Friday night at the Sunset the bands were spit and polish; clean, well rehearsed, crisp and professional. This Saturday evening at Darrell's we were presented with a collection of individuals that happened to be playing on the same stage. Oh, they did all have the same purpose, they just did it in their own fashion.
The show at the Sunset was country, the crowd enthusiastic but well behaved. From the start of this hard rock show at Darrell's, the line between the audience and the band blurred. Each band brought it's own set of fans. They established the protocol for the performance. For most of the 3 sets the fans were either on stage or the musicians were in the crowd.
I spend a lot of time up close to the bands, at Darrell's you are right on top of the bands even if you are sitting at the bar. I love to observe the nature of this beast at a short distance, it is amazing what you can see. The previous evening the first band was in crisp suits and white hats. Last night I saw some great tattoos, marvelous lip piercings, muscled drummers, and bizarre pupils.
There are venue differences as well. I know Darrell's at 180th and BF Egypt is a long way to drive for those who live in the south end of the city. But consider parking, at Darrell's there is great parking then an easy walk to the door. Try to find a spot in Ballard or worse, Fremont at 9 on a Friday or Saturday evening. I have had to hire a cab to get back to my car after a show in Fremont.
When people ask me how I make my choice for music I tell them there are many reasons. The venue is really important, the sound is at the top of the list, but comfort is a definite consideration. For instance we all know the Tractor as being the Grandfather of music venues in the city and has consistently good shows, but it is uncomfortable. I cannot stand for 3+ hours and there are minimal opportunities for seatage.
Of course the main determining factor for destination choice is the music. I am not looking for any particular genre, I have been partial to rockabilly for years. Lately I have been thrilled by hard country, psychedelia and even punk. I do want quality in any particular band but I like to see small-name bands. The big shows are not as intimate; they don't have the same crowd attitude and immediacy.
I am seeing the Genesis of the next wave of great music. Right here in little old Seattle.
The first band on this freaking-rainy Saturday night was Piston Ready and they were just that. We had good seats to the carnage that was about to take place. The tattooed goddess miss Lauren and her motley band of punks came on stage and immediately let us know that they had an agenda. Her black hair, big boobs and wicked smile had me paying attention. And just in case you weren't, she came out in the audience and made her case in your face.
Serving up a batch of super high energy rock and roll, the band was a mix of talented musicians. Ocean was frantic as he played the bass. Seawolf Dee was blistering the lead guitar. Mike O'clock was also alternately blasting out lead or rhythm licks on his guitar. Donny VonDirtbag was banging out the beats in the back. They had an original sound delivered with gusto.
The place was rocking and Lauren was really entertaining as she belted out the tunes, the band in a blur behind her. This was a fun set and the whole place was having a gas. See Piston Ready here: http://www.facebook.com/PistonReady
They had a couple videographers filming them, I kept bumping up against them...sorry fellas. Just trying to have some fun. They left us sweating and wanting for more. I ended up talking with Ocean and the sultry Lauren later. She impressed upon me the advantages of owning a bit of Piston Ready swag. I couldn't say no, I bought a t-shirt, nice to see that someone had a shirt in the fat boy size.
Next up was The Hardcount, a trio of mentally deranged individuals with bad intentions. The lead singer was in a suit with a red tie and converse all stars. Adumb brought his own custom welded-chain microphone stand and bounced around like a rubber ball. Half the time I thought he was headed for the bathroom: he would leave the stage and walk off like he had to pee. Or maybe he decided this gig wasn't for him and he was going home, only to return in the same manic way he left. Did I mention that he had like space-age eyes? Or maybe spaced-age eyes. He had contacts that made his pupils look very small and black, the whites of his eyes disturbingly large.
The lead guitar player menaced anyone that got close to him, he belted out tasty licks even so. Disco Donnie played his Gibson with maximum enthusiasm. To say that he was active would be an understatement. He was playing out in the audience too, a precedence Lauren established and no one dared ignore.
The drummer was a talented percussionist and muscled guy that managed to keep his two crazy mates at bay. Troy worked like a Trojan as the two madmen paced back and forth on the stage. Donnie kept marching back and standing on his bass, Adumb had to join in the mayhem but Troy kept up his killer drumming and the fun just rolled on.
The Hardcount just cranked, sometimes they reminded me of the Tubes; great theater by the lead actor Adumb and a lot of pounding music. The last tune they did was a cover of a cover. They nailed the Twistin' Tarantulas version of Ace of Spades. Blasting it out with real passion they brought the crowd to their knees.
See Adumb, Troy and Donnie here: http://www.facebook.com/thehardcount
The final act and the headliner was WhiteTrash Whiplash, 5 guys with chip on their collective shoulders. Their stuff was loud, fast and delivered with a bad attitude.
Cheeder was screaming out the vocals up front, poor guy had The Palsy...his leg was twitching and shaking in violent motions. He had a great voice with a threatening stage presence that you couldn't ignore. He manhandled his microphone stand, deconstructing it to suit his needs.
It was pandemonium onstage as their fans got right in their face, it just made them play harder-faster; "My Buick Goes 180" screaming guitar and vocals. They moved off stage and their fans moved on. Adumb was also up there playing cymbals, singing vocals, his sickness on display for all to see.
Webb was in the back playing some great percussion. Slight and the quiet one, he provided the beat for this driving band. Buc on the 6 string was providing some tasty licks as was his mate Ronnie. They traded lead roles, both stellar musicians and thanks to a great mix you could hear every note. Billyclub was on bass and added vocals; he really hammered his beautiful instrument, smacking it like it had been a bad boy.
WhiteTrash WhipLash was a movement, a happening and the crowd at Darrell's was stammered. Just at the moment when you thought that the cops would show up they brought the pace back down to mearly manic...
Lots of fun provided by this entertaining and energetic band, I highly recommend an evening with these guys but two things; bring ear protection and a shiv. See them here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/WhiteTrash-WhipLash/129890887031792?sk=app_2405167945
A great weekend of live music in Seattle. I hope you will go out to see some for yourself; it will put a smile on your face and maybe put a buck or two in the local economy. The artist don't make squat but they need your support and love. Buy their cds, download their music and let you buds know your have the bug.