut Bell and the Blue Collars and the Rainieros

Darrell's smells like a gym; the later it gets the more it smells like your sweaty high school locker room. Close, musty, moist...just like you want your local bar to feel like. Let's dance, let's sweat, let your hair down and let's have workout!

This evening offered a ton of different kinds of music. There were two shows; The early show (7:30) featured what was called hard driving rock/blues/indie rock. The second show was billed as western swing. I did not plan on attending the first show but as it turned out I ended up seeing the last of that show. I am glad I did.

Can't say for sure who proceeded Brett Netson as apparently one band canceled. I looked at the bill but since I didn't see any body previous to him I cannot say for sure who played. My pal Mark and I arrived at 9:15 and the music was screaming out the front door; it wasn't country swing. The schedule was off and the band onstage wasn't giving up the stage anytime soon.

Brett Netson is a member of Built to Spill. Pardon my ignorance, I have heard of...good things. Turns out there is another member of the same band named Brett Nelson. Damn I bet those boys are sick of getting confused.

They were playing a killer grunge/metal tune (sorry, I am sure they hate guys like me pigeon-holing them); Brett's guitar blasting out heavy licks, the band rocking away. It was great; I have not heard that much raw sound coming from 4 guys in a long time. I cannot comment any further except to say I liked it. I want to hear more.

They ran over a good 45 minutes but the crowd was loving it anyway. I was starting to take notice of said crowd; it was filling up with some the Seattle Rockabilly Royalty. Kirsten and Jonathan from the Black Crabs, Roy Kay, others too, I recognized but couldn't identify at the time. It turned out that some of those folks were serious Seattle Rock Royalty. Duff McKagan and the members of his band Loaded were in the front row. I was sitting next to a guy who was very familiar with Brett, he was amazed at the sound in this crummy little tavern. The buzz was great in the room; a lot of great musicians in one place at one time.

By he time the Barn Door Slammers came on it was well after 10. I had seen some of them in the audience and was pleased to see the same guys setting up; Pedal steel, Stand up bass, Lead guitar, Fiddle and Percussion. Dan, Todd, David, Kevin and Tommy played to a rapt audience, they were expected. They are based in Portland, here is a link to their site:

Think The Fly-Rite Boys minus Big Sandy...all killer instrumentals with none of the messy vocals. They were a ton of fun and played quality swing. All were exceptional musicians; I especially loved the pedal steel-lead and the lead guitarists.

The gent on steel was very quiet and conservative but and he played some beautiful music on his guitar. I moved up close and watched him; he had a beautiful instrument, a vintage triple-decker pedal steel. He was amazing but rarely looked up and sheepishly acknowledged the cheers of the crowd. I can't wait to see/hear him again. I talked with Jon Hyde of the 1Uppers about Todd, he tells me that he is the builder of his beautiful instrument. He is the owner/operator of Clinesmith Instruments; he hand makes Hawaiian, Resonator and Steel guitars. Jon says they are the bomb! Here is a link to his site:

One of the things I love about Darrell's is that if you want you can literally sit-in with the band; it is that tight. I love to go to the pisser as you come within inches of the band. I was able to stand just feet away from this amazing artist and his amazing birds-eye maple guitar.

The lead guitar was a curly dark haired genius who played like he was born to hold the guitar. I loved his passion and obvious joy at the chance of playing that evening. He telegraphed to the entire audience that he was having fun. I talked to him later an he was obviously pleased that he had fans. I introduced myself later to him and the drummer; the spokesman for the band.

The fiddle was great, he was enjoying himself. He has fun=he plays great=we have fun! A smile on his face was clearly visible as he finished his solos adding the string layer to the already rich sound. The audience cheered after every touch to his violin.

The guy playing stand up bass was also passionate and talented. A tall toehead with a great smile. Bobbing, rocking, jamming but contained and fairly conservative. The passion showed through; these guys were doing what they love and making some great music.

The drummer was the spokesman and the joker. He had some funny remarks in between his stellar percussion work.

I am looking forward to hearing some more of their stuff. They were in town recording at Roy Kay's studio so they will have something soon.

This just in the Slammers will be in town, March 24th at Slim's with the Black Crabs. This will be a great show; Slim's is a wonderful venue; small and close-in, great sound and good food. (edit 1/31/12 7pm)

Up next was Knut Bell and the Blue Collars. I have liked them for some time, seen them several times over the years. Steve, the Rusty Trusty Scribe (Shake the Shack co-host), is a friend and was the drummer for some time. He has since moved on, he is the percussionist for the Rat City Brass. I still love Knut.

Knut has a great presence and voice. Leon Berman would call it a Baso-Profundo voice. Low but smooth; he projects well and has a classic delivery. I never get tired of Knut.

I loved his guitarists brethren. The pedal steel was a small quiet gent who sat this instrument and calmly delivered killer licks. I love guys like this; oh me..I just do my thing (originally and creatively) and try to fit in well with the band. He also played a lead ax at times, still seated he was accomplished and entertaining.

The other lead looks like your classic country outlaw and plays a guitar to match. Grady has long blonde hair, a big light colored cowboy hat and plays a great country guitar. He displays the love and passion for this music the made me fall in love with it.

Chicken Gizzard's and ICE COLD BEER...yells the crowd as he and band leads them in one of their favorites.

It was a killer evening and because the whole thing was running late I left after Knut's last lick. Liam and the Rainieros were still on their way, it was 1am. I limped home with a wonderful ringing in my ears. I was sorry I couldn't stay for more.

Thanks again to Darrell's, Scott the sound-man and the artists who came out to entertain. It was incredible fun for 7 bucks.

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