Wednesday, February 15, 2017

A Flock Of ... Steve 'n' Seagulls Fly Into Seattle! 2/12/17

Steve 'n' Seagulls
Seattle, WA
February 12, 2017
@ Sunset Tavern
7:30pm Show


Sunday arrived and I found myself back at The Sunset in Ballard (having just been there Friday night).  Finnish bluegrass band Steve 'n' Seagulls, who rose to fame through a series of videos that went viral covering rock/hard rock/metal tunes from the 80's/90's, were headlining a sold out "early" show at 7:30pm at the Sunset.  Due to demand, they added a late show at 9:30pm a few weeks back as well.

If you grew up or even if you just know the tunes they like to cover, you can't help but smile and have a good time.  I believe the first video I ever saw/heard was their bluegrass cover of Iron Maiden's, "The Trooper".  

When I first watched it, I didn't know where the band was from.  Based on how they were dressed and the bluegrass music they were playing, I wrongly assumed they were from the US.  A quick search online found that they were from Finland.

The Seattle show was the first sold out show of the tour which made the band happy.  Leevi (bass and backing vox) was surprised of the sell out, especially for a Sunday night.

The band took the stage at 7:30pm - dressed like they are in all of their videos.  Overalls, undershirts, shorts, etc. - Finnish farmer look is the best way to describe their appearance.  A Steve 'n' Seagulls show is pure fun!  If you're a stick in the mud or a curmudgeon, you have no place at SnS gig.  

Starting with a cover of Offspring's, "Self Esteem", the band sounded fantastic!  The energy from the crowd was already amped up from the first song.  Playing such songs as, "Paradise City", "Over The Hills and Far Away" (a personal favorite for me since I'm a huge Gary Moore fan), "The Trooper", "You Could Be Mine", "The Pretender", "Thunderstruck", "It’s A Long Way To The Top", "You Shook Me All Night Long", "November Rain", "Burn", "Sad But True", "Black Dog", and ending the main set with "Seek and Destroy", the band was having fun all during the set and so were the fans.

Cans of Rainier Beer was the drink of choice for the set.  The band returned to the stage to encore with, "Born To Be Wild".

Playing just under a 90 minute set, Steve 'n' Seagulls delivered what I expected - a night of good tunes and good times!

If they come to your town, definitely go check them out.  You'll leave feeling great!  Recommended!

Special Thanks:  Jon F. for the credentials.  Two for two this weekend!

It's Not Enough - Enuff Z'Nuff Gig Review! 2/11/17

Enuff Z'Nuff
(opening for Ace Frehley)
Seattle, WA
February 11, 2017
@ Neptune Theater


Saturday was night two of three sold out shows I was covering for Eclectic Arts.  From the dark pop of MUNA on Friday to the 80's band Enuff Z'Nuff on Saturday and Finnish bluegrass band Steve 'n' Seagulls on Sunday, the concert coverage was definitely living up to the Eclectic Arts moniker!

Chip Z'Nuff, bassist/vocalist, the only remaining original member from the band, took the stage at the Neptune at 8pm.  The sold out show was the last stop on the current run of gigs opening for Ace Frehley of KISS fame.

"Baby Loves You" started the set.  In the pocket from the get go, the band entertained the sold out crowd for a good 45 minutes.  Chip dressed just like he did in the 80's - a mix of Bowie, glitter, glam, and rock star, he led the band through tunes  such as, "Kiss The Clown", "In The Groove", and, "Heaven or Hell".  

Guitarists Tory and Tony played like seasoned session musicians while Daniel Hill provide the backbone via the drums, the band sounded tight and well rehearsed.

Saving the one two punch of 80's MTV hits, "Fly High Michelle" and "New Thing", Enuff Z'Nuff did a fine job raising the energy level in the Neptune on Saturday night.  

Thanking the fans and Ace Frehley, and announcing they'd be at the merch booth, the band exited the stage to much applause.

Special Thanks:  Jon F. for the credentials.  Everything went smoothly!

Official Website

About U, About Seattle - MUNA Gig Review! 2/10/17

w/Lo Moon
Seattle, WA
February 10, 2017
@ Sunset Tavern


The greater Seattle area experienced a wide flux in the weather last week.  From snow and ice on Monday and Tuesday to flood-like rain and wind Wednesday and Thursday, by Friday evening things were back to "normal" for a typical February here in Seattle.

The Sunset Tavern hosted the synth-pop group MUNA on Friday night with Lo Moon opening the show.  The show had been sold out for a few weeks prior to the gig which meant the back room of the Sunset was going to be packed.

Katie Gavin, Josette Maskin, and Naomi McPherson had just released their album earlier this month, "About U", and were on the road in support of it.  

Lo Moon started things off at 9pm with their brand of dream pop tunes.  Atmospheric and catchy, the band was a complimentary match for the tour.  I found their songs very well crafted and rich with choice musical tones.  This made Lo Moon a pleasure to listen to.  They received a warm response from the sold out crowd.  

10pm brought MUNA to the stage.  The trio backed with a live rhythm section launched straight into, "I Know A Place".  The fans, which were a wide mix of queer, straight, and other, exploded as the band blasted their brand of dark pop to the crowd.  

Katie dressed in a leather biker jacket, flanked by Josette and Naomi on each side of the stage, sang her heart out.  Such poignant lyrics about relationships gone wrong, abusive relationships, shaming, coming out/identifying as queer, and other deep subjects really brought MUNA's music to another level - well beyond simple pop.  MUNA's music is anything but.

The band was high energy, fun, skilled, and very professional.  The crowd was eating it up and rightfully so.  If you were there you couldn't help but get caught up in the music and atmosphere inside the Sunset.

MUNA played all the songs off the new album, including a new song as well (see photo of the set list I grabbed at the end of the show).  I stayed for a bit after the show but had to hit the road as I had an early day the next morning.  Otherwise, I would of loved to have talked to the band a bit after the set.  
Also, kudos to RCA for releasing the album on CD, album, and cassette tape.  I picked up the CD and cassette.  Digital and analog - good times!

MUNA are such a breath of fresh air in the music scene.  I would love nothing more than to see them consistently tour, raise their profile, and conquer each level before them.  They have the talent and live presence to, not only reach the top, but also perhaps more importantly reach the top on their own terms.

If they come to your town on this current tour, do yourself a favor and go to the show.  You'll have a hell of a good time!

Special Thanks:  Michelle @ RCA for the credentials.  Thank you for being so professional with your correspondence and how you go about your business.  

Lo Moon

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

MAYHEM - The Black Metal Legends Infiltrate Seattle! Gig Review February 2, 2017!



Black Anvil


El Corazon
Seattle, WA


It was with great anticipation that I marked February 2nd on my concert calendar as the mighty Mayhem were coming to town to perform, "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas" in it's entirety.  Rounding out the bill with Colombia/Seattle's Inquisition and New York's Black Anvil, El Corazon was going to be blackened in more ways than one.

Even the casual metal fan has heard of Mayhem, basically due to their controversial past.  The diehards know every detail about the various lineup changes, deaths, change in musical directions, and every other aspect of the band over the last three decades.  

One thing I noticed while waiting outside in the cold, there was a strange mix of fans at this show.  A couple behind me looked like they just stepped out of a Gap ad while inside the venue I overheard a couple and their young son describe Mayhem as death metal, not black metal.  I saw a few other fans inside that seemed to be there more out of curiosity than anything else.

Of course there were the old school fans, too.  Various black metal band shirts, jean vests with patches, etc. were also on display.

Exactly at 8pm, the house lights dimmed and Black Anvil took the stage.  The NY four piece, decked out in corpse paint, ripped through a 30 minute set of music that was black metal, with other influences as well.  They got a warm reception from the Seattle crowd.

Inquisition were up next and they got the pit going for the evening.  Full of atmosphere, the duo blistered through their set of more traditional black metal (which I appreciated).  The pit never let up during their set and the band sounded on fire.  Perhaps the wait (due to not being able to perform in Canada) made them anxious to perform once again on this tour.  Having relocated to Seattle many years ago, the now hometown band made a statement with their set.  

After a brief changeover, the stage was set with additional banners and props.  A message from the band was played over the PA requesting fans not use their cellphones as it affects the atmosphere.  It also said if you really needed to use your phone, to not use your flash or flashlight,  This was the first gig I can remember where such a message was played.  Some fans cheered as the whole phone thing has become annoying at some shows while other fans put their phones up as soon as the house lights went black,

Having read and known about the band's history ever since I got into black metal, I couldn't help but have all of that play through my head as the fog machines kicked into overdrive and the atmosphere on the stage went dark black and blue.    

Hellhammer took his spot behind his massive drum kit, and then the other band members took the stage decked out in hooded robes.  Attila was the last to take the stage as they launched into, "Funeral Fog".  The place went nuts as the backlit band played each of the 8 songs from the album in order. The pit was as ferocious as the music emanating from the stage.  Attila's tortured vocals added so much to the dark atmosphere that you couldn't help but be transported back to 1994.  

Instead of playing a few other songs from their catalog, Mayhem opted to make a statement by only playing "De Mysteriis..." in it's entirety.  No encore.  To the point, while full of atmosphere, they saluted the crowd, with Attila being the last to leave the stage.

The crowd left El Corazon satisfied.  I know I did.  The True Mayhem showed that they are still one of the pioneers in the realm of black metal.


Special Thanks:  Liz for the credentials and Enrique for the communication.  Thanks!