Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WOOL -- 'Lunar Momento, Lost Rancho Session I' / Review

From left, Al Bloch, Chris Bratton, Pete Stahl and Franz Stahl. (Courtesy photo)
By Andy

Sometimes you get lucky... Like hitting the rock'n-roll jackpot lucky.

I mean, we were stoked to be seeing L7 at the Berkeley Square one night in the early '90s, but when the opening band manned the stage, some of the musicians looked familiar.

And when the singer screamed into the mic and proceeded to go apeshit while the guitarist mightily riffed away, I thought, "Are those the dudes from Scream?"

True, but they were now the guys from WOOL, a rock-solid outfit that leveled the crowd -- at least in my mind -- that evening. There was energy galore, loudness, madness and a whole lot of melody in there, as well.

Pete Stahl, Franz Stahl (both of Scream), Al Bloch (Concrete Blonde) and Peter Moffett (Government Issue). Talk about your ideal 1-4 hitters in the batting order ... and who needs the rest of the team, really?
Pete and Franz recently with Scream in Seattle. (Andy photos)

Cat and I saw the band live a handful of times during their six-year lifespan at gigs in the Bay Area, Santa Cruz and once in Seattle. All grade-A gigs, and the records got heaps of action at our house.

And now, we've got "Lunar Momento-- Lost Rancho Session I," a dozen songs recorded in 1994 while the guys (by this time, featuring the blue-chip Chris Bratton on drums) set up shop in the California high desert at Rancho De La Luna studios.

"At best, a Rock and Roll Band is an organic unit... creating music by instinct, without pressure or expectation," Bloch writes in the LP's liner notes.

"As the sun starts to set, Desert life comes out of the shadows and proclaims itself. Night gave way to a frenzy of musical activity by us, and a host of good friends who stopped by during the whole process giving life, and relief, to our soundscapes," Franz writes.

From the guitar-blazing "Everything We Do" to Pete's wide-open melodic closer "I Am You," the guys play loose and free and raw on these demos. Like Bratton writes in the fold-out sleeve, "the range of tunes we took on was fairly wide-- as hopefully this record might demonstrate," there's everything from pop, to rock to acoustic to surf music on this LP -- and the desert sun shines down upon those who unearthed these tapes and brought us this record.

The familiar Bloch bass and drummer lock-in on "Car Crash" brings back memories of listening to the "Budspawn" EP infinite times. And Pete's vocal range always makes WOOL songs gel -- low, high, scream, whatever comes out ... it's always intense and emotional.

The stellar Bloch-written back-to-back twosome of "Wonderful" and "Father of Three" tread the pop and rockin' countryish ground, and never fret, Franz is ever-present to boost these ones --and every tune-- to the sky with his guitaristry. (Even Franz's acoustic-laden "Pockets" eventually gets the sonic treatment.)

And the guys never stray too far from their punk roots as they rip into the '77-style "Sibling Rivalry Redux" and a cover of the Nervebreakers classic, "My Girlfriend is a Rock."

I can't wait for Rancho session No. 2 to be unleashed.

(Dine Alone Records)

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Black Breath: 'Sentenced to Life' / Review

Black Breath singer Neil McAdams in top form. (Cat Rose photo)
By Andy

For Black Breath vocalist Neil McAdams, the head-banging halted for just a bit after he took a digger and smashed his head into the ground during a slam-pit frenzy at a recent gig at the Comet Tavern in Seattle.

His metal minions lifted him from the floor, he regained his composure and finished the show with his hair whipping up and down, fingers throwing the horns and razor-edged, roaring voice in fuck-the-world mode.

Much like that thrasher of a gig -- during which I was belted in the head with a flying coin from the crowd; Cat also took a spill while snapping pics -- Black Breath's latest release, "Sentenced to Life," tears into the eardrums where the band's last offering, "Heavy Breathing," left off. If you've healed since then, you'll be bloodied all over again.

On the opening track, the band is already in full-force mode as "Feast of the Damned" fades in. "Come to me my children; as a jackal to the lamb; taste the blood of heaven; as it drips down your skin," McAdams screams as the guitars slither away. Later, the drums pound and rattle like the "Evil Dead" demon trying to escape from the cellar.

Black Breath hits you hard and often, and although the 10 tracks aren't that far off course from the "Heavy Breathing" blasts, the band does vary some of the guitar parts and song structures to give the madness some fresh blood. A number of these tunes could be likened to "Tied Down"-era Negative Approach, but taken several steps and slashing guitar riffs and solos further. (We're still waiting for a cover of "Evacuate" to creep into the band's set.)

Highlights include the marching "Sentenced to Life," the sludging "Home of the Grave" and "Endless Corpse," which begins with a taste of Middle Eastern guitar riffage and builds steam until the bludgeoning steps in.

On "Doomed," the guitars, bass and drums battle it out and McAdams unleashes an epic howl to complete the onslaught.

One wonders if bassist Elijah Nelson's headband stays firm around his flowing red hair during recording these tunes, or does it depart like it often does during gigs?

Nelson in action. (Andy photos)
What is certain is that the guitaristry of Eric Wallace and Zack Muljat (since replaced by Mark Palm) is spot-on the whole way and they even throw in a twin-lead (or layered?) treat on "Obey" that wouldn't have been out of place on a classic Thin Lizzy or UFO album. Jamie Byrum's potent drumming also takes on a lead role in parts of some songs.

With the tunes clocking in between 1:57 and 5:12, the Black Breath and Kurt Ballou (Converge) produced album is a quick but deadly one. Grab it.

(Southern Lord)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

fIREHOSE's 'lowFLOWs' -- bring on the flannel and machinery

By Andy

"You make the headbutts count" -- I believe that's what Ed Crawford screams on "Up Finnegan's Ladder," song No. 2 off fIREHOSE's "Flyin' the Flannel" record from 1991.

It's a perfect statement as Mike Watt's bass and George Hurley's drums swirl around the guitarist, who journeyed from Ohio to San Pedro to get the band rollin' in 1986 after the passing of D. Boon.

fIREHOSE and the Minutemen were vital bands for me while growing up in the Los Angeles area, and whenever I hear them, I immediately think of the beach, or Olvera Street, or some dingy Hollywood club -- home.

After listening to the recently remastered "Flyin' the Flannel" and "Mr. Machinery Operator" package -- "lowFLOWs," the columbia anthology ('91-'93) -- I'm massively bummed I missed out on these records the first time around. (The live "Totem Pole" EP and a handful of extras round out the 45-song set.)

I'll say it again (and again later, I'm sure) ...I'm sorry I left the last two fIREHOSE records off my playlist during those years -- and the nearly two decades that followed. But here I am today with open (and frayed-flanneled) arms and (battered-but-pleased) ears for these gems, and the trio will never be abandoned again.

There's some full-on ragers here like "Down With the Bass," "The First Cuss" and "Rocket Sled/Fuel Tank" -- now that's a head-turner and barn-burner, for sure -- along with a plethora of familiar punchy and cracklin' fIREHOSE fare (beefed up a bit, though) like "Can't Believe," "Epoxy for Example," "O'er the Town of Pedro" and "Toolin'."

On "Formal Introduction" and "Blaze" on "Machinery," there's definitely some of producer J. Mascis' Dino Jr. stylings on tap (a good thing), and there's a touch of REM tuneage on "Witness" (a great thing), on which Crawford sings, "You're helpless, all you can do is witness."

As always, Watt and Hurley lock-in the whole time and produce stellar results, and the band invites Freda Rente into the fold to sing the shit out of "Hell-Hole." On these records, Watt is, well, Watt -- bassin' it up to the hilt; as for Hurley, he especially bangs the skins with aplomb on "Epoxy" and "More Famous Quotes" (drum-solo time!).

Although there's a few duds in the bunch (perfection? what's that?), I'm down with the fIREHOSE on these albums. Finally.

fIREHOSE live in Seattle April 7. (Cat Rose photos)

Breathing life into old reviews: Rollins, Dictators, Effigies, Auntie Christ, etc.

Some records deserve another go-round, so here we go with reviews that Andy had published in Lubricated Zine (2008) and Rock Love (1997).

Some of these might be your thing -- maybe not. Maybe you can "Spotify" a few of these songs and see if they're worthy of including in your music catalogues. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

fIREHOSE back in action: Ed Crawford's take on jamming with Mike Watt and George Hurley

Top, Ed Crawford, followed by Mike Watt and George Hurley. (All Cat Rose photos)

By Andy and Cat

The only things missing from fIREHOSE's sold-out gig in Seattle last night was Mike Watt, George Hurley and Ed Crawford wearing hard hats and carrying lunch pails.

When it was time to play, the three blue-collar guys simply climbed onstage, plugged in and quickly fired away. No messin' around, just launch into a song and see where it goes.

"Brave Captain" was first on the list, and singer/guitarist Crawford let loose at the front of the stage while bassist Watt and drummer Hurley locked in to each other in the back -- keeping eye contact throughout most of the 90-minute set.

Other standout tracks at Neumos -- the third stop on the band's 13-date reunion tour -- were "Chemical Wire," "Sometimes," "Whisperin' While Hollerin'" and the Watt twosome, "Making the Freeway" and "Me & You, Remembering."

It's been a while since we've seen fIREHOSE in action, having first dug into their songs since their inception in the spring of 1986. Andy checked out an early gig at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica and Cat attended some gigs in the LA area, as well.

Of course, living in the LA area back then, we both saw the Minutemen a bunch -- and that band's singer/guitarist D. Boon's spirit was definitely channeled through the fIREHOSE trio at the Seattle gig.
Boon, who was killed in a van accident on Dec. 22, 1985, would have turned 54 on April 1.

Minutemen and Crawford in old mags. (Cat and Andy collection)

Crawford visited with us after the gig, while Watt held court with about 20 hangers-on at the front of the stage:

*How have these shows been going?

Amazing. Absolutely way better than any of us expected.

*What's it like being back on -- seeing Mike there, seeing George? Is the chemistry just as good as it was before?

It's somewhat surreal, yes. And sublime -- oh, look at me, my fancy words. It's like we were off for a month and came back, and not 18 years. It's really bizarre... and really beautiful at the same time.
I mean, who gets to play with Mike Watt and George Hurley? I do. I'm over the moon, head over heels, just having the best time of my life.

* Why now to get fIREHOSE back going again?

It's been 26 years since we started, 18 since we quit playing. We never broke up the band, really, so it was more of a question of, 'Why not?' It wasn't, 'Why?' And we all had time, which was really the deciding factor -- because Michael's got at least two bands, plus The Stooges; I got a band in Pittsburgh coming out with a new record, Food. You've gotta schedule this stuff a year ahead of time, now, wasn't like old days. It's not like we have to live in the same town anymore. We'll get together when we need to and carry on this beautiful legacy that D. Boon left us, really.

* Obviously, the whole set's gotta be exciting to play. Are there any real high points?

Several of them (songs) are going really well. We kind of cherry-picked the set as far as what we know we could do. We know there's some stuff that would just take too long to get tight enough to play live. We did kind of take some of the easier stuff, but probably like 'If'n' feels really great to play, because that's sort of the first mini-opera that led to Mike Watt's other operas. So, that's really cool.

OF NOTE: We had given a sticker of this blog to Crawford, and when Cat went to give one to Watt, he grabbed it and signed it (as he had been signing so many things)."No, that was for you," Cat said, but okay, hell, we'll keep that.

More fIREHOSE pics:!/media/set/?set=a.335163406544414.80213.203462809714475&type=1

Batter up: fIREHOSE 'baseball cards' from our collection, circa 1986

Saturday, April 7, 2012

On Houston's Street: Talking music and life with Avengers singer, solo artist

Penelope Houston performs with the Avengers in Seattle, July 2011, (All Cat Rose photos, except where noted)
By Andy

First, there was that biting guitar riff. And then, the raging vocals leaped into action:

It's the American in me that makes me watch the blood
running out of the bullethole in his head.
It's the American in me that makes me watch TV
see on the news, listen what the man said.
He said,

Ask not what you can do for your country
what's your country been doing to you
Ask not what you can do for your country
what's your country been doing to your mind?

It was a Sunday night long ago on Rodney Bingenheimer's radio show on KROQ in Los Angeles that I first heard an Avengers song -- and 'The American in Me' and many other insightful tunes featuring the voice of Penelope Houston have stuck with me since then.

The pent-up punk energy and melody are the perfect concoction when you spin an Avengers record or if you're lucky enough to witness the band live. They kicked things off with a roar in the San Francisco area in 1977 and are still vital today.

I chatted with Houston, now age 53, by phone on March 30. She spoke volumes about her new solo album, "On Market Street," and the re-release of the classic Avengers "pink" album, backed with outtakes, rehearsal tapes and live recordings.

Magazine cover, April 1996


* How'd the show go last night (record-release party at Cafe Du Nord in SF, March 29)?

It was good. It was my first full show with this lineup of the band, so (laughs), there's always like, you're looking at the other people and they're looking at you, it's like, 'OK, yeah, we could have used a little more rehearsal, but it goes like this.' But I think it sounded good, we videotaped it and recorded it, we'll see how it all comes out. People liked it, they were all very happy-- good crowd.

* Good. What were some of the highlights there for you last night? Do the new songs translate pretty well live, do you think?

Yeah, I've had a couple people tell me that the title track, 'On Market Street,' makes them cry. I've had more than two people come up to me after this show, and then I played it just as a duet with Tom Heyman, who's the guitar player I'm taking to Europe with me, and people just said, 'Yeah, I started tearing up on that song, seeing it live.' It must be translating.

* Tell me a little bit about that song, what it means to you.

It's sort of a special song. It was the last song that got written for the record. And what really happened is, there were 10 songs for the album, and one of them was 'USSA,' which is a song from the late '80s or something dealing with Russia breaking up, kind of, in a funny way. But when preparing these 10 songs to go into the studio, Pat Johnson, who I work with, he was like, 'Wow, 'USSA' just doesn't fit in with the rest of them. Your work is so mature now, your songwriting is so strong, I don't think we should put that one on the record.' And I was like, 'Well, then I'm gonna have an album with nine songs on it, and that's not acceptable.' And he said, 'Well, write another song.' And this was about two days before we were going into the studio, and I said, 'Um, you know it takes me like a year to write a song.' (laughs) I can't write a song in a day.

So, I sat down with a poem that I'd written a couple years ago while at work and walking around the Market Street area... so I saw this guy when I was out there on Market Street, it was around Christmas, and he was walking on the street, on the sidewalk, on his knees, and he was like in connection with his god. But it seemed really harsh, like a harsh penance, like he was a penitent, you know? And he was also probably homeless, with a lot of issues, but there he was-- him and his god, and I was just like, 'Jesus Christ, I gotta write this down.' So, I wrote this poem, and the poem pretty much is translated to the first verse of the song. So, when I decided to write the song, I took that poem and the song came about really fast and pretty naturally. (She recorded it the next day acoustically without the band, and the mellotron was added later by producer Jeffrey Wood.)

Somehow, that song really touches people and it seems to have a lot of weight, and that's why I ended up using the name of that song for the album.

From 'On Market Street':

This is for the wastrel
Invisible and shamed
Down on his knees on Market Street
His sickness is unnamed
Through the rain he genuflects
His pilgrimage is real
The shoppers with their Christmas lists
Go round him where he kneels

And if your faith is true
And if your faith is strong
You'll enjoy the freedom from choosing right from wrong
And if your God is great
And if your God is good
He would live on Market Street, not in Hollywood

* Looking back over the many songs you've written, would you say that one -- it's one of your newest, obviously -- might already be one that could be a favorite, that has affected you a lot?

I think so... somebody already wrote a review of just that song and put it in the SF Weekly, which is kind of cool, with a link to the stream of the song and all of the lyrics.

I think that anyone that's been in San Francisco or lives in an urban environment, has interactions with people and they feel a certain amount of helplessness or outrage or, in some people's cases, they feel superior or whatever. And I think that song touches people on a lot of levels that have had that kind of urban experience. And melodically, it's very nice.

* Obviously getting inspiration for songs for you could be wherever you go, just walking around or doing anything else.  (Is there) a go-to place where you like to write songs in San Francisco?

(Cracks a joke about the Missouri Lounge in the East Bay, which people call the 'Misery Lounge.')

I would say my own misery, the times in my life when I've been feeling really bad or beaten down, those are the times when I'm generally the most productive as far as writing lyrics. It doesn't have to be any particular place, often I will write while I'm walking, and I think that tends to make my songs all have the same meter (laughs). A lot of the songs on this record are related to the break up of my last marriage and the crazy affair that happened afterward, just a lot of excitement and heartache, tumult and so a lot of those songs came right out of my journal, so that would be another place. And I always write in my journal while I'm in bed; I tried carrying it around with me, but it just seemed like a dangerous thing to do.

Sometimes, I'll read something in the newspaper and that will trigger thoughts that will turn into a song. It's always hard to know where it's gonna come from.


* So another thing coming up is this Avengers discography with the "pink" album being re-released. Those songs are 30-plus years old and still really reverberate with people, what's your reaction to that? Do they still speak to you after all these years?

They do. People have sort of said to me, 'Do you feel funny singing 'Teenage Rebel' and singing these songs that are old?' And generally, as soon as the music starts, I kind of, in a way, become that same person I was when I was 19. There's no hesitation at all, I completely can feel what is in each one of those songs. And I think that's one of the exciting things, as well, there's always people in the audience that are singing all the lyrics and they're so excited to hear it. They're relating, too. It's really, getting that strong reaction from the audience that is great. It's one of the things that kept me playing that set of songs for the last 7 or 8 or 9 years... and I'm always very excited when I'm doing it.

(Talk turns to one of the Avengers' last gigs in Seattle in July 2011 at Neumo's when she was battling a cold and her voice was a bit ragged. She forged through it and we in the audience helped her with the words.)

I should have just handed the microphone down to the crowd (laughs) ... Some people, they're singing along and they're in it, they're enjoying themselves.

Avengers in Seattle, with Joel Reader, top, and Greg Ingraham, below.

* Of all the songs in that catalogue, is there one that still stays with you the most?

I'd have to say there's two:

'Corpus Christi' -- I wrote back then, I guess in '79 with Brad Kent, who was the last, the second guitar player of the Avengers. I think that my writing on that, lyrically, was sort of an indication of where I was gonna go just as far as-- visually, there being a lot of imagery. It's more a song to be thought about, it's not like an anthemic, kind of 'We Are the One' thing. So that is one that I've done versions of that were not punk-rock versions. I did that for years with my various acoustic bands.

* I saw you at the Mountain View, CA, Shoreline Amphitheatre years go at one of those festivals. You did an acoustic set on the side there, and a buddy of mine, I think we might have done a little slam dancing to it...


* It worked, because I'd never seen the Avengers early on, so I was excited to hear an Avengers song along with your great solo stuff.

Oh, wow, that's funny. That was a funny show. People have been reminding me of all the sorts of crazy things -- I had an interview and this guy from one of the newspapers around here and he said, 'Yeah, the first time I saw you was at Golden Gate Fields,' which is a race track. And somehow, we did a show with Buster Poindexter, which is David Johansen, at Golden Gate Fields and that is so weird that you (the newspaper guy) were there and that was your first exposure to my music. It was one of the oddest things. And that one (with me), I think it was called Gathering of the Tribes, I think it's the only time I've ever been out there (to Shoreline Amphitheatre). (I still have the cassette I bought from her that day.)

From 'Corpus Christi':

In the beginning there was a void
except for the written word
But I was born in such foolish times
my guilt is guaranteed
now I don't want to burn in hell
John told me that I would
unless I went down to the water
my sins purged in his holy blood

see how they run, sheep to the fold
see how they fall, corpse from the cross

Magazine cover, February 1990

* So what was the other song?

The other song, I would say that has really stuck with me is the 'The American in Me.' I just think that because the subject matter of that song -- it really encapsulates my world view in a way, or the way that I like to express myself, it's really captured in that song... I'm saying things in interesting, kind of oblique ways. Like claiming that I am an American, but saying that also the American in me is like a separate entity, like the separation between us and who Americans are seen as by the rest of the world. And then also, the whole idea of how we see events as fed to us by the media.

So, I think those are both really kind of huge ideas and issues and I've always been happy about the way that song presented those two really big ideas.

* They still ring true today, too.

Yeah, it's complicated being an American.

* That's definitely a victory being able to write songs from back then that still leave a mark today.

Yeah, I think really that's why the Avengers have a longevity that we've had is because people saw something in it and still see something in it that makes them feel and makes them think and makes them jump up and down. To me, it doesn't seem cliched, it doesn't seem like, 'Oh my god,' there might have been a haircut you had in the '80s that you really regret or any photos or something. There's nothing really about the Avengers that is still any kind of like a time-capsule embarrassment or anything.


(She grew up in California, and lived in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue from third grade through high school... "beautiful Bellevue," she jokes.)

But I wasn't a Bellevue person, I was a Bellevue outcast. In fact, Bellevue might have been one of the reasons why I rebelled, because my family was not anything I could rebel from-- my mom is way more liberal than I am. We were brought up as Atheists, we didn't have anything to rebel against as far as our family, just living in this place of Bellevue-ness -- you know, the plastic suburbs, I think, encapsulated -- probably gave me some early things to run away from.

* Growing up, what were your early musical influences? How did you get into singing?

My mom. My mom was a musician and she taught singing at Cornish (College of the Arts in Seattle), so we always had singing around the house growing up. I think when I was a pre-teen or something, I started listening to Mose Allison... Incredible String Band, Pentangle and all this kind of crazy, the original psych folk of the '70s. And then when I was about 16, I went off to college in Bellingham and I remember hearing the first Patti Smith album, listening to Bryan Ferry and Lou Reed, all the pre-punk stuff that was going on out there and that was kind of the beginning of it.

And then, Jan. 1 of 1977, I arrive in San Francisco and then became exposed to the early, early punk stuff: the Ramones and the Damned and all the early stuff that was coming out.

* You guys played the infamous (Sex) Pistols show-- how was that show for you guys? Was that a memorable show for you?

(Laughs) It was the biggest show that we had ever played at that point. Also the biggest show the Pistols ever played -- the biggest audience for them.

It was kind of weird because, we'd been playing for six months in the Bay Area and also LA, and on the whole West Coast, we could think of about 500 punks, those were the people we knew, we saw in our audience. So, to get on stage and look out at 5,000 or 6,000 people, who weren't necessarily punk, but they were all throwing shit and spitting, behaving badly, was just like, 'What, who the fuck are you?' It's like, 'What is going on?' 

(She hadn't gone to big concerts...) I wasn't really versed in the behavior of crowds or anything -- it was a little terrifying. The first thing that happened to me, we walked out and I walked out toward the microphone and the spotlight and the stage is covered in spit and I started to slip and I almost lost my balance but caught it and then continued walking -- that was kind of the introduction to that set for me.

And I think you can see this arc of fear or nervousness in us that sort of goes in our set and then at some point, we kind of turn a corner and we become really forceful and we gain the confidence and then finish off the set with that. And I think it's really sort of an interesting thing to see.

(The gig -- the Pistols' final show -- was Jan. 14, 1978 at Winterland in SF... You can see the five-camera, color video at Wolfgang's Vault -- both full Avengers and Pistols sets -- at

Magazine cover, August 1985; with Dick (Subhumans UK) and Joey (DOA); Andy's band Sorex was featured, too.

* What do you do aside from doing the music?

I live in Oakland. I work at the main San Francisco Library, in the information services department. It's a wonderful job because I'm kind of a professional know-it-all, I answer the phone when people ask strange questions, and I'm also there when they come in... I always have loved libraries, so I'm really happy to be working there.

(When she's not working part time at the library, she attends SF State, where she's earning her degree in studio art with a dual emphasis on painting and printmaking.
Houston and her non-Avengers band will embark on a 16-day European tour on April 19 in Berlin.
Then, the Avengers will stage a "pink"album re-release party on May 18 in SF and hit the road on a six-day West Coast tour.
A 21-date Avengers European tour is slated for July.)

"I'm hella busy this year," she ends with a chuckle.

Cat Rose pic -- posterized.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Never Lose that Feeling -- Swervedriver rolls into Seattle, leaves crowd dazed and enthused

Swervedriver's Steve George and Adam Franklin. (All Cat Rose photos)
By Cat and Andy

About 25 pedals combined -- for both virtuoso guitarists and bassist.

A minimal drum kit, with the skins man utilizing it to the hilt.

Plenty of soaring, chilling, heavy and mellow tunes from the Swervedriver catalogue.

Yes, it was a solid Wednesday evening in Seattle at Neumo's, and well worth stepping out of the house on a work night.
Jimmy Hartridge
Comprised of original members Adam Franklin (guitar, vocals) and his partner in six-string, fuzzed-out crime Jimmy Hartridge (guitar), along with Steve George (bass) and Mikey Jones (who also drums for Franklin's other band, Bolts of Melody), the Swervies broke out songs like "Last Train to Satansville," "Never Lose that Feeling," "Sandblasted," "Rave Down," "Girl on a Motorbike" and "Duel" (out of 18) at the gig, their seventh on a 10-show US tour.

Mikey Jones, top, George and Franklin.

Local pop-rockers Stag opened, followed by Portland's Hawkeye to set the stage for Swervedriver.

Stag guitarist Ben London and vocalist Steve Mack were especially stoked for this gig. "Wednesday is the new Friday," London cracked.

Mack noted that when he worked in a record store in Camden (London) back in the early '90s, he cranked up Swervedriver's debut album again and again. As we also did back in the day from our rockin' Green House pad in San Jose.

So last night, Franklin and crew blasted away again live in Seattle.

Stag's Pete Nordstrom; and below, in order, Ben London & Steve Mack, Lincoln Barr and Rob Dent.

Franklin has the last word ...