TBT / First Show Ever

TBT / First Show Ever

By the time I was in tenth grade I was a full-blown Hip-Hop head.

Later I would fall fully into Seattle’s Hip-Hop scene, but it all started with the likes of Outkast, Cypress Hill and Nas. I can remember the moment I was told Cypress Hill was uncool and what I listened to next. I remember the first Method Man verse and where I was when I heard my first Too Short song (third grade at my friend Aaron’s house, pillaging his older brother’s CD collection).

Regardless of genre, for me, live is the best way to experience a favorite song, album or artist. I’m 31 now and I’d guess that out of all of the live shows I’ve been to, the vast majority have been Hip-Hop shows. My love for live shows started at the Paramount with my first ever live show. I was probably 9 or 10 and the one, the only, Weird Al Yankovic came to town.

At the time, pretty much the only thing I listened to was Weird Al and Michael Jackson (the latter I discovered only because of the former’s affinity for spoofing his work). I’m not sure if my parents would’ve taken me to an MJ concert if I’d asked, but I only had eyes for Weird Al. That wasn’t just a show, it was my first show. It was a big deal. In my young, confused mind, it was the biggest entertainment event of, well, ever.

I went to the show with my father and my buddy Mitch. I imagine my father lost a few rounds of Rock-Paper-Scissors with the other parental units but Mitch and I didn’t care. All we cared about is whether Al would open with Just Eat It or Like a Surgeon. I remember being briefly in awe of the Paramount and quickly switching focus to bothering my father about when Al would grace the stage.

Eventually the great one came out, performed his greatest hits, changed costumes between 50 and 75 times, and left again – presumably back to his place just to the right of God up in heaven. (Imagine my disappointment years later when I saw Nas live and he had exactly zero costume switch ups).

I don’t believe that my love of live shows was solidified at the Weird Al show, but the seeds were certainly sown there. No matter your opinion of Al’s craft, he can entertain the pants off of a crowd. I remember very little, but the passion, wardrobe changes and energy Al brought to the performance stayed with me forever.

What was the first show you ever attended? Let us know in the comments!

All Star Opera @ Barboza

All Star Opera @ Barboza

Hey, you. Go to this show.Really, it will be good. How do I know?

…Full disclosure, one of All Star Opera’s members is my brother. Also, these dudes are great live. Tons of energy. They love performing and they are getting really good at it.

This Thursday (tomorrow!) ASO and their live band will crash Barboza’s intimate stage and you should be there because it’s a great venue for getting to know a new band or a budding group better.

Even if I didn’t know anyone in ASO I would recommend this show for three reasons:

1. Every song they release is better than their last. (Proof here.)

2. Ever live show they play is better than their last. (Proof Thursday at Barboza.)

3. What the hell else do you have better to do? (A good hip hop group with a live band is hard to beat on a Thursday night.)

As always, find me at the show and say what’s up and I’ll buy you a drink. See you tomorrow!

Welcome Home, KEXP

Welcome Home, KEXP

There was a time, not that long ago, when I thought KEXP’s new home was a frivolous idea. Writing that sentence is pretty much blasphemy in this town, I know.

Not that long ago, my thinking was that KEXP’s home on Dexter wasn’t good enough, but a state-of-the-art facility costing at least $15 million (!) was a swing way too far the other way.

The issue is not that I don’t like KEXP or support it. It has it’s flaws (we all do) but there is nothing else like it in this world. The role is does and can have in music and the future of music is beyond tremendous. I do support KEXP. I love it. KEXP is the reason I got into local Hip-Hop (Street Sounds, specifically).

At the same time, musicians are struggling to sell records and get people out to shows. Those same supporters should help chip in $15 million so KEXP can have a fancy-ass new home? What about the artists?

My reasoning was damn simple: Do you guys need all that square footage, a shower room, a sleeping room and all the other bells and whistles? All this shit is great for those mid to big name touring acts that already have your favor, but how will all of this shine and perks and spending help local other up and coming bands? Will you guys remember the community when you’re sitting in your shiny new palace?

But that was then. Recently, I’ve changed my opinion.

Last week when the KEXP family marched to the new facility I realized that they are the community. KEXP has gotten big and elements of it are suffering from the size and prestige, but these people are as much a part of this city’s musical community as anyone else. And they flippin’ love KEXP. They are falling out of their chairs they are so excited for the new home. They can barely speak they’re so excited.

And it’s not just that, it’s also this: For all of it’s other worts, no one else is doing anything close to what KEXP does for emergent artists. They care. They want musicians to succeed. The support and love they’re poured into local, regional, national and global music communities cannot be questioned. KEXP gives a damn about music, and know they have the home to match their heart and vision.

KEXP’s role in music goes beyond entertainment. It even goes beyond art. To me, the most important thing they stand for is community and Seattle’s is better off now that they have a physical space worthy of their ambition.

So, here’s to KEXP, music, art, community and all of the people who have helped create this beautiful anomaly and keep it running. I love that my son will know KEXP not as a radio station but as a crusader for art, music and community.

Thank you KEXP and here’s to a magnificent 2016 and beyond [clinking beer mugs emoji].

Four Feet Higher with Laney Jones

Four Feet Higher with Laney Jones

I’ve been asking the same intro question for our Four Feet Higher interviews for over a year, but Laney, who’s in town with her band, Laney Jones and the Spirits , gave the best answer yet.

Check out our conversation (well, interrogation, really) and go see Laney’s Spirits Tuesday (June 30) with Pierce & Thompson, at The Triple Door!


1.Who are you? Where are you from? What’s your favorite sandwich?

Laney Jones: My name is Laney Jones and I am from Mt Dora, Florida which is near Orlando. My favorite sandwich is pizza.

2. What do you like most / least about performing live?

Laney Jones: I really like performing in front of people and having a good time, but sometimes I wish I could “call a mulligan” on a song if it could have gone better. It’s not like in the studio where you can just do another take! 

3. What’s your pre-show ritual?

Laney Jones: I usually try to meet everyone at the venue and remember everyone’s names. Sometimes I write them down on my hand. I think making that conscious effort to get to know everyone you’re working with can make a strange place feel like home. I’m also very OCD about making my cables and pedals on stage very orderly. I like it like that.

4. Is there anything you think about or do while you’re playing a show that would surprise the audience if they knew?

Laney Jones: I’m wearing fake nails to make my banjo sound better.

5. Do you have a favorite recent performance so far? If so, what made it stand out?

Laney Jones: I recently had a great time playing in Wichita, Kansas. There are some wonderful people in that town who stepped up to host us during our time there. We had two shows in one day for their annual River Festival. I had never been to Wichita before, but by the second set I felt like I knew everyone in the crowd. People kept buying me drinks! It was awesome.

6. Besides the Triple Door Musiquarium show, do you have anything you have
coming up that you’d like people to know about?

Laney Jones: My latest single “Work It Out” is available on iTunes, Spotify as well as my website. I’ll be playing a lot of new songs at the show that are more rock and roll than my first two albums. Bring your dancing shoes!



Laney is going to rock your socks off Tuesday, 6/30. But, if you miss her out of fear of losing your socks or any other odd-ball reason, get to know her better on the book of faces and the digital birdcage.

Abi Grace and the Feral Folk – ‘Hollow’ (Premier)

Abi Grace and the Feral Folk – ‘Hollow’ (Premier)

We’re excited to share brand new music from Abi Grace and the Feral Folk!

Abi Grace recently assembled her Feral Folk, transforming her one-woman wolf pack into a multi-wolf wolf pack. And they will be performing the second day of the “Liberation Through Music and Art Festival” at Uncle Sam’s American Bar and Grill in Spanaway, WA  on June 6th. They’re the first act – doors open at 4pm and you have an hour to down cool beers on what will likely be a hot day before Abi and her folk get on stage at 5. Check out the Liberation Fest for live music and art vendors all both June 5th & 6th.

Abi makes music that is fun, deep and emotional all at once. And Hollow is one of my favorite songs at the moment, and I can’t wait to see where she goes with her new project. We’re proud not just to be the first to share Hollow with you, but to also bring you a little closer to Abi in the form of this rad-ass interview:


1. Who are you? What’s your favorite sandwich?

Abi Grace: Welp, I’m always working on that first question myself, but the basics are: My name is Abi Grace. I’m an overthinking sort, raised by two liberal post modern former ministers. Most of my early exposure to music and poetry was through hymns and the bible, but when I finally was exposed to alternative rock music with all it’s minor chords and melancholy. I was hooked. My favorite sandwich is the Rueben. There’s this place called Spooky’s in the Dalles in Oregon that’s kind on the way to Portland if you’re driving from Yakima. They make a really good one.

2. Until recently, you’ve been primarily a solo artist. What are some of the challenges and some of the high-points in putting a band together?

Abi Grace: The ultimate challenge was finding a band in the first place. I was never really TRYING to be a solo-artist, I’m just the kind of person that says “I’ll just do it myself” if I can’t find people to join me, and then making the best go of it I could.  Finding good bandmates is hard. Not only do they have to gel musically, they have to be people you can spend lots of time with and they have to bring something different to the music then I bring. I tried to start a band for a long time and then I just lucked into these guys.  I started dating Jeff (our bassist), he introduced me to Pat (our drummer) we started out thinking they would just basically be a studio band for me but we were having so much fun and worked so well together we decided to give it a real go.  The wonderful thing about being in a band vs doing solo stuff is the music developers in new ways I wouldn’t have imagined on my own. Everyone brings in different ideas and experiences, and then we kind of play with them until we find something that works. That’s part of why I picked the name Abi Grace and the Feral Folk, the music really isn’t your domestic stock folk-rock.

3. Doing almost anything in front of a room full of people terrifies me. Assuming you like it, what do you like most about getting up on stage and performing for people?

Abi Grace: The thing I  strive for every time I get out of stage is to help people slip out of their every day routines. I want them to leave a show feeling like they were temporarily transported to some place wonderful. I love the challenge of competing with everything else that goes on in a bar: the flirting, the the phones, the games on T.V. and putting together a stage show that kind of triggers that “this is something special and I should pay attention” bell in people’s heads.  If people come up to me with that flush, excited, “I haven’t felt like this in a while” look on their face when we get off stage I know I did good.

4. What’s your pre-show ritual?

Abi Grace: Well there’s vocal warm ups, and pre-set and blah blah blah, but that isn’t really a ritual. I think for me it’s when I’m getting into costume for the show. Since my goal is to be a doorway to the fantastical, I try to put together costumes for each show that kind of blur the lines of normalcy a bit, like not straight out dressing in full renaissance fair garb but trying to dress up enough that people who didn’t know about the show would see me and think “Oh, she kind of reminds me of a wood nymph” or “She looks like she could be in an urban fantasy novel”  There is something about the process of visually changing that lets me become someone boldly passionate and playfully wicked.

5. Is there anything you think about or do while you’re playing a show that would surprise the audience if they knew?

Abi Grace: Every song has these cinematic day dreams I can get kind of lost in, and if on occasion I forget a line or I repeat a verse that’s usually why. I’ll be imagining whatever it was that first inspired the song and then I’ll kind of jolt back to reality like “oh yeah, I’m in front of a lot of people….where was I again”  Also, I’m generally watching people more then I think they realize. I’m looking for the instigators. The people that only need a little gentle shove to start dancing or singing along or anything else that heightens the fun. Bands often talk about how hard it is to get people to dance in Seattle, but I think a big part of it is Seattle’s got a lot of shy people- if you can find the folks that love to have a good time and who are comfortable with a certain amount of attention on them they kind of open that door for everyone else. I try to be that person whenever I go to someone else’s show as well.
6. You’re a Ziibra artist. What do you like the most about Ziibra?

Abi Grace: I love that with Ziibra instead of helping out with one specific project my subscribers get to be a part of EVERYTHING I put out- new songs, music videos, merchandise. Admittedly I’m still getting the hang of having subscribers (specifically having regular deadlines to put things up. I loose track of what day of the month it is often) but I always have new songs and demos and stories to share and it’s nice to have people to share them with.

7. Besides your upcoming show, do you have anything you’re working on that you’d like to share with folks?

Abi Grace: We’ve got a lot brewing right now, but the big upcoming things – there will be a music video for the solo version of my song Sharp Teeth coming out soon. I don’t have a set date, but…soon. The band will be touring to Montana and back in August.  Also, we have a tumbler page, (feralasfolk.tumbler.com) where we photo-journal our hiijinks in practice and beyond.


Check out Abi’s new project June 6th in Spanaway and her new song, Hollow, below!

Thunderpussy – ‘Stuck’ (Premier)

Thunderpussy – ‘Stuck’ (Premier)

We’re super duper excited to share ‘Stuck‘, the new song from our secret/not secret crush Thunderpussywith you all!

No one’s ever heard this before, so today is the day all the things your kindergarten teacher told you come true: You are special. Just like that one snowflake.

Whitney and Molly  wrote a few words about the history behind ‘Stuck’: There’s a ton of emotion, ups and downs between the moment they started working on this song and now, when it’s finally getting to you guys.

Listen for yourself below and make sure to Join Thunderpussy in celebrating Whitney’s 30th Birthday March 26th at The Tractor with THE FAME RIOT and The Hollers.


 
(supremely, painfully beautiful) art by Amanda Manitach 

Whitney: 

‘Stuck’ was one of the first songs we had. I came up with the riff a couple years before when Lena and I played together for the first time in an old basement practice space in Wallingford. Later, when I was working it out for Thunderpussy and playing it for Molly, I realized it had no chorus and Molly and I pieced one together on the spot. I think because it was written so early, like pre-band, it was always a frustrating song to work on. We didn’t finish writing it until the moment we recorded it and I’m glad it’s finally done!

Molly:

Yeah this definitely was a song that took more time than most. But sometimes with more time comes more meaning. It wasn’t until last September under some sad circumstances that the lyrics really came together. Whitney and I were actually driving to Idaho to see my Father who was struggling with Dementia. It felt like we were racing time to get there. While we were driving Whitney would plug in her guitar through the stereo and we would work on songs. I think it was her way of keeping my brain in a creative place vs a sad, stuck spot. Sadly, we were an hour away when I got the phone call that my Dad passed away and my body, my mind just let go. It was an overwhelming surge of emotions. This song definitely stems from that experience and the days with my dad when he seemed a bit lost. It’s about looking into someone’s eyes and knowing, absolutely knowing that there is more going on behind those eyes than we know. Our bodies, our skin are just vessels and everything inside is a plethora of movement waiting or trying to break free. But sometimes that vessel won’t allow it. Thus you’re stuck.


A big thank you to Thunderpussy for working with us during the recording and release process for ‘Stuck’ – it’s been an honor and we hope love ‘Stuck’ as much as we do!