posted by Grady on Fri Dec 6, 12:21 PM
Halloween parties need great music to really bring the affair to the highest peak of personal enjoyment, so the best one this year had to be with Ms. Janelle Monae at the Showbox SODO! Like any good party, things didn't start quite on time, but the delay did give Monae's entourage plenty of time to set up the stage – a completely white set-up, from the three-sided drapes to the white floor – a pristine appearance for the sold-out show.
Monae is a very theatrical performer, so it was no surprise that her show had some sort of conceptual theme behind it – on this particular night, it was set up to appear as a performance from a patient in a psych ward. As the "doctor" (someone in Monae's entourage dressed in a white lab coat with thick, black-rimmed glasses) gave us the backstory on this particular patient, his orderlies were wheeling out Monae (a.k.a. the patient) on a dolly, strapped into a straightjacket. Once they loosened the straps and let her arms free, the party commenced! Giving the audience their first live taste of her newest album, Monae rattled off three straight from The Electric Lady – "Givin Em What They Love,""Dance Apocalyptic" and "Q.U.E.E.N." (minus Erykah Badu) before she ventured back in her catalogue to play "Sincerely, Jane" from Metropolis: The Chase Suite. Monae also dazzled her fans with some amazing covers, the first coming during the first half of her set, as she rocked the house with the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," which sounded as if little Michael was up on stage singing in her place. Following this stellar cover, she jumped into back-to-back cuts from ArchAndroid, "Cold War" and the crowd-pleaser, "Tightrope" that got just about every person in Showbox Sodo up and dancing with reckless abandon!
Monae's set was so electric that the fans chanted and clamored for an encore, a request that she was all too pleased to honor! After performing "Prime Time," Monae blew everyone away with her second cover of the night, as she nailed Prince & The Revolution's "Let's Go Crazy!" She then surprised everyone again, as she requested all in the house to sit or crouch down, shouting "…this is for the short people…" before she laid out across the first few rows of fans and proceeded to crowd-surf her way to the back of the house, then back to the stage to finish off the night with, appropriately, "What An Experience" from The Electric Lady!
Whether you were dressed to the nines, dressed as Cindi Mayweather, or dressed as an ArchAndroid, there is no doubt you experienced the show of the year! From the amazing covers to the impromptu crowd-surfing, Ms. Janelle Monae knows how to put on a killer show!
posted by Grady on Thu Nov 21, 12:53 PM
"COME TO MY PARTY!" is what Black Joe Lewis encourages listeners to do on his new album, Electric Slave, and we couldn't agree more. And next Friday at the Neptune you have your opportunity to experience BJL at his finest! Touring in support of his fourth full length album, Black Joe Lewis and his band (formerly called The Honeybears) will be back in Seattle for a Black Friday show that will kick more ass than the early birds at the department stores rushing in for the morning deals! Known more as a soul/R&B band, Black Joe Lewis changed it up on Electric Slave and channeled his inner punk rocker, mixing it up with his James Brown influences for an exciting record that is flying so under the radar right now. These guys have played Seattle many times, and unfortunately I've missed each show ... but that's all gonna change on 11/29, when I battle the inevitable traffic on I-5 to witness the newest incarnation of Black Joe Lewis! I'd also urge any/all who are making this show to get there early to see openers Radkey - a three-piece punk band hailing from the show-me state of Missouri. If you're unfamiliar with them (which is expected), familiarize yourself prior to the show, they are awesome. Think Misfits + The Damned, only way younger!
posted by Grady on Tue Nov 12, 04:17 PM
I recently had the rare opportunity to see Australian nine-piece soul/doo-wop band Clairy Browne & The Bangin’ Rackettes twice in the same day. Earlier in the day they performed at PlayNetwork, and even though it was a short and relatively tame set, it was more than enough to convince a handful of my coworkers to join me down at Barboza for a nightcap with our new friends from Australia!
Both performances started off in the same fashion; the guys in the band took the stage first, providing intro music for the three lovely backing singers/dancers known as the Bangin’ Rackettes. Soon after the ladies and band warmed up the room with a bit of rhythm-and-blues, lead singer Clairy Browne entered stage-left, eased up to the mic and began delivering a strong dose of heartfelt soul with a healthy side of doo-wop! Right on cue, they flowed into the title track off their US debut, Baby Caught The Bus, and stole everyone’s attention for the remainder of the night. As they weaved through their set, Clairy and company peppered in a few tracks that were not on the album, possibly giving us a hint at what’s to come or what we might’ve missed in the four years between the group’s formation and their U.S. debut. Highlights of the night were “She Plays Up To You,” “Yellow Bird,” “Aeroplane,” and the lead single, “Love Letter.” The band also had their time to shine, as Clairy took a break halfway through their set to allow the band to “stretch their legs” and jam on for a bit, while the Bangin’ Rackettes entertained us with go-go dancing. After the dance-off, Clairy came back and they launched into an extended version of the Salt ‘N Pepa/En Vogue song, “Whatta Man” that got the people movin’!
The nightcap performance was definitely different from the AM version, as everything from the ladies’ gyrations to the lyrical content was a bit naughtier at Barboza. The late version was definitely worth the wait! This was CBBR’s first visit to Seattle, and it was a rousing success, as everyone in the house congregated to the front to soak in the amazing tunes. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait so long for their return!
posted by Grady on Wed Oct 30, 09:13 PM
North Carolina’s best progressive metal band paid Seattle a pummeling visit early this month, laying waste to El Corazon as they played their latest masterpiece, The Parallax II: Future Sequence, in its entirety, front-to-back -- seventy-plus minutes of beauty and brutality! Taking visual ideas from other prog stalwarts like Coheed and Cambria, as well as Tool, BTBAM added a backdrop that featured a pair of projectors flanking drummer Blake Richardson, which followed the story of The Parallax II with images of spaceships, asteroids and astral bodies … but that was all secondary to the performance. Led by their exceptional vocalist Tommy Rogers, BTBAM quietly (if that’s even possible with them) kicked off their set with the opening intro, "Goodbye To Everything," and never looked back. The fans were rabid by the time Rogers and company kicked it off, primed by shredding sets from The Faceless, The Contortionist and The Safety Fire, so the "quiet" intro only served to build up the aggression waiting to be unleashed! And unleashed it was, as the band unraveled each song, the pit got wider and wider until it encompassed the center point of the house! Those that weren’t slamming into one another in the pit, were either on the edges, or right up front, singing along with each note as if they were on stage. I was a bit surprised to see there were no stage-divers, especially after the last few metal shows I’ve been to where they were everywhere! BTBAM culminated their fearsome show with the closer, "White Walls," a deafening cut off their acclaimed album, Colors. Rogers had everyone in the venue screaming, "…THIS IS ALL WE HAVE WHEN WE DIE…," because in the end, all we have are our experiences … so, I hope you got to experience this show!
posted by Grady on Mon Oct 28, 11:41 AM
Photo: Grady Tyree
If you weren't down at Easy Street on Friday night, then you missed one hell of a rock show, when the Spinning Whips and Hobosexual took our small stage and melted faces! Newcomers the Spinning Whips, started things off around 8pm, getting the attention of all in the house by the second song, when two adorable little girls got onstage with the band, dancing around in front of the drummer and even singing at one point!
After an intermission and tuning, Hobosexual proceeded to drench the block with some nasty, riff-tastic, blues-tinged rock 'n' roll that had the house packed and rockin for the next hour! Celebrating the release of their second album, appropriately titled II, on wax (the CD version dropped earlier this month) Ben Harwood (vox/axe) and Jeff Silva (skins) were joined on stage by special guests, Aaron Weed (aka - Basswizzard Masterfingers on bass) and Adrienne Marie Pollock (Blackheart Honeymoon vox), for a handful of songs, as they played through their album. Hobo had the kids going crazy, inciting a sizeable mosh pit in the middle of the cafe ... a pit that was amped up even more when the guys broke into a cover of the Beastie Boys "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)" that fuckin' rocked!! Hobosexual satisfied all the needs of those in attendance and earned themselves a call-back to the stage after their head-banging set ... the kids in the house needed more. Ben and Jeff were ecstatic to abide to their request, shredding out one more blazing track before unplugging for the night!
The music scene has seen an influx of really good, female-fronted acts that have grabbed the attention of music programmers and bloggers - from Lorde, Haim, Icona Pop to CHVRCHES - all well deserved, but one that seems to be slipping through the cracks is Deap Vally, and their debut,...Continue»
Originally an instrumental quartet, Six Gallery was most known for the finger-tapping riffs laid down by guitarists Will Vokac and Ben Schreiber. But, after a few years of growing up, and apart (replacing their original drummer), the band took a different direction and decided to bring in a singer. In...Continue»
Um…oh, there it is! For a few seconds I thought the Dillinger Escape Plan abandoned its standard auditory assault, but no, it is there! Obviously, “Farewell, Mona Lisa,” the first track of their new album, Option Paralysis, doesn’t start off with the same face-shattering punch previous Dillinger albums have thrown;...Continue»
We all fall into our old habits now and again, glancing at an album and automatically thinking we know what it sounds like. So we just leave it, not really taking the time to explore the record and prove ourselves wrong. Sometimes we’re right, but many times when we finally...Continue»
Having never really listened to these guys before, I’m feeling maybe I missed the boat? Arctic Monkeys don’t sound like the hole I was trying to peg them into – a judgment, maybe, influenced by their look. There I go again, living by the motto, judge the book by its...Continue»
From the infectious hook in the single, “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune),” you know Jay is back with some business to attend to before his trade loses its originality. Jay definitely had some stuff to get off his chest with this new record; this one sounds extremely personal, even a bit...Continue»