Saturday, May 21, 2016

Petunia and The Vipers at The Shanty Tavern 5-20-16

We  are lucky to have so many great bands and musicians in Seattle. They come here from far and wide to display their talents and play with other like minded artists. They don't expect to make the big time, most simply come to share their passion with others. I take advantage of that offer as often as I can. I see a lot of live music.

Here is Joe Jabon in his workplace at The Shanty Tavern. This is the interface between the artist and the listener. Joe does it right.

Unfortunately a lot of these musicians are drawn to Seattle like a moth to the flame. There are a lot more musicians that would like to play than there are venues. Many a great venue have folded or no longer offer live music. I am not thinking about the big ones like the OK or RKNDY who featured big name acts. I am talking about places like the Two Bit Saloon that offered their stage to smaller and less known (sometime unknown) bands. These places are gone. Luckily we still have ones that are popping up, like Tim's Tavern in North Seattle.

One of the best roadhouses left in Seattle is just blocks from my home. I am so lucky to have this great venue so close in the hood.

The Shanty is located in the heart of Lake City, a neighborhood in Seattle on a prime piece of real estate in a city that is gobbling up places just like this. That John and his family have resisted selling to this day is admirable. I want to think that John (who obviously loves his place, job and people) is not ready to quit this fun.

Here is John's daughter Dayna with John Noe the booking agent and host, and Joe Jabon who runs the sound board and is a skilled musician himself in a family portrait.

Their story is a good one and you can read about some of the history here, thanks to

They are continuing a tradition by booking good music and serving cold beer and smiles. You can see their Facebook page here:

Tonight was no deviation from their prime mission. Tonight they hosted one of the best live acts in recent memory; Petunia and The Vipers from our neighbor to the north.

Here is Jon introducing the band. They have a new collection of music, offered on vinyl or disc. I bought 3 CD's...always buy straight from the artist when you can.

I cannot describe Petunia's music for anyone who has not heard it. It is not your typical country, rockabilly, or any genre you can name. It is the Petunia and The Vipers genre. Here is a description I found on their web page: With a piercing gaze, Petunia looks into the collective soul of the audience, then launches into some high and lonesome vocals that conjure up the ghost of Jimmie Rodgers. Not content with mesmerizing the crowd, Petunia’s tapping boot propels the band into a snarling fire and brimstone rave-up as a wave of frantic jitterbuggers compete for space on the hardwood dance floor.

What he said!

The rest of the band is golden. Petunia and the Vipers are: Marcel Petunia, Stephen Nikleva, Jimmy Roy, Patrick Metzger and Paul Townsend

Steven Nikleva is one of the finest guitar players I have ever hear or seen. He alone brings the peeps out to see his extraordinary talent.

I am used to seeing a steel guitar and Jimmy Roy sitting behind it but he didn't appear, at least not before midnight when I left. Here he is from a previous post, I have to do this as I missed him tonight.

Paul is in back snaking around with the sparse but perfect drum set.

Patrick is holding down the bottom with his stand up bass.

The result of this collection of great musicians is Petunia and The Vipers who make incredible music. Here is a link to a video I shot:

Petunia brought out the crowd tonight. It was the start of his tour to support his latest album/disc. I saw many a friend and musician. The dancers were up and having a gas.

Here is my new friend Jessica dancing with one of her buddies.

I loved watching this couple dance.

My friend Jon Hyde and his wife were there making kissy faces. A lovely couple, Jon is lead AV tech for a well known local coffee company and also dabbles with a steel guitar in the fabulous 1Uppers.

Steve Smith, percussionist for The Rat City Brass was there joking around with Dayna and Joe.

Steve has some great facial expressions. He also is the owner of one of my favorite automobiles of all time. He made sure to let me know it was sitting in the parking lot. That's it Steve, rub it in. 1964 Austin Healey 3000 is a stunning car if you are a British sports car fan. I owned this same car in the early 70's. You couldn't touch this for less than $40K now.

Also in attendance was Marc Bristol of HonkyTonk Sweethearts, File Gumbo among other bands, incredible writer and skilled musician and editor of Blue Suede News. Whew! The guy is amazing. Here he is with his equally amazing wife Gaby. She is a writer, photographer, musician and heaven knows what else. This family has talent.

Here they are hanging at the end of the bar with Steve.

The place was packed. Jon put together a nice show. He has been at it for several years, it is great to see such a great response.

And then there was Marcel Petunia doing what he does best. His voice can send chills down your back one minute and bring a tear to your eye the next. He has incredible range with an added rasp when needed.

All eyes and ears would be on Petunia if it were not for this guy.

Steven is a  spectacular musician. I have seen him several times and he never ceases to amaze me. He plays an awesome guitar too. It looks like a cross between a church organ and steel guitar.

Here is a little of Steven at work/play. You have to hear him to appreciate this guy; he makes it look so easy.

This was a great experience. I got up close to watch Steven play his awesome guitars. Where else can you walk right up to an artist and watch him work?

This whole band was killer. I did miss Jimmy but Steven picked up the slack. Combined with Paul's percussion, Marcel's voice and rhythm and Patrick's bass, the sound was awesome.

Passion for the music is what sets the the best musicians apart from the others. You can see the passion in Patrick's eyes.

I love to watch Paul. He is also a pro that makes this simple set sing. His arms are like noodles with purpose.

Here is another clip of the band playing a request for Jon. Just listen to Marcel's voice as he growls his way through this killer classic:

Of course, there was Kazoo.

And of course there was Petunia.

I don't know of another artist with this delivery. He subtly blows your mind with a voice so unusual that it is mesmerizing.

Steven continued to amaze. What a cool guitar.

The whole band was great. This was a stellar evening and a great way for Petunia and his Vipers to start a tour.

Thanks John, Dayna and Joe and to The Shanty Tavern for continuing to host great live music. Thanks to Jon Noe for being such a big supporter of live music.

One more shot of The Car. Drool.

And of course:

Thanks to Six Gun Romeo for letting me use their cool skull logo. They are another great band from B.C. Check them out when they come to town.