Seattle Music Pilgrimage 2018: Day 2

Posted: August 16, 2018 in My Seattle-Related Concert Experiences

So I woke up in Queen Anne on Saturday, August 11, excited for the day ahead. The owner of the Airbnb unit recommended a nearby bakery for breakfast sandwiches and pastries. So I ventured over there only to find a) they didn’t have any breakfast sandwiches; b) the pastries sucked; c) the coffee sucked; and d) it was ridiculously overpriced. After that I made a mental note to get future breakfasts from Safeway, which was a couple blocks away from the bakery. (Did that on Sunday…got two fantastic donuts, a coffee from the in-store Starbucks…which was also very good…the total was 5 bucks, versus 13 from the rip-off bakery.) But I’m pretty sure you didn’t come here to read about my choice of breakfast places.

Afterward, I Ubered over to Capitol Hill to meet the Thrown Ups’ Leighton Beezer for breakfast (yes, a second breakfast…fuck it, I love breakfast) at the Coastal Kitchen. Leighton, as always, was brilliant and entertaining. I can’t remember exactly what we talked about. Well, music, but I can’t remember specifics. Oh yeah, we disagreed on the gutsiest call Eagles coach Doug Pederson made in the Super Bowl. He went Philly Special…fourth and 1 at the goal line near the end of the first half. I would rank that second. I think the ballsiest call came later when New England briefly took the lead. The Eagles had a fourth and 1 at the Patriot 40. The coach’s manual tells you to punt, force the quarterback to start at his own 10 and let your defense do it’s job. But Pederson had a feel for the game. He knew his defense wasn’t stopping Tom Brady in the second half whether he started from the 10 or the 40. So he went for it with Nick Foles tossing a pass to Zach Ertz to extend the drive. The Eagles ended up scoring a touchdown on that drive, so yeah I’m going with that one.

So far we’ve talked about breakfast and football, so you’re probably wondering, “Isn’t this a music blog?”

Yeah, it is. And Saturday was the biggest day of the Sub Pop 30th Anniversary weekend with a day-long outside party planned in West Seattle featuring a ton of bands. In particular I wanted to see the Fastbacks and Mudhoney (shocking, I know.)

The party would take place along Alki Beach in West Seattle. If you are familiar with the geography of the region, you’d realize you have to cross Puget Sound to get to West Seattle from Seattle. You can drive over a bridge or take a bus, but the issue was the crowds. The streets of West Seattle would be shut down and about 25,000 people would show up. So both Sub Pop and King County suggested taking the Water Taxi over, which I did.

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(Folks queuing up for the Water Taxi to West Seattle at Seattle’s Pier 52)

That was pretty cool…about a 15 minute crossing to West Seattle. After we disembarked, there were free shuttles which took you to the festival, which was massive. Four stages: Loser, Harsh Realm, Flippity-Flop, and Punky (kind of disappointed there was no Lamestain stage.) I do have to tip my cap to Sub Pop. They did this thing right. Free admission, plenty of places to grab something to eat. You could get drinks, too–places were of course packed–but drinks were attainable, and there were plenty of porta-potties.

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(View of Seattle from the Water Taxi)

I was supposed to meet my writer friend Dave O’Leary at the Cactus, which as it turns out, was at the other end of the festival. It’s just that I kept running into people I knew…James Burdyshaw of Cat Butt, Daniel House of Skin Yard, Chad Channing of Nirvana and his girlfriend Justine Jeanotte, formerly of Before Cars and Paundy. As a result, I was quite late meeting Dave, which prompted this FB message exchange:

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Since I’m apparently Mister Popularity in Seattle (not really, but I keep telling myself that), we eventually made our way down to Dave at the Cactus to have a few drinks before the Fastbacks were to take the stage around 5. I’m chatting with Dave, Chad, Justine and some others and we found ourselves making small talk with strangers near the bar…”Where are you from?” kind of thing. One lady, who was from Ohio, turned to Chad and said, “And where are you from?” I wanted to grab her and say, “Where do you think? He’s from here! He was in Nirvana for crying out loud!” But Chad being Chad, he was totally gracious about it.

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(Kayaks on West Seattle’s Alki Beach, viewing Seattle’s waterfront)

Here’s the thing, though, that I discovered about the Sub Pop event. It seemed that a lot of people there were casual fans. I saw a lot of folks sporting Pearl Jam t-shirts, since PJ had just played two shows at Safeco Field.  I noticed that when we went over to check out the Fastbacks. There were so many people I felt like I was at a stadium show. I remember seeing them in West Seattle for their reunion gig in 2011 and I think I stood about 20 feet from the band. So that kind of sucked. I mean, it was fun and all, but I got the feeling that many of the fans were there to just take everything in as in, “Hey we came to see Pearl Jam. There’s this music festival over the weekend. Let’s take the kids over and make a day of it.”

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(Somewhere back there are the Fastbacks)

Mudhoney was also packed, but I made my way forward to listen to a few songs and get some decent pictures. I expected the crowd to go nuts during “Touch Me I’m Sick,” and some of them did, but a lot were looking at their phones. Seriously, folks? It doesn’t get much better than Mudhoney playing Touch Me I’m Sick live.

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(Fucking Mudhoney!)

I did get some compliments on my “Oh Lordy I hope there are tapes” t-shirt…one coming from a Sub Pop employee. So that was a hit.

After that show and some more drinks, we headed over to West Five, a bar where Matt Lukin (ex-Mudhoney) hangs out and Bruce Pavitt (ex-Sub Pop) was supposed to DJ. We decided to walk, which was quite the adventure and significantly longer than we had planned…maybe 2 1/2 miles, most of it uphill.

Had some dinner, said a brief hello to Matt and then headed out before we could chat with Bruce. There were more shows to be had…the un-official after party at the Parliament Tavern, also in West Seattle, featuring Swallow supported by the Derelicts and Blood Circus. This was another two mile trip. The walk itself became amusing. I think sometimes one has to appreciate the journey. See below for what I’m talking about.

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When we finally arrived at the Parliament, Blood Circus was just setting up. Ok, most of you know I’m a fan of this kind of music, but I couldn’t take Blood Circus. Perhaps it was the sheer exhaustion setting in. I don’t know. But it seemed like every song wasn’t actually a song, but rather a mediocre riff played at high volume repeated ad infinitum with a solo maybe thrown in for good measure. I couldn’t take much of it and we ended up bailing mid-way through the set. I bumped into Jack Endino on the way out. He said, “You can’t be leaving,” to which I responded, “We have to go.”

Despite some of the travails, the day was a blast overall. Sunday would turn out to be considerably quieter, but just as much fun.

 

 

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