Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Georgetown Carnival featuring Banzai Surf, The Black Crabs and Knut Bell and the Blue Collars, 6-9-12

The weekend of live music is just over half over. I have 3 more bands to see tonight (Saturday) including one of my favorites; Liam Fitzgerald and The Rainieros are playing at Darrell's. Oh boy!

I saw three great bands last night (see previous post) and I just saw 4 bands this Saturday afternoon. Here is the report on that wonderful Saturday experience.

The Georgetown Carnival is an event produced by the merchants and community of that revered neighborhood. This area has had it's ups and downs over the last century, right now it is definitely on an up.

Here is one of the traveling entertainers at the Carnival.

One of my favorite bars in town, Calamity Jane's is located on Airport Way. Sarah and her crew have some of the best food and drink in town. Wonderful original art on the walls, wine and dine in a great atmosphere. Janice is the chef and this girl can cook. I had her conjure and prepare the menu for my 60th birthday party, incredible original food at an amazing great price.

My favorite sandwich place in the world was there; Where You At Matt? I had the best Shrimp Po-Boy in my life right here Saturday. Crisp fresh roll, shrimp cooked perfectly (not over-cooked, rare for even a mortar and brick joint) and a yummy sauce with many greens and tomatoes. My wife and I made it disappear with barely a word passed between us.

Streets were blocked off, all the neighbors were out and the atmosphere was happy and fun. Lot's of booths selling crafts and hand made clothing; the place was jumping. There were 2 dogs for every man woman and child, typical Seattle. There were several stages where live music was being performed. I, of course gravitated to the one with my style of music.

I should say I and my wife. This was a special occasion as the lovely and beguiling Mrs. Ghia joined me on this outing. She had a gas so my day was really special.  She got to meet some of the friends that I usually only see after her bedtime. Grady Shawver of the Blue Collars was super cool and made a special effort to say hi. A very sweet and talented man. We also got to see Scott Walker the talent behind the great bills at Darrell's Tavern in Shoreline. We hung out for quite a while, he is another great guy.

OK, quick word about Scott. My regular readers know I have a man-crush on him. He is about the nicest guy you ever want to meet. I was delighted to meet his son and one of his buddies. His kid was actually hanging around with him at the Carnival. That tells you something about how cool Scott is.

But here is the best thing about Scott; he loves live music. So much so that he was there on a Saturday catching bands that he himself has booked into Darrell's. Sometimes countless times as with the Crabs, they are a virtual house band at Darrell's. He had been the sound tech for 3 rockin' bands the night before and he was going to do the same later that evening. Oh and he does this 5 nights a week. He is a witness to one of the most vibrant music scenes in the world. In fact, he is chief chef of the incredibly creative bills that grace Darrell's stage.

The Trailer Park Band Stand was located behind Jules Maes in the parking lot. I know this location very well. I purchased a painting from The Nautilus Studio. They are located in the parking lot, well in the trees above the parking lot. A very cool space. See Yvette here:
Oh, and I had my 40th birthday at Jules Maes, a small coincidence.

Banzai Surf was on first and this group of Seattle veterans know how to rock. They have been around for years. I last saw them at The Rockabilly Ball Surf Night, they opened for a killer bill at the Tractor. They were cranking by the time I got there.

Banzai Surf is Joe Jabon on guitar, Joe Anderson on bass, John Mooney on drums and Jim Sadler on keys. They play classic driving surf with an attitude. Thy perform wonderful arrangements of standard tunes played with skill and all the immediacy of a heart attack. The crowd was up close and grooving, these old men were blasting!

I only caught a couple tunes, I was sorry I didn't catch their whole set. I suggest you see them if you have a chance. They are playing a bunch around town in the coming months, check them here:

The Black Crabs are one of the bands that really make me smile. My regular readers know I will move every muscle to see them perform. I have crush on the bass player and this is the safe way to see her...nobody gets hurt.

Johnny, lead singer, lead guitar and lead nut-job of the Crabs had a bum fret-pinky finger. He and his dog-buddy Emmet were attacked by a poorly loved pit-bull (I say poorly loved as I don't believe there is a inherently bad dog breed, I think there are some breeds that are unfortunately abused and treated poorly and thus have anger management problems). His finger was badly mangled and he ended up with 2 pins in it. It is currently in a splint and he cannot play guitar.

Now I thought this would be a problem. Even with the talented Nick Streeter sitting in on guitar, I couldn't imagine seeing the Crabs without Johnny playing one of his beautiful guitars. As it turned out, after seeing him perform without his guitar, I am torn over ever wanting to see him pick it up again. Take a look at these pics and you tell me. Guitar or no?

All right, let's be honest, an army of Jimmy Page's and Eric Clapton's couldn't replace Johnny and his guitar. I hope the finger heels fast and those 2 pins are actually an asset.

The Black Crabs are Jonathon Stuart, Kirsten Ballweg on stand-up bass and vocals and Tom Forster on drums and vocals. Nick sat in for Johnny and did a yeoman's job. They played their usual fun rockabilly and swing. I have reviewed them many times, slobber covers all the keys on my MacBook when I write about them.

See them here:
here is a review I did some time ago:

This was a special treat as Johnny put on a marvelous show. Besides being a nice guy, he is also a great entertainer. We are lucky to have such a wonderful resource for killer music. Thanks to Kirsten, Johnny and Tom or their tireless efforts to entertain the great unwashed masses (that's me and you).

The day just kept getting better; I saw my boss in the crowd. Most folks wouldn't want to see their boss at such an event. I was on my second pint (my wife was designated driver) and was grooving to the killer music. But Tom is not just a creative genius, he is also a regular guy. We exchanges smiles and salutations.

Knut Bell and the Blue Collars were up next. This was a dream bill Surf, Rockabilly and now Country. Knut and the boys were the perfect capper to a dynamite afternoon.

Knut and his band of musicians are another one of my favorite bands. They play original country, western swing and twang with special skill and warmth. Knut's deep voice and his imposing size may give you a start at first. 2 bars into the first song you are falling in love; warm fuzzies are moving through your extremities. Your foot starts tapping, your head starts bobbing, soon your butt is swinging back and forth. Knut and the boys play feel-good music. I always feel great when I'm in Knut's company.

Knut Bell and the Blue Collars are Knut on guitar and lead vocals, Kinny on pedal-steel, Grady on lead guitar, Jim on bass and Lewis on drums.

Look at the smile on Grady's face, he doesn't have any fun!

Kinny is stellar on the pedal-steel. His twang sets the tone for the band. Grady is one of my favorite guitarists and he did not disappoint here today. Jim is laying the bottom, driving the band with his bass and Lewis is keeping the beat on the drums.

The crowd was up again and dancing. There was a little kid up close watching and Knut flipped him his pick mid-song. The kid picked it up, enjoying his new toy and the attention being paid to him. Knut is one of the sweetest souls on the music scene in these parts.  We couldn't ask for a greater representative for the Pacific Northwest (Latteville) than Knut.

I have reviewed them several times before, here is one of the posts:
See Knut here:

There was more music coming up. Rats in the Grass looked great but I had to pace myself. I had 3 more bands to see that evening. I retired knowing I had seen something special.

Thanks to The Georgetown Carnival, all the merchants, musicians and artists for the fun, the food and the music.

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