Seattle Subsonic - April, 2009
If you haven’t heard of Pams Kitchen (5000 university ave) you live under a rock. This unassuming little Caribbean joint hosts one of the most prized menus in Seattle. They are so good, in fact, that even the food network has recently come to honor them for their work. But this ain’t about good food… although the food is amazing, this is about Last Saturday. On the Last Saturday of every month, Pam’s Jam, takes over the restaurant, and it is packed! With Music consisting from Reggae to Dance hall, the walls drip with sweat. Seriously, one of the best parties in town.
The Music began around 11 and didn’t stop till… three am? You couldn’t move in there it was so packed. Its become a melting pot for both hip hoppers and rock brats to dance like idiots and not feel pressured to look cool… like on the hill.
All of this centering around a Run Punch drink that is so good, it defies logic.
Stop by Pams to get a flier…
Hell, Stop in for a ROTI.
See you next Pam Jam.
Everyone asks me if I hate Chris Cornell? I don’t. In fact, I still think he is on of the best best vocalists in the world. I am actually a huge fan. I just think that, recently, Chris makes dumb choices.
Personally, I think that Chris should go to Chicago for two weeks with a limited 10 thousand dollar budget and have Steve Albini redraft this new crap record into something organic… with life and ability and compassion.
The song still isn’t Great… but it’s much better then the DJ remix…
Saying it’s name will always spur conversation. Whether it be admiration or total disdain, The Central Saloon is a fixture in the Seattle Music Scene. It has been the spawning ground of some of the biggest bands while still being a dirty hole in the wall. Bands like Soundgarden, Mudhoney, Alice in chains, Nirvana… even Jane’s Addiction have dropped sweat in that dusty musky room. It is fondly admired by artists all over the world who make pilgrimages to it whenever in town playing concerts.
The best part of the Central – it knows its a dive bar. It has a cheap ass sound system, it’s stubbornly positioned among the entrails of the Pioneer Square nightclub scene, the doormen look like they just finished shooting a revival ‘Hell’s Angel’ movie but the drinks are cold, the staff is really cool and… Its NOT on Capital Hill! Recently, I have become very jaded to the Capital Hill venues. This ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude from the door staff and the bartenders gets very old and, as many of you have been reiterating in conversations, Capital Hill is becoming a parody of itself… which is sad. While in the Comet last week, I watched three guys dressed in sport coats slapping ‘high fives’ and saying, “Coming here makes me feel so… Capital Hilly”.
After I saw that horrible display of post frat bravado… I literally ran out of the bar to rinse my soul out with strong whiskey at some bar that wasn’t part of the Hill. The Cab driver recommended the Central and I was like, “Oh, the Central, old friend. The Central won’t judge me”.
I missed the Central.
Which is more then I could say for it’s ‘knock off’, King Cobra!
The rest of the night was simple… I got drunk and watched a few good rock bands… and finally staggered to the gyros place next door.
I still have a hangover.
I missed you Central.
And as such, not a single person at Showbox Sodo was quiet Friday night for the Atmosphere show. The only reason I heard of this hip-hop group was purely by happenstance. I was pursing a copy of The Stranger sitting at the bar at Mulleady’s, my local watering hole, and I saw an advertisement for the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco this August. I struck up a conversation with my neighbor, talking about which bands we’d like to see there, and she told me that since Atmosphere is scheduled to play, she is definitely going to the festival. That stuck in my mind, and when I had the opportunity to check them out for Subsonic, I jumped at the chance!
It was quite the scene arriving at the Showbox Sodo, as there were dozens of people out front begging for tickets. I felt a little bad knowing absolutely nothing about this group when there were so many people wanting to get in, but hey, I was on a mission and had a job to do! My date and I had just enough time to get a beer and chat for a little bit before Atmosphere took the stage, and from the reaction of the crowd, you could tell that this is a hip hop group that definitely gives their fans what they want.
As I mentioned, I knew absolutely nothing about this group before this show, but that didn’t really seem to matter, as frontman Sean Daley (aka Slug) made it easy to groove to the music and connected well with the crowd. Something I look for in any show I go to is band interaction with the crowd. It’s one thing to be a good musician and artist, but another thing entirely to be a good performer. If all I wanted to do was hear the music, that’s what radios and CDs are for. To banter with the crowd and make it known that their presence is appreciated, that takes something special. Slug was great, giving the obligatory shout-outs to ‘Sea-Town’, getting everybody’s hands in the air, and really encouraging everybody to have a good time. He encouraged everyone in the crowd to make friends with everyone to their left and right, front and back. The entire crowd is one big community, so take care of each other!
Two to three songs in, Slug made the comment that this was the ugliest crowd he had ever seen, which really got the audience excited, before segwaying into the title track from their 2002 release, “God Loves Ugly”. I must say I’ve never heard a frontman describe their audience that way, and I’ve never heard a crowd erupt into screams when he says ‘all the ugly people be quiet!’. It just takes a certain kind of performance to pull that off.
I don’t know that I’ll be making the trip to Outside Lands this year, but when Atmosphere makes another trip back to ‘Sea-Town’, I think I’ll make an effort to check them out again. A show that grabs your attention like this is something special.
I was so excited for last Friday night. A party with full spread and open bar near Madison Park for the first half of the evening and then off to the CD release party for Telekinesis for the second half at the Crocodile. My friends and I figured that we would stay at the party until 10ish then head on downtown to catch Telekinesis at 10:45 as they were the third act. Sounds logical, right? Third act 10:45ish, fourth act on by midnight? Well to our dismay that was not the case. When we got there, at 10:50 – Telekinesis was breaking down their stuff and the next band Throw Me the Statue was setting up for their set. Talk about major disappointment. What the hell? Do we live in Florida or something, home of the early bird special? The next disappointment was the new Crocodile. The minimalist interior hit a sore spot that made me miss what brought me to Seattle in the first place.
I very much consider myself an old school Seattle fan. The reason I moved here from the Midwest, away from family and friends mind you, was largely due to its character and quirkiness accompanied with the lush greenery and majestic beauty. 15 years later, where did all the character and quirkiness go? Well, I’ll tell you… down the toilet. So long to so many great places that oozed colorfulness, mind you dirty coloful, yet they had soul like the Frontier Room, the original Moe’s, Sit ‘n Spin pre-band room where beer wasn’t yet on tap, Eileen’s, and of course, the Crocodile. But this post isn’t supposed to be a big boohoo about missing the old Seattle. There are still things I love like being able to have a citified life while living in a house with a yard. But now, with the new Crocodile, just hammer a new nail in the proverbial quirkified coffin. Yes, there are new owners with new style. Sure, the dreaded blocking weight bearing beam is gone but so is the character too. And I’ll insert a nod to the musicphiles out there, who love the sound guy and the sound system however it’s just another drone-like sterile establishment on the beaten path of Belltown. Maybe I’m jaded b/c I’m just not a Belltown fan. And I like places to have soul to them however I felt like I was in a small warehouse with stage and bar and that’s about it. A room to see music with nothing else to stimulate the senses. I realize it’s all new and everything and I’ll give it the benefit of doubt–maybe the interior decorator hasn’t finished yet but I’m one who likes my music with more than just a dash of atmosphere. And that’s something the Crocodile lacks. Like I said, maybe they’re still working on it however first impressions mean a lot and I wasn’t impressed. Perhaps I’ll make it back again to see a band I LOVE, note the all caps, but as for a place where I’d like to hang out to go check out a new-to-me local band, I’ll just mosey on up to the Comet where I’ll get my music fix on with the good ol’ dingy ambiance of dollar bills stuck to the ceiling circa 1985. Or maybe Neumo’s . Or the Sunset. And I like the Showbox (ahem, “Market”) for what it’s worth.
Continuing the trend of taking a cool vintage style and laying in a heavy dose of bad assery, Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears have created something straight from a James Brown wet dream. Their debut album, “Tell ‘Em What Your Name Is”, released on March 17th, is a full-tilt groove-laden boogie down production of old vs new including funky originals and some obscure blues covers. They are currently on a nationwide tour that ends in a series of Pac NW shows. One here in Seattle on May 22 at the Tractor, one in Vancouver BC, and one at the Wild Buffalo in B-HAm in the 24th. For a full taste of the album check their Myspace. For a dose of the live isht check the vid below! Good Gawd Aaawmighty!
Fri, May 22
BLACK JOE LEWIS & THE HONEYBEARS
9pm ~ $15adv/$17dos
Unnatural Helpers are a giant spoonful of Seattle rocker stew. The end result of the heavy gravitational pull of like-minded musicians mixing and co-mingling with each other through the local scene. How the Helpers came to be as a static entity is a little bewildering…
They are centered by drummer/singer Dean Whitmore who has been in one band incarnation after the next looking for the right chemistry. He has drummed with the likes of Welcome, Mars Accelerator and The Intelligence from which he has teased out bits and pieces as a stockpile of material and a template for what would eventually come to be.
Early days of the Unnatural Helpers saw a revolving door of members including Lars Finberg, also of The Intelligence, and often band-mate Mike Wurn, among with other Seattle cornerstones such as guitarist Jesse Steinchen, the Lights’ PJ Rogalski, and Kinski’s Chris Martin. An album was released (self-titled), local press paid attention and a legion of fans formed but even still, this was not to be the final embodiment of the band.
Incredibly today, an entirely new manifestation of the Unnatural Helpers has emerged playing more of the catchy, guitar-heavy punk that has thrilled NW music freaks. The line-up now includes Kimberly Morrison (Dutchess & the Duke) on bass, and Brian Standeford (Idle Times, Catheters, Tall Birds) Leo Gephardt (Catheters, Tall Birds) on guitars and of course Dean on durms/vocals.
Recognising the explosive potential of this combination, local sprouting label, Hardly Art has gone a’courtin’ and slid quietly into bed with Unnatural Helpers to release a new full-legnth. The band is currently plotting out a plan for recording, and we will of course keep you informed as more concrete details come in. In the meantime continue past the break to hear some of what they’ve got to offer or check out their myspace
I just started listening to the latest album from Pretty & Nice and now I’m ready to hear their energetic mix of punk/ pop/ rock live. I hope there’s as much stage enthusiasm as I expect from a Boston band. Pretty & Nice is on the local Hardly Art label. They’ll be performing at a more personal venue; the art space, Holy Mountain on Thursday.
You can stream Pretty & Nice’s latest album off their fun web page by clicking on ‘Get Young’ http://www.prettyandnice.com/
Here’s who’s playing:
Pretty & Nice
Navigator vs. Navigator
Happy Birthday Secret Weapon
More information on the Holy Mountain venue here: www.myspace.com/holymountainvenue
Oh earth Day
Go celebrate this lovely day by going to the Comet and poisoning your liver with
|EASTERN GRIP, THE UNIVERSAL, SPANISH FOR 100,VELVET DRIVE||8pm|
Cloaked with a thick veil of smoke, Sleepy Eyes of Death deliver a tidal wave of keyboards and heavily distorted guitar, lead by disco-beat drums. Some live, some mechanized. It’s the complete aural and visual attack.
Come early to catch the primal precussions and bass laiden rhythms of Constant Lovers.