Saturday, March 17, 2018

WATAIN Bring The Swedish Black Metal To Seattle! 3/13/18


Destroyer 666

Studio Seven
Seattle, WA


Black metal has been around for more than 25 years. Some would argue it's been around longer than 30 years. Watain have been around for 20 years now. The Swedish black metal outfit, fronted by Erik Danielsson, continues to bring the pain everywhere they go.

Opening the show was the Swedish death metal band Degial. The four-piece played a chaotic death-black hybrid of metal - leaning more toward the death side of things. Watain has been picking respected underground metal acts for this tour to open various cities (Revenge and Ares Kingdom are two others notable acts). Degial's wall of metal got things going in the right direction.

Australia's Destroyer 666 are veterans of the metal underground. KK Warslut (guitar/vocals) being the lone original member. Many at Studio Seven were there to see Destroyer 666 play their brand of black n thrash n roll. No bullshit metal Destroyer 666 ripped through their set with power and might. The only downside was that the set seemed way too short (45-minutes).

With the stage bathed in red with the usual tridents all over the stage as well as animal skulls and other assorted items, Sweden's Watain took to the stage and blasted through their twelve-song set. Bathing the audience in blood from his chalice, Erik and company played a lot of songs off the newest album, "Trident Wolf Eclipse". Their sound has evolved over the years - from black metal to more of a black-death metal hybrid at times. The Studio Seven crowd was massively appreciative of the set Watain put on.

The three-band bill with no local openers was strong - no weak links. The crowd was contained to the floor of Studio Seven (the balcony was closed) so it seemed like there was a lot of fans there (compared to when the balcony is open and the crowd is both upstairs and downstairs).

Watain left their trident mark on Seattle. They're heading down the coast on this run - catch them if you dare.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks: Kelly for the credentials. Studio Seven staff for being cool about the guest list issue. Much appreciated!





Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Celebrating DAVID BOWIE - Event Review from Seattle, WA! 3/10/18

Celebrating David Bowie

Benaroya Hall
Seattle, WA


I was fortunate enough to have seen David Bowie live - once. It was many years ago so my memories of that particular show are somewhat faded. After his passing in 2016, it was with warm regard when it was announced that a group of Bowie alumni and professional musicians were going to play a few shows to celebrate the legacy of Bowie's music -spanning the vast catalog of releases.

A few shows turned into a lot of shows in 2017 and in 2018 the show was coming to North America. Dubbed "Celebrating David Bowie" the tour made a stop at Benaroya Hall (home to the Seattle Symphony) on March 10th.

Mike Garson, Gerry Leonard, Earl Slick, Carmine Rojas - all Bowie alumni were joined by vocalists/musicians Bernard Fowler, Mr. Hudson, and Joe Sumner.

When I arrived at the venue, the foyer was filled with people. I had just covered two shows there recently so I knew, based on the crowd; this would be the most popular of the three shows based on attendance.

At 8pm Mike Garson came out and received a loud applause. Having been integral in Bowie's career both at the beginning and at the end, Mike addressed the crowd before launching into, "Bring Me The Disco King" with Bernard Fowler on lead vocals. Bernard is most known for his long time work with the Rolling Stones (since 1988). Bernard handled I'd say the bulk of the vocal duties for the Seattle show (some cities special guests have augmented the lineup). He was in fine vocal form as was the band. By the time Bernard asked the crowd if they were ready for a party, the crowd leapt to their feet (well, most of them) and, "Rebel, Rebel" blasted through the hall. I was glad to see the crowd up and dancing, as I wasn't sure what to expect at Benaroya Hall. The previous two shows everyone sat for the duration of the shows. Saturday night people were up for 80% of the songs - minus the slower numbers.

Mr. Hudson took over vocals on, "Changes" as well as other songs during the night. Joe Sumner, Sting's son, debuted vocally on, "Space Oddity". Both men were great vocal choices for the tour.

Earl Slick looked and sounded the part of a rock n roll star. Even in his 60's the guy still has "it". Gerry was no slouch either on the guitar. Having played with Bowie and acted as his musical director toward the end of Bowie's career, he had the band sounding spectacular.

The main set was a total of 19 songs (!) - ending with the one two punch of, "Suffragette City" and, "All The Young Dudes".

After a very brief break, the band came on for an encore of a few more songs, starting with Gerry playing and singing, "Andy Warhol".

The evening was a perfect way for the Bowie fan to hear and relive the concert experience without David here. The intent came through as it didn't come across as a way to capitalize on his fame but truly as a celebration of his music. What a wonderful celebration indeed!

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks: Bari for the credentials - I appreciate it! The Benaroya Hall staff for solving the guest list issue in an efficient and professional manner. I would expect nothing less from such a well-known venue. Thank you!

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Walk Into Seattle - THE LONE BELLOW Gig Review! 3/9/18

The Lone Bellow

The Wild Reeds

Neptune Theater
Seattle, WA


I arrived at the Neptune Theater on Friday night feeling like it had been a long time since I had reviewed a show. This wasn't true as I had just been to a show on Monday and Tuesday but for whatever reason it felt like it had been longer. What does this all mean? It means I was ready for a night of music!

The Neptune was getting filled up when The Wild Reeds took the stage around 8:30pm. A five piece from L.A., they were a perfect compliment to The Lone Bellow - both in their musical style and their presentation. The quintet played a 40-minute set of tunes that went over well with the Seattle audience.

After a very short break, the capacity crowd roared as the lights dimmed and The Lone Bellow took the stage. Touring as a five piece, Zach, Kanene, and Brian were out in front and they just sat in the musical pocket and off to the races they went.

I am always in awe of performers that can get in the pocket so quickly at a show. Normally it takes a few numbers, sometimes even more than a few numbers to find that sweet spot, but The Lone Bellow hit it right out of the gate.

This is nothing new to their hardcore fans. The trio can harmonize and the drop of a hat and they work their tails off live, especially Zach. There are times he reminds me just a bit of James Brown and Joe Cocker in his live sensibilities - working up a sweat in an instant as he plays and engages the crowd.

Touring for their latest effort, "Walk Into A Storm", the crowd ate up every tune the band played.

Mid way through the set - the trio moved to the front of the stage left area where a single mic was placed. They ran through three songs - acoustic - with each member taking a turn at the lead vocals. This showed just how truly gifted they are as musicians. The whole theater quieted down so they could hear every note performed. I happened to be by that side of the stage, it was magical listening to them sing their hearts out.

Playing a selection of songs from all their releases, with almost 20 songs in total for the night, The Lone Bellow left everything on the stage and showed why they are such an amazing live act.

This was my first time seeing them but it for sure won't be the last. They are in the middle of their U.S. tour. Check them out when they come to your town. You'll have an amazing time just like I did!

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks: Maddie for the credentials - thank you very much!

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The Wild Reeds

Friday, March 9, 2018

Solo In Seattle - RACHAEL YAMAGATA Gig Review! 3/6/18

Rachael Yamagata

Columbia City Theater
Seattle, WA


I was fortunate enough to see Rachael Yamagata as a part of her friend Joshua Radin's summer tour last year. I was so impressed with her artistry that I knew if she ever came back to the Seattle area, I would want to see her perform again.

As fate would have it, Rachael announced a tour in December that would bring her, solo, to the Pacific Northwest again, this time to the historic Columbia City Theater in Seattle. I had previously interviewed and reviewed Vienna Teng at this very same venue so I knew it would be a perfect match for Rachael's music.

I drove down to Seattle on Tuesday evening. The theater is in an area of the south end of Seattle that has been gentrified over the years. I used to work in the south end so I am overly familiar with the area, good and bad.

Upon entering the main theater at 7pm, I came to an open empty space in front of the stage. Since I cover shows all over the city, I know that there's never a sure thing about seats at any given show, no matter what the style of music is. So, standing wasn't going to be too much of an issue for me but for other fans it certainly was. Chairs would have been a much-appreciated addition to the room (Vienna's show was set up this way so I know it can be done).

Around 8:15pm Hemming started her half hour set. A singer songwriter from Philly, PA, Hemming performed a strong set of songs with humorous banter in-between songs. She had mentioned she had played Seattle before opening for the late Chris Cornell at Benaroya Hall (home to the Seattle Symphony - arguably the best sounding hall in all of Washington state). Her set went over well with the appreciative audience.

After a very short break, the lights dimmed to blue, and Rachael appeared stage right through the curtains. The crowd applauded and vocalized their appreciation of Rachael as she made her way to the piano.

Playing in a very mood oriented atmosphere (the stage stayed bathed in blue for at least three songs before a bit of red was mixed into the lighting design as well as a montage of footage projected on the brick wall), Rachael played a set of songs that was very satisfying. She often joked about how every song she played was sad or was part of a breakup or something else that would make you sad - perhaps the truth is that through her painful experiences, the songs she writes resonates with so many people, male and female, because we've all been there, too.

She played songs from "Happenstance", "Elephants …", "Tightrope Walker", and "Chesapeake" to name a few albums. I remember personally being drawn to, "You Won't Let Me" last July so I was very happy to hear her perform it again.

Rachael switched between guitar and piano to accompany herself. Normally she tours with either a full band or at least another musician or two to round out the sound. She mentioned wanting to go out this time on her own and see if she could do it (she was open about her issues with stage fright and drinking before shows to calm her nerves) - and let me tell you folks - she more than capably did it. It was such an intimate way to see her perform that, if she's ok with it, I think her fans would love nothing more than to see her this way again - solo.

Her set finished with songs yelled out by the audience - and Rachael mentioned she would be back by the merch table to give out hugs and meet with fans.

I am always in awe of songwriters - especially those that pour such heart and emotion into their work. Rachael was inspiring on Tuesday evening in Seattle. As long as she keeps writing and performing, I know I will always be a fan. Thank you for sharing your artistry with us, Rachael.

Best regards,
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks: Peter for the credentials - I appreciate everything you did to get me approved for this show!

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

FLINT EASTWOOD Owns The Stage in Seattle! 3/5/18

Flint Eastwood

Showbox at The Market
Seattle, WA


I've been to many concerts in my lifetime both as a fan and now as a member of the media. I can't remember the last time I saw an artist get on stage and just fucking own it. That's what Detroit's Flint Eastwood did last night at the Showbox in Seattle, WA.

Touring in support of PVRIS, as well as other upcoming tours this year, and having just finished a headlining run of their own, Flint Eastwood is Jax Anderson backed by a rhythm section and backing tracks. Jax/Flint Eastwood had boundless energy and was working the crowd all through their 45-minute set. Her gestures, facial expressions, movement, and voice were a sight to behold.

Flint Eastwood was one artist that truly left everything out on the stage. A mix of indie rock with some pop mixed in, I am always in awe of artists that can bare their soul 100% - such raw emotion and artistry is something that inspires me in my own artistic pursuits.

The band played roughly nine songs in their set ending with, "Queen". Jax talked in-between songs with the crowd, humorous and honest at the same time, she again worked the crowd like an artist far beyond her years.

The crowd was definitely getting worked up and excited during her set - which is exactly the purpose of a special guest slot artist. PVRIS couldn't have picked a better second band on the bill for this run of shows. Flint Eastwood is the kind of band that will keep the headliner on their toes for sure.

Again, the band is playing a lot of shows this year on various tours and festival dates. Flint Eastwood is worth your time and investment to check out when they play your town. They are on their way up!


Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
Eclectic Arts on Instagram

Special Thanks: Candace for the credentials - I really appreciate it! Thank you!


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DIRKSCHNEIDER Back To The Roots II Tour! Seattle Date on 3/19/18!

Last year Dirkschneider was forced to cancel their show in Seattle due to the pass at Snoqualmie being closed for more than a day. But as luck would have it they have rescheduled their show for March 19th 2018 at the same venue - El Corazon!

More information is below:

Dirkschneider North America Tour 2018
Support by Elm Street

Mar. 07 - Joliet, IL @ The Forge

Mar. 09 - Milwaukee, WI @ Route 20

Mar. 10 - Sioux Falls, SD @ Bigs Bar

Mar. 11 - LaCrosse, WI @ Cavalier Theater

Mar. 12 - Minneapolis, MN @ Cabooze

Mar. 13 - Winnipeg, MB @ Park Theater

Mar. 15 - Calgary , AB @ Marquee

Mar. 16 - Edmonton, AB @ Starlite Room

Mar. 18 - Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw

Mar. 19 - Seattle, WA @ El Corazon

Mar. 21 -San Francisco, CA @ Slims

Mar. 22 - West Hollywood , CA @ Whisky A Go Go

Mar. 23 - San Diego,CA @ Brick By Brick

Mar. 24 - Tempe, AZ @ Club Red

Mar. 26 - Dallas, TX @ Trees

Mar. 27 - San Antonio , TX @ Vibes Event Center

Mar. 28 - Houston , TX @ Scout Bar

Mar. 30 - Jacksonville, FL @ Mavericks

Mar. 31 - Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Kelsey Theater

Apr. 01 - Tampa , FL @ Orpheum

Apr. 02 - Raleigh, NC @ Cats Cradle

Apr. 03 - Louisville , KY @ Trixie's

Apr. 05 - Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage

Apr. 06 - Asbury Park NJ @ Stone Pony

Apr. 07 - Worcester, MA @ The Palladium

Apr. 08 - Philadelphia, PA @ Trocadero

In addition to their still ongoing successful "Back To The Roots" Tour, DIRKSCHNEIDER will release "LIVE – Back To The Roots - Accepted!" on August 4th (EU) / August 25th(USA) as DVD/2CD, BluRay/2CD and Gtf. Triple Vinyl in two different colors.

After putting out the live double CD last year, fans were asking for a visual output, so finally, in December 2016, the show in Brno (Czech Republic) was recorded for that purpose. Besides many classics from Udo Dirkscheider's Accept era, there's a cover version of Frank Sinatra's "My Way" as bonus track on the CD and Vinyl.

The singer with the charismatic voice had his musical breakthrough with ACCEPT in the early 80s. "It’s still so much fun to sing these songs live, they are a part of my biography, but nevertheless it’s about time to turn that page. There was so much talking and speculations about me and ACCEPT, so this is kind of a musical statement from my end – which seems to be very interesting for the fans who came to these shows“.

After the triumph all over the world in 2016, including tours in Israel and Japan, summer festivals and live shows in the US, Russia and Europe, DIRKSCHNEIDER continues touring in 2017 and 2018.

From Oct 2017 on, DIRKSCHNEIDER will tour with an almost completely NEW setlist. Of course, it will still contain only Accept hits, but this time with many different songs compared to the last tours.


Saturday, March 3, 2018

KEITH HARKIN Kicks Off "In The Round" Tour In Seattle! 3/2/18

Keith Harkin

Taproot Theater
(Isaac Studio)
Seattle, WA


Eclectic Arts has been extremely busy with concert coverage this week.  Five shows in six days starting last Sunday.  This is not the norm for what I do but when I was invited to check out Keith Harkin at a venue I had not been to previously, I gladly accepted.

I wasn't the only person that walked into the coffee shop area of the Taproot Theater with a somewhat confused look on their face.  You see the theater is split into two distinct rooms - the Jewel Box Theater (where a performance was starting at 8pm) and the Isaac Theater, which is where Keith was performing.  They must be used to this by now as they had signs in the windows of the main lobby pointing toward the Isaac Studio side of things.  Ditto when I left - there were Keith Harkin and arrows pointing east signs.  There was also a mix up about the doors/start time.  I believe tickets said 7pm and I messaged the theater and was told 6:30 doors approximately and 7pm show.  Things didn't get rolling until past 7:30pm.

I arrived plenty early so I could figure out parking and such (but I do know that area due to Naked City Brewing - hi Don!).  As I entered the coffee shop area, merch was being set up with only a few fans waiting nearby.  Eventually more fans showed up - some of which knew each other (probably from going to other Keith Harkin shows and/or fan groups online).  The VIP folks went in first as they had first pick of the general admission seats.  Then everyone else was let in to snag a spot.  Keith mentioned during his show there were just over 80 people at the show on Friday night.

Performing solo, with acoustic guitar, and pedal station (including a looper that he used effectively during much of his set), Keith came out and welcomed the crowd as he sat down and got situated.  Direct, funny, and good naturedly snarky, Keith performed a set of songs that he felt like playing that night.  Even though he had a set list in front of him, it sounded like he only uses that as a guide for the set, changing things as he sees fit.

He performed a few songs that were aired for the first time Friday night.  He also has some songs that he is ready to record for his next album - whenever he finds the time as he is on the road for most of the year he said.

A cover of Van Morrison's, "Moondance" was played as well as a cover of Fleetwood Mac's, "Dreams" at the end of the set.  "Last Man Standing" was a standout track to these ears.

Keith talked in-between songs and consistently re-tuned his guitar (either the cold weather was messing with his strings or possibly he had just re-strung the guitar before the gig as the guitar wasn't staying in tune for more than a song at a time it seemed).  He's a storyteller songwriter.  He sings with passion and has quite the vocal range, too.  His guitar skills are not simply three or four chord accompaniment but a more well rounded approach, which I really appreciated.  His use of a looping station enhanced his songs when needed, as did a percussion kick drum pad he would step on to keep time and add emphasis.

I was very impressed with Keith.  He is out on the road playing to his fans and making new ones along the way.  The month of March he is out on the road in the U.S. with other tours already booked to keep him busy until the end of the year. 

Check him out when he comes to your town - and bring a friend or three.  You'll be glad you did!

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks:  Melissa for the invite - I really appreciate it!  Thank you!

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Keith Harkin