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!

The Onlies – Part 2: The Interview

The Onlies – Part 2: The Interview

The Onlies are so nice, we wanted to write about them twice! (Three times? Maayyybeee…) Needless to say, I was floored from their show at Town Hall last Saturday. Not only are The Onlies some of the most talented teenagers I’ve ever met, they’re some of the most talented musicians I’ve ever seen, period. The only time I remembered they were in high school was during their charming stage banter which included a couple “dude”s and a comment about a zipper being undone. Love it. After their show, I connected with them (hereby referred to as TO) to learn more. Read it all below!

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

TO: We are a band called the Onlies, not the random band of the same name in Louisiana but the ones from Seattle. Of course, we are the random band to them. We happen to be teenagers who go to Garfield High School. We also happen to play folk music. This makes us teenagers who play folk music. We write songs, fiddle tunes, and interpret the songs and tunes of old traditions. Our names our Sami Braman, Leo Shannon, and Riley Calcagno. We will let you guess who is writing this of the three. [Sorry to ruin that one for you, Riles.]

Sami actually had a column in our school newspaper about sandwiches called “Sammy Sandwiches” so she is somewhat of an expert. She really enjoys sandwiches from Paseo. Riley and Leo are weird and like Cashew Butter and frozen blueberries in a sandwich. Riley used to tease Leo about this sandwich but then he tasted it. Turns out it rocks.

2. You mentioned playing together since you were two. Can you describe what your jam sessions looked like then? 

TO: A lot of Thomas the Tank Engine was involved as well as complicated made up games. Leo and Riley used to fight a lot. After 8pm was meltdown hour and each were very touchy. When we started playing music at 4, 5, and 6, we would describe the jams as primitive.

3. What got you into music?

TO: I think each of us were always enamored with music. But we have also have always been lucky enough to be around it at festivals and through our parents since we were in the womb.

4. What’s your pre-show ritual?

TO: Riley delivers the famous motivational speech from Miracle on Ice and we do a huddle. This is real. We are not making it up. Riley does simplify it a bit though. It is very inspirational.

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

TO:  We exchange a fair amount of (usually joking) dirty looks. Other than that, we are sometimes thinking of all the homework we have to, but we really try to be in the present and remember how lucky we are to be playing music. We also make a lot of inside jokes from various podcasts and tv shows. Leo likes to introduce Riley as the “wick-edly talented” Riley Calcagno after John Travolta’s introduction at the 2014 Oscars.

6. What have you been listening to recently?

TO: We listen to a lot of music. We love to listen to all sorts of trad music like Appalachian, Irish, and Cape Breton: Marcus Martin, Frankie Gavin, Buddy MacMaster and so many more. We also like modern bands like Crooked Still and the Bee Eaters (the bands of our producer Tristan Clarridge), Nickel Creek, Punch Brothers, the Decemberists, and many more. Riley and Leo also jam out to this.

7. I remember being a junior in high school and slightly terrified of post-HS life, so I hate to bring this up, but what’s the ideal plan post-graduation?

TO: We plan on going to college right now, but also all or a couple of us might take a gap year and travel the world. This might entail some touring and maybe not. We are all going to stay close friends and have lots of playing and some performing when we get to be in the same city. But, indeed, scary!

8. You discussed spirit animals; I’ve been told mine is a flying squirrel. How did you decide on river otter? Is this as individuals or The Onlies as a collective?

TO: Oooooh just found out about this spirit animal! We like it we think. If any readers have any other ideas, send ‘em along. Sami thinks Riley is squirrel.

9. What’s your dream show experience? Are you thinking something small and intimate or headlining Telluride?

TO: We love playing small and big shows. Different energy and different kinds of fun. They wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t have them both.

10. You just packed Town Hall and released an album. What’s next that you’d like people to know about?

TO: We are lucky enough to get to play with Elvis Costello at STG Doors at the Paramount. We are so excited! Coming up, we will also be back at Town Hall for the Pete Seeger Tribute, Northwest Folklife, and hopefully some more places. Keep up with us on our Facebook page and our website. WOOHOO! Recap: The Onlies are freakin’ cool and worth following. Check them out

Show Recap – Wren, March to May, If BEARS were BEES

Show Recap – Wren, March to May, If BEARS were BEES

While bossman Jeff was across the street at Thunderpussy, I posted up at Conor Byrne to check out Wren, March to May, and If BEARS were BEES Thursday night. Before I say anything else: I love that bar. It’s the perfect balance of home-y and hipster-y, and they do a great job of showcasing bands I’ve never heard before, which I love. Maybe it’s cheesy, but I love the corner stage with the chandelier and lamppost, and how in the same night you could see a duo with a harp player followed by a “folk-punk” band, but more on that later.


Wren opened the show; a singer-songwriter/poet joined by Ariana Taylor Stanley on piano and Anna Boyd on fiddle. I’m a huge fan of the genre descriptor of “alt-folk” but it felt very traditional to me. Before the show started I had made a note that apparently I’d missed the memo about beige dresses being the dress code, before I realized as they all went onstage that it was planned. Got it, my bad. I wasn’t able to catch some of Wren’s lyrics, but picked up on a lot of PacNW allusions and influences from nature. Boyd stuck out to me the most, with incredibly warm tones and beautiful fiddle lines over their simplistic melodies. It’s sometimes difficult to gage an audience’s response to a folk act, simply because there’s no set way to move and dance to folk music. Sometimes you see swaying and foot-tapping, sometimes you see a man in gold shoes dancing on his own, but what struck me the most was the lack of audience chit-chat. It’s so easy during laid-back shows where a majority of your audience is sitting, drinking, and probably with a group, to start your own conversations and forget you’re actually at a show, but that did not seem to be the case during Wren. Once you tuned in, you were captured. They played some newer songs near the end of their set that felt much more dynamic and emotional than songs from earlier, especially with the addition of more vocal harmonies. I would love to hear more vocals from the three of them, but I’m a sucker for harmonies that are interesting and enchanting, which in inevitable coming from three female folk voices.

Next up was March to May, a local duo with a – wait for it – harp player. I read about them a bit before Thursday and realized that I’d never actually seen a non-classical show with a harpist before. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect. I have no idea what the acceptable amount of harp is in a duo, but at the top of my notes was “more harp more harp more harp!”. It’s such a unique sound that feels underused in folk music. The duo performed a lovely Swell Season cover which matches their tone well, followed by The Navigator, my favorite song of their set. The beginning was engaging, their harmonies sounded stronger, and it created a more interesting melodic flow. I also appreciated that they utilized subtle but driving percussion which also helped move their songs more gracefully than is sometimes seen in folk duos. As they progress as a group with an album release in April (on a historic steam ship in Lake Union, aka the coolest), I would love to see them move away from a straight side-by-side comparison with artists like Swell Season and grow into their own style and sound. I’m personally a huge fan of covering music that isn’t your style at all and making it your own. I don’t disagree with the comparison and love the influences, but as they write and play more they definitely have the potential to stand on their own.

The final set of the evening was If BEARS were BEES which I can’t help but hear in my head as though it’s said by Dwight Schrute every time. Described as “folk-punk” (just for this show? Or all the time? Unsure…) I had no idea what to expect, but I dig it. The band is fronted by TJ Grant; the only person I’ve ever seen whistle while playing an electric guitar. They had tongue-in-cheek lyrics with moments of realness that, I felt, made them more piercing to listeners as you hear moments of emotional honesty amongst the punky storytelling. I was racking my brain trying to figure out who they reminded me of, but then realized I didn’t give a shit about that because the sound in front of me was strong enough to stand alone.

Genre-blending is definitely becoming more prevalent in our music scene, either intentionally or not. While it may seem odd at first to see some of these bands back-to-back, I think it should absolutely be embraced. As bookers become overworked and probably doing other jobs, it’s possible that the variety of artists isn’t intentional at all, just merely what was put together for that night. I think that’s a huge opportunity to find the common threads in artists, challenge artists and promoters to find a theme, and make a night out of it. While Wren, March to May, and If BEARS were BEES may be almost musical opposites, it would have brought the night to a new level to see some type of genre-crossover as a nod to each other as artists pursuing the same passion. Until then, I’ll just keep imagining a supergroup of fiddle, harp, electric guitar, and whistling.

Shows worth showing up to March 24 – 30 2015

Shows worth showing up to March 24 – 30 2015

Every Tuesday we’re hitting you where it feels good with an artisanal, bespoke, sustainable list of the shows we’re most excited to see over the next six days. To paraphrase Sun Ra, look at the music, Seattle – space is the spot. And let’s be clear – there are a WHOLE BUNCH of other really cool fucking shows that you should try to go to. These are just the shows we’d cut your pinky off to be at. JK, we totally mean our pinky…lol!

Here’s what we’ve got:

Tuesday, March 24

The Donkeys, Buxton and Tomten @ Crocodile

Bad Religion is at Showbox SoDo today too, so I won’t fault you for going there instead. But this show with Tomten and Buxton isn’t going to disappoint either. It has that local flavor I love and the $10 it costs leaves some gas in the tank for drank or, uh, well, gas for your tank.  (food emoji) + (brain emoji) = food for thought.

Wednesday, March 25

FROM INDIAN LAKES, The Soil And The Sun, Lemolo and Roman Citizen @ Vera Project

As much as I want to say #Tits is our suggested show for these 24 hours, I have to slap the # on this #sick #as #Vera show. Lemolo alone would be reason enough to go, but damn this is a grab bag of artists I love and/or want to see live and/or want to make out with and/or slap high fives with. This lineup is #tits. #seewhatididthere

Thursday, March 26

Diamonds in the Muff w/ Thunderpussy, THE FAME RIOT and The Hollers @The Tractor

Besides this being a fucking great name for a show, this is the lineup of the month. THE FAME RIOT are stupid amazing live. Their young and fucking crazy. Actually, I’ve only ever seen THE FAME RIOT live. Shit, bout to remedy that shit! Also, Thunderpussy just gave us the honor of dropping their new song, ‘Stuck’. Peep/listen.

Bonus show: Geographer, Wild Ones, De Lux @Neumos

If I could be at two shows at once, I’d be at this one too. As a live music blog in Seattle I have a “one a week” Neumos show quota to reach any way. Kidding! Were I at this one, I’d be sloppy drunk, telling Wild Ones about how I use a photo of their drum set by our friend Suzi Pratt for promoting Showgo all the time. Of course, the band the photo is really of is Wild Flag… #beer #otherstuff

Friday, March 27

Swindler @ Triple Door Musicquarium

Last night was nuts. Chill out with some (quality) Jazz. Life is short, swank it up a lil’ bruh.

Saturday, March 28

Chastity Belt, Cool Ghouls, Dude York and DJ Stacy Peck @ Highline

Fresh off SXSW, Chastity Belt is playing the kind of show you should be having wet dreams about. Dude York alone is a reason to stumble outside and trade money for entry to a show. This one has more music-making performers than even those two shining stars. Plus, after a cool-your-heels night with Jazz and cocktails, it’s time for street pizza, tall boys and headaches induced by too much shit happening to all five of your senses.

Sunday, March 29

Shaprece, ELEL and Bryan John Appleby @ Crocodile

If this were last month you wouldn’t even have a show to go to. Take advantage of today and go see some groovy ass shit*. If this show weren’t going to be so goddamn good, I would tell you about another one since I try not to give the same venue so much flattery in one week. But, when you book good shows

*”Groovy ass shit” is a technical music term coined simultaneously by Prince and Miles Davis, though they were in two separate places when they uttered it for the first time, at the same exact time.

Monday, March 30

Guster and Kishi Bashi @ Neptune Theater

Kishi Bashi. Nuff said.

Hope you have a great week, suckas!!!

*photo by Suzi Pratt

Did I miss any shows that I shouldn’t have missed? Let me know in the comments!

Shows Worth Showing Up To: March 17 – 23 2015

Shows Worth Showing Up To: March 17 – 23 2015

Today marks the beginning of a weekly No Cover tradition unlike any other. It’s like The Masters of music blogging, except we normally bash fewer balls with sticks and our pants are funnier.

From here on in, every Tuesday we’re hitting you where it feels good with an artisanal, bespoke, sustainable list of the shows we’re most excited to see over the next six days.

To paraphrase Max Power, strap yourself in, Seattle, and feel the gs.

Here’s what we’ve got:

Tuesday, March 17 (St. Patrick’s Day) (Also, today)

Talib Kewli and Immortal Technique @ The Showbox (Market version)

2004 me is freaking the fuck out rn.

Rowe, Payson, Mike Sparks, and Pat Hull @The Highdive 

The Highdive is always 7 bucks and well worth it, too. You never know quite what you’re going to get with The Highdive’s fantastically local shows, but its “delightful-surprise to risk” ratio is one of the highest in the city.

Wednesday, March 18 (day after St. Patrick’s Day AKA easy on the hard stuff day) 

GAG, Crime Desire, Big Trughk, and Smiling @ The Narwhal

Fun fact: Every unicorn has a narwhal growing inside of it. The way the narwhal gets out is the most metal thing you can imagine. So, while this show isn’t quite that metal, it is going to be rowdy, sweaty and loud as shit, so you should go.

Thursday, March 19 (just a Thursday) 

Black Apples, Black Whales, Wooden Indian Burial Ground, and Cabana @ The Sunset

The Sunset was a super cool venue before it’s facelift at the end of 2014. Now it’s so cool it was a nerd in high school. If you’re the kind of guy or gal that routinely misses the opener, this show is not the show to be routine. Break free and see all of these bands, especially Cabana, who we interviewed last summer before they played CHBP.  They aren’t just good at music, they’re good at interviews as well.

Marmalade featuring RA Scion @ The Highdive

Um, go to this if you like good musicianship, dope rappers and dancing. If you don’t like those things, or fun, then go do something else.

Friday, March 20

Kingdom Pine, Keaton Collective, and Pan Pan @ The Columbia City Theater

You’ve had a long week. Blues/Country/Folk may not be a genre, but it does sound like a great way to cap off a week of paper cuts, ball-busting managers and the never-ending ass ache that is whatever is making your ass ache. The week is over – get drunk after another exceptional CCT show and wake up in Seward Park with one shoe and a tricycle that doesn’t belong to you. At least, that’s what I’d do.

Pickwick, Bardo, and DJ Leopold Bloom @ The Sunset (FREE) 

You were just in Ballard, at The Sunset yesterday. But, damn this spectacled boy singing for Pickwick sure can belt ’em out. Oh, yeah. And tickets were free.

Saturday, March 21

Rabbits, Deep Creeps, Health Problems, and Mysterious Skin @ Black Lodge

No link, that shit’s a secret.

Sunday, March 22

So Pitted, Gang Cult, Prison, and Bod @ Chop Suey

Chop Suey back! Sundays are $5 shows and $1 beers. Dag. It’s tough to beat what Kelly O. from the Stranger said about this one, “Go see some excellent local bands and drink your own weight in beer!”, but I’d like to offer one alteration, or “hack”, as the douche bags say: Try drinking someone else’s weight in beer. You’ll make a new friend since you have to ask a stranger how much they weigh and you can challenge yourself by targeting someone larger than you.

Monday, March 23

Hydroplane @ Seamonster Lounge

Good electronic to set you up for a killer fucking week. After all, this show is just the beginning…

*photo of Black Apples by Robertsen Ashman

Did we miss any shows that we shouldn’t have missed? Let us know in the comments!

Four Feet Higher with Hot Buttered Rum

Four Feet Higher with Hot Buttered Rum

Erik from Hot Buttered Rum talked to us about their upcoming show, adventures with Buster, and standing on his toes. HBR will be at Tractor Tavern on Friday (3/7/2015), which you should most definitely go to. Read it all below!

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

Erik: Erik Yates, from the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m a big fan of a good BLT with avocado.

2. What got you into music?

Erik: Piano lessons as a kid. I was hooked.

3. What’s your pre-show ritual?

Erik: I try and pick for a half hour after load-in and spend a few minutes getting my voice warmed up about an hour before we play. I’m also fairly religious about my caffeine.

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

Erik: I often go a whole set without realizing I’ve been standing on my toes just about the entire time. I just get excited.

5. What have you been listening to recently?

Erik:  Jason Isbell’s most recent album, Southeastern, also Front Country and Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys, some of my favorite new string bands. Mike Auldridge, Jerry Douglas and Rob Ickes just put out a triple-dobro record calledThree Bells that’s been on heavy rotation, especially since it was Auldridge’s final album. Beautiful instrumentals, and I love hearing their three different approaches.

6. As a fellow owner of a vehicle named “Buster”, I have to ask: can you share your favorite Buster-related story?

Erik: Probably the last Buster story there is to tell: Mile Marker 105, Westbound on Hwy 80 through Nevada, Buster throws a rod through the engine pan and is no more. It kind of sucked ass. The band was saved by small-town largesse, given rides by Sheriff Loveless from Lovelock, NV (you can’t make a name like that up – no one’d believe it) and dinner by the cowpoke cafe while I rode with the tow man down to Fallon, bumping heavy metal and discussing life philosophies to pass the lonely miles.

7. Besides your Tractor show, is there anything you have coming up that you’d like people to know about? 

Erik: We’ll be down at Mississippi Studios in Portland the night after the Tractor play. Summer’s filling up nicely – we’re working on a benefit show for the SEVA foundation with Edward Sharpe, Steve Kimock and the California Honeydrops on May 17 in Santa Rosa that should be every kind of awesome. It’s a blessing to be able to give back a little, and to do so in the company of such fine musicians.

RePETE, that’s Hot Buttered Rum Friday (3/7/15) at the Tractor Tavern. Get a Rainier and get on out there 🙂