Saturday, August 31, 2019

Sweet Candy Power in Seattle - SHONEN KNIFE Event Review! 8/30/19

Shonen Knife 

Me Like Bees
Ichi Bichi
The Fucking Eagles

Seattle, WA
August 30th, 2019
El Corazon 

(All Photos - Mark Sugiyama for Eclectic Arts (c) 2019)


Friday night at El Corazon, the wonder trio known as Shonen Knife was ready to bring their, "Sweet Candy Power" tour to the Seattle masses. Labor Day weekend in this town is always hard on touring artists. The big "B" festival at the Seattle Center is always direct competition as is PAX West for the gamers. But this didn't deter the hardcore Shonen Knife fans from showing up!

Naoko, Atsuko, and Risa hit the stage (in tops designed by Atsuko again) with their brand of power punk pop. The set list jumped around from classics like, "Twist Barbie" and, "Banana Chips" to new songs off their latest album, "Sweet Candy Power".

The crowd at El Corazon packed into the front and the back area and sang, clapped, and yelled all throughout the set. Shonen Knife play such upbeat songs with lyrics revolving around such fun topics as candy, green tea, and banana chips, it is damn near impossible not to have a good time at one of their shows.

For the uninitiated the band started out in 1981 as a mix of pop and punk. Shonen Knife influenced countless alternative bands from Sonic Youth to Nirvana.

Once again, I was planted on Naoko's side of the stage - watching her sing and play guitar while her sister Atsuko thumped away on the bass and Risa smiled the entire show while bashing the crap out of her drums.

The set absolutely flew by! I couldn't believe it was over when Naoko mentioned the band would be at the merch table to meet the fans. I brought two friends that had never heard of the band - they left as fans (and bought merch)!

Shonen Knife is uniquely fun. I've been fortunate enough to cover the band twice now and they do not disappoint. Shonen Knife equals a fun time. Catch them while they're on tour in your town!

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Special thanks: Andrew for the credentials - I appreciate it! Thanks also to Kenny (the TM) for making the interview process smooth and easy.  Safe travels!



The show was opened by The Fucking Eagles from Tacoma. Rarely do I see a local band that grabs my attention but The Fucking Eagles had mine. A mix of rock n roll with classic influences from the 50's mixed with a bit of rockabilly, the band were tight and got things started in fine fashion.

Next up was Ichi Bichi from Seattle. I saw them open for Shonen Knife three years ago so I knew what to expect. They are a perfect band to pair with Shonen Knife. Similar music and style (which is hard to find), the band was positive and fun.

The third band was a touring band Me Like Bees. By this point the floor was getting packed and there were definitely fans of the Missouri based band in attendance. I loved what I heard. It's always awesome when I can attend a show and learn about a new band that I know nothing about that can play. And these guys can play! The crowd was into the band and they made a lot of new fans after their set - me included. I hope they make it back to these parts sooner rather than later.

Four kick ass bands on the bill last night at El Corazon. Who needs that overpriced "B" festival when you can support local and touring bands like last night's lineup?  A perfect night of music!


 (Tour T-shirt I Purchased)

Friday, August 30, 2019

MARIAH BELGROD "Lie To Me" Release Luau Party Seattle, WA 8/28/19

Mariah Belgrod

"Lie To Me"

Release Luau Party

Turntables and Trails
Seattle, WA

(All photos by Mark Sugiyama for Eclectic Arts (c) 2019)


As August got closer to September, ma nature decided to remind us that summer wasn't over just yet. 89 degrees for a high at Sea-Tac created the perfect atmosphere for Mariah Belgrod's, "Lie To Me" single release luau on Wednesday night at Turntables and Trails in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle, WA.

Every now and then - maybe twice a year - I find myself feeling the need to give a bit of perspective on what I do here at Eclectic Arts. I don't take myself too seriously but I do take my work seriously. Eclectic Arts started from absolutely nothing. It wasn't even an idea back in 2010. I remember the early years of never hearing from anyone regarding coverage of their event (99% concerts at the time). I was happy when I heard back - even if it was a no. A no was considered progress. Eventually a few artists took a chance on me and things slowly progressed from there (emphasis on slowly).

I went to my first concert when I was nine years old and I haven't looked back. I am a devout music junkie. Always have been. I'm a long time musician as well. My opinion and critique may not match the likes of the large media outlets, but I do feel I'm an informed reviewer of music and I'm working on matching that with the arts areas that I am fortunate to cover.

I am always grateful for the opportunities I've been afforded over the years. I don't mention artist's names or venues or credentials to impress anyone. I merely state them so that new artists know I've been around the block a time or two. So, yes, I cover a wide range of music styles and genres as credentialed media. Yes, I review the local arts scene here in Seattle as credentialed opening night media. Yes, you may find me working at a comic con, craft brewery, restaurant, or anything else I find interesting. I'm equally comfortable dodging bodies in a photo pit at a Cannibal Corpse show as I am sipping a glass of fine wine at the opening night of, "Rigoletto" at the Seattle Opera.

On to the review!

As of a few weeks ago, I openly admit I didn't know who Mariah Belgrod was. I didn't know what Smule was. I operate in the world of the dinosaurs at times. Sue me.

I came across her through social media. I went to YouTube, listened to a few songs, liked what I heard, and connected with her about upcoming shows. I had just missed a few this summer but luckily there were a few more coming up.

"Lie To Me" is the second single from Mariah Belgrod. From what I understand, Mariah amassed a large following due to her Smule recordings. She moved to Seattle over a year ago and is going after the brass ring full force (aka full time musician).

I wanted to attend the single release party/luau to hear one thing - her voice live. Busking on a corner, performing at an open mic, on a local bill of music at a club, a house show, a BBQ, opening for a touring musician, headlining a gig - it doesn't matter to me. I'm never deterred by a location of a performance (trust me - some media are and won't bother until an artist reaches a certain "level" - they're missing out).   

Mariah sang a mix of covers and original material for a group of very supportive friends, family, and others (like me). 


The verdict? Her voice met my expectations. Mariah can sing the pop tunes. She can sing the Disney tunes. I'm guessing she can sing pretty much anything she sets her mind to. She's that good!

But it's not just about the voice. Her interaction live is something I really want to see on a stage in the future (which may happen if I can make the next gig in September). Her positive personality shines through as she sings and performs. If you're singing pop, you have to have the whole package. It's one of the reasons being a pop singer is so difficult. The competition is massive. Yes one could argue with any genre of music the competition is massive but with, for example, heavy metal, you can plug away at your tunes and your stage performance without too much criticism. You have to have the riffs and other elements but that process can develop over time. Pop singers have to captivate, they have to engage, and they have to connect with their audience immediately. If you're advertised as a pop singer with a single release - people expect something catchy, something they can dance to, and something they can hum on the way home. Mariah checked off all those boxes. "Lie To Me" and her first single, "Empty Spaces", all showed immediate potential of greater things to come.

With my arts background, I'm slightly interested (who am I kidding - I'm super interested) in hearing Mariah belt out a show tune or three within a musical theatre performance in the future. That may not be the focus of her career but one can always wish - upon a star.

Mariah has the voice, she has the look, she has the talent, and she has the musical partner/manager that can help her rise to the next level in the industry. I'm so glad for social media (rarely can I say that these days) - otherwise this incredible talent would have slipped past my radar.

So - check out, "Lie To Me" by Mariah Belgrod on all the usual online platforms where you purchase/stream/listen to music. If things work out the way they potentially should - you'll be hearing from this artist in a very big way very, very soon.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
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Special Thanks: Mariah for the invite and credentials - I sincerely appreciate it. Thank you!

Thursday, August 29, 2019

ANOTHER PERFECT CRIME - Event Review 8/27/19

Another Perfect Crime


King Sheim

The Vera Project
Seattle, WA

(All photos - Mark Sugiyama for Eclectic Arts (c) 2019)


There is never enough time in my schedule to cover everything. I'm always looking to find balance in my life so covering show after show is something I try to avoid whenever possible. The rub comes in that the more established Eclectic Arts becomes, the harder it is for me to cover local artists. And I love covering local artists. So, with balance in mind, I reached out to Another Perfect Crime about their upcoming gig at the Vera Project in Seattle.

I saw something on social media about the show and then checked them out online and liked what I heard. I had also never covered a show at the Vera Project. I've known about it for years but never saw a show there - until last night. With two other local artists on the bill I was looking forward to seeing what the local scene had to offer.

Another Perfect Crime is a quartet - Jeanne (guitar/vox), Natalie (bass/vox), Teresa (guitar/vox), and Cheerful (drums). The Vera Project stage and room is larger than I expected. I'd book that room over a few others in the city for sure. There was a good turn out of friends and family for all three artists on the bill.

As someone that prefers to highlight the positive as much as possible, inherently there can be backhanded compliments if I praise one member over another. However, in some cases, it just can't be helped. So, please read this in the right spirit.

Jeanne is a fucking force!

When a band is lucky enough to have a member that has that ever elusive "it" factor, they need to ride that as far as they possibly can. Jeanne is that factor in Another Perfect Crime. Similar to Cliff Burton (RIP) in Metallica, there is an aura around Jeanne when they are on stage. You can't take your eyes off of them.

Don't get me wrong - the rest of the band are no slouches. I always notice drummers - good and not so good. Cheerful is good. Maybe even great. The drummer is the engine in any band, regardless of genre, and Cheerful had Another Perfect Crime in high gear all night long.

The two veterans/founders of the band - Natalie and Teresa - added their own personality to the proceedings. The bass was never stuck on root notes for very long, which was a welcome addition to Natalie's vocals. Teresa added textural elements on the guitar complimenting Jeanne's guitar work as well. She also sang lead and backgrounds on a few tunes.

Lyrically the band do not hide the fact that they are a socially conscious group. From using Tweets from 45 in a song to writing about the environment, its refreshing to see a band stand tall and just say it like it is. In some ways that reminds me of the old Riot Grrls movement from the 90’s (which is still alive today btw).

The band started in 2006 so they've gigged around locally and abroad, and have released a few studio recordings to boot. They are getting ready to enter the studio to work on their latest release very soon.

Another Perfect Crime was not a crime at all. They were a musical and artistic gift to all who attended last night.

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
EA on YT

Special Thanks: Another Perfect Crime for the credentials - I sincerely appreciate it. Thank you!



The show featured two other local artists. The first up was King Sheim. Fronted by Celeste, the band was on point. Two guitars, bass, and drums, King Sheim hit the stage and Celeste just let loose - just like you're supposed to as a performer. Rehearsal is the time to tweak the crap out of your music. The stage is when you perform. I'd much rather hear a mistake or two (not that I did) than see a note perfect performance that was lacking in energy. King Sheim were not lacking in the energy department by any means. They got things started in a grand way.


The second artist was Supercoze. Singing and playing guitar, the artist sang their heart out on each tune - perhaps with some of the best lyrics of the night. I enjoyed what I heard. I would make one very minor suggestion - consider changing up the guitar sound on some tunes. The heavy effects on the guitar worked for some songs, but made each song sound a bit similar when they really weren't. A simple foot pedal switch to go between one programmed sound for some songs, and another sound for other songs, would open up the audio spectrum a bit more. Just a minor suggestion.  Overall, I definitely liked what I heard from Supercoze as well. 


Overall - three distinctly different artists that also felt completely at home with one another on the bill. A great night of live music in Seattle!

Another Perfect Crime


King Sheim

Friday, August 23, 2019

LUCIFER Invades Seattle! Highline Bar Seattle, WA 8/20/19


Highline Bar
Seattle, WA

(All photos by Mark Sugiyama for Eclectic Arts (c) 2019)


If you're like me, catching a band before they break into the big time is always an exciting prospect. And sometimes, a band is already big in one corner of the world compared to another part of the world.

No one can accurately predict exactly what bands are going to reach greater heights but I'll be damned if Lucifer isn't going on to bigger and better things.

The five piece started by vocalist Johanna Sardonis played to an enthusiastic crowd at the Highline Bar in Seattle, WA.

Featuring Nicke Andersson (of The Hellacopters and Entombed fame) on drums, Martin Nordin and Linus Bjorklund on guitars, and bassist Alexander Mayr, Lucifer launched into, "Faux Pharaoh" and never looked back.

The bands heavy rock sound steeped in 60's and 70's era tones and attitude blasted the audience all night long. A stripped down sound - nothing overly processed - made for a showcase of each band members talents. There was absolutely nothing to hide behind which was refreshing to hear.

Johanna's voice commanded the audience during each and every song. I was amazed to learn she doesn't have any formal vocal training. You sure as Hell couldn't tell based on how powerful she sounded all night. The entire band was in fine form. They were tight, well rehearsed, and made for any stage - bigger the better.

The band ran through tunes including but not limited to, "Eyes In The Sky", "Dreamer", "Phoenix", "Ghosts", "Morning Star" and a ripping version of Sabbath's, "Snowblind".

The encore came in the form of, "Anubis", half of the two-song medley, "Bomber/Beer Drinkers" (they nixed Bomber unfortunately) - with Nicke on bass and vocals and Alex on drums (which was interesting since Nicke is a lefty and his kit is set up as so - and vice versa as Nicke played the right handed bass as a lefty). The show ended with, "California Son".

The band left the stage, the crowd wanted more, and then the lights came on to signify the show was, indeed, over.

Lucifer came to play - even with earlier sound and equipment issues before the gig started, once it was time to hit the stage, Lucifer got up there and just crushed it.

The next time this band comes to Seattle, if they're headlining again, they'll be in a bigger club. If they're in the special guest slot, perhaps one of the larger theatres in town. Anyway you slice it, Lucifer is the real deal and I personally can't wait for them to come back to Seattle!

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
EA on YT

Special Thanks: Claire for the credentials - I sincerely appreciate it. I'm glad I could finally cover a show for you. Thank you!



Two local bands - Sterling Serpent and Eye of Nix, opened the show. Spell were scheduled to be the main support act but couldn't get across the border from Canada (a problematic issue for many bands in the last two years or so trying to play US shows - due to the current political climate).

Eye of Nix were not advertised on the flyers so I'm guessing they were added to the bill at the very last minute to replace Spell. Or, maybe they were scheduled to open the show all along - hard to tell when it comes to club shows. In any event - they did a fine job getting the atmosphere going in the club. An interesting mix of metal genres and styles, I found myself intrigued throughout their set. A nice way to start any concert when the opener is good.

Eye Of Nix - Bandcamp

Sterling Serpent was up next. Celebrating their new CD release, this band is made up of some truly talented musicians. Another interesting mix of genres, the musicianship is what stood out to me. They created their own atmosphere during their set, which was dark, poetic, and unknowing. Another quality local band - I was impressed.



Monday, August 19, 2019

TUXEDO Event Review! Seattle, WA 8/17/19


Showbox at The Market
Seattle, WA


As most Eclectic Arts readers know, I am a very open minded person when it comes to music and most things in life. Having said that, I never was big on the drink and dance scene even in my younger years. I dabbled with hip-hop beats back when I was an audio engineer but that was many moons ago. But, I do have a healthy respect for any one that steps on a stage as a DJ, MC, rapper, etc. It takes talent to do any of those things well. 

Before I was invited, I had never heard of Tuxedo. Before you start booing me, there are a ton of artists out there that I (and you) have never heard of. I'm in the music world and I know I've only scratched the surface when it comes to all the great talent out there. 

I took a listen to two tracks and thought, yeah; this would be a fun one to check out. I double-checked my schedule and everything lined up - Tuxedo here I come on a Saturday night!

Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One comprise Tuxedo. Noted multi instrumentalists, vocalists, producers, DJ's, etc., they are out on the road supporting their new album, "Tuxedo III". 

The band (five in total) hit the stage around 10:15pm at the Showbox in Seattle and the party started! I've never seen so much dancing at a show - ever. There were like maybe five people that weren't at least bobbing their head to the music if not full on popping to the music. And it was easy to see why - Tuxedo brought the funk and the good times all night long.

From the opener of, "The Tuxedo Way" off the new album, Tuxedo danced, sang, and played their hearts out and the audience ate every note up.

If you weren't having a good time at the Tuxedo show, there really is no hope for you. I don't care if you're a die-hard black metal fan, a country shit kicker, a snobby jazz purist, or a classical devotee, your head would have been bopping and your feet tapping (at the very least) once Tuxedo took the stage.

I left the show feeling great - thanks to the music and performance of Tuxedo. I'll toast to that!

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts
EA on YT

Special Thanks: Bari for the invite and credentials - I sincerely appreciate it. Thank you!