Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lucky Lawrence and the Souvenirs with The Outlaws at Slim's 2-25-12

I got up this morning pretty late; I couldn't sleep past 8am if I tried. I dragged my butt out of bed as late as possible. I made a pot of coffee, got the paper and went to the iPod. I had to validate a hunch. I found The Souvenirs and pushed play...yep, confirmed. Lucky and his band are still playing my favorite music.

I have a lot of favorites; The Black Crabs, Roy Kay, especially the 1Uppers (if they would only play a gig or two) and of course Blvd. Park and The Barn Door Slammers...but Lucky has a special way with me.

All right, I have a problem that is fast becoming a major obsession. I was at Slim's at 9pm, I left at 12:30, I am here documenting it on a Sunday. I do this every Friday and Saturday night. I am also a man of ritual; I have a route to each venue that I drive every time. I go to the same bars and sit in the same place.

Tonight it was Slim's to see The Souvenirs and The Outlaws; I-5 to Airport Way, south to Georgetown and over to 1st. Park on the side street, pay my dues and make my way to a seat. I always look for a seat I can also stand at; I like to move. At Slim's I sit at the end of the bar, next to the ATM. Slim's is a good place to see live music and this spot is good because I am close to the sound board and the taps. Being a big guy I don't like to block anybody's view so standing back in the corner is the perfect place. If you come to Slim's for a show and see a big guy hugging the cash machine, that's me.

The Outlaws were on when I walked in. The music at Slim's starts promptly at 9, the bands start at Darrell's around 9:30 unless there is a special event; each venue has their own ritual just like me. I do hate missing anything though, I kicked myself for coming in late.

The good news was that this group of artists were the real thing. Right away I noticed that there were several members of the Souvenirs in the Outlaws. Randy who plays pedal-steel was at play on the far left, their drummer (sorry no name at this time) was at working the back and Lucky was playing guitar in the back next to him.

The Outlaws were fronted by a tall gent with a great voice, I couldn't find any info on them as a band, not on Facebook or MySpace. I imagine that they are a collection of friends who love to play. They bill themselves as a Waylon Jennings Tribute band; playing covers of the master. The were great; besides the aforementioned members of the Souvenirs there was a female playing acoustic guitar with beautiful vocals, a young looking dude rocking the bass, and another great musician on keyboards. I really liked the addition of the keyboard to this country band. They made a good mix and the music was the best; sounded just like Waylon to me. I was sad to see them leave after only one hour.

Editors note 6-14-12, Here is the full line-up for the Outlaws: Jeremy Manley, Liz Herrin, Aaron Starkey, Mike Jochum, Jon Hyde, Ty Baille, Terry Mattson, Perry Morgan, Justin Cronk, Jordan Vestal and Kim Field.

I am sorry I don't have any links, maybe I will get one that I can add later...

After a brief break Lucky and The Souvenirs came on stage, well most came back on stage. The basist was all smiles as he mounted up, he always plays with a lot of energy.

I have seen Lucky a few times before, as I said in my opening, I love this band. Since I really just got started seeing live music again after many years of sitting at home, I was not familiar with his history. My friend Leon (Doctor of proctology, KEXP 90.3 FM 6-9pm Fridays) told me he had been around for a while, paid his dues and has reasons to write such tear-jerker tunes.

I saw Lucky and the boys for the first time at The Rockabilly Ball last year, an event organized by Leon. I loved them, bought their CD and have been a big fan since. Leon enlisted Don Slack (Swinging Doors 90.3 KEXP 6-9pm Thursdays) to find the talent for the Friday Country evening (there are 3 nights of music). Don did a great job of lining up the bands. I thought that Nikki Lane, Whitey Morgan and the 78's, Knut Bell and the Blue Collars and then Lucky was an inspired bill. I purchased the CD's from every band and have listened to them ad-nauseum.

Lucky has such a smooth voice, add the killer band and you have magic. Last night he really had the mojo; introducing tunes soon to be on his new cd. I am used to his country and country/rock music, but I thought his new stuff was more rock/country.

Now this may be a function of Randy's guitar. He played the pedal-steel during The Outlaws set and for the first 4 or 5 tunes of The Souvenirs first set. Of course the steely is always going to affect the sound of the band, they produce such a distinctive twang. He switched to his solid body guitar and they played more of a rock set.

Maybe just my ear, but I think they are broadening their musical horizons. I liked everything I heard. I am looking forward to the new release.

The crowd was good, a lot of folks dancing, slurping brew and spooning chile. I saw Roy Kay in the audience along with another local musician. There was a lot of hooting and hollering; a good time was had by all.

The Souvenirs played a good long set mixing the new with some familiar tunes off the first CD. He has a great stage presence; classic good looks and stellar guitar work. He surrounds himself with talented musicians.

The bass guitarist is a gas to watch and hear; he plays a mean guitar and sings vocals. This guy is constantly moving; smiling and mugging with his buds in the crowd. I love to watch artist having fun.

The drummer is steady and creative banging out original beats for this great band. He was back there for 4 hours last night; strong work.

I talked about Randy, I love his steel work but any guitar he touches bends to his will. He calmly produces beautiful music out of his instrument of choice. I will never get sick of watching him perform.

Here is a link to their site:

They took a short break and came back with renewed vigor for a second set. I made it past midnight but I was failing; I danced all night and my feet were screaming. I left with them still on stage, that is they way I want to remember them.; rocking. I am looking forward to the new CD.

My advice; see Lucky, Roy or any other band in their natural habitat, at a club. Not only is it inexpensive; but you get to enjoy adult beverages while you listen to live music. You could even,

If you have any comments or information to help me fill in the blanks I would appreciate it. If there is something inaccurate I would love to correct.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Randy Hicks Band, Billy Dwayne and the Creepers and Bigfoot Accelerator at Darrell's 2-25-12

Oh my god!, I said to Scott as I walked through Darrell's at about midnight. Bigfoot Accelerator was well into their set, my face was melting. He yelled, "no kidding, they sure live up to their name".

The walls were shaking, the light fixtures were vibrating, and it felt like there was an earthquake. Hide the womenfolk; we have a full on insurrection!

For the first time in many years I saw a mosh pit: well 2 guys shoving each other around.  I lived through the LA punk scene, I have fond memories of flying bodies, sweat and beer. The first time I witnessed the mosh madness was at a private party in Pasadena. The band was a local bunch of punks thrashing their guitars and drums for a bunch of other local punks. I was standing on the periphery of the dance floor when this guy came flying into me, naturally I pushed him back. My first participation in the pit.

I couldn't resist, when I got close enough to them I gave one of them a shove; half my age I am not sure he knew what to do. I was hoping for a bruise at the least, he smiled and went to the can...

Anyway, this was the scene for the last band, the perfect ending for a great bill.

I saw the post on Darrell's music page, it had changed over the last week. Scott does a good job of keeping the info and links up to date. It is nice that all the links are active and you can do some homework before you go. Mrs. Ghia and I listened to Billy before I came tonight on a link supplied by Darrell's. Here is the link to their site:

The band that caught my eye was Billy Dwayne and the Creepers, it was billed as Billy's Birthday Bash. I figured the other bands would be of similar ilk...rockabilly. Little did I know.

I arrived at Darrell's with my buddy Mark at about 9:15, we got a single chair on the bar. I dance most of the time so we could switch off no problem. Our favorite bartender was there; cute, efficient and pleasant she dishes up excellent adult beverages. We ordered a pitcher of Fremont Brewing Interurban Ale and settled in for the long run.

The Randy Hicks Band was on first, they started cranking from the first note. Their page lists Paul, Gabe and Sandy as the talent; "hittin, plunkin and yellin". And that's just what they did, Sandy was playing a Dobro (I had to ask someone in the crowd what it was, turned out it was Kevtone (Kevin Guest) from Billy's band), Gabe on the doghouse and Paul on drums (I think).

They played a manic rockabilly that bordered on punk, well it was flat out punk at times. The Dobro is a resonator guitar has a very distinctive sound. At times they had two of them on stage. Gabe and Sandy traded instruments, she playing the stand up bass on many tunes. I loved her style; she turned her bass and body away from the crowd singing in the microphone over her shoulder. Unique and very cool.

Paul broke the head on his snare 2 songs into their set. He grabbed a guitar and sang some killer tunes, sounded like Tom Waitts. He ended up playing parts of his stool (that's what it looked like to me) and the metal parts on his set as a substitute. They really had two distinct flavors; these slow gnarly yet beautiful vocal heavy tunes, then these knock your socks off high energy punk tunes. I had never seen before but they were great, blasting out original tunes that had the dancers out and the crowd shakin'. Here is a link to their page:

Next up was Billy and his Creepers. They play an original and classic style of rockabilly. They have been around for a few years, I have seen them several times, most recently at the Shake The Shack Rockabilly Ball. I have a friend who has criticized them for their lack of flare on the stage. I found that their musical talent and originally written/performed music made up for any lack of theater.

The highlight of the evening was also a surprise. I had talked with Kevin earlier about the Dobro, he plays drums for the Creepers was a excellent technical and aesthetic percussionist. I heard some original and innovative strokes on the skins that I would not have expected in a rockabilly band. He had a distinctive style and look that I found striking and appealing.

Wesley Amundsen was killing the upright bass, I loved watching him plunking and stroking. He had a determined look on his face and he banged his way trough some great rockabilly tunes. His bass had tennis balls between some parts of his instrument, isolating the strings? He had notes for the tunes written on a little notebook attached to his bass.

Billy himself is a marvelous guitarist and vocalist. I disagree with my buddy; I thought he had great command of the stage and writes some good stuff. I don't think I heard more than one or two covers and those were fresh and original somehow. He plays a beautiful guitar: sometimes the best thing about seeing these bands are the beautiful instruments they play.

See Billy and his Creepers here :

Bigfoot Accelerator came on like a tsunami, hitting your whole body with a wall of sound. I watched as they set up, the drummer had a white muscleman shirt on with a shaved head. I knew we were in for it, and me without my ear plugs. They brought stacks of amps and huge speakers: they filled Darrell's with maximum decibels.

Head banging full on down and dirty punk was the flavor and you had better get with the plan or they were going to drive you out of the building. I wasn't prepared for 2 punk bands but I was starting to see the method to the madness. They sandwiched Billy between Bigfoot and Randy; diabolical!

They describe themselves as dirty, I will have to agree. Dirty, loud, hammer-down rock delivered in an aggressive style that blew your hair back. My ears are still ringing 12 hours later. I liked it. Mopar Steve on vox, Emag on bass, Jeff Jerktone on guitar, Noah Response on Beats, and Digger on Guitar; they made a powerful impression. See them here:

It was a great night of music; we stayed till just about one then limped home. I am so glad to have Darrell's so close to the crib: it is starting to feel like home. The personnel from the guy at the door to the owner are friendly and welcoming. They consistently have excellent bills and it always sounds great. There is lots of seating, the beer selection is massive and the cocktails are well prepared. It costs all of 5 bucks to enter this wonderland...I can't think of any reason that you shouldn't try a Friday night at Darrell's on for size.

Just got the new Dale Watson CD, killer stuff. I still love Nikki Lane and Lindi Ortega, and of course Blvd. Park, their new CD, The Sound is stellar. Please support them by purchasing their music:

It is pledge drive time for KEXP, log onto and donate to the best music resource we have in the Northwest. Between Kevin Cole, Don Slack, Leon Berman, Mike Fuller and Cheryl Waters, we have a virtual plethora of DJ talent (sorry, that is a direct quote from the Doctor, he does have a way with words). Donate Today!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Friends of Knucklehead at the High Dive, also The Black Crabs and Blacktop Deceiver at Darrell's 2-18-12

I had a another one of those moments. It happened two songs into The Friends of Knuckleheads set at the High Dive. I have been looking forward to this show, I love this band. The planets aligned: Brian was singing in his gravely voice, Tekla was crooning her beautiful siren song, the band was eyes rolled into the back of my head. Just for a minute, I was lost...blurred vision, fuzzy head, wobbly legs, how cool is that? Music and Art can really move me; I cried like a baby when I saw a Fernand Leger painting at The NY Met Museum for the first time. One of my heroes, I was not prepared for this flow of emotion, people moved away as I melted in front of this great work of art. I didn't cry here, but wow was I floored.

When I came to I was standing by myself in the middle of the dance floor. The band cranking on stage, the din of the crowd behind me, the smell of stale beer; this was going to be a good night.

The occasion was called Camp Cascadia's Seattle Stomp; a benefit for their friend Jamie V. I didn't know one thing about this event before I got there. Tekla told me about the event and it sounded like a good thing to attend, Party with a Purpose. Their band along with 4 others donated their time to help raise money for their friend Jamie who destroyed her foot. It was crushed and $100K later she is on the mend. Apparently it has been tough though; with no insurance, I am sure it has been scary.  There were a lot of items to win in the raffle. I threw the doorman every cent I had and declined the raffle tickets. I was happy that I could donate. Thank you to all who donated and played and especially to Camp Cascadia who produced the event. I hope you raised a ton of dough for Jamie.

Oh, The Friends of Knucklehead? It was the name they took on for this evening, normally Blvd Park, they were short a couple members. Knucklehead is their dog. They were not short on sound, as always they bring a great presence and high energy to the stage. As I was saying earlier; Brian has this gravely voice, plays guitar and sings lead. His partner in most vocals is Telka who has this beautiful voice, almost better suited for a choir. The mix is original and surprising. The two of them along with Dune the mandolin player, Jarrett the bass player and Banton the banjo player make beautiful vocals. Last night they were spot on. I must admit I did miss Tim's muted horn, but it gives me something to look forward to next time.
See them here, buy their new album:

I had really wanted to go to Darrell's last night. It was the Rugcutters Bash with The Black Crabs, Roy Kay Trio and The Blacktop Denizons. I love all these folks and Darrell's is my favorite venue. It was 10:30; I had seen the sultry Tekla and several of my favorite musicians play their hearts out, I had donated heavily to a good cause and was truly in heaven. Pleased, I decided to reward myself with some Crabs.

The parking in Fremont at 9PM on a Friday night is frightfully bad. I took one trip around the block looking for a spot and realized there were 50 others doing the same. If I wanted to see the bands I had to park in the suburbs. 5 blocks and 300 vertical feet later I parked in one off the neighborhoods. I feel sorry for the locals. if you don't have a designated spot you are screwed. When I made my decision to leave the High Dive I still had the long hike in front of me, straight up and in the pouring rain. I was still high from the fun, I floated to my car.

I missed The Roy Kay Trio altogether; the price I payed for my multi-venue evening. I shed a tear as I came in...they were packing up. I found my favorite stool empty and ordered a drink, The Black Crabs were setting up.

I saw 6 of my favorite women this Saturday night. The lovely Mrs. Ghia who cooked me and my kin a killer dinner is first on that list. Married 28 years, together for over 40, she is my BFF, couldn't live without her. My kin which includes my sister Betty and Addy (little what's her name) are number two and three, I couldn't talk them into coming out this evening. Betty and I went to see Knut Bell the prior evening, I think she hit her limit of live music (wtf?). Now that I am a groupie of 2 or 3 bands, my number 4 and 5 favorite girls are Tekla from Blvd. Park and Kirsten from the Crabs (vavavoom! x2). The last favorite girl is the Darrell's mystery girl. Tall, dark haired and beautiful, she is often at Darrell's. Me and Mark (my Friday night buddy) always drool over her. She was sitting one stool from me, it was a good night indeed. I did find out later that she was "Darrell's" (not his real name) girlfriend. Oh well, she would have just broke my heart any way...

Tekla and Kirsten:

The Crabs played their usual great set. I swear there is nobody that makes me smile and move more than this band. This is 3 talented artists who all sing, have great technical skills on their instruments and have great passion for their art. I cannot sit when they are playing, I am either up at my chair or on the dance floor.

Jonathan on lead guitar and vocals is the driving force to this band. He has this magic presence on stage, so comfortable, I love to watch him. He sings and plays with great expertise abut always injects a great amount of humor into the act. It always amazes me to see him get up there like he owns the place, he must have been born on stage.

Tom plays the drums and sings. He is a stellar percussionist; a blur of skins and sticks.

Kirsten sings vocals and plays a mean doghouse bass. Plucking, stroking, banging and teasing the strings on her bass; she is not only easy on the eyes, she is a great musician. She has the most pleasant sublime look on her face as she bangs out the tunes.

They played all my favorites and then some. I don't know if I will ever tire if them; as I told Jonathan in the parking lot: if your playing, I'm coming. Find them here, buy their killer album 13 Times, it is the next best thing to seeing them live:

The Blacktop Deceiver were up next; 4 guys with a distinctive sound, much different from the Crabs. Playing a garage style rockabilly with western, country and blues influences, they rocked it from the first note. I was beat and wanted to go home but every time I thought about leaving their music made me want to stay. I ended up on the dance floor; by myself new weight loss regimen.

Jason on guitar and lead vocals, Ron on lead guitar, Jay slapping the bass and Vetala on drums; they make a hell of a big sound. Performing their own stuff, they had the crowd up and dancing too.
See them here:

Ron played this beautiful hollow body guitar, he was a killer craftsman. He didn't say much, all business...rocking! Jason was the entertainer, singing and playing rhythm he was a gas to watch.

I danced until I couldn't dance no more...I headed out, jeez, what time did I head out? I got home before 1, my ears still ringing and a pleasant buzz in the back of my head. This was one of the funnest nights out so far this year; thanks to all the great musicians for their efforts and to the lovely Mrs. Ghia for enabling this obsession.

One word on my poor photography. All taken from a phone, I refuse to use a flash. I can't imagine any artist would want a flash in their face. The photos from The High Dive are better than at Darrell's for the simple reason that one stage is better lit than the other.

I am listening to Barton Carroll's new album "Together you and I", Nikki Lane, Ole Tinder, Ray Condo and as always Shake the Shack, Friday nights 6-9pm on KEXP 90.3.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Knut Bell and the Blue Collars at The Little Red Hen 2-17-12

Knut's rockin' was the text I received at about 9:15. I was late and Mark was already at the club.

My sister Betty was in town with her daughter 'little what's her name' (we will just refer to her as lwhn from now on). They were here just to see Mrs. Ghia and I, to shop and to have some fun. Presidents day gave them time to spend an extra day away from Spokelahoma (Spokane). They wanted to see some music Friday night and it was really an easy decision.

There were many excellent bands playing but choice criteria changes when others are involved. Usually I go alone or with Mark (who is as easy as they come) and can travel far and wide and go to sometimes gritty bars. I didn't want to go to far but I wanted to give my kin an authentic live-music experience.

The Little Red Hen is the definition of a local honky-tonk. Located in the heart of Green Lake, it is a neighborhood treasure. It seems small and intimate with low ceilings and a low stage. But it actually has some booths off to the side and even a back room away from the bar and dance floor. It is larger than the first view. The dance floor is directly in front of the band, a rail backs with high stools is behind that. The bar is always busy; a great bartender, a bus boy or two and a hard working waitress. Amazing they do that much business with such a small crew.
Find them here:

Knut Bell and his rocking band are also an iconic Northwest treasure. A good Scandinavian son; Knut casts a long shadow onstage. A big man wearing a cowboy hat and a goatee, his voice is velvety low. His band is always entertaining, he writes much of his own music and puts on a good show. Knut and the Blue Collars are a house band at the Hen and he was playing that Friday, I knew my sis would like him. We got ready to go, lwhn was on the couch moaning something about how she ate too much.  This is something I deal with daily so I felt no sympathy, Betty and I booked.

We arrived after 9:30 and Knut was all in, the dance floor was packed and there were smiles all around. There are a couple different customer types that night; I can't help but notice, people watching can be part of the fun. There were the locals; they can walk from their cribs to the LRH. They come here to dance and socialize, some are in booths yakking it up, others are serious dancers. (I can't dance, I love to watch somebody that can).

The other crowd were the Knut Bell fans; many wearing the colors, most (like me) mouthing the words to our favorite songs. Many were dancing, all enjoying their local boys knocking it out on the stage.

Knut plays a great down home style, his band has been a varied mix of very talented guys. Here is the thing about a band like Knut's; they play a lot of gigs. This is just my theory and please correct in the comments below if incorrect...but an artist likes to do his thing. These guys all love to play and entertain.  If you play with Knut you play a lot of different venues many days of the week. I would think of this as an opportunity for a musician who wants to play often. I suppose it could also be a curse. I know that they don't make much money doing this. They have to be doing it for love.

Here is the whole line up: Kinny Albers Steel guitar, guitar, Jim Matthews Bass, Lewis Warren Drums, Grady Shawver Guitar and Knut on Acoustic and Lead vocals.

Grady Shawver plays a killer lead, he was tearing up last night with a wide range of styles from country to psychedelic, how do he do that? He and I are Facebook buddies, he has a great sense of humor and I always look forward to his messages.

The steely was a talented guy, keeping his eye on his instrument Kinny plays a heavenly Pedal-steel. Rarely looking up, he also played the 2nd lead to Grady, or maybe it is the other way around. They compliment each other very well, I really enjoyed their guitar conversation.

Last night they played this killer guitar duel, playing quick little solos; screaming, moaning, caressing and blasting, they had me smiling. The solos moved into a jamming instrumental with all the boys showing off. Of course they ended the tune with another series of little sound vignettes, a lot of fun for them and us.

I had told my sister about the Hen before and she was ready. She is such a good sport. She had read my post about the scene there and some of the characters that are regulars:(

There is one old guy that is there every time I have been and he dances with all the girls. Well, dances...he stands in one place while these cute girls dance around him. I keep wanting to think that when he leaves the hen he smiles and skips up to his apartment 6 blocks away.

Well my sister wanted to be one of his Harem. I had seen him (he is easily 80, he came in at 10) and let her know that he was making his move...this is when he gets off his stool and shuffles towards the dance floor. She greeted him as soon as he hit the parquet and I could tell by his expression he was pleased. Off they went. He got a little more that he is used to...she wanted some action and made him work. It was really fun and she will have good stories to tell back home.

The band was pleasing the crowd as usual, he knows what they came for; dancing. The boys mostly rocked it with 2 steps with an occasional slow honey-grabber. The crowd changed as it got later. Many of the locals had drifted away and a younger and more social crowd replaced them. During the breaks the din of the crowd was so loud I didn't think we were going to be able to hear the band. We left after the 2nd break having had our spirits lifted and our hearts warmed.
See Knut here:

I love Knut at the Little Red Hen; we are so lucky to have such a wonderful music venue so close to our crib. I hope you have something close to you that makes you feel at home.

Go out and see some live music tonight, you will love it. I am going out to see my friends Blvd. Park at The High Dive tonight. They replaying a benefit for one of their friends who crushed her foot and has huge bills as a consequence. I am going to support them as best I can; it is a good thing they are doing.

Make somebody smile today.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Bitteroot, The Annie Ford Band and Drunken Prayer at Conor Byrne 2-11-12

It was a hippie love fest at Conor Byrne on Saturday night. Portland's Bitteroot was first on the bill and their audience was waiting for them. Playing original folk/rock/bluegrass/country they definitely were down home northwest in style. Boys hugging girls, girls hugging girls, long hair, beards, definitely a mellow buzz in the air. I am old; I want to thank them for letting me come into their world.

Wearing Pendleton like shirts were the brothers Foster and Colt, the vocal and guitar leads for the group. James is playing bass in a pair of overalls and the lovely female vocalist (sorry, missed her name, will fill in when I get it) in black with jeans. They were excellent musicians all and appreciated by the obviously partial crowd, as well as us newbys.

Apparently they were playing one of their first gigs of a tour. I overheard them talking later (Conor Byrne is a small place) that they were nervous. I understand the butterflies, but when you are as tight and talented as this crew you should have some confidence.

They played several tunes that had changes in tempo and in feel as they progressed. Tight sweet vocals slowing morphing into jamming guitar; the brothers showing how they do it family style. I always love to watch kin play; you know they have been playing for years, and they also know each other like the back of their hands. They had a great rapport as they were using brotherly ESP to create beautiful music. From sweet folk to manic rock they played with expertise and passion.

James was animated and playful as he rocked the bass, the killer bottom for the band. The female had an angelic voice and with Colt and Foster, sang some beautiful harmonies.

They were so grateful for the applause, they had big smiles all around. The crowd was screaming and I will admit to being one of the loudest.  It was touching to see how happy they were at the reception; they had a group hug on stage at the end of the show. I saw Jon Hyde (steel for the 1Uppers) in the crowd, he also mentioned the joy they exhibited. Sniff, I feel a tear coming on.

As far as the appreciation for their stuff, I want to say to them; get used to the applause.

See them here:

The audience was changing, Bitteroot had a big following and some folks left. The next band was more countrified and as they took the stage the place started filling up again.

The Annie Ford Band had a pedal-steel, my new favorite instrument. The steely was a tall lanky guy who played a lovely soaring guitar.  BTW, not a great mix tonight; I couldn't hear him like I would have liked. normally CB and this tech do stellar work, might have been me. Annie played the fiddle, viola, banjo and sang lead vocals. She had a great presence and sang with love.

I checked her site and I did find the names of some of the band members. She lists 4, I saw 5. So here is what I got: Annie, Matt, Ollie and Ivan. I can't match to instruments either, maybe later in the week.

The lead guitar player also played banjo; a versatile musician, he was fun to watch. He had a sly smile on his face as he played some killer licks. He is one of the reasons I come out to see live music; a great artist putting it all out there for us to see. Doing what he loves and in turn making us all so very happy.

The bass was another accomplished artist. He played with soul on a beautiful instrument.  He was obviously having fun; moving with the beat, loving being on-stage.

The surprise of the night was the drummer, he was dynamite. He sang much of the lead, at times sounding just like Steve Earle. As much as Annie was the lead to the band, the percussionist was a one of the major influences. How he plays an original and creative drum set and at the same time sings lead vocals is beyond me. He is a talented guy, in a awesome band.

The set was marvelous, I enjoyed every moment as did the rest of the crowd. They performed a lot of sweet country tunes with stellar harmonies and great instrumentals. And then rocked the place with jamming' country rock that had us all up and dancing.

I am looking forward to seeing them again, here is a link to their site:

I didn't make it past midnight tonight, missed the headliner completely. Drunken Prayer was the top bill and I assumed by the schedule that they came on around 12:30. I had been at Slim's on Thursday night, I went to Darrell's and saw a killer show Friday night and crawled in bed at 2...I was done.

I am going to get their new cd, I hope I get the chance to see them in the future.

Another great weekend of live music. What were you doing at 11 on Saturday evening? In bed already; reading, watching TV? I left the house at 9, a half hour later I was admitted to Conor Byrne. I bought one beer which I nursed for 3 musical hours. I drank 7 glasses of water. I saw 8 great musicians, all putting their balls out there for my entertainment and enjoyment. The whole night cost me $13.50 plus gas. I had 3 hours of bliss, put some dollars in the local economy and who knows, maybe I saw the next big thing.

Do yourself a favor, see some live music soon.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Barton Carroll and Friends, The D.evolution.Aires and The Sterling Loons at Darrell's 2-10-12

The lovely Mrs. Ghia does a lot of research for me. She will peruse the Stranger Music Listings and she will look at all my favorites; The Tractor, Conor Byrne, The Little Red Hen, and especially Darrell's Tavern. This week I just couldn't make up my mind, I was going out, just where was the question. I am an adventurer; I don't have one style or band I am looking for...OK, if the 1Uppers or Black Crabs are playing I am there. But besides them, I am open, I just want to hear some live music. I was thinking of the punk show at the 2 Bit, or the show at Slim's (which I am sure was great: Izzy Cox, The Wild Snohomians and The Shivering Denizens) and actually I was headed to the latter when she said the magic word.

I have dogs, at the moment I am lucky enough to be able to have 4. 3 are rescues; I can't tell you how passionate I feel about rescuing these precious lives. I am privileged enough to have plucked 2 from the jaws of death, both within 24 hours of destruction. I wish I could have more...4 is my limit.

I only mention this as I am a big walker and my dogs lead the way. One day they led me to a lovely couple and their Rat Terrier (?). We were at Meadowbrook Park and he introduced himself as Justin, I am sorry I cannot remember either of his other mates. I saw him and few times; he mentioned he played music, the name of the band was odd, something to do with evolution.

Fast forward 2 years...I had been seeing the name of this band all week but it never clicked. I always check Darrell's first. It is close, great bands, beer, sound, favorite place to see music. I read the name but it took the vocalization of Mrs Ghia: The D.Evolution.Aires, to wake me up.

What, what did you just say...she mumbled the last thing she had said. No, what was the name of the band? Oh shit, that is Justin's band. Least to say the destination was set, my buddy Mark and I headed to Darell's at 9.

Mark is a great sport, he let's me decide where we are going on Friday's. He never questions: I changed my mind 3 times Friday night, he didn't care. He and I have been buds for 20 years, he knows I have decent taste in music. He also knows that we always have fun at Darrell's.

The crowd was good and we procured our favorite spots at the far side of the bar with an awesome view of the stage. The first band was Barton Carroll, a local singer-song writer. He had some killer musicians with him; Dan from Mudhoney on drums, Justin on bass from Whalebone and Jim from Built to Spill. The were phenomenal playing originals I would assume penned by Barton. Great musicians all, I was especially impressed by Jim; incredible guitar work. That combined with Bart's beautiful voice, Justin's strong bottom and Dan's pounding percussion; I was so happy I came to Darrell's tonight.

I had seen Brett Netson the week (or two?) before at an early show and he destroyed; great guitar and driving-dirty-grungy sound. Brett and Jim are in Built to spill. Jim was of the same ilk as Brett; I can't imagine the two of them in one band. I have really missed the bus on this genre. Jim was just playing these incredibly tasty licks; not too much, just enough...appropriate and all necessary. I always loved George Harrison for his tasteful, subdued, but killer guitar work, I thought of him when I listened to Jim. I was just amazed at his addition to Bart's sound. the whole was greater that it's sum of it's parts. I bought all of the cd's Bart had to sell and drooled all over him.

Note: when an artist says he has cd's to sell; buy one. They are cheap, usually 10 bucks and every cent goes to the artist. Support your local musician!

The next band was the D.Evolution.Aires; I had seen Justin in the audience. I also recognized the drummer Tim Tom by his distinctive look; the obvious lack of hair and a soul patch. Russ was in a hoodie as he plugged his bass in the amp. When they got on stage, the front row moved back a few feet. The action was hot and heavy; the bass player was banging and plucking like a mad man. I swear I saw the soul of a stand-up bass in that boy, damn he was good and really fun to watch. Justin was wailing on the guitar and singing with strong vocals. They were very tight as they have had some practice. They have been all over the America's and are headed out again. They played Argentina last year and are going to Montreal this month.

Playing all original material, Justin writes with poignant humor, his music making comments about his views on life. As he states on their site, "Our sound is beginning to anger...", this was high energy rock with a huge side of psychedelia. Go to their site and buy their music, they need and deserve our support. Here is a link to their site:

He knew a lot of folks in the crowd so he had a lot of commentary. He had a deal for the audience; buy a cd and I will buy you a beer. Scott the tech-sound man and I agreed that that was a deal we couldn't pass up. After the set I approached him and bought one; he recognized me and ended giving me two for the price of one. I have listened to it 5-6 times since I heard them last night. Thanks Justin.

I am looking forward to seeing Justin and the boys again. I hope they have a successful tour, they deserve it.

The last band was The Sterling Loons, another extremely talented set of musicians. The thing all these bands had in common were: 1) They all played great original music, B) they all had awesome lead guitars, stellar percussion, and dynamite bass and •they all rocked the house. The crowd was appreciative giving each band big applause.

The Loons were a sweet little trio, they had pop influenced rif's all presented with a powerful big sound. Eamon on lead vocals and guitar, J. Curtis on vocals and drums and John on bass and vocals had psychedelic overtones that I loved. It was a fresh sound with a classic rock aura.

Find them here:

I was fading, I had been out the night before to see some friends at Slim's and I had plans to see Drunken Prayer at Coner Byrne Saturday night. I had to pace myself. I left at midnight after 4 great tunes, I will see them again.

My last Friday night ritual is to stop at Dick's; 1 Deluxe, 2 Cheese, 1 Chocolate. Home it goes and I wake the family up with warm food. I get the Deluxe, Mrs. Ghia gets one Cheeseburger and the kids share the other. We all suck on the shake. Guaranteed to give you good dreams.

PS: Music Recommendations; Lindi Ortega, Little Red Boots. Ole Tinder, Brave New Surf on Double Crown Records, Whitey Morgan and the 78's.