Archive for the ‘My Seattle-Related Concert Experiences’ Category

After a jam-packed couple of days, Sunday, August 12 offered a bit of respite. I slept in (till 7…hey, I’m old) and ventured off to get some breakfast. There are a couple of ballfields near where I stayed in Queen Anne, so I went over there to play guitar for a while.

Then I headed down to the waterfront to embark on a seaplane ride! I’d checked a bunch of other stuff off the life list: sea kayaking, white water rafting, bi-plane ride, hot air ballooning, skydiving, so I had to finish it off. As there are a ton of seaplanes coming and going from Lake Union, it made sense to try it here.

I scheduled an 11 o’clock flight with Kenmore Air, a company that also makes commercial flights to the islands and Canada. I headed down a boardwalk toward the plane. As I was first in line, the pilot asked me if I was alone. I said I was. “Ok, you ride up with me then.” My inner 12 year-old bristled with excitement. Riding in the cockpit with the pilot! So cool!


(Our pilot just prior to take off.)

And it only got cooler from there. The pilot told me not to touch the window or the pedals in front of me and we began to taxi on Lake Union. It seems like you have to dodge boats and stuff to take off, but not really. The flight was so smooth, as was the landing. And to see Seattle close from the air! It doesn’t get much better than that. If you haven’t done this, please add it to your own list.




After the plane ride, I decided to walk from the waterfront back to Queen Anne. It’s only about a mile or so, but it’s pretty much straight up hill. That’s ok, workout was good…made me earn my burger and beer at the Paragon on Queen Anne Ave. Excellent.

After playing some more guitar, I Ubered it over to the Conor Byrne Pub in Ballard for my Seattle open mic debut. A couple of friends stopped by which meant I couldn’t chicken out…although I thought about it. This open mic was quite different from ones I’ve experienced back home. I arrived about 6:30, with sign-ups starting at 7:30. A number of players started trickling in as it got closer to sign-up time. I had no idea how it worked so I asked a few folks sitting up front. They were super nice, telling me to talk to the host who would get me on earlier since I was a first-timer. The host, I forgot his name–sorry, was also quite gracious and handed me a small tile with a number on it. They call your number and then you sign up for a two-song slot. I went on at 8:20.

When the time came, I made my way to the stage with my baby Martin, my travel guitar. As I sat down to play, my hands were literally shaking as one of my friends in the audience was Love Battery guitarist Kevin Whitworth.

Played two songs: Led Zeppelin’s Going to California and Mad Season’s River of Deceit. I would say they were average performances but the crowd reaction was positive. I even got a “Yeah!” which is a good thing. (I’ve heard if you receive any combination of 17 “Yeahs!” and “Woos!” you get a Nick Foles bobblehead.)

Afterward, Kevin said he enjoyed my rendition of Going to California quite a bit, even more than Zeppelin’s version and suggested I record it. I was stunned, humbled and a little embarrassed. I don’t take compliments very well (I don’t take criticism very well, either.) I mean Kevin is one of my guitar heroes and for him to think I didn’t suck, well that meant a lot.

I took in several of the other musicians (everyone was very good), enjoyed a beer, and felt an occasional breeze coming in from the propped open door. It was like 60 degrees out. Absolutely delightful.

My flight would leave the next day, but I’d depart Seattle with a big smile on my face. I’d have to say this has been the best trip there ever.

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.


(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.


(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:


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.


(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.”


(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.


(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.


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.



So it was time. I almost didn’t make this trip, but something told me it had to happen. So off I ventured to Seattle for my annual musical pilgrimage. For those so interested, I decided not to rent a car on this trip. By using a combination of the Light Rail, Water Taxi, and Uber, I saved hundreds of dollars as well as the aggravation of finding parking in Seattle. (Note, if you’re considering Seattle Public Transit, invest in an ORCA card. It’s worth it.)

I got in on Friday, August 10, around noon, took the Light Rail/Uber combination to meet up with the one and only Jim Tillman, who has played bass for the legendary U-Men and Love Battery. Coincidentally, Love Battery’s classic line-up reunited for a show several days prior and played their 1992 album Dayglo in its entirety. Sorry I had to miss that one, but I had to attend my father in-law’s 85th…and I’m glad I did.

I met Jim at Uneedaburger in Fremont, a casual place that serves…well, duh. I had a Philly burger, fries, a beer, and a shake. Yeah, that’s a weird combo, but this is my vacation, not yours.


(Love Battery, Slim’s Last Chance, August 4, 2018. From left: guitarist Ron Rudzitis, Jim on bass, drummer Jason Finn, and guitarist Kevin Whitworth. Photo by Anna Mehau Parkhurst.)

(At Uneedaburger with Jim and his friend Marie.)

After saying good-bye to Jim, I headed back to an apartment I rented in Upper Queen Anne through Airbnb. Although it was a little out of the way, I enjoyed staying there. Nice, quiet, but within walking distance to Queen Anne Avenue, which has shops, restaurants, and Safeway (more on that later.)

Next on the agenda was beers with my writer friend Dave O’Leary. And where do we meet up? Well, the George & Dragon Pub in Fremont. Of course. The G&D is a British owned establishment that is Dave’s second home. It’s a casual place to hang, have a few beers, and chat with friends.


It was a beautiful evening, and I hung out with Dave, his wife Allison, and a few friends. I found myself chatting for a long time with Dave’s buddy Bruce about…music. Yeah, surprise, surprise.

I heard Pearl Jam was playing at Safeco field that evening. I didn’t have a ticket, but it’s not my thing, anyway. I like them, but I’ve become spoiled in recent years. I like having a band play right in front of me and not have to deal with enormous stadium crowds.

So I walked about a mile to the Elk’s Lodge where The Tom Price Desert Classic would be headlining, supported by the Young Pioneers and Nunes. I unfortunately missed most of Nunes set, but I did get to say hello to Chris Pugh and Scott Vanderpool of the Young Pioneers. If you don’t know who they are, they came from the Olympia scene of the early to mid-’80s which birthed K Records and Beat Happening. Chris and Scott moved to Seattle after college and formed Swallow (who played Saturday) and Chemistry Set, respectively.

I said hello to Tom Price (also in the U-Men) and Daniel House of Skin Yard. In the back, they were cooking up dogs and burgers and coupled with a beer and good music, what else is there?

I had never experienced the Pioneers before and I enjoyed them thoroughly. They kind of had a punk rock meets British post-punk vibe about them.


(The Young Pioneers. Note the little girl entering on her left holding her ears. They were kinda loud. Don’t parents provide their kids ear plugs anymore?)

Tom’s band went on next, with him announcing: “We’re the Desert Classic.” I’d seen his band a few times before and they never fail to shred.


(Ladies and Gentlemen: The Tom Price Desert Classic. Not pictured, grooving along to the TPDC, is Matt Wright, who was in Gas Huffer with Tom.)

Exhausted after a cross-country flight and long day, I Ubered back to Queen Anne and headed to bed. The next day would be a long one, starting off with breakfast with the incomparable Leighton Beezer of the Thrown Ups and then heading over to West Seattle for the Sub Pop 30 Festival.

Day 3 was pretty quiet. I checked in with Jack Endino for breakfast in Ballard. Just for kicks, I brought along the obscure Leaf Hound CD I had bought the day before to see if he recognized it. And of course he did. He gave me the Jack response, “This must be a reissue, because the copy I have is badly recorded.” I also mentioned this other similar band that came out around the same time (1970, give or take) called Bubble Puppy (I mistakenly said, “Bubble Buddy,” accidentally quoting Spongebob, and of course Jack corrected me.) I did have one thing in my pocket Jack had not heard of: a song called “I’m Rowed Out” by the Eyes, which is…in my opinion, the ultimate Mod song. Check it out. Tell me this song doesn’t put you in London in 1966.

Jack and I talked a little about Chris Cornell’s passing and the U-Men box set (Sub Pop is putting it out in November!) that he remastered. Some of the tracks used the original vinyl as a source since the master tapes couldn’t be located.

Later I was supposed to catch James Burdyshaw’s band, Sinister Six, play at a house party in Fremont (This trip should be called the Ballard-Fremont Express), but I showed up late and saw these guys instead, Julia Dream a psych three-piece (drummer not pictured) from Seoul, South Korea.


Later, I met Kevin Whitworth, guitarist extraordinaire from Love Battery, and Leighton Beezer once again, for a drink on Cap Hill. Mostly those guys reminisced about the days of old. Kevin mentioned working at a restaurant across the street in the mid-’80s. And at the time Robert Plant and Phil Collins were touring together and they stopped in for a bite to eat. Kevin was invited to sit and chat with them. One of the guys was super nice. The other a total dick. Guess which one was which?

That was pretty much it for me. A quiet day, like I said, plus I had an early flight out the next morning.

Overall, a fun trip, and I’m looking forward to next year’s visit…in the meantime, who is that mystery band that will be playing at Dawn Anderson’s benefit concert on October 5? No one’s talking.

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!


Time for the annual Seattle pilgrimage. This trip was built around attending some shows and meeting up with the usual suspects. So without further adieu…

Got in Friday afternoon, after a flight from Philly that left at 8 am ET. I met up with my good friend Dave O’Leary, a fantastic writer and cool guy at his favorite haunt: the George & Dragon Pub in Fremont. Dave introduced me to his wife Allison and some friends. He’s a regular. If you’re a friend of Dave’s, you are a friend of the George & Dragon.

That’s about all I have to say about that first night. Suffice it to say, I now know not to get off a long flight and start drinking local beers with a higher alcohol content. So, yada yada yada, I was in bed by nine.


[Mountains outside of the plane as we begin to approach Seattle.]

The next morning, I met Leighton Beezer (His name is actually John Leighton Beezer, but I call him Leighton…everyone else calls him John, so I thought I’d be original) for breakfast on Capitol Hill. As I’m walking toward the restaurant, I pass under a store overhang and hear “Polly,” the 1993 Unplugged version, coming from a speaker. I think, ‘How cool! They’re playing one of my favorite Nirvana songs as I’m strolling along in Seattle!’ Then I realize, ‘Right. That’s my wife’s ringtone.’ (Sometimes I even amaze myself how completely out of it I am at times.)

Met Leighton and a couple he’s friends with and enjoyed some breakfast at the Crystal Kitchen. Turns out he’s putting together a benefit show on October 5 for Dawn Anderson. If you’re not aware, Dawn, a favorite Seattle music writer of mine, has been battling breast cancer and funds have been extremely tight…wonderful health care system have we in this country. And I’m sure the current party in power we’ll make it better. Ok, I’m done with politics…sorry.

So this show will feature the Thrown Ups, Leighton’s old improv punk/grunge band, Jack Endino’s Earthworm, and Swallow. I had heard a rumor about a mystery band appearing at this show…but Leighton will not confirm or deny it. That’s killing me. Could it be a grunge reunion show? Could it be a major act? No one’s talking.

During breakfast, Leighton provided a heartfelt theory of what drove the grunge scene. I won’t go into details, because it’s quite personal, but suffice it to say…it was young kids who experienced serious tragedies early in their lives, and used music to move beyond those tragedies. It was pretty powerful stuff.

I had some time to kill, so I walked around Capitol Hill and stumbled into a record shop called Zions Gate Records. As I scanned the CDs (yeah, I still buy those), I saw a copy of the Groundhogs’ Thank Christ for the Bomb. Then, as I walked toward the register, I couldn’t help notice what the store was playing…it was hard blues, with a Hendrix touch, supplemented with this fantastic blues turnaround (I’m a sucker for a great turnaround.) The next song was even better.

“Great selection,” the rather young cashier commented.

“Thanks,” I responded. “By the way, what are you playing? It’s fantastic.”

“It’s a band called Leaf Hound, and the record is Growers of Mushroom.”

“Ok, I’ll take it.”

“Right on. They had one fantastic record that came out in 1970, and then they broke up. So no one knows about them.”

I listened to it in the car. Yeah, wow, that’s all I can say.


I headed back to the 11th Avenue Inn to rest up for that night’s shows featuring two great bands: Kinski and the Squirrels. More about that in Part II.


Sunday, October 8

[Update re: John Lennon tribute show discussed below. The Green Pajamas’ Joe Ross was kind enough to let me know which musicians played on the various songs. Since I am lazy, I just copied his email at the conclusion of this post.] 

Sunday would become the most intensely packed day of this trip…and most of it was cat-free.

After playing a little guitar on the Inn porch, and annoying some of the guests with an acoustic version of “Drain You,” I headed down to a bar called Buckley’s in Belltown. There, I would take in a football game, which started at 10 in the morning. That takes a little getting used to…drinking beer so early in the day.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a long-suffering Philadelphia Eagles fan, who began following the team in 1975 when it was especially horrid. I had found that a group of 40-50 Eagles fans congregates each week at Buckley’s. So, I took the light rail from Capitol Hill to Westlake Center, and walked to Belltown from there. As I neared the bar, I saw two Eagles fans in front of me, one wearing a Brent Celek jersey (tight end), and the other donning an old school Randall Cunningham uniform. They almost got hit crossing one street, so I couldn’t resist shouting, “Figures, a couple of Eagles fans causing problems.” They turned around, saw the bird logo on my shirt and smiled. New friends.

I chatted with these guys, Matt and Brian, for most of the game (which the Birds unfortunately lost, 24-23). About an hour in, I mentioned how I heard about a new Eagles-fandom documentary called “Dallas Sucks” (we fucking hate the Dallas Cowboys, by the way, and their cockroach “fans” who live in Philly but have never been to Texas.) Matt smiled and said, “Brian’s the director of that documentary.” Wow. So apparently this Eagles thing will end up on Showtime soon. Brian (last name Bennett) is working on a Sun Records piece now. Life can be so incredibly cool sometimes. (Here’s a link to a story about the project:


(Fellow Eagles fans. From left: Matt Ferguson, Brian Bennett.)

After a bit of sulking following the Eagles loss, I headed over to get my burger fix at Two Bells Tavern. Jim Tillman from the U-Men told me about that place and yeah, their burgers rule.


Following that, it was off to Fremont to meet my writer friends Dave O’Leary and Clint Brownlee. Dave has written two fantastic novels: Horse Bite and The Music Book. Both are semi-autobiographical pieces centered around Seattle music, love, and coffee. I met Dave in 2011, during my book launch, which was about a week after Horse Bite came out. Both of these guys are the among the coolest people I know. Clint is working on a novel, and I’m excited to see how that comes out.

We met up at a Fremont bar called the George & Dragon, which is a pretty authentic English pub (except they wait on you and the beer is cold), owned by someone from the UK. It’s funny…I’ve only met Clint & Dave a few times, but they feel like old friends. When we get together, it seems like no time has passed, even though it’s been over a year. I wish I could hang out with them more often. Good people.


As it started to get late, Clint had to leave, and Dave invited me back to his place to watch the first debate. Sounded great…hang out, make fun of Trump, and enjoy some homemade lasagna. That was until I walked in the door. Guess what Dave has? That’s right, a cat. So, I had to leave. Again, why oh why does everyone in Seattle own a cat?

I headed back to Capitol Hill and grabbed a tuna sub at Subway for dinner. It reminded me of why I don’t eat at Subway. It sucked. (By the way, we call them hoagies in Philly. Don’t ask for a “sub” here.) But things were about to get better.

Over in West Seattle at a small bar called the Parliament Tavern, a group of musicians gathered together to put on a tribute show to John Lennon, as Sunday was his birthday. Leading the group were two stellar long-time Seattle players: Joe Ross of the Green Pajamas and John Olufs of Red Dress. Early Green Pajamas…we’re talking 1984…were heavily influenced by the Beatles. Red Dress, well I’ve written a lot about them on this blog. They are kind of like James Brown meets Frank Zappa, played with sort of a Band aesthetic.


(Joe Ross of the Green Pajamas [second from left], and John Olufs of Red Dress, lead the John Lennon tribute show.)

The band offered up the Beatles repertoire more or less chronologically. The crowd of course loved it and sang along because: a) you’ve got some of the best musicians in Seattle playing it and b) it’s the freaking Beatles. Joining Joe and John at different times were James Burdyshaw, of the 64 Spiders and Cat Butt. James did a nice acoustic version of Dear Prudence, then went electric and killed it on Yer Blues.


(James Burdyshaw of 64 Spiders and Cat Butt performing “Dear Prudence.”)

One of the many highlights of the evening happened when the stage was cleared for Laura Weller-Vanderpool and Bonnie Hammond, also known as Capping Day. Capping Day had some wonderful songs in the late ’80s, done in sort of an Indigo Girls harmony style…none better than “Mona Lisa.” Anyway, they did “Across the Universe,” which actually brought tears to some of the fans. I was sitting with Chad Channing from Nirvana, who said it is his favorite Beatles song.


(Capping Day plays “Across the Universe.” From left: Bonnie Hammond and Laura Weller-Vanderpool.)

The band played a little past midnight. Such a wonderful way to conclude this trip…well, pretty much conclude. Monday would turn out to be a chill day before catching an early flight home on Tuesday. To repeat my Facebook post, I want to thank everyone for another fantastic Seattle visit. I look forward to seeing you again next year.


(Looking out across the water from Fremont.)

Update: List of players in John Lennon tribute show, from Joe Ross FB message.

The core band, besides me and John, was Kelly Van Camp on drums and Sean Wheatley on bass. Other guests up were: Mike Geglia and his son Mike jr., also Bill Preib did I’m only sleeping and Rachelle Write did I call your name.

Here’s the sets (37 songs) pretty much as they went down: Set one: working class hero JOE (Am) I’ll Cry Instead KELLY (G) I should have known better KELLY (G) You can’t do that KELLY (G) When I Get Home MIKE G. (C) One After 909 MIKE G. + MIKE jr. (B) A Hard Day’s Night MIKE G. + MIKE jr. (G) this boy KELLY (D) No reply JOE (C) I’m a loser JOE (G) I call your name RACHELLE (key G) I don’t want to spoil the party GAIL + JOE (G) Set two: across the universe LAURA V. + BONNIE (D) You’ve got to hide your love away KELLY (G) help JOE + KELLY + GAIL (A) I Feel Fine MIKE G. + KELLY (G) Ticket To Ride MIKE G. + KELLY (A) Nowhere Man MIKE G. + KELLY (E) Girl JOE (Cm) come together RON B. (D) in my life RON B. (A) she said she said KELLY (Bb) I’m only sleeping BILL P. (Em) rain JOE (G) I Am The Walrus JOE (A) set three: revolution JOE (A) dear Prudence JAMES B. (D) yer blues JAMES B. (E) Ballad of John and Yoko JOE (E) Don’t let me down JOE cold turkey JOE (Am) I’m so tired JOE (A) instant karma JOE (A) imagine JOE (C) I dig a pony JOHN (A) all you need is love KELLY + everyone (G) tomorrow never knows (C)
oh yeah, Ron Bailey sang Come Together and In My Life.