Friday, April 21, 2017

Damn It All! - THE DAMNED Gig Review! Seattle, WA 4/21/17

The Damned



April 16, 2017

@ Showbox at The Market

Seattle, WA



40 (+) years of The Damned presented itself to the ravenous crowd on Sunday night here in Seattle, WA.  The Showbox at The Market was packed with fans from all decades - waiting to partake in a piece of the forty-year Damned pie.


The current entity known as The Damned - Dave, Captain, Oxymoron, Stu, and Pinch have been kicking asses for over ten years around the globe. 


Forty years for a punk band may seem ridiculous but in actuality it's a testament to the fact that every Damned fan has known for years - they are more than a punk band!  The musicality emanating from the stage on Sunday night showed just how underrated the band has always been, never quite getting their due.

Opening up the evening was the US four piece Bleached.  Playing a 45-minute set of tunes form their several releases, the band sounded good and received a warm response from the crowd.  I found the band a mix of punk, early grunge, with a smattering of pop.  I enjoyed their set.  A good pick to open this leg of the tour.

After a brief changeover, Oxymoron hit the keys before launching into the familiar intro to, "Melody Lee".  The crowd jumped up and down, making the floor in the photo pit also go up and down.  The Damned rammed right into, "Generals" and "Disco Man".  Captain with his trademark red beret and glasses churned out some meaty riffs on his Gibson SG while Dave Vanian, sporting a cast due to a dislocated shoulder (from the Sacramento gig), was dressed in his usual style and taste that as always made him standout - the perfect contrast to Captain's antics.  His voice was in great shape and I was reminded just how many other vocalists he influenced while listening to him belt it out live. 


The band sounded like a well-oiled machine stopping only for quips from Captain in-between songs, they played songs from their very deep catalog of releases.  "Alone Again Or" to "Eloise" to "Ignite" to "Wait for The Blackout" to the one two punch of "New Rose" and "Neat Neat Neat", the crowd loved every minute of it.

Two sets of encores ending the evening with "Anti-pope", The Damned showed that they are really in a category all their own.  Captain of course mooned the audience on his way off the stage - just to remind everyone that no matter how many years the band have existed in this fucked up world, they haven't forgotten where they've come from. 


If you were there, you were treated to a damn fine evening of music!






Special Thanks:  Jo and SiouxZ for the credentials!

Friday, April 7, 2017

Happiness Is In Seattle - THE WIND AND THE WAVE Gig Review! Seattle, WA 4/2/17

The Wind and The Wave
Haley Johnsen
Allison Pierce
@ Tractor Tavern
Seattle, WA
April 2, 2017
We had another week of amazing music coverage here at Eclectic Arts.  In true EA fashion, we went from the mosh pit of the Decibel Tour w/Kreator and Obituary to the one of a kind event of Diamanda Galas to Sunday night's gig:  The Wind and The Wave!
The Austin, TX duo of Patty and Dwight (along with Nick and Scott) are out on the road on a headlining run to promote their latest album, "Happiness Is Not A Place", their sophomore effort.  I was really looking forward to hearing the band, as this would be my first time seeing them live. 
Opening the night was Allison Pierce - a (now) LA based singer/songwriter.  Formerly of The Pierces (with her sister), Allison took the stage and played a 30 minute-ish set of music.  Accompanied by Matt on guitar(s), Allison played tunes from her forthcoming Sony Masterworks release, "Year of The Rabbit". 
The crowd immediately moved to the front of the stage once Allison started her set at 8pm.  Introspective songs were the order of the day.  Allison was well received and showed she's not a newcomer to the stage.  A very pleasant way to start the evening.
Next up was Portland's own Haley Johnsen.  Known by some for her American Idol appearance, Haley performed solo, using percussion on or with her feet for some songs.  Anyone that was there would say the same thing - her voice was just amazing.  There was such a beautiful sound emanating from the stage as Haley performed her original songs (only one cover - a great rendition of Heart's "Crazy On You").  Her soulful voice cut through the Tractor and mesmerized the audience.  A memorable set.  I would love to hear Haley and Allison sing a song together - their voices are very different but I think they could work well together. 
After a brief changeover, the lights went down and The Wind and The Wave took the stage.  Starting off with, "My Mind is an Endless Sea", the foursome locked in and were off and running.  Playing a mix of songs from both albums, "From The Wreckage" and "Happiness Is Not A Place", the band sounded extremely tight. 
When you are performing your songs in every format (acoustic duo, trio, full band, etc), and you have previous experience in other bands (and Dwight's production skills), it's going to show on stage.  From Patty's emotive delivery of heartfelt lyrics to Dwight's guitar playing and harmonizing vocals, backed by Scott's guitar work and Nick's drumming, The Wind and The Wave played like seasoned professionals.
There was plenty of levity during the performance, particularly when there was a technical issue with the power which prompted Dwight to start up an acoustic song, whether Patty was ready to or not.  This will explain the "full bird" photos of Patty flipping off Dwight and others.
You could definitely tell how well Patty and Dwight know each other.  Their energy together reflected a songwriting duo, friends, that have been through a hell of a lot of shit together.  Patty gives off an aura of an individual that has many layers to her personality.  You feel like she's telling you the story of her life through the songs - bruises and all.  There is an inner strength to her as well that makes for an interesting combination. 
Dwight seems like a guy that has also been around the block in the music world.  All the ups and downs, there is no bullshit with him either.  Grateful for the success the band has received thus far, you can tell this didn't just happen overnight.  It was all the years of playing in other bands, honing the songwriting craft, learning and improving the production skill set, he is a perfect compliment to what Patty brings to the table.
The crowd was way into the band Sunday night.  All members received chants - all four of them.  I saw this happen one other time at the Tractor when Ladyhawk played there last summer.  Perhaps it's a Ballard thing?  I don't know but it was awesome.
The band finished the night with the remix version of "Ignition" from their covers release.  After much applause, the house music came on and the gig was over.  Patty and Dwight stayed at the merch table to meet any and all that wanted a moment of their time.  I was fortunate enough to get Nick's set list from Nick, and then had the band sign it (see below).
Such a talented duo and band, The Wind and The Wave did not disappoint.  They deserve every bit of success they have coming to them.  Thank you for sharing your art with us in Ballard/Seattle.     
Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
Special Thanks:  Morgan and Warren for the credentials.  Patty, Dwight, Scott, and Nick for the inspiring set.  Haley and Allison for the quality sets of music as well. 

(All Photos in Low Resolution)


The Beauty Of Silence - DIAMANDA GALAS Event Review - Seattle, WA - 3/31/17

Diamanda Galás

@ The Neptune Theater

Seattle, WA

March 31, 2017

Photo Credit: Austin Young

Where do I start with this review?  I don't think I've ever started out a concert review with that question.  The show on Friday evening was three nights ago (today being Sunday).  I am still feeling the effects of it today!  Why you may ask?  Read on.

For the first timers like myself that have never experienced a live performance by Diamanda Galás, I truly didn't know what to expect.  I thought that it was going to be one of those events that you have to experience.  I was right about that.

Videos don't do it justice (official or otherwise).  The recordings, while mesmerizing, don't do it justice either.  Seeing Diamanda Galás live is a stand-alone event. 

I told a few people the next day that I felt like I had been beat up in the best possible way.  Creatively exhausted and inspired, there was just so much to process from the performance that I found myself walking around with a head in the clouds, full of weighty memories from Friday's show.

Diamanda Galás is one of a kind.  I've been going to concerts since I was nine years old - having seen hundreds since.  I can't think of one concert that even comes close to what I experienced at her show.  And it was set up deceptively simple - a grand piano, piano bench, vocal mic on a boom stand to her left, tall bottles of water on the ground for in-between song breaks, and sheet music/lyrics on the piano. 

Very specific lights set up to capture the mood of the song and performance that was being played, with fog machines adding to the lighting mist, the rest of the stage was bare aside from a few audio monitors. 

A little after 9pm, Diamanda Galás walked out on stage to much applause at the long sold out Neptune Theater in Seattle.  Dressed in an exquisite black dress, with her hair styled (up and cascading down her back) and her make-up on point, she quietly sat at the piano bench as the theater reached epic silence awaiting the first note of music.

Starting with an operatic vocal piece accompanied on piano, "Verrá la morte e avrá i tuoi occhi" (poem Cesare Pavese, music Diamanda Galas), Diamanda Galás wasted no time building up her vocal prowess unlike what all other artists would do.  Her much heralded vocal range was just un-fucking real live.  There were many a time I was really, and I mean really, concentrating on her vocals and I was just simply dumbfounded. 

For the uninitiated trying to describe Diamanda Galás' vocals/music is pretty much futile.  My lame attempt would be to say imagine your witnessing a live play or musical.  There may be several different cast members on the stage reciting their lines/vocals, each playing a character. 

Now imagine all of those different performers are actually just one - that would be Diamanda Galás.

Every voice you hear, no matter how different it is - Diamanda Galás.

No matter what language is being spoken/sung - French, Spanish, English - it's all one person - Diamanda Galás.

Chanting or use of multi vocals at the same time like some of the Tibetan monks are known to use - is it trickery of some kind?  Nope.  It's - Diamanda Galás.

You get the idea.

I've heard over the years the whole "she's an avant-garde artiste".  I don't even think that term describes Diamanda Galás.

Diamanda Galás is just uniquely - Diamanda Galás.


The performance in Seattle was the start of a handful of rare appearances in the U.S.  Afterward there are a handful of dates in Europe.  All the shows are supporting her two new releases, "All The Way" and "At Saint Thomas the Apostle Harlem".

The hour-long performance, including two encores - "Pardon Me I've Got Someone To Kill "(Johnny Paycheck) and ending with a haunting rendition of "Let My People Go" (traditional and Diamanda Galas), ran the gamut of vocal styling’s, unorthodox song structures, and emotional weight.

I was fortunate enough to be sitting three rows from the stage so I could see Diamanda's face as she performed.  Channeling would be a good word (or the best I could come up with) to describe her live performance.  It seemed as though she were conjuring up different personalities to fit the particular song.  From old bluesman, to tortured opera singer, to storyteller warning of what is to come, I couldn't help but get completely sucked into her performance.  She had her way with me and spit me out at the end of the night - leaving me scarred for musical life.

I know the fans around me felt the same way.  You saw either people just mesmerized by her performance or people that had their eyes closed getting lost in the music emanating from the stage.

After each song, the crowd would applaud loudly while Diamanda would turn to the audience and nod with a closed mouth smile of acknowledgement. 

The first few folders of music/lyrics were casually tossed to the floor as she performed, while the remaining sheets were in what appeared to be a binder that she would flip through to get to the next song.

At one point during the performance Diamanda stopped a few bars into a song determining it wasn't what she wanted to play.  "Too dreary" …

I feel that no matter what I write here, nothing will really do the show justice.  Let me leave you with these words:

Purity in art is always sought after but seldom, if ever, reached.  Friday evening I witnessed one of those ultra rare moments when it was actually attained:

- Diamanda Galás -

With absolute respect,

Mark D. Sugiyama

Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks:  Gedney for the constant communication leading up to and before the actual event.  Adriane for the follow up and work as well. 

And to Diamanda Galás for existing in this world.