Monday, September 26, 2016

The Art Of Dying Perfected In Seattle - ART OF DYING Gig Review! Seattle, WA 9/20/16

Art of Dying
w/Children 18:3
Letters From The Fire
The People Now
Seattle, WA
September 20, 2016
Studio Seven


Tuesday evening brought in a tour of up and coming bands to Studio Seven, here in Seattle, WA.  Art of Dying has been slugging it out for quite a few years now, building up their audience the best way they can; touring.  Each new fan adds to the audience that will continue to support them as they make their way up the musical ladder.  Children 18:3 and Letters From The Fire are also out there staking their claim in the musical world as well.  Tours like these are great for fans that catch them.  You can say "I saw them when" sort of vibe.  Tours like these for the bands are a test of dedication and endurance.  The audience is hit and miss.  With it being a Tuesday evening, the audience in Seattle was, dare I say, a miss.

With less than 50 people in attendance, the local openers The People Now took the stage.  The three-piece (their bassist was recovering from surgery) played a very interesting mix of music for 30 minutes.  Melodic rock with an assortment of other influences, I enjoyed their set.  I think if they had the backing ($), they would like to add to the visual element of the band to create an overall assault on the senses.  

Hailing from the Bay Area, Letters From The Fire set up and blasted into their 30 minute set.  Fronted by new vocalist Alexa, Letters From The Fire got the energy up.  The small crowd that was hovering in the back moved toward the stage as their music pummeled the audience.  I was very impressed with the bands attack and Alexa's vocals.  I'm a sucker when it comes to seeing a band for the first time and finding out there's massive potential there.  Again, that mentality that I got in "on the ground floor" has always been appealing to me.  The lyric video from their first full length, "Worth The Wait", a lyrically intense ballad called, "At War" was surprisingly aired during their set.  Had I not been taking photos, I would have filmed the performance of that tune.  It is haunting in its musicality and gut wrenchingly painful lyrically.  A beautiful tune that I would love to hear the band do acoustically as a performance video.  I think there is a massive opportunity for this particular tune to reach a wide audience.  Excellent set by a powerful band.  These guys/gals are on their way up!

Third band of the night was Children 18:3.  A trio that played an interesting mix of rock and pop and heaviness at times, they were full of energy as they executed their 30-minute set.  A rocking self proclaimed Christian band, Children 18:3 kept the energy up and the audience was receptive to their music - Christian or not.  I could of done without the drum solo toward the end but overall they were a nice addition to the bill.

Lastly, Art of Dying took the stage.  The four piece is promoting their new release, "Nevermore", and there were definitely some die-hard fans in the audience.  Singing along to most, if not, all of the tunes, Art Of Dying was extremely professional sounding.  I can't tell you readers how much I enjoyed hearing the three part harmonies on some of the tunes.  Actual singing blaring through the PA was a welcome sound to these ears.  While the majority of their set (all but one tune actually) was rocked out, they did an acoustic version of "Best I Can" that I absolutely loved.  Great lyrics, melodies, and those harmonies made a believer out of me.  

All the bands on the bill were extremely friendly, down to earth, and doing what they could to spread the word about their respective bands.  The small crowd that witnessed this bill saw some bands that will be coming back to town on bigger bills, at bigger venues, and with larger audiences for sure.  I was glad I made the trek down, especially considering I was sick at the time.

A side note:  I've been covering bands non-stop this year for EA.  A word to anyone that checks out a band live:  first - thank you for going!  Live venues around this area are closing their doors.  Fans are just not going out to see shows as often as they used to.  Second - when you go, if you can, support the band(s) you liked by buying something from the merch table.  These bands are not living large by any means.  If anything, they're living like roaming vagabonds in a 15 passenger van, Sprinter, or if they're lucky, a bandwagon.  The bigger club bands may be in a tour bus but even still, they're not making money hand over fist.  They're driving hundreds of miles between shows, loading in, loading out, and driving to the next town.  The part that makes it worthwhile is the time they spend playing the music they love to an audience.  

I'm preaching to the choir for the most part but if you can afford to, and again you like what you heard from a band, pick something up from them.  The music industry isn't what it used to be.  When you have to sell 35,000 copies of your new CD just to break it even, or for bigger acts over 100,000 copies, that's a daunting and nearly impossible task these days.  

I've been trying to bring friends to each gig I cover.  Potential new fans, I feel this is one of the ways I can support up and coming bands when they hit my town.  Spreading the word through EA is another.  And, yes, buying merch is another.  I bought a CD and shirt at this gig.  I would of bought more if I could of afforded it.  But, hey, it's something and every sale helps.

If you see me at an upcoming gig, say hello!  I love talking music with fellow music junkies.  Until the next show …


Thank you to:  Tom G. for the credentials!  I'm glad I finally found another concert to cover for your firm!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

AIRBOURNE - Breakin' Outta Ballard! Gig Review - 9/16/16

w/The Wild!
Seattle, WA
September 16, 2016
Tractor Tavern

Sometimes you actually need a gig to happen.  I know that's a weird way to start off a review but in the case of Airbourne, who played this past Friday evening at the Tractor Tavern in Ballard, WA, I had such a crap week at my day job that I really needed this gig as an outlet, a release if you will.

Having been a fan of the band since "Runnin' Wild" was released almost ten years ago, this would be my first time seeing the band live.  And, considering it was at the Tractor, which is a rather intimate club, I was stoked that much more.  I was looking forward to a night of rip roaring rock n' roll from the Aussie four piece!

New Video for "Rivalry"

I landed in Ballard just before 8pm - when the doors were scheduled to open.  I meandered my way over to Ballard Avenue, and saw the line of folks outside.  AC/DC shirts, a few jean vests with patches on them, and a lot of hipsters, the downside of gigs at the Tractor if you ask me but I'm an old fart which equals old school.

Anyway, I went into the show, saw a couple of industry folks I knew, and checked out the merch area while I waited for the opener to start at 9pm.

Airbourne had a lot of merch with them - but no copies of the new album, "Breakin’ Outta Hell" which comes out this Friday the 23rd.  I've been to some shows where they will sell copies a good week before the official drop date but not this time.  No worries.  I bought a cool looking t-shirt for $20 (yeah, only $20 for any t-shirt - nice job lads on keeping things reasonable - thank you!) and finished my beer.

The opening act, The Wild! (from Canada), hit the stage for a blistering 45 minute set.  These guys were a perfect fit for the Airbourne gig.  Similar balls out rock n' roll was the order of the day with The Wild! and they delivered in spades!  Outfitted in denim biker vests with the bands name on the back and their individual (nick)names on the front, The Wild! got the crowd going - exactly what an opening act is supposed to do.  I think a lot of fans started out their set like me wondering who these guys were.  By the end of their set, everyone knew who they were.  Great stuff!

The lights dimmed at 10:15pm and the ever-familiar strains of the main theme from, "The Terminator" echoed through the club.  Bathed in red light, the band stormed the stage and kicked everyone in the face with "Ready To Rock".  Joel O'Keefe was kicking his leg up in the air and running all over the stage when he wasn't singing.  Headbanging galore from Justin Street (bass and backing vox) and David Roads (rhythm guitar and backing vox) while Ryan O'Keefe slammed the shit out of the drums, Airbourne were 100% energy from the first note of their set.

Headbanging a beer can open has become a staple at Airbourne shows and Joel wasted no time smashing one in time on his head early in the set.  He also got on a roadie's shoulders with his guitar while he played and made his way to the bar.  He got up on the bar, jammed some more, got off the bar and went behind the counter.  He poured a draft beer and then came through the crowd only to return to the stage, take a swig, and then hand the beer to a fan.  He also took a swig from a wine bottle during "Cheap Wine, Cheaper Women" but he didn't share that time.

The band played "Breakin’ Outta Hell" and "Rivalry" from the new album as well as songs from all three albums.  

Joel challenged the crowd to find a beer chugger.  A beer was thrown to a fan that got up on his buddies shoulders so he could be easily seen/chosen - he chugged that beer as best as he could (a lot of it ran down on his buddies head).  All good fun!

The band played a main set of nine songs and then encored with "Live It Up" and "Runnin Wild" - complete with extended beer can smashing and bars of a few AC/DC tunes thrown in for good measure.

The set ended around 11:30pm even though they had the stage until 11:45pm if needed.  Let me tell you - I can't remember the last time I've had as much fun at a gig as I did at Airbourne.  If you like open chord, kick you in the teeth, beer guzzling, loud ass rock n roll, you cannot miss Airbourne when they hit your town.

The tour is in Canada right now and will be dropping back down in the US around the Great Lakes and then going back and forth between a few more Canadian dates and the eastern US.

Fuckin' amazing gig - cheers to all the rock fans that showed up Friday night (sans hipsters) and cheers to Airbourne!


Thank you to:  Jon F. for the credentials!

Joel on his way back to the stage - beer in hand

Joel on the bar jammin

Monday, September 5, 2016

Until Next Time - EVER SO ANDROID Gig Report! Seattle, WA 9/2/16

Ever So Android
w/Hobosexual, Wild Powwers, and Sundries
Seattle, WA
September 2, 2016

(Ever So Android)

The local music scene here in Seattle was very hit or miss for Eclectic Arts when we first started out back in 2011.  I've always been a supporter of up and coming artists - from demo tapes on up.  I still have a shelf full of tapes and Cdr's from around the world that I cherish.  It doesn't matter what the production sounds like to me - if I can hear the potential in a band, that's all that matters.

I had received numerous Cdr's, Cd's, and tapes, among other things from many local artists - hoping to be reviewed in EA over the last five years.  Most were rather generic, some were quite honestly horrible, while a few stood out amongst the pretenders.  EA has done reviews and/or features on Tobias The Owl (under his former stage name), Arakus, The Ram Rams, Last Bastion, and a few others.

Fast forward to 2016.  I've seen a ton of local bands opening up for touring acts this year.  I've been pleasantly surprised by many.  There's a diverse array of talent here in Seattle and it's a great thing to see.  There are a few local artists I have heard of but never found the time to check out (but wanted to).

Ever So Android fit the bill.  A (former) duo that now performs as a trio (and at one point were a four piece), I knew of ESA but, again, had not taken the time to investigate what the buzz was about this band.  Friday night that all changed as I went to Neumo's to finally see what they were about.

(taken from social media)

I thought the show started at 9pm so by the time my guests and I arrived we only got to hear a song and a half of Sundries.  This is too bad as I liked what I heard from the band.  I'll have to check them out on another bill soon.


Wild Powwers was up next.  A trio performing a mix of indie based rock with other influences, they were very unique sounding and went over well with the crowd.  Another local band I would like to see more from.

(Wild Powwers)

The duo known as Hobosexual took the stage next.  Wow - this band got the energy up and definitely had their own following at the show.  Such a full sound from two guys bashing it up there on the stage, Hobosexual made an impression.  A mix of heavy guitar riffs reminiscent of early grunge inspired type work mixed in with a blues background, the songs were at times jam oriented but with that heavy accent at all times.  A good deal of feedback and fuzz when appropriate, the duo really let loose and the crowd was way into it.  Hobosexual are a band to watch for in the future.


Ever So Android took the darkly lit stage at Neumos, in support of their brand new EP release, "The Civil", the trio are just magically intense on stage.  Hope Simpson (vocals), Drew Murray (guitars and programming), and Ben Hilzinger (drums) create such an aura of power with their music that you can't help but be mesmerized by what you're hearing and seeing on stage.

It's hard to describe ESA's music as their influences are wide and scattered.  Hope's vocals have a depth of soul to them but add in a layer of punk infused attitude with rock power and alternative styling, and you get a glimmer of what I mean.  Throw in the backbone of Drew's guitar riffs and eccentric programming, along with Ben's drums crashing the party, and you have this wild mix of alternative electronic rock punk hybrid sounding music.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that ESA are fucking original!  

Playing a mix of new songs with a few older tunes, the fans that have been supporting ESA at all the local club shows around town got to see their favorite band perform at a high level before the next chapter begins.

I never would have guessed this was a local band.  Hope has a wild stage presence that is unique to herself.  I can see her inspiring legions of up and coming musicians that will cite her as an influence when their own bands get off the ground.  She is a passionate performer that rarely stands still, she will be the face of the band as they rise to the top.

Drew is equally unique in his music prowess.  For lack of a better comparison, he reminds me of Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics fame) - he's Dave to Hope's Annie Lennox, but in a more extreme way, of course.  Musically I heard tidbits of NIN, hip hop, doom in the guitar riffs, and even smatterings of U2 in terms of the musical cacophony that happened in places.  Again, a unique sound and that's damn hard to do these days.

I was fortunate enough to be guested for this show (thank you to Drew, Hope, and Ben).  Drew had mentioned that they were slammed as they were getting ready to move.  I thought that meant moving locally.  Nope.

After their set, and after buying a CD and shirt, I got a few words with Hope.  This is the band's last show this year in Seattle as they are headed south to LA.  As she said, it's time.  They're heading to LA to stake their claim in the music world.  Based on what I heard and saw on Friday, they have everything in place to take ESA to the next level.  

I wish them every success in the world and look forward to seeing them climb the musical ladder on their own terms.  

And when they make their triumphant return to Seattle next year, make sure you are there EA readers. You'll be witness to one of the best bands to come out of this area in ages.


Official Website

Official Facebook

Official Bandcamp

Official Twitter

Official Instagram


Wild Powwers