posted by Grady on Fri May 17, 09:39 AM
To this day, I don't think I've been to a LOUDER show than a BORIS show ... seriously, I've seen my share of loud, aggressive, abrasive metal over the last 16 years or so, but none were as ear-numbingly loud as my first Boris show at Neumos a few years back - they were touring in support of Smile, and I left completely floored! Having only heard them over the loudspeakers at Easy Street, and in my car, I wasn't quite prepared for the auditorial onslaught i was in for. Sure, friends tried to warn me that it would be loud, but come on, I never thought a drone metal band would be louder than any of the other metal bands i'd seen up to that point ... but to the detriment of my ears, I was sorely wrong! The Japanese three-piece were accompanied by a wall of sound - i.e. stacks of amps and monitors, waiting to saturate the crowd with droney notes, crunching riffs and bashing drums (with the occasional gong thrown in for good measure). I remember being amazed as I watched them set up, and seeing guitarist/vocalist Wata carrying her guitar by the neck, and it (the guitar) was almost the same size as she was! Boris is a band that doesn't like to be defined, so as anyone who listens to the band has discovered, the band has taken a drastic turn from their drone/psychedelic metal ways, and crafted a new J-Pop sound with textured vocals and beautiful layers of music. But, on 5/18, Wata, drummer Atsuo, and bassist/guitarist/vocalist, Takeshi will harken back to the old days and play a set that encompasses their darker, heavier side! The following night they will play a more experimental set, which includes their 2000 album, Flood, in its entirety! So, in closing, all I can say is ... don't forget your earplugs!
posted by Grady on Wed May 15, 12:57 PM
I was beyond excited for this show … Local H may be a bit obscure to some of you, or a band that was a flash-in-the-pan for the rest of you, but in my book, they are a permanent pillar of my musical foundation, and the day I found out they were coming back to Seattle, in support of their most recent release, Hallelujah! I’m a Bum; there was no question of my attendance! It’s not every day you get a chance to document one of your all-time favorite bands, so when I heard it was OK to bring a camera to the show, you know I had mine charged and ready to go! What better way to ease the pain of a root canal than to go out to Capitol Hill, to Chop Suey, and bang your head at a break-neck speed with one of Chicago’s finest! Two-piece bands always bring the hammer, and those in attendance were privy to two such acts … local up-and-comers, Hobosexual, and the stalwarts from the mid-'90s, Local H.
If you haven’t heard or seen Hobosexual, consider this your friendly reminder – go! Pick up their disc and when the opportunity arises, see them live. There is something about a two-piece that can create such a wall of sound that you don’t miss the extra bodies or instruments on stage. Hobosexual are Ben Harwood (vox/axe) and Jeff Silva (skins), and simply put, they fuckin’ rock. Led by Ben’s ferocious riffs and Jeff’s power-drumming, Hobosexual got Chop Suey moving a lot quicker than most in attendance were figuring, as many of the patrons who were just hanging around the bar and back wall when the duo plugged in quickly moved closer to scream and sweat with the band on stage! Churning through a mix of old and new cuts, Ben and Jeff showcased songs like, “Sex Destroyer,” “Penthouse Lover,” “The Creeper” (slated to be on their upcoming 2013 release), as well as “Concrete Corporate” which was from their debut 2010 release. At one point in their set, Ben descended from the stage and ended up shredding riffs sprawled out on the floor of Chop Suey, all while Jeff is pummeling, rooted in his seat on stage! Once again, if/when you see these guys on a flyer/marquee/handbill/show poster, whatever...do yourself a favor and GO!
After Ben and Jeff’s lively set, it was time to settle in for a rambunctious set from grunge-era two-piece pioneers Local H! As Scott Lucas and Brian St. Clair saddled up and plugged in, a “fan" started griping at Scott for not accepting a drink before the show, saying it wasn’t "classy" to diss a “fan" like that. Well, Scott didn’t have much patience for the guy and promptly told him to shut the fuck up, and they launched into the title track off their new record. From there, the show took off as Scott and Brian twisted their way through an extensive catalog, highlighted by "California Songs," "Another February," "Blue Line" and "Eddie Vedder," as well as personal favorite, "Nothing Special" and the always-crowd-pleasing-mosh-pit-inducing, "High Fivin' Motherfucker" – both coming off of As Good As Dead. The crowd was 100% involved in the show, no "Seattle freeze" here! As all in attendance were there by choice, not happenstance, crowd surfing and mosh pitting commenced! Unfortunately, I didn’t stick around for the end of the show, so I’m unsure of which high note they went out on, but there is no doubt in my mind, it fucking rocked!!
posted by Grady on Wed May 1, 03:18 PM
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Last month I witnessed another sterling example of the vast pool of creativity bubbling over the surface in the Northwest - three killer sets from two Seattle bands and one Portland-based solo act inside the intimate Barboza.
Marty Marquis, of Blitzen Trapper, along with his brother Clark on drums, started the night off with a well-received, acoustic set that showcased his songwriting and guitar work that can be sometimes overlooked in Blitzen Trapper. The duo took the stage as doors were opening, so most of the time they were playing the crowd was just piling in and grabbing drinks, preparing for the night ahead. Even though Blitzen is from Portland, Marty showed his love for Seattle by sporting an old-school Sonics shirt and declaring that the team would be back. Unfortunately, I think this was lost on those in attendance, as it didn’t elicit the type of cheers some in Seattle would have given. But Marty and Clark didn’t miss a step, and continued to play out their opening set, giving way to The Quiet Ones.
This was the first night of The Quiet Ones’ short Northwest tour, and they were celebrating the release of their fifth album, Molt In Moments, which hit store shelves earlier in the week. Led by brothers John and David Totten, the six-piece band showcased material off the new record to a very receptive crowd, filled with close friends and curious onlookers. They did not disappoint. Opening with the heart-racing “EKG,” the brothers, along with John Herman (bass), Kerrick Olson (guitar), Nate Rogers (keys) and Baine Craft (drums) lit the fire right at the beginning and held pace for their hour-long set. Continuing with material off Molt In Moments, the band played eleven songs with only one cut, “Summer Of Down & Out,” that wasn’t off the new record. From blistering guitar solos to killer drum fills, the Quiet Ones proved to be nothing of the sort; some highlights included “Power In The Blood,” “Silver Veins” and “Three Legged Dog.” The Seattle-based rockers closed out their lively set with “I Am Waiting On You” and “You Are A Trial,” both earning raucous applause! Keep your eyes and ears open for these guys, as they’re set to make some noise in 2013.
There was still one more band yet to grace the intimate stage and shortly after the Quiet Ones finished their set, the Young Evils set up shop and proceeded to play a rockin’ set themselves! Fresh off recording material for their full-length debut, Mackenzie Mercer, Troy Nelson, Cody Hurd, Michael Lee and Eric Wennberg kicked off their set with “The Devil’s Barricade” off their most recent EP, Foreign Spells, and continued to weave through a collection of tunes from both EPs, “Burning Zombies,” “Dead Animals,” “Touch Tone” as well as some new tunes yet to be released (I’m guessing they were “Flash Crash,” “Happens All The Time” and “Crime Scene” … OK, I sneaked a peek at the set list). No longer relying on the innocent, pop style they began with, Nelson and crew weren’t afraid to push the envelope and really let loose on stage, rocking out so much that Troy lost his Aviators for half a song! The Young Evils are definitely on the rise and you would be well advised to check them out when they hit the road and stop in your town!
posted by Grady on Tue Apr 23, 10:18 AM
Ghost, or Ghost B.C. as they are now named within the United States, are back in Seattle, and ready to spread the word of their dark lord to any who wish to venture out to the Showbox Market on 4/27. I saw these guys in 2012 at El Corazon, and was completely blown away with their set - the music, the ambiance, the costumes and the demeanor of their vocalist, Papa Emeritus (since replaced by Papa Emeritus II) as he came out on stage swinging a thurible, christening the audience in his cardinal attire. I can't wait to see how they are going to top that first impression! Touring for their sophomore release (and major label debut), Infestissumam, Papa Emeritus II and his nameless ghouls are coming for new souls to convert! This is gonna be an amazing show, so don't be scared, just be prepared!
posted by Grady on Mon Apr 22, 10:12 AM
Have you ever experienced one of those days when it’s like Christmas, Black Friday and your birthday all in the same day? For many - and I mean many - of the fine people who came out to Easy Street Records and all the other amazing independent record stores across the country, yesterday was one such occasion! I love working Record Store Day. It’s so great seeing the satisfaction on the faces of those early customers who stuck it out in the cold, dreary night after scoring the albums they most wanted. Most everyone is in a jovial mood and it just rubs off on the staff … we’re bustin’ our asses, but everyone’s having a good time!
I arrived at the store around 6am Saturday morning, and we had somewhere between 50-75 RSD fans lined up along Alaska Street, strategizing for the task that lay only fifty minutes ahead. I stopped to talk to a few friends in line and most said they started to line up in the wee hours, around 3-4am, but the first person in line had been waiting since 11pm Friday night! In fact, everyone from the store that stayed to stock the shelves, said they chatted with the early birds as they were leaving for the night, around 11:30pm. Just as we promised in our e-mail blast, the café set up a table with hot coffee right at the corner of the main Junction intersection, and soon, customers were being served some of Seattle’s best bacon from Easy Street owner Matt Vaughan, who filled a 2-inch pan with a mountain of our delicious bacon.
As the time slowly ticked by, employees scrambled to get the remaining pieces in place, and one of our vinyl connoisseurs, Michael Whitmore, was busy setting up his little DJ table above the café to spin exclusive RSD titles and fan favorites as patrons hunted for their list of goodies! After we got everything into position, inside and outside the store, it was creeping exceptionally close to 7am, and we were about to open the floodgates!
Right on time, at 7am sharp, we opened the café door and customers were let loose while the DJ appropriately played Jimi Hendrix wailing “The Star Spangled Banner” from Woodstock, as customers ran upstairs and around the corner to find their prized releases! We had the 7” singles downstairs, while all the 10” and 12” releases were spread out upstairs. Within minutes, the store was filled to the brim with close to 300 anxious audiophiles, all searching for releases like the Mad Season Above LP reissue, or the Dave Matthews Band box set, as well as the White Stripes Elephant reissue and the limited Jimi Hendrix 7” that included a sweet Hendrix poster we were holding behind the counter.
The real pandemonium was upstairs as customers tried to maneuver through the tight aisles to get to the RSD section. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Easy Street’s vinyl section so packed - we had 2-3 people upstairs all day, helping customers locate specific titles. Downstairs was just as crazy, as the checkout line began to form. We had to snake customers up and down the aisles, all the way back to the stairs and eventually back up into the vinyl section. I think the wait to check out grew from twenty minutes in the first few moments of being open, to an hour-and-a-half … but thankfully we’ve got great customers and to my knowledge not one complaint was uttered. Many early bird shoppers were juggling too many titles to hold in their hand or under their arms, but thankfully we had Mark Pickerel upstairs with Matt, handing vinyl boxes to overloaded customers!
Easy Street was proud to host a signing from two original members of the legendary Seattle grunge band Mad Season for our main RSD event! Mad Season (and Pearl Jam) guitarist Mike McCready, along with the band’s drummer Barrett Martin (ex-Screaming Trees), had made arrangements to come to the store around 10am to sign the reissued Above LP. Beginning around 8:30am customers began lining up along the Alaska Street wall, hoping to get a signature from two beloved musicians! By the time 10am rolled around, the line was stacked to the end of our block, and once Mike and Barrett set up shop at a table outside the front door, fans were exploding with excitement! We saw fans getting instruments signed, as well as vinyl (old and reissued), CDs and even a VHS tape one fan had from Mad Season’s taped performances from the Moore Theatre. Towards the end of the signing, a customer purchased two photographs of Mad Season that hung on our café wall as part of our Lance Mercer photo exhibition and got them signed by Mike and Barrett, as well as Lance, who showed up just as the signing was ending.
Unlike previous years, the heavy stream of customers refused to slow, as those who missed the 7am opening memo began showing up and rushing upstairs to flip through remaining titles. Customers traveled from all over Western Washington to make it out yesterday, many in the first wave of shoppers, all smiles because they were walking away with most of the items on their want list. Even those customers who missed their shot at getting titles early on left satisfied with what they found.
Myself, I left with everything I really wanted this year…
Between The Buried And Me – Anatomy Of (Victory Records), an incredible covers record that spans the most diverse field of influences you can imagine, especially if you have any idea what kind of band BTBAM is.
Deftones – Live Vol 1, choice cuts from Adrenaline, from a live show in 1996
Lamb Of God – New American Gospel reissue
Atmosphere – “Demosexual” 7”
Akimbo – Live To Crush
Mad Season – Above reissue
Cypress Hill – Black Sunday reissue
And I picked up the new Ghost B.C. record, Infestissumam
Quite the score, if I do say so!
I’ve worked every record store day since 2007, and I’d have to say this was by far the most successful to date. So, in closing, I just want to say, “Thank You” to all the music fans who came out and supported independent record stores across the country, to the labels for all the cool shit, to Mike McCready and Barrett Martin, and to the rest of the staff at Easy Street, for making Record Store Day 2013 such a kick-ass day!
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