Seattle, 2017: Lordy, I hope there are tapes (Day 2, Part II)

Posted: September 6, 2017 in My Seattle-Related Concert Experiences

So here’s the deal: I built this trip around two bands I desperately wanted to see: Kinski and the Squirrels. If you know anything about me, you’ve heard me rave about Kinski, so I won’t go into more of that here. I’ve seen them twice, once in Seattle at the Victory Lounge on Eastlake, and once in my hometown of Philadelphia at Johnny Brenda’s in Fishtown. The Squirrels? Well, if you haven’t read my book, I wrote a special addendum on that band. Read it and you’ll understand why I had to go see them…especially since they don’t play very often with their classic line-up (this time featuring singer and front man Rob Morgan, guitarists Joey Kline and Jimmy “J.T.” Thomas.)

The Squirrels had booked a show at the High Dive in Fremont on Saturday September 2. Kinski was playing as part of the “Northwest Psych Fest” at the Sunset in Ballard the previous evening. ‘Perfect,’ I thought. ‘I’ll book this trip and enjoy these two great bands over the holiday weekend.’

Then the Psych Fest organizers moved Kinski to Saturday night, at 10 pm, the exact same time the Squirrels were set to go on. So what is one to do? Simple. Figure out a way to see both bands.

I started at the High Dive at 9, saying hi to Rob and then catching the opening act…Mark Nichols performing as a one man band. Mark was…well, I came up with a new word to describe him: fantastical. Among other things, he played an inspired version of Aaron Copeland’s “Hoedown,” as part of tribute to the recently departed Keith Emerson and Greg Lake (ELP covered the piece on their 1972 Trilogy album.)


[Mark Nichols doing his thing.]


[Mark and the Rob Morgan performing together. Notice the spectator on the floor with a beer by his side.]

After about a half hour of Mark (and yeah, I had the “why don’t more people with off-the-charts talent like Mark become famous” moment…see Bruce Pavitt’s comment he told my class once, “There is no justice in the music industry.”) I ubered it over to the Sunset, about a 10 minute ride away from the High Dive.

Perfect timing. Kinski was just setting up. Plus I got to say hello to Five and Zinnia Su, who are fans and supporters of the band. I also got to say hi to Mia Katherine Boyle, front lady/singer/guitarist of MKB Ultra, and who happens to be Jack Endino’s girlfriend.

I picked a spot about two feet in front of guitarist Matthew Reid-Schwartz and braced myself. (It’s just so cool to see one of your favorite bands play right in front of you.) They immediately launched into “Detroit Trickle Down,” the opening track from 2015’s 7 (or 8), with guitarist Chris Martin playing a massively distorting slide. The band offered up some more selections off that album as well as older stuff…one of my favorites being “The Narcotic Comforts of the Status Quo” from a split EP they did with Sandrider.


[The fantastical (see, there’s that word again) Kinski. From left: Chris Martin, Lucy Atkinson, Matthew Reid-Schwartz, Barrett Wilke.]

Not much else that I can say about Kinski than I’ve already said, other than this: they were 45 minutes of pure, unadulterated sonic bliss.

As soon as Kinski was done, I ran out the door, and ordered up a car to take me back to the High Dive. Fortunately, I was able to catch the last half hour of the Squirrels’ set. One of the highlights (and this is so typical Squirrels) was a mash-up of Aretha Franklin’s “Freeway of Love” with AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” the final result being…you may have guessed: “Freeway to Hell.”


[The Squirrels. From left: Joey Kline, Rob Morgan, Bill Ray, Keith Lowe, J.T., and Bruce Laven on keyboards (not pictured.)]

After the show, I said quick congrats to Rob, J.T., and Joey, and then headed back to Capitol Hill with a smile on my face.

What a night. What a freaking night!


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