The Black Tones
Showbox at The Market
The Black Tones
Showbox at The Market
(All Photos: Mark Sugiyama for Eclectic Arts)
As 2018 came to a close on Monday night, I found myself celebrating with Seattle's own Thunderpussy, along with Portland's Red Fang, and Seattle's The Black Tones. The "damn the man" show at the Showbox at the Market was sold out in advance (as was last year's 2017 NY Eve "Fire and Ice Soiree" show and the two shows at Neumo's in 2016 on 12/30 and 12/31).
2018 has been an important year for Thunderpussy. They played shows down the west coast toward their destination of SXSW in Texas. Their self-titled debut album, long in the works, was finally released in May of this year. They ventured across the pond again to play shows overseas. They then played headline and support shows all throughout the U.S. of A. and some in Canada to round things out this summer and fall. They ventured down south to PDX to play with Red Fang on one (12/28) of their two homecoming shows and then capped the year with the show on New Year's Eve at the Showbox. This has indeed been the year of the Pussiez!
The show Monday night kicked off with The Black Tones from Seattle. Started by twins Eva and Cedric, the trio stripped off their clothes and blasted through their 30-minute set of rock n roll. Shaina from Bearaxe guested on vocals on one track and family came on stage to end the set on a high note. Full of energy and fun, The Black Tones were a great band to start the festivities off right!
Next up was Red Fang. There were a lot of Red Fang fans in the audience. I overheard many people in line talking about the band before I even got into the venue. Hailing from Portland, OR - Red Fang has been bringing the metal since 2005. I had only heard of the band, knew they were heavy, but hadn't ever heard or seen them play. The four-piece hit the stage and just fucking crushed it. Me being a metal guy, some headbanging music was alright by me for sure. The crowd was enthusiastic - if not a little divided in spots. But, believe me, the band went over well. Red Fang played just over an hour-long set and they didn't let up one second in their set of rip roaring metal.
Just before 11:30pm the lights dimmed and Molly, Whitney, Leah, and Ruby walked onto the Showbox stage. Perfectly lit to create mood and ambiance to start the show, Ruby walked to the keyboards, Whitney strapped on the bass, and Leah sat behind the kit. What? If you were buzzed, high, or both, you probably thought you were tripping. Heck - even if you were stone cold sober there was a part of you that was like what's going on? The band started a new song in this configuration - with Molly on lead vocals as always.
They eventually went to their known instruments of choice and the set continued to build as the energy in the Showbox grew with each song. By the time old favorites like, "Fever" and "Speed Queen" were aired; the band was rocking like they always do. "Thunderpussy" pushed the energy over the top as the seconds counted down. The band stopped to acknowledge a Happy New Year! Streamers blew into the audience from the stage, champagne bottles were popped open, and the band celebrated with the audience on the catwalk.
The band eventually finished the song and partied on into 2019!
The band switched instruments again for a few bars with Molly on keyboards, Whitney on drums, Leah on guitar, and Ruby on bass. Songs like "No Heaven", "Gentle Frame", "Torpedo Love", "New Shoes", and "The Cloud" (featuring surprise guest Mary Lambert on vocals) sounded as fun and energetic as ever.
The band encored with guests on the Aretha Franklin classic, "Respect" and finished the night with their own, "Velvet Noose".
Clearly the band and the audience were having a fantastic time! From The Black Tones set where Molly snapped a photo from the pit while Ruby rocked out to the band, to the sheer energy of Red Fangs' set, to one of Seattle's newest favorite bands, the show was just a pure joy to be a part of. If you left the Showbox disappointed, then you should of stayed home.
The band was already all about the live performance as they honed their craft here in Seattle. They have the right balance of random don't give a shit rock n roll band attitude, visual thought and presentation (particularly these last two New Year's Eve gigs have stood out), and good clean (or dirty) fun. While I haven't seen the band as many times as others in Seattle, every time I've seen them I always have a great time. There's something to be said for that. It's awesome to go to a show just knowing that you're going to leave feeling better than when you went in (and you may have been feeling spectacular already).
All of the touring is only strengthening what was already a stellar live band. The naysayers will talk about the bands name, gender, blah blah blah - but those assholes don't get it. Thunderpussy in my opinion has never gone out of their way to shock people. They haven't contrived a look or message to gain attention. They've quite organically been themselves all this time and let the audience come to them. Their live shows are a testament to that fact. If you ever talk to any of the members, they're the most down to earth fun loving people you could ever hope to meet.
They play rock n roll. Heck they should borrow the late Lemmy's line of - "We're Motorhead and we play rock n roll". I can hear it now - "We're Thunderpussy and we play rock n roll".
The band live never disappoints. Am I biased? Maybe. My favorite drummer continues to inspire every time I see her play. (Hi Ruby!). Molly is like no other front person. I said it in 2016 and I'll say it again - she is the future. All those fans that are watching her on stage now, will one day be acknowledging her as an influence as they front their own bands. I first saw Leah when she was pounding the skins for Sundries three years ago and she thumps the low end in Thunderpussy like nobody's business. And the last two shows I've been stage right to watch Whitney play guitar (being a guitarist myself). She plays with attitude and that's something you can't teach. She also knows when not to play - and that's so overlooked. I dug the addition of the talk-box to her rig as well. Great stuff!
Seattle loves Thunderpussy. Many fans around the world now love Thunderpussy. And it's only going to grow and grow.
What else can I say? We're so fortunate to have a band like Thunderpussy as "our own". 2019 - we're ready for you and I'm willing to bet so are Thunderpussy!
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Special Thanks: Thunderpussy for the credentials - as always thank you very much for the opportunity! I SO appreciate it!
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The Black Tones