Sunday, February 24, 2013

Michael Stegner's Fascination Nation and John Hamhock and The Rooster Run Band at Darells 2-23-13

The bill at Darrells had evolved as the week progressed. I already knew it was going to be a fun night, but once The Rooster Run Band was added, I knew it would be a blast.

I had seen two of the three bands playing tonight before. Michael Stegner is an outrageous keyboard player. He surrounds himself with great musicians and puts on a sweet show. You can see my first review of Michael's show here.

I had also seen John Hamhock and The Rooster Run Band. I loved them then and I knew I would love them again. You can read my previous review here.

The last band was The Wild Snohomians, a killer group I had yet to see. I have just been missing them for the last year and a half, I have had the chance. My bad. Van Ramsay, one of the main drivers behind the Snohomians is also a DJ. I listen to Pull The String, his radio show on occasion. He plays surf, rockabilly, honky-tonk and Americana every Saturday afternoon on KSER. It is a great show. You can connect with him here.

Unfortunately I didn't make it to the Wild Snohomians set, I ran out of beans. The only band on tonight's bill I hadn't seen would have to wait for another night.

Michael Stegner and his band were on first. They were tight and entertaining. The last time I saw them they had Country Dave Harmonson picking for them. He is one of the best in the city. They had another guitar genius with them tonight.

Michael is a musical genius that came from classical piano and jazz roots. He is a talented writer having composed songs for 3 CD's. Educated in the finest schools, he came to Seattle after touring with other talented musicians.

His music is part jazz, part rock and all fun. He has a funny bone that he has to flex now and then as in the tune; I love you a little bit, but I love my TV a lot.

He has incredible magic fingers. I stood up close and watched his phenomenal skill.

Colin Higgins was playing lead guitar, he was amazing.

Here is a quick bio of Colin provided by The Seattle Drum School in Georgetown where he is an instructor. Colin moved to Seattle in the fall of 1997.  He’s performed in a wide range of musical settings, from jazz to classic rock, with many great Seattle musicians. 

They go on to say: Colin continues to perform in various groups as well as performing original music as a singer/guitarist songwriter. Colin has been an instructor at the Drum School since 2004, teaching acoustic and electric guitar in blues, jazz, rock, and folk styles.

He was the bomb tonight.

Playing bass tonight was Michael's longtime collaborator Forest Gilberson.

Andy Sells was slaying the drums, a superb percussionist. He had the chance to show off. It was awesome to see such a great performance.

I bought a CD and you can have one too! Michael and his mates make great, fresh, original music. See Michael here:
connect with him on Facebook:

I was starting to nod off. I was beat but couldn't miss the experience of John Hamhock and The Rooster Run Band.

John Hamhock and the Rooster Run Band are: John "Hamhock" Hagan on lead vocals and guitar, Mike Schuppe plays lead guitar, Uncle Dave Russell on vocals and acoustic guitar, Slim Chance on bass and Tom Nadeau on drums.

Mike Schuppe is an outrageous guitar player. He has great skill and talent.

Mike also plays a beautiful guitar. It is a Franken-Tele, he built it from parts in '93.

The Rooster Run Band plays driving whiskey-soaked country rock with some of my favorite influences. Willy, Waylon, Dwight and Buck are part of this great mix. One of my favorite tunes they played tonight was Back Home, a sweet homespun original.

John has a great voice and writes some sweet original tunes. He is a marvelous entertainer with a compelling delivery.

Outlaw Honky-Tonk-a-Billy with a moonshine chaser!

I was sorry I wasn't able to make it to the third band, but I did get my fix of great music tonight. John Hamhock was just what I needed to complete my weekend.

Thanks to Darrells Tavern in Shoreline Washington for providing the best venue in town for live music. You can see the upcoming shows here:

Get off the couch and see some live music soon.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Darrells 3rd Anniversary Party 2-16-13

About 1 a.m. I started doing a little math. If I left now, I could probably catch 4 hours of sleep. I have 4 dogs and they wake up at the crack of dawn. They don't care what time I get home. They have needs. Here is a pic of my 10 month old puppy Jeep trashing the pond earlier in the day.

The problem was that there was no way I could leave now. The place was rocking. The Georgetown Orbits were on stage and performing in their usual party manner. The dance floor was packed and I was in the middle of the madness. No way, not now.

There were some crazies in the house tonight, this guy (on the far right) was on top of everybody on stage. At one time he was licking the slide on Adam's trombone. Mellow out Moogie...

The Orbits know how to get the house jumping.

I am getting ahead of myself here, so let me start with the facts of the evening.  This was the 3rd Anniversary Party of live music at Darrells Tavern in Shoreline, Washington. A marvelous and venerable bar that has been open since the 50's.

Voted the best Dive Bar in Seattle in 2010 by The Seattle Weekly, they have a killer atmosphere and superb ownership and an efficient and friendly staff.

Darrells is one of the finest places to see live music in Seattle. It is intimate, has a generous dance floor, a great sound system and good sight lines throughout the bar. They have live music 3 nights a week. They also have open mic, comedy and Karaoke nights. Here is a pic of Dan, the owner of Darrells.

This was a special night and I couldn't miss it. There was another show that I longed to see. There was a rockabilly/country show at The Highway 99 Blues club. The 1Uppers along with several other of my favorite bands were playing. It was tough, but the choice was clear.

I am fortunate to be one of the regulars. I live close and they always have good live music. It is my default venue for fun. I have a favorite bar stool; soon it will have an impression in it from my big butt. This celebration was as much for me as it was for the bar. I am so happy to have this place to call home.

One of the keys to success at this bar is Scott. He is a co-booking agent and sound tech. He knows every musician in every band in the area and then some. He spends a lot of time setting the bands up and making sure they are happy with the sound. It pays off at the other end. The music is never too loud and you can hear every note of every instrument. Here he is flashing his digits.

Tonight the bill was packed with hand-picked talent. The mix and pace of the show is always tuned for maximum fun. Tonight they had "Gruntry", punk, outlaw country, lounge inspired punk and ska in that order. It may not sound all that appetizing at first blush, but it was a perfect mix. The energy in the room built with every band. Each band was tried and true, a Darrells tested, quality, guaranteed product.

Here is Adam of The Georgetown Orbits mugging for my camera. He is sweet fellow and a marvelous horn player.

The first band was Red Heart Alarm. Gruntry is a word that they coined for their music. They mix the energy and abandon of Grunge with the twang of country. It was a cool mix, they were a great opening act. They had the place rocking from note one.

Red Heart Alarm is: Corey Allred on Guitar & Vocals, Jared Monschein on Guitar & Vocals, Scotty Summers plays Bass and Donovan Pfeifer on Drums. They have some published music, their CD White Elephants is available online or at local record stores. You can connect with them here:

Scotty was laying the bottom for the band, he was fun to watch as he rocked his beautiful bass.

He and Donovan were driving this great band. There were touches of grunge energy, sparks were flying.

Great vocals from some seasoned pros. Beautiful dual vocals were the trademark for this marvelous band.

Tonight also featured dueling guitars, both superb musicians. It was quite the treat to see Corey and Jared share lead duties.

The set was driving and fun. They were a sweet way to start the party. I know they were here because of the quality of their music and the dynamite performance.

One of the regulars was going to introduce the next band. I think that was the intention. However, they tell me you never know what Chief will say. His intro message was filled with love, peace and togetherness. He is a sweet guy and he had everybody smiling.

The next band got our collective attention in the first second of their set. The punk of The Lucky Boys had the energy of an avalanche. They had the folks alternately up close and running for cover.

The Lucky Boys are: Kim "Luck be a lady" Green, Scott Kellogg, Bruce Wellington, Beaux Bartron and Jody "if I didn't have bad luck I'd have no luck at all" Gere. They tore the place up, the peeps were shaking.

Kim was jumping around the stage, rocking the punk vocals.

The band was cranking. Kim was the youngen, the rest were a bunch of old guys, absolutely shredding the punk. This was a awesome way to get the blood flowing. If you were not moving, you were dead.

This was a diabolical plan by Scott and Dan to undermine our physical limitations. Newton's Law of Motion states: An object that is at rest will stay at rest unless an unbalanced force acts upon it. This is what The Lucky Boys turned out to unbalanced force.

They slammed us upside the head. A ton of manic energy and fun punk style. The place was jammed and the dance floor was full of moving bodies. They played a great set that had the kiddies happy and rocking.

During the break they got Dan on the stage and invited him to say a few words in commemoration of hosting live music for the last 3 years. He no more than opened his mouth before he was set upon by silly-string assassins.

Yummy cake was served, I jumped on it. A sweet treat was just the thing to augment the punk that was still ringing in my head.

Later this cake was used in a food fight. The stage was littered with the sweet stickiness. Dan keeps his place spotless, I am sure he is cleaning today.

White dopes on punk.

Hartwood was mounting up. I had seen them in the audience, I knew I was going to love them. They had the look and it turned out they had the sound too.

Hartwood is: Cleetus, Murl, Lee Harvey, Henry Lee, Rufus, Cousin Dick, JT and Squeaky. This according to their Facebook page.  I think they do everything with a smile and bucket-full of humor.

They play great covers with original arrangements and killer original tunes. Influenced by the romance of Cash, the rough and tumble of Waylon, the picking of Scruggs and the humor of Jerry Reed, they made for dynamite entertainment.

I love the steel guitar. Cletus added vocals as well as the soaring sweet sounds of the pedal steel.

Murl rocked the vocals.

They were one of my favorite bands of the evening. I told Murl on the way out that he was the bomb.

Lee Harvey played banjo, there were so many layers to this cool group.

Henry Lee played guitar and sang vocals.

They describe themselves this way: Drinkin', gamblin', whorin', football. You can connect with them here:  and you can see their Facebook page here:

They were a hoot; good music with a humorous delivery. They had me laughing the whole set.

Murl had a great stage presence. He put on a hell of a show.

The night was only halfway through and the place was already packed and sweaty. Hartwood had everybody rocking and dancing. The plan Darrells had laid out was working. The adult beverages were flowing and the peeps were partying.

And speaking of adult beverages, I ordered a Kettle One Kamikaze. Dan mixed it up special and provided it on the house.

It helps to be a regular. I sit at the bar all evening but don't drink a lot.  I do tip as though I drink all night. Take care of your server, this is how they make their living.

Next up was The Jilly Rizzo, a punk rock group with lounge influences. They continued the inertia set by the previous bands.

I have seen them before and loved their performance. I have their CD and it is full of great original tunes.

They took their name from a famous Mobster, er Restauranteur. Here is his description on Wikipedia: Rizzo opened Jilly's Saloon, a lounge on West Forty-ninth street, then moved to 256 West 52nd Street in Manhattan. Jilly's Saloon was a popular celebrity hangout in the 1960s. Rizzo's long-time friend Frank Sinatra frequented the lounge. Rizzo later became one of Sinatra's chief aides. He died in a car crash in Beverly Hills on the way to his 75th Birthday Party.

The Jilly Rizzo has many influences. They had a sweet moment of is technology at work.

I loved the sax, it added a lot to the Jilly Rizzo sound. Grape was not with them the last time I saw them.

One of the band members chimed in with the line-up: "the german" on guitar, "crabs" on guitar, "the pip" on bongos/vox, "grape" on sax, "terry" drums and "dicky pye" bass/vox...

Driving punk with a distinctive flavor. The members of the band add up to a sum greater than the parts. You can see them here:

Old punks never die!

They were a ton of fun and set us up perfectly for The Georgetown Orbits.

One of the best times I have ever had was here at Darrells with The Orbits. I was looking forward to this show, this band. You can read that review here:

I love horns, here is one of Adam's instruments:

Here is the beauty of a sax.

The Georgetown Orbits play traditional ska and roots reggae. The members are listed on their page: Vocals - Darryl Grandison, Vocals- Bridgid Roney, Guitar - Orion Anderson, Bass - Cale Wilcox, Hammond Organ - David "Ozzie" Giles, Drums - Jared Fanning-Lytle, Flugelhorn/Bugle - Dan Loren, Trombone/Trumpet - Adam Bruno, Tenor Sax/Baritone Sax - Sean Jensen.

They are one of the premier dance and party bands in town. They leave sweaty bodies and big smiles in their wake.

The horns are the backbone of this killer band. They are blowing a great wind, making the awesome sound.

Here is Adam blowing the trumpet. A talented chap, he also plays a the trombone with his brass lips.

Ozzie is playing the Hammond Organ, an essential part of the Orbit sound. Here he is with Darryl rocking the ska.

The crowd at the bar was getting thin but the fun was still building. Everybody who was left was on the dance floor partying with the band. Here is Brigid and Darryl rocking the house.

I love it when Darrells gets like this; a tight crowd of music lovers, getting down to great live music. This was a total blast and I couldn't get enough.

Brigid had a great set of pipes and an awesome delivery. There was lots of Jamaican-infused fun tonight.

Here is a pic of Dan playing the Flugelhorn. It makes a great low, full brass sound.

Darryl has a sweet style and a great voice. He is constantly polling his subjects: "How do you like The Georgetown Ooooorbits"?

He is a killer entertainer with an marvelous set of mates. I am so glad they were the the headliner for this celebration. This is a hell of a way to end the evening.

Darryl and The Orbits know how to get your body moving and your soul soaring. I did end up crawling out at about 1:30. I guess I missed some action; a food fight, a brawl in the parking lot, topless men, ladies on the bar. You know, normal roadhouse stuff. I am glad to have survived and live to tell the story.

Thanks to Dan, Scott and the staff at Darrells for providing marvelous live music for 3 years. It is a lot of work for them. It provides a wonderful opportunity for bands to showcase their talents and for us music lovers to enjoy live music.

See Darrells here: