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!

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].