I am so lucky to be able to see great live music every weekend for basically nothing. In the past 2 days I have seen 7 killer bands, with over 22 great musicians.
The first night was at Conor Byrne it cost 7 bucks to see 4 bands in classic Ballard atmosphere. The next night I went to Darrel's and for 5-6 bucks (I can't remember, it is so cheap I don't even pay attention) I saw 3 rocking bands.
I know that getting up from the couch and heading out at 9pm is a tough thing to do. The older we get the earlier we head to the sack. I am not different from anybody else on that score but I cannot see passing up these opportunities. These are many folks out there pouring their guts out on stage every night. Not all is great; I went to Darrell's last Saturday night and found that the music did not fit my taste. After 3 songs of the second band I was on my way home. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
I invite you to see some live music soon, check out The Strangers music listings for Seattle environs here:
After tucking the lovely Mrs. Ghia in to bed I left the house just after 9; my car knows the way to Darrell's. I was looking forward to this. Scott the sound-man and I had exchanged emails earlier in the week. He told me that this was the 2 year celebration of the new Darrell's music wise. The bands that were playing were at one time (or still are) house bands.
The place was packed and it was an interesting crowd. Guys duded out in what I can only describe as rockabilly meets glam. White leather coat and boots, died hair (either white or pitch black) and goggles, great people watching last night. I still am not sure what band the bulk of the audience came to see. I did not stay for the last band so maybe it was for them. I bet Scott will fill me in on it and I will edit next week.
The first band was fronted by Tal Goettling and they adopted that name for want of better. He said several times that this was just a collection of great musicians giving Ken and John (?) props for their contribution.
I am not sure how to describe; they rocked it good, some times sounding like Journey, sometimes like Pearl Jam. Tal is the host of the open mic night at Darrell's, he had a big following. The guy that sat next to me at the bar was there to see Tal. I will be looking forward to seeing him, Ken and John again.
Here is a link to some of his music: http://www.myspace.com/themegafauna
The second band was Speedmop; the name says it all. Cranking cowpunk, barn core, sleazy garage rock is their game. They all have been doing it together for a few years. Ray, Mike, Todd and Steve played like a well oiled vintage race car; starts with a bang, gains some steam (with a few wheezes) then takes off in a puff of smoke. They absolutely cranked out some intense rock. Really fun to watch.
They were pretty rude too; the lead singer was commenting to the audience all night. Like I said, the place was packed and in Darrell's that means you are right on top of the band. Makes for an intimate experience. I was standing at the bar dancing and he was singing about "liking girls before they get ----- hair". The bar tender and I exchanged surprised looks, oh my did he just say that? Love these guys, so did everybody else in the house.
Find them here: http://www.myspace.com/speedmop
I forgot to mention, they brought their own light show, see in lower right corner of photo below. Very cool.
The next band was The Hard Money Saints. They played hard driving rockabilly, psychobilly, metal and country. They were a force to be reckoned with as the three of them took over the place and bludgeoned us with their brand of music.
They have been around the block, the lead vocals hails from other popular local groups like Billy Dwayne's Creepers and Knut Bell. Jack is a great frontman and melts that gorgeous guitar he plays. He was happy to be at this celebration and it showed.
Mondo plays upright bass and sings vocals. I saw that bass way up in the air several times last night. I have seen guys stand on the doghouse, seen them lay down with one but I have never seen it take off like an airplane. He was into it; great entertainer.
I had seen Nich (Little Dirty) in the audience before the show. He was sitting up front enjoying the music before he came on. The drummer, he was a small guy and wore a pork pie hat. Much to my joy he made a huge sound, fitting in perfectly with these guys. He was also having a great time, happy to be there.
They reminded me of The Twistin' Tarantulas. Growly, sleazy, and downright dirty; they oozed their brand of rock out of their instruments and into our ears. Kick ass, hard rockabilly and tight vocals, they work well together. I could't keep my seat, I was up and dancing the whole set (ended up losing my seat, small price to pay). They did a great version of 1952 Vincent Black Lightning; all their music was manic and moving.
I had heard about them from the Doctor (Leon Berman, DJ, KEXP 90.3) but had never seen them. Once you do you will never forget.
They did make a comment about the age of the members of Speedmop; hilarious. I, along with them am a member of the baby-boomers. The grey hair was showing on every body except the bass player who had no hair.
See and hear them here: http://www.reverbnation.com/hardmoneysaints
One more thing and let me get a little preachy. I rarely drink much at these event. Besides not wanting to be impaired on the way home, I don't drink much anyway. That doesn't mean that I don't recognize that I have a responsibility to make sure my server gets paid for their services. I can usually weasel a seat at the bar if I am patient. Most nights I will spend 3+ hours in that seat (or dancing right behind). A lot of my nights my total bar bill is 5 bucks. On those nights and any other night I make sure to tip my server as though I drank all night. They make their living on tips.
One night I split a pitcher with my buddy...$11 bucks. I tipped $10 as that is all we drank in 3 hours. The cover charge covers some of the expenses but the house needs you to drink. If you don't drink (like me), at least tip like you do.
Thus endeth the lesson.