Tuesday, February 27, 2018

KD LANG Kicks Off Ingenue Redux In Seattle! 2/26/18

kd lang

Slava Grigoryan

The Moore Theatre
Seattle, WA


The Moore Theatre was the setting for the official kick off of kd lang's U.S. leg of the "Ingénue' Redux" tour. Celebrating the (just over) 25-year release of the crossover-hit album, kd lang was in Seattle last night to perform the album in its entirety at the Moore Theatre.

Opening was Slava Grigoryan - a classically trained guitarist. He will be joined by his brother later on in the tour as he had stayed home for the birth of his son (which happened four hours earlier in the day Slava told the audience). Slava performed solo classical and original pieces to the appreciative audience.

After a twenty-minute turnover, the opening sounds of, "Save Me" filled the air. The audience roared and the red curtains were opened to unveil kd lang and her band of top notch musicians.

Right out of the gate kd performed all ten songs in sequence, with only a minor chat about such things after a few numbers. This meant the audience knew what songs were coming up next if you knew the album. "Wash Me Clean" sounded particularly brilliant as did , "Tear's Of Love's Recall". Of course the biggest reaction came when the opening guitar chords of, "Constant Craving" permeated the Moore Theatre. The ever-familiar accordion melody and the band were off to the races.

It is rare when an artist can sing an album in the same key from their career that is twenty-five years old. Many would need to adjust the key (take it down a half step or whole step) or do vocal saving measures such as dropping an octave when the high notes approach. Not kd lang. It was truly remarkable to hear her hit the same notes she did back in 1992! She phrased some melodies differently but that has to do with the live performance, not the ability of the performer.

I think kd could of left the stage at that point and called that a main set judging by the audience's reaction. It was such a treat to hear the album performed in its entirety last night. But, wait, there's more!

After introducing the highly talented band, kd launched into a mix of originals and cover tunes. "Honey and Smoke", "I Dream of Spring", Joni Mitchell's, "Help Me", Neil Young penned, "Helpless", and then ending with the crowd favorite, "Hallelujah". Kd mentioned that she had performed the last three songs in front of their songwriters and the songwriter that she was most concerned about was - Joni Mitchell.

"Hallelujah" was performed with a renewed sense of emotion, complete with phrasing that came across new and fresh. The audience leapt to their feet as the last note rang out. Kd and the band waved their temporary goodbyes as the main set was over.

Appearing for an encore, the audience was treated to, "Sing It Loud", "I Confess", and closer, "Sleeping Alone". Kd thanked Seattle for all the support over the years as she received a standing ovation from the enthusiastic Seattle crowd.

What an amazing performance by one of the best vocalists/artists this world has ever produced. Many shows are already sold out but for those cities that aren't, grab your tickets now. This is truly one tour you do not want to miss.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks: Lauren for the credentials - I appreciate everything you did to get me this show. It meant the world to be covering one of my personal favorite artists of all time. If someone had told me back when I first saw kd lang perform in 1996 at the old Seattle Opera House that in 2018 I would be covering one of her shows, I would of laughed myself silly. It was such a surreal and proud moment for me last night being at the Moore Theatre for Eclectic Arts. Again, my sincere thanks for everything!

(click on any photo for a larger/better image)

An Evening with CARLA BRUNI! Seattle, WA 2/25/18

Carla Bruni

Benaroya Hall

Seattle, WA



It's not very often that the former first lady of France comes to Seattle to perform songs from her career but Sunday evening that's exactly what Carla Bruni did.

Some of you may be a bit confused if you're not familiar with Carla's career. She is a songwriter and musician, who married the (then) president of France. She is known worldwide for her songs that are performed in French, Italian, and English.

Benaroya Hall was the perfect setting for the event. Home to the Seattle Symphony, Benaroya showcased the nuances of every song on Sunday night.

As the lights dimmed, candles were lit across the stage as Carla's four-piece backing band started. Carla started the vocals off stage and then walked from the back to the front to polite applause. Dressed in black, Carla sang, "Le Chemin Des Rivieres" with a sensual and pleasing vocal performance.

She endeared herself to the audience by being well spoken and humorous at the same time. The audience was treated to four cover songs from her last album, "French Touch". "Crazy", "Enjoy The Silence", "Perfect Day", and, "Jimmy Jazz" were all performed with class and style.

Carla then went into her back catalogue and performed originals as well as a few vintage cover tunes from the 40's such as, "Please Don't Kiss Me".

"Stand By Your Man", an interesting arrangement of, "Highway To Hell", and then set closer, "Miss You" rounded out the main set.

The audience cheered for an encore with which Carla obliged. She performed two more songs before thanking Seattle for a wonderful evening.

On paper it would be easy to dismiss Carla Bruni - based on her background as a top model and as a former first lady. But don't dare do it - if you took those two aspects away from her, you would still have a fantastic artist and songwriter that performed at a very high level in arguably Seattle's best live music venue.

Sunday was an incredible evening of music and a rare opportunity to witness the artistry of Carla Bruni. I hope she returns sooner rather than later to the Emerald City.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

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

(click on any photo for a larger/better quality image)

Wednesday, February 21, 2018




“One of the talks of SXSW, Flint Eastwood sounded absolutely incredible.” - Huw Stephens, BBC Radio1

“Musically grandiose and empowering” - Billboard

Flint Eastwood Tour Dates:

* supporting Pvris % with Misterwives ^ with Flor

Wed 02.21 - Providence, RI @ The Strand *

Thu 02.22 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE *

Fri 02.23 - Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues *

Sat 02.24 - Grand Rapids, MI @ Intersection *

Mon 02.26 - St Louis, MO @ Delmar Hall *

Tue 02.27 - Milwaukee, WI @ The Rave/Eagles Club *

Wed 02.28 - Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theatre *

Fri 03.02 - Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre *

Sat 03.03 - Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot *

Mon 03.05 - Seattle, WA @ The Showbox *

Tue 03.06 - Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre *

Wed 03.07 - Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom *

Fri 03.09 - San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore *

Sat 03.10 - Las Vegas, NV @ House of Blues *

Sun 03.11 - Tucson, AZ @ Rialto Theatre *

Tue 03.13 - Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theatre *

Thu 03.15 - San Antonio, TX @ Aztec Theatre *

Wed 4.25 - Tulsa, OK - Cain's Ballroom %

Thu 4.26 - Springfield, MO - The Outland Ballroom

Fri 4.27 - Columbia, MO - The Blue Note %

Sat 4.28 - Madison, WI - Majestic Theatre %

Mon 4.30 - Des Moines, IA - Wooly's %

Tue 5.1 - Omaha, NE - Slowdown %

Thu 5.3 - Dekalb, IL - The House Cafe ^

Tue 5.8 - Asheville, NC - The Orange Peel %

Wed 5.9 - Raleigh, NC - Lincoln Theatre %

Fri 5.11 - Columbus, OH - Newport Music Hall %

Wed 5.16 - Portland, ME - State Theatre %

Fri 5.18 - Baltimore, MD - Rams Head Live %

06.14-17 - Dover, DE @ Firefly Festival

Photo credit: Nicole Shackelford

An Evening With JAKE SHIMABUKURO - Event Review from Seattle, WA 2/19/18

Jake Shimabukuro

Benaroya Hall
Seattle, WA


On Monday the 19th of February, also President's Day in the U.S., the master of the ukulele, Jake Shimabukuro, performed at the prestigious Benaroya Hall in Seattle, WA.  Jake, along side Dave Preston on guitar and vocals and Nolan Verner on bass, arrived to a blistering cold snap by Seattle standards.  But the cold outside couldn't stop the heat inside as the trio performed a two-hour set of music to a very appreciative audience.

Having seen Jake live two times previously, I knew what I was in for, or so I thought.  Any musician like myself recognizes other musical talent when they see/hear it.  It doesn't matter what genre or what instrument, musicians recognize other quality musicians.  Jake has firmly planted himself into a category that is really his to lead in any way he sees fit.  Yes, there are other ukulele players out there but Jake's rise to fame has him squarely in front.  And knowing Jake, after spending some time with him during my interview, he would be the first person to scoff at such a notion.  As an incredibly kind and gracious person, he would never proclaim himself the best or even a master of the ukulele - even if his fan base would say otherwise.  Humble and accommodating to his fans - Jake is where many musicians wish they were - in a position to explore new musical and artistic forms of expression.

At 7:30pm, Dave and Nolan walked out on to the bare Benaroya Hall stage to polite applause.  Moments later Jake walked out to loud applause as the trio prepared to perform.  Having started his solo career in 2001, Jake has a lengthy catalog of releases to pull songs from.  His latest being, "The Nashville Sessions", which came out in 2016, the set list spanned much, if not all, of Jake's career.

The audience was treated to a few new tunes as well from Jake's forthcoming record - due to be released later this year.  The title track (I believe it was titled, "A Great Day" but don't quote me on that) was an extremely melodic composition - one that instantly stood out to me. 

The beauty and challenge of performing in a venue like Benaroya Hall (home to the Seattle Symphony) is that the acoustics are so dialed in, as a musician you have to be on your game, as it will shine a spotlight on any mistakes you make on stage.  There really is nothing to cover up a mistake.  Either you perform at a high level or you don't.  Jake, Dave, and Nolan were spot on the entire night.  There is definitely a musical chemistry between the three of them, Dave being the newest musician to join Jake on tour.  The interplay and improvisation at times was magical to behold.  You can't really manufacture that - it happens when certain musicians work with other musicians.  But, once you find it - whoa - the results are amazing.

Jake spoke between songs politely and humorously at times, engaging himself to the audience as he always does.  From the mixture of unpleasant tones to the untrained ears of, "Tritone" to the visualistic and cinematic sounds of, "Go For Broke" (dedicated to the men and women of the armed forces, particularly those Japanese Americans that fought during WWII), Jake and the guys played each tune effortlessly, like the professionals that they are.

"Piano Forte", a haunting rendition of, "Hallelujah", as well as a lengthy jam on, "Dragon", complete with looping kept the set moving at an enjoyable pace.

Nolan and Dave exited the stage mid set or so to leave Jake to perform a few songs solo - which was reminiscent of his earlier tours when it was always Jake solo.  This was a nice change of focus and it only reinforced just how good Jake is on the ukulele.

Of course there were a few known cover tunes worked into the set including, "Eleanor Rigby" early in the set, "Free Falling", and the main set ender of Jake's arguably most known cover, "While My Guitar Gently Weeps". 

The set wasn't over yet as the band returned to perform the (now) audience sing-a-long cover of Queen's, "Bohemian Rhapsody".  One fan near me tried to hit that high note before the meaty metallic Brian May guitar riff kicks in - "meeeeeeeeee" - and failed miserably.  I laughed good naturedly as did others around me, as it was clear everyone was having a great time. This ended the show on a high note as the set truly flew by.  The two hours felt more like an hour - and that my dear readers is always a sign of an amazing event.

This was by far the best of the three performances I had seen from Jake.  Partially due to the set list and the length of the show.  Partially due to the venue as Benaroya Hall is a spectacular venue for a show of this kind.  But most of all due to the musicians on the stage - Jake, with Dave and Nolan, is a keeper.  I am eager and intrigued to see where this trio goes next with their musical endeavors.  Hopefully they continue to work together and create stellar music and performances like we were privileged to witness in Seattle on Monday evening.

Jake Shimabukuro started everyone's week off right in Seattle with his (and his bands) performance.  If you were there, then you're already smiling and nodding your head in agreement with that statement.  If you weren't, then perhaps next time you'll be able to make the show and experience an artist at the top of his game - and still climbing.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts


Special Thanks:  Nichole for the credentials - I sincerely appreciate it!  Your professionalism and warm approach to getting everything set up highly reflects on how you handle your business as well as the artists you represent like Jake.  Thank you so much!

Special Thanks:  To Jake, Dave, Nolan, and crew - I have never been more welcomed to cover a show than I was on Monday night.  It was much like experiencing the best customer service you can get at a favorite store.  I was taken aback by your openness, kindness, and all around good natured-ness before the show. 

Welcoming me backstage while I interrupted your meal, offering me food more than once, asking me about myself and showing an interest in why I was there, talking shop about guitarists (who knew Zakk Wylde - who was performing on the same night at the Showbox SoDo - and Dave played together on Zakk's acoustic tour), watching videos snippets of a great guitar player on Jake's phone after the interview was over, etc.  I don't overlook or forget those types of things.  It showed how classy you guys are but more importantly it showed how great you are as people. 

Again, thank you for everything.  Safe travels on the rest of the tour and I hope to catch up with you all the next time you're in Seattle.  All the best!

Eclectic Arts Video Interview with Jake!
(please turn up the volume on your device)

(Click On Any Photo For A Better Quality Image) 

Jake performing LIVE in Seattle!

Friday, February 16, 2018

THE WIND AND THE WAVE Don't Let Seattle Down! Gig Review! 2/13/18

The Wind + The Wave

Haley Johnsen

Rachel Price

The Crocodile

Seattle, WA



It was nearly a year ago when I discovered The Wind + The Wave. I was fortunate enough to cover their headlining show last year at The Tractor in April. Patty Lynn and Dwight Baker (alongside their band of Scott and Nick) made a distinct impression on me as songwriters and performers. I knew that if they ever came back to the Seattle area I would want to cover them again.

Sometimes dreams cannot be denied as the band returned to Seattle, this time at The Crocodile, on Tuesday night. I was really looking forward to seeing them again - round two.

Last year - I was introduced to the music of Allison Pierce and Haley Johnsen. I knew next to nothing about either artist going into the show but - wow - what a bill that turned out to be!

This year Haley Johnsen was on tour again with the band with Rachel Price as the opener. Nebraska born and raised but currently residing in Tennessee, Rachel and her guitarist Ben Flanders took to the stage at 8:30pm for a 30-minute set. Opening with a Michael Jackson cover tune, "The Way You Make Me Feel", Rachel played a solid set of tunes, some of which are on her EP, "Home". Rachel received a warm response from the Seattle crowd.

After a very brief changeover, Haley Johnsen hit the stage. The Portland artist switched between electric and acoustic guitars to accompany herself, just like last year. Her voice was in fine shape. If you haven't heard Haley sing before, do yourself a favor and go check out her tunes. Her voice is simply breathtaking. It was showcased throughout her set but in particularly on, "Feel The Water", the crowd in the Crocodile lessened the chitchat and focused on the talent that was on the stage. Haley's set was also around 30-minutes and re-emphasized what I thought last year - she's going places for sure. Great stuff!

About fifteen minutes after Haley's set, The Wind + The Wave came out to much applause and we were off! On tour supporting their third full-length album, "Human Beings Let You Down", Patty and Dwight played every song off the new album. This is sometimes a risky move, especially considering the album is still very new (and not widely available via digital channels - yet), but every new song I heard last night was either good or great. No kidding. Ten songs in total on the new album, it's a stellar set of tunes.

Of course mixed in were favorites from the second album, "Happiness Is Not A Place" and the debut, "From The Wreckage".

If I compare the performances from last year to this year, I would say that there was a rawness to last year's show that was replaced with a more almost polished presentation of the songs. It could be the venue as well as last year's crowd was rowdier than this years. Or maybe the fans had consumed more alcohol last year. Who knows?

All I know is that last night's event was a showcase of two extremely talented songwriters with a band that is a joy to witness live on stage. Patty and Dwight, along with Scott and Nick, never disappoint. I know there were fans at the show last night that haven't missed them any time they've come to town - as an opening act or as a headliner. After seeing The Wind + The Wave twice now, I certainly know why.

I don't plan on missing them any time they come to Seattle, either. They're that good, that talented, and they never let you down live.

The tour is working its way around the U.S. through the rest of the winter months. Do yourself a favor - when they come to your town, go see them. This is one artist where I can confidently say you absolutely will not - be - disappointed.


Mark Sugiyama

Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks: Morgan for the credentials - I really appreciate it!

(Click On Any Photo For Higher Resolution and Size)

Haley Johnsen

 Rachel Price