Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Evens kick off tour in Seattle at the Vera Project

Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina. (All Cat Rose photos)

By Cat and Andy

Who says you can't rock a baritone guitar?

... while sitting on a stool, in a mellow setting with a pair of lamps on stage and a drummer, who not only beautifully sings but pounds the skins pretty tough, as well.

That's The Evens for you: Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina, guitar and drums, respectively, who poured on a ton of soft to loud vocals and insightful messages into their Fugazi-esque tunes. Once you've settled in to watch this duo, you're locked in -- there's no turning back.

Last night, Washington DC's MacKaye and Farina took center stage at The Vera Project in Seattle on the first night of their seven-date West Coast tour.

An appreciative crowd was on hand, including Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder. When MacKaye started frenetically strumming his guitar at the start and bobbing his head and lurching his body back and forth, Andy told photographer Cat: "He's going off!" Vedder looked our way and nodded in approval.

Speaking of MacKaye's chair, it was almost as if his pants were sewn to it. As much as he seemed to want to rise from it and kick it away during intense moments, MacKaye clung to that chair as if he had vowed to stay faithful to it. At one point, the chair tilted forward and we thought he might fall, but he tightened his left leg to steady himself while not missing a beat.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Flag/TSOL at the Paradise in Boston (not LA)

Flag's Chuck Dukowski in Boston. (All Al Quint photos)

By Ed Nystrom

“Good evening - we are not Black Flag..........we are Flag..........”

A familiar, distinctive voice and presence said with a combination of sarcasm and disgust sprinkled with the undertone of ridiculousness – what else would you expect from Keith Morris?

The difference between the Flag show on Sept. 20 and the Black Flag show on June 13 was these guys were ready to have fun and bring it – and they did. Not that Black Flag disappointed – Ron was amazing – it was just that Ginn has a certain anti-aura that I cannot explain.

But this is a review of the Paradise show – obstructed view and all -  which had TSOL! Jack and Ron Emory – are you kidding? The unique guitar sound which cannot be duplicated – listen to “Dance With Me”.  Also – listen to the first EP – that is SoCal Punk Rock. And opening with "World War III" set the tone. They played all my favorites and Jack’s banter cannot be matched. I went with a buddy from work who lived the good old days in NY and needed to see Keith. But he kept commenting that Jack looked happy. I think he and Ron are happy to just be alive and they mentioned that – half joking…I relate…

TSOL's Jack Grisham.

“It’s not my imagination…” opened the Flag set and it was full throttle from there - Keith, Bill, Chuck, Dez with Stephen Egerton in Ginn’s spot.

Random notes: Keith rules on his and Ron’s songs – the underappreciated Dez was amazing on his and Henry’s tunes when he filled in. I have come to appreciate Dez as a frontman – "Six Pack," "American Waste," "Thirsty and Miserable," "Spray Paint" have his name all over it.

Chuck came out in his now trademark turquoise pants, yellow/black/white checkered shirt and red bucket hat. Don’t let that fool you – once the bass was strapped on, he didn’t want to stop, showing his trademark restlessness between songs.

Dez was off to the side (unfortunately without his hat) as he likes it, but stepped up as the frontman, while Keith took a break or 2, and delivered.

Dez Cadena, top, and Stephen Egerton.

Egerton mimicked the sound and brought his own style to lead guitar. Granted – Ginn’s sound is hard to match – but given the circumstances, he provided what all Black Flag songs need – and there was nothing missing!

Then there was Bill. The consensus within my small group was that Bill is legendary and you need to watch. My buddy Daniel, who has been around, raves about Bill, yet can be too cool to get excited. I knew he needed to see this and when I gave up my perch on the balcony, which had a beeline view to Bill, Daniel didn’t move – staying glued on the legend. Billy’s style has mellowed a little with age, but there were glimpses of the past where his hands got a little higher and the facial expressions matched the roar.

I needed to see this to complete the Black Flag singer experience. I had the good fortune to see Keith as the Circle Jerks frontman a few times (like at the Starwood with TSOL opening – are you kidding!), but never saw him perform "Nervous Breakdown," "Fix Me," "I’ve Had It" and "Wasted" (I was so heavy man, I lived on the strand). The journey has come full circle.

Oh yeah – let’s not forget the encore – ending with Dez singing "Damaged." It was not the "Damaged" that went on, and on, and on…for an eternity. It was a quick 3-4 minutes – but we are a little older, aren’t we?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

X and Blondie: Summer's-end delight at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA

Exene Cervenka and DJ Bonebrake of X and Clem Burke of Blondie, bottom. (All Cat Rose photos)

By Andy

X -- and Cat Rose.

For the first three songs of X's stellar set at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA last Tuesday, Cat was allowed to shoot the band up front, with nobody in her way. Hell, she was practically the fifth member of the band!

Since X is one of her favorite bands of all time, it was an honor, to say the least.

Exene Cervenka, John Doe, Billy Zoom and DJ Bonebrake blasted through their 16-song, 45-minute set covering all aspects of their career. "Your Phone's Off the Hook, But You're Not" was first and "Devil Doll" capped off the set with Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam joining the band for some back-up vocal action. (Vedder also sang on "The New World" earlier in the set.)

Doe... and then Doe with Vedder and Cervenka with the Pearl Jam man.

Zoom and Bonebrake action.

Unfortunately, for headliner Blondie, Cat was required to shoot from the soundboard for the first three songs only.

Nevertheless, Blondie was in fine form, as well, kicking off with "One Way or Another" from, let's face it, their best album "Parallel Lines," right? I wore out my 8-track tape of that album in 1978, and it was one of my mom's favorites, as well. She proudly sports a T-shirt with the album cover on it, which Cat and I bought her for Christmas a few years back!

Debbie Harry and crew hit all their high points like "Heart of Glass," "Rapture," "Call Me" and more during their 105-minute set. Her voice was a bit ragged in spots, but she held her own and kept the crowd entertained.

Original guitarist Chris Stein was there... and what can you say about drummer king Clem Burke? He simply shreds, even if he was playing behind a Plexiglas "cage" because they were recording the gig, so that keeps the instruments from bleeding into each other.

It was weird seeing Burke drum on a big stage. Lucky us have seen him obliterate the skins in a small venue (The Comet Tavern in Seattle) with Magic Christian, where we were practically touching the drum kit, and later he drummed at a medium-sized spot (El Corazon in Seattle) with Glen Matlock and Hugh Cornwell's bands.

Burke wasn't hiding behind a wall of Plexiglas during those gigs. Speaking of the Plexiglas, it could have used a round of Windex on it for that streak- and smudge-free shine.

Burke had the last say on this night, as well, after a lady fan with striped-pants jumped on stage and gave Harry a kiss on the cheek and a hug before bowing down to the singer.

"Hey, who the fuck is she?" Burke wailed as laughter erupted.

For a full review, check out this link:

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Cosmic Psychos vs. Communist Eyes: double victory

 Cosmic Psychos, top, Communist Eyes, bottom (All Cat Rose photos)

Wednesday night punk rock... why not, right?

Sure, it was a "school night" and work deadlines were looming, but when the rock is available, you gotta grab it, we say.

Our buddies in Communist Eyes and Aussie goofballs the Cosmic Psychos took center stage at Barboza in Seattle and put beer-soaked shutters over the outside world for a few hours. Knock back a few drinks and shake it loose a little bit, ya know?

Cat Rose pics:



Sunday, September 8, 2013

Bands get heavy, crowd gets buzzed at Tacoma Craft Beer Festival

Mahnhammer. (All Andy photos)

By Andy

Mahnhammer blew the PA.

Yes, the Tacoma metalists are heavy.

During the break, while the sound crew at yesterday's Tacoma Craft Beer Festival scrambled around the infield area of the Cheney Stadium baseball field and nervously plugged cords together and hoped for the best, someone in the crowd uttered the dreaded two words.

From the mouth of the buzzed guzzler: "Hammer Time!"

Red-haired singer Hembree bowed his head, shook it a few times and seemed to reply, "You did NOT just say that, dude."

So, the PA came back to life, Mahnhammer got the attendees drunk with their pounding tuneage and all was well in beerfest land again.

The Plastards

Aside from Cat sampling some tasty brews (I was the designated driver on this day), we appreciated the songs of Mahnhammer, of course, The Plastards (Tacoma old-school punk) and our buddies the South Sound Bureau Chiefs (mighty Seattle-area rock).

South Sound Bureau Chiefs.

Funny moment of the day: Following The Plastards' cover of the Misfits' "Ghouls Night Out," one 1950s greaser-type guy rushed the stage and suggested the band play some Dead Kennedys. Someone behind him cried out for Black Flag (what about FLAG? ha ha) and "Six Pack!"

Sorry, buddy, but the closest you got to that was a refill or 10 of your 5.5-ounce taster glass. Prost!