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.

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