posted by Grady on Fri Sep 5, 12:57 PM
So, you were a little bummed when the second weekend of Sasquatch - the July 4th weekend - got cancelled earlier this year? It's understandable, there were some killer bands who were going to be performing in the splendor of what is the Gorge, but due to circumstances we are not privy to, most fans had to wait out news of when some of these big acts would be coming back through the market. And by now, most of the big names have strolled through town - Kraftwerk played the Paramount, New Order came through, even Soundgarden has played twice. Now it's time for one of the biggest rap acts from that initial bill to treat the fine folks of Seattle to another great live performance. Atmosphere will be making their annual stop at the Showbox Sodo, Saturday, 9/13, and if you've heard their most recent release, Southsiders, then you know the show is gonna be dope! Slug and Ant have always made personal music that touches so many familiar nerves to their fans, that each time they come back, they pack whatever house they play. Come down to the Sodo on 9/13 and get your "Kanye West" on, because Atmosphere, with assistance from fellow Rhymesayers artists, Dem Atlas and Prof, will bring that smooth Minneapolis flow to the Emerald City, something that should never be missed!
posted by Grady on Fri Sep 5, 09:26 AM
"RUN THE JEWELS! RUN THE JEWELS! RUN THE JEWELS!!" … this was being shouted at max level by the rabid fans who packed the middle of the floor of the Showbox back in early August, and as Jamie Meline and Michael Render, better known as their stage names — El-P and Killer Mike — bound onto the stage with jubilant excitement, they met the frenzied energy of the crowd with their own. Not wasting a moment of momentum, the dynamic duo performed their debut collaborative effort, Run The Jewels, in its entirety, with a few doses of individual sets spliced into the head-banging set. Mike hit the stage wearing his "Do Dope, Fuck Hope" hoodie, while El came out wearing his custom Adidas shell-toes with blue-jean jacket and shades, using the crowds chants to launch into "Run The Jewels," followed by the banger "Banana Clip" and then into the interactive "36 Chain," where the two MCs showed the crowd to put up their pistols and chains, something that would be repeated throughout their hour-plus set. "DDFH" came on the heels of the explosive "36 Chain," and it was celebrated with equal fervor as the predecessor, with Mike pointing to his chest each time the crowd took over the hook. "Sea Legs" was another song where the crowd's participation in the hook was at its peak, with the near-full house lifting the bar for the duo to meet and exceed as the night progressed. As the set continued, Killer Mike took the opportunity to speak on the Michael Brown murder in Ferguson, MO; it was a brief moment, but I do recall this being the first time I'd heard anything on the situation. This was also the point in the show when Mike and Jamie played their own material, with Killer Mike hitting us with "Untitled," and El ripping into "The Full Retard," which sent the crowd into hysterics! After "A Christmas Fucking Miracle,", the band said their thank yous and walked off to the green room. "RUN THE JEWELS" … "RUN THE JEWELS" … "RUN THE JEWELS" … was once again ringing through the Showbox as the lights stayed dimmed and the amps buzzed, key giveaways the show was not yet done. After about five minutes or so of chanting and applause, the gracious duo returned to send us off with drenched clothing and exhausted bodies, as they hammered their way into Killer Mike's "Butane (Champion's Anthem)" off the El-P produced, R.A.P. Music, and to end the night, they asked the fans if they wanted to hear "new shit they wouldn't know 100% … or old shit"? The crowd immediately began chanting "new shit," so El took the opportunity to let everyone know that the band had just wrapped up the recording of their sophomore release, RTJ2, which will be available in late October. Following this very important public service announcement, the two gregarious MCs rewarded the fans with a performance of "Blockbuster Night Part 1," a brand new song they still hadn't mastered. The song ended abruptly as their DJ cut the last beat off before Jamie could think what the next part was. Before the pair left the stage, Killer Mike let the crowd know the Seattle show just marked the litmus test for future shows, and said they will be back once the new album is released. Finally, Mike left the crowd with this … "smoke motherfuckin' weed and never die," as their friends in Phantogram and Zola Jesus watched on from the side stage. Needless to say, I'm stoked for the release in October, and will be looking forward to the return of Run The Jewels to Seattle!
Openers Kung Foo Grip put on an exciting set to kick the night off. MCs Eff is H and Greg Cypher lit the stage up with their uncontrolled adrenaline, as they traversed the stage, generating enthusiasm and acceptance from the eager crowd yearning for something new and engaging. As their set progressed, the individual personalities of the two MCs came to life, as they took turns entertaining the crowd at center mic. Another prime example of the fertile soil Seattle has for unknown artists lurking about in the shadows of bigger names in the scene. Also, big props to the group of guys who moved over a spot to give me front row viewpoint for the whole show … thanks dudes, enjoy the photos!
posted by Grady on Mon Aug 11, 01:54 PM
It's been about a year-and-a-half since we've heard anything from the boys in My Goodness, but all of that is now in the past, as Joel and Andy have returned to the forefront and brought with them a new band member and a sweet new album, Shiver + Shake. Back in mid-June, in front of a sold-out house, My Goodness blessed a whole bunch of Seattleites with their record release show at The Crocodile, with help from two up-and-coming local acts — Acapulco Lips and Black Whales.
The night was set in motion by the fun surf-rock vibes of Acapulco Lips. The four-piece weaved their way between pop, surf, and instrumental cuts that caught everyone's attention and kept it throughout their opening set. Songs like "An Instrumental About Weed" kept people swaying about as the band showcased their unique style of surf-rock, along with "So Long," which has hints of doo-wop sprinkled through the jangling guitar riffs. Following Acapulco Lips was another local product, Black Whales, who apparently were playing with only 2 founding members, enlisting outside help for their guitar player and bassist. They played a really good set, straight ahead alternative rock with solid songwriting, and the subs played so well, no one would have known…great chemistry and performance.
While both openers made an impact on the patrons who saw them, everyone in the Croc was there for the headliners, as Joel and Andy took the stage with their newest member and proceeded to light the place on fire with a complete performance of the newly released Shiver + Shake! The new record is much more polished than their 2011 debut, and the songwriting has progressed with the sound emanating from the two musicians. Adding a bit more pop embellishments to their sound, My Goodness have crafted a killer record that shreds and has great sing-a-long melodies that will ensnare even the most casual listener. Seeing these animals live though, that's another experience altogether, a much more visceral experience; to see the blood and sweat poured out on the stage as they churned through all this new material and at the same time gelling with their newest addition, was truly invigorating! The beautiful thing about seeing a duo (or now trio in this case) is that the drummer is usually positioned at the front of the stage. In most situations, you only see a bit of a drummer's face and sticks wildly being thrashed about, but when he/she is positioned to the right/left of the lead singer, then you see everything and you get to feel the energy being putting forth and it is so energizing! It's a closer connection to the whole band, not just the face of the band … something I absolutely love about small outfits, and this was no different. Watching the interactions between Andy and his two bandmates was great, just a natural feel for one another and the music benefited from this chemistry. Not sure of the of the band's tour schedule for the rest of the summer or fall, but if they come back around to your corner, don't sleep on them, go experience My Goodness … you'll be better for it!
posted by Grady on Thu Jul 24, 10:39 AM
Sub Pop Records has been on a roll lately, at least in regards to hitting the sweet spot for my musical tastes. It started when they signed Shabazz Palaces, followed by Mogwai, TheeSatisfaction, METZ, Rose Windows, and now added to the fold is one raucous, hard-charging southern-bred juggernaut — Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires! I think I'd only played their Sub Pop debut, Dereconstructed, once at the store, but was intrigued enough to reach out for a photo pass and ticket for their debut in Seattle at the Tractor Tavern.
Unfortunately, I didn't make it to the Tractor in time to see openers, the Spinning Whips, a crew of locals who specialize in some gritty rock, but I'm sure they played admirably as I've seen them rip it up at Easy Street in the last year. I was there for the majority of the Jesus Rehab's frenetic set, and it was quite a good show. I've got a soft spot in my heart for two-piece rock bands, so I was paying close attention to these two dudes rocking out on stage. Vocalist/guitarist Jared wore a pair of fairy wings as he meandered from the mic to all reaches of the stage, never missing a chord (at least to my ears), while his brother Dominic pummeled his drum set like it stole a whole year's worth of his lunch money! Jamming tunes from their most recent LP — The Zoo At Night — the Seattle-based duo made an immediate impact on me, and I put them on my radar of bands to seek out when I'm looking through the weekly show listings!
Shortly after the Jesus Rehab brothers picked themselves up off the stage (literally ... Jared laid himself down during the last notes of their last song), Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires plugged in and took off, never letting up or looking back once their set started. A day before this show, I was talking to my best friend Drew, who lives back in Huntsville, Alabama, and when I told him I was going to see Lee and company, he almost lost his shit! He'd seen them a handful of times, opening for Jason Isbell once or twice, and said they were fucking awesome and I'd definitely love their set. Well, he must be the new Ms. Cleo, cause he was 100% right on the money. These four guys came with unbridled energy and all the southern rock you're ever gonna want! Just like on their record, from the start they let you know it's about rock-and-fuckin-roll – and partying! More than a handful of times, Lee stood up on the kick-drum and launched himself straight up-and-out, all while his bandmates churned through their progressions, keeping the rock train a'movin'! Patrons also got up-close and personal with the charismatic front man, as he jumped off the stage and into the crowd to shred with the people! At one point, in between songs, someone in the crowd yelled out Roll Tide" (an expression well known if you're from Alabama, or familiar with their football program), and much to my enjoyment and pride, Lee replied back, … nah, War DAMN Eagle!" further solidifying my newfound love for this band! Football allegiances aside, these guys are the real deal – authentic southern rock that is all about the music, so if you have the opportunity, don't let it pass you by, especially if they come and play a scuzzy dive bar or small club … the best settings to catch them! And just as a side note, Alabama's got some pretty good music seeping out from its red clay these days with acts like Jamey Johnson, Jason Isbell, Alabama Shakes, St. Paul & The Broken Bones, not to forget Yelawolf and the aforementioned Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires. Watch out, Bama's on the come-up!
posted by Grady on Wed Jul 16, 12:28 PM
There is no better show than one that meets and exceeds your expectations once the final note has been struck and the overhead lights brighten up the disheveled patrons who just experienced the same show. Seeing Failure obliterate any sense of apprehension during their two-part set was absolutely brilliant! Starting off the night without an opener was a pretty ballsy move, especially for a band who was never huge, and hadn't been heard from for over a decade, but Ken Andrews (guitar/vox), Greg Edwards (bass/guitar/keys) and Kellii Scott (drums) wanted to have a night (& tour) just to celebrate the return of Failure, so instead of having a band open, they chose to show a fifteen-minute "movie-montage" of influencers for some of their songs and some random things like snippets of Ren & Stimpy to get fans in the right headspace. This also enabled Failure to play longer sets, since they were going to take everyone on a trip that encompassed the three albums they released before their 1997 break-up.
Those who thought there would be rust after a seventeen-year hiatus were quickly and quietly put at a loss once the band strummed the first few chords of "Another Space Song," followed by "Frogs" and "Wet Gravity," a trio of songs that put the night into motion and set the fans ablaze with rekindled emotions from when they first heard these classic cuts. Each member was positioned on his own rounded pedestal, lit by rope lights wrapped up around their mic stands (or drum kit in Kellii's particular instance) that alternated between red and green as the house lights saturated the stage in reds and blues all night. After "Wet Gravity" they really hit a groove and went right into cuts from Fantastic Planet, as they played "Saturday Savior," "Sergeant Politeness," and a personal favorite, "Dirty Blue Balloons" before turning back to "Undone," a gem off their second release, Magnified. Listening to them play these songs to perfection and taking time between shots to sing along and absorb the show was key for me … I'd seen a variation of this show on Feb. 15, 1997, some 2,600 miles away, back in Atlanta, at the Masquerade … and to get to see it again, with a better appreciation for the band and their material, was just awesome. After performing "Pillowhead" and "Small Crimes," the guys took a quick intermission as the fans jostled for position up front, or took advantage of the break to get another beverage or grab a quick smoke.
After fifteen minutes or so, the guys were back out on the stage jumping into "Blank," which was followed with "Solaris" and "Smoking Umbrellas" before they launched into their semi-hit off of Fantastic Planet, "Stuck On You." By the time they hit this song, my voice was ragged, but I was still singing along with every note, as were many in attendance, doing our best to return the love to this underrated band that had been missing but not forgotten. The next three songs they played were all from Fantastic Planet as well, "Heliotropic," "Segue 3," and "The Nurse Who Loved Me" (a song that has been covered by many bands, most notably A Perfect Circle, from Thirteenth Step), and all three were sung by the band and the crowd, as the night was hitting its peak, ready for the crescendo of the encore. As the band finished up "The Nurse Who Loved Me," they took a bow and headed off stage-right to the green room, only to return a few minutes later to raucous applause for their swan song. For that, we were treated to back-to-back cuts from Comfort, their debut album from 1992, as they played "Macaque" and "Screen Man" before ending the night with "Daylight", the final song from Fantastic Planet.
Well played, gentlemen, well played. I eagerly look forward to the return of Failure and can only hope for a new studio album in the not-too-distant future, followed by another spectacular tour!
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