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.

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