Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul

So a couple of weeks ago, I finally to see Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul at Showbox Sodo for his Soulfire tour.

Of course I’ve seen Little Steven a number of times with his buddy Bruce, who is currently playing Broadway. Just not on his own, fronting the Disciples of Soul, and I’ve been a fan of Little Steven’s solo work since Men Without Women in the ’80s. His albums are, as he notes in the video below, a little hard to find, and as he notes in this article, all 5 of his albums are 5 different music genres, which he’d never allow as a producer (unless he’s producing himself).

Princess of Italy is always one of my favorites from Men Without Women, and a special treat – Lowell Levinger (from the Youngbloods), who had been playing piano, came up front for mandolin solos.

Little Steven won my friend Merri Ann over by this one (she’s a fan of Spaghetti Westerns):

(OK, all the video I found online isn’t from the Seattle show.)

I was glad he threw in some of his older political songs, like Leonard Peltier, I am a Patriot, and Bitter Fruit.

Encore – I Don’t Want to Go Home (a song Little Steven wrote for his buddy Southside Johnnny):

One more blast from the past at the end of the show – Jerry Miller from Moby Grape, who lives right down the road in Tacoma (hear the saga of his band in this story from KING 5):

Rock and roll!


Don’t Let Trump Abandon Puerto Rico

Apparently thinking tossing paper towels was enough, President Trump today threatened to “pull back federal relief workers in Puerto Rico, effectively threatening to abandon the U.S. territory amid a staggering humanitarian crisis in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria,” according to The Washington Post. So, the President is threatening to abandon U.S. citizens still devastated by Hurricane Maria three weeks ago, 84% of whom don’t have power and 37% who don’t have drinking water as reported by The New York Times on Tuesday. Puerto Rico’s health care is also in dire condition, The New York Times also reported the same day about people dying and in danger of dying for lack of fuel to run generators in hospitals needed for dialysis and running low on medicine. A 58-year-old teacher died after going without oxygen for a week.

Then there is this CBS News report on the growing health crisis in Puerto Rico due to contaminated water:

Puerto Rico is part of the United States. We’re not talking about foreign aid. Puerto Ricans are U.S. Citizens. A brief primer from Time Magazine:

It’s outrageous that President Trump does not seem to fully recognize that fact. Write your Senators and U.S. Representative to demand we provide adequate aid, as well as donate what you can to relief efforts .

Charities are important, but the U.S. government has responsibility for all of our citizens, whether they live in Puerto Rico, Texas or Florida.

One other song keeps running through my head, Bruce Springsteen‘s scathing We Take Care of Our Own following President Bush’s inadequate response to New Orleans’ devastation following Hurricane Katrina:

From Chicago to New Orleans
From the muscle to the bone
From the shotgun shack to the Superdome
There ain’t no help, the cavalry stayed home
There ain’t no one hearing the bugle blowin’
We take care of our own
We take care of our own
Wherever this flag’s flown
We take care of our own

At very least President Bush didn’t suggest we end aid to New Orleans when they were just starting recovery.  “Whereever this flag’s flown, we take care of our own”. . . It seems ironic that Trump and his Vice President Pence are refusing to see the point of the NFL protests against police shootings and racial discrimination and making it falsely about respect for the flag when once again U.S. citizens are being abandoned. Like with Katrina, you can’t help wondering if there would be any problem with aid getting there in time if everyone was white, weren’t bi-lingual (in Puerto Rico’s case), and had money. To not even recognize our fellow Puerto Ricans facing this devastation is beyond even that.

The Exoneree Band

One good thing happened Monday – The Exoneree Band played a benefit for Innocence Project Northwest at Century Ballroom for International Wrongful Conviction Day. Anytime you combine music and justice, it’s a good thing!

All the band members are former prisoners who were exonerated:

The music was great – mostly originals, like Only Freedom Matters:

Here the members of the band talk about their experience of being wrongfully convicted on New Day Northwest on KING 5:

The concert was part of a week of events by Innocence Project Northwest, Witness to Innocence and the Washington Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, including a Witness to Innocence Panel on Thursday night, October 5, 7-8:30 pm, Room 138 at the UW School of Law, featuring death row exonerees Sabrina Butler-Smith and Randal Padgett.



Charles Bradley – Heartaches, Pain & Love

Of course, the world didn’t end Saturday, but the very sad news came that soul singer Charles Bradley died of stomach and liver cancer at 68. He had a very hard life, as detailed in this Rolling Stones article, and his break though album came when he was 62. Such a short time most of us knew him, and what passion and love he shared! I was lucky enough to see him at least 3 times, starting with his set at Bumbershoot in 2011.

Charles Bradley
Charles Bradley at Bumbershoot

The crowd didn’t want him to leave the stage. Charles solved that problem at later shows by hugging his way though the crowd as he left the stage.

This song, written for and about his brother especially comes to mind right now:

So much passion and soul. . .

. . . and relevance. . .

. . . and to see him live. . .

Then the ballads. . .someone proposed to his girlfriend on stage to this one at Neumos (the YouTube clip of that included in my old post seems to have been taken down):

Rest in peace, Charles Bradley. . .

Noir and Jazz at the Nectar

I can think of no better place to be Friday evening, the night before the latest alleged end of the world, than at the Nectar Lounge in Fremont listening to jazz by The True Loves and The Barrett Martin Group, with a finale of Jeff Angell joining the latter for the last half of their set with old and new songs The Walking Papers (a band featuring Jeff, Barrett, Duff McKagan and Benjamin Anderson). Jeff Angell’s music (Post Stardom Depression, The Missionary Position, Walking Papers, Staticland) is always very noir and goes well with jazz and the end of the world (which thankfully didn’t happen, again. . .).

The True Loves were awesome! First time I saw them without the incredible Grace Love. Video from Xanaland from their opening set at last night’s show:

The Barrett Martin Group – totally mesmerizing! This is from a previous show, I believe the Sunyata record label showcase this summer, posted by Barrett:

How did Jeff Angell sound with a full jazz band backing him? Fortunately, Xanaland has already posted footage (and the whole Barrett Martin Group set, including the second halv with Jeff Angell was recorded for an upcoming episode of Art Zone with Nancy Guppy):

We had a sing-a-long with the chorus from Already Dead (video from a previous Walking Papers show at The Pint in Dublin Ireland):

“I’m already dead. I just don’t know it. I know what I said. I swear I didn’t mean it. I’m a lot like you.”

At least, I don’t think the world ended. . .

Although, seriously, if it did, can you think of a cooler place to be in the apocalypse than Fremont? The Fremont Troll munching on a real Volkswagen beneath the Aurora Bridge? The giant Lenin Statue (which probably wants revenge for us dressing him up in Christmas Tree lights or climbing up on him to watch the Solstice Parade)?  Waiting for the Interurban (and the dog faced man)? J. P. Patches and Gertrude going in opposite directions? Maybe during Solstice with the painted naked bicyclists? Or during Santacon with dozens of beer drinking Santas?

Ayron Jones and the Way – Last Stop Before the Gorge

So, I  caught Ayron Jones and the Way today at what is likely their last concert before they open for Guns N’ Roses at The Gorge  on Sunday – at Occidental Park for the last Out to Lunch Concert at noon.

DSCN1875 (2)

That I haven’t posted about Ayron before shows how negligent I’ve been with this blog, and especially with music posts. Ayron Jones and The Way have been killing it in Seattle and beyond for quite a few years now with Ayron’s own material and covers of Jimi Hendrix, Prince and more.

Cover of  Hendrick’s Voodoo Chile/Star Spangled Banner from today’s concert below (posted by Jose Ortega to YouTube, my own attempt at a video didn’t go that well):

One of Ayron’s own hard rockers, Boys from the Puget Sound next, from his recent album Audio Paint Job, which seems appropriate as he’s opening for Guns N’ Roses next (I’m old school enough to say “warning, language”):

Of course, being a chick, I’m kind of partial to ballads.  My Love Remains from his first album, Dream (you may recognize the cameo, and I love how Seattle has a featured role in all his videos):

More music and Seattle posts to come (interspersed with saving the world and other miscellaneous things). . .

Terrorists with Tiki Torches

As I write this, encouraging news is coming from Boston, where anti-racism protesters overwhelmingly outnumbered a right-wing free speech rally.  I think it is important not to downplay how seriously scary the emboldened white supremacists, Nazis and KKK who marched in Charlottesville are, nor President Trump’s unwillingness to disavow them, claiming violence happened on both sides and some of those carrying tiki torches were “innocently” protesting and there were “very fine” people on both sides of the rallies the next day.

It’s important to watch the Vice News/HBO video Charlottesville: Race and Terror if you already haven’t. Vice reporter Elle Reeve is embedded with Christopher Cantwell and rest of the Unite the Right crowd. Former KKK leader David Duke even makes a guest appearance.

To anyone who thinks the tiki torch protesters at the evening rally were peaceful, or at least laughable posers – let’s see: an angry mob chanting slogans like “You will not replace us. You will not replace us.”, “Jews will not replace us. Jews will not replace us.” and the Nazi slogan “Blood and soil. Blood and soil.” (Note that other anti-Semitic statements are made by the organizers, including a rather scary rant by Chris Cantwell about Ivanka Trump’s marriage to Jared Kushner.)

While Chris Cantwell did get peppersprayed a couple of times by counter-protesters (or “communists” as he prefers to call them) at the daytime rally last Saturday, it is the hate groups armed with sticks, shields and helmets (and guns – Cantwell displays at least 5 he had, and a knife near the very end of the video).  As the New York Daily News reported (providing video and pictures), a young black man “Deandre Harris, 20, was attacked in a parking lot by a group of white supremacists who kicked him, punched him and pummeled him with metal poles.” Video below of Deandre Harris interviewed by The Real News:

The ViceNews/HBO video clearly shows the car driven by James Alex Fields accelerate and drive straight into the crowd, killing Heather Heyer, a young woman who by all accounts routinely stood up for justice, and injuring at least 19 others. All of which makes Chris Cantwell’s defense of Fields in the HBO video more disturbing (as it was immediately after, true, he may not have seen that footage, but his response is to claim someone struck the driver’s vehicle, who saw no way to escape and hit the gas, which is not at all the case). This was after displaying all his weapons and saying “I’d say the fact no one died on our side is points for us.” He also said: “I think a lot more people are going to die before we’re done here, frankly.”

Of course, Christopher Cantwell was singing another tune when he found out he was wanted by the police:

Seriously? What options do you have? How about stop being a bigot and a bully? You are terrified by the police? How about not terrorizing other people? In case you’re worried, he has apparently successfully and peacefully turned himself in. Oh, and OKCupid banned him. #whyIdonttryinternetdating (OK, at least OKCupid banned him when they found out.)

The good news is that so many have come out against the white supremacists and Nazis, including a great many Republicans. Yet, Trump continues to play to his base. That they are emboldened is a huge issue, even though, thankfully, they don’t have much support.


An Extra Day to #GiveBig & #EndDemand

So, apparently the generosity of Seattle (and other cities also using the same system to donate BIG today) has created technical difficulties so big we have another day to donate to our favorite charities and have our donations met.

From Seattle FoundationsGive Big Website:

Our web site is experiencing BIG volume today! Donation pages may be slow to load. We appreciate your patience as you wait to GiveBIG! Please refresh your browser. Given this delay, Seattle Foundation is extending GiveBIG through midnight tomorrow, Wednesday, May 4.

While I managed to make my donation to the Organization for Prostitution Survivors this morning (which did take a long time to go through), it gives me extra time to mention this great opportunity. First, there are a lot of great organizations you can donate to and be matched on May 3 (and now May 4), and I encourage you to check out the list at As you know from this blog, however, #EndDemand and the issue of helping women and girls (and men and boys in some cases) escape prostitution has been on my mind a lot lately.

Seattle, fortunately, has been getting the issue right, and the Organization for Prostitution Survivors (OPS) has been at the forefront in helping women exit (including support groups, art therapy and most recently a jobs program in conjunction with Businesses Ending Slavery and Trafficking – BEST), getting local law enforcement and prosecutors to embrace the Nordic Model (offering those prostituted services and creating a “Buyer Beware” program where the men buying attend a 10 week Stopping Sexual Exploitation program OPS created. According to a recent e-mail, after completing the program”95% of men said that they do not think they will buy sex again.”

What convicted sex buyers had to say after completing Stopping Sexual Exploitation

“Keep this program going to educate the community & spread the word.”

“It is just as much our fault as the pimp who forces her on the street.”

“I learned about how prostitution isn’t really a choice and that even if I did treat her nice it won’t stop the pain that she might receive from others.”

“The arrest stopped me. I would have never bought sex again, but the program taught me why I should never buy sex again.”

“I’m going to raise my son differently. I don’t want him to be so angry and depressed all the time like me.”

Definitely a lot of good work being done, and a lot that remains to be done that would be helped by more funds. I encourage you to check them out and #GiveBIG, by midnight May 4, now:
Oh, and the amounts already given aren’t showing, not for OPS or most of the other organizations at this point thanks to the computer problem (which really wouldn’t be an issue if everyone really had given $0 to all these organizations). Will be interesting to see how generous Seattle is once they get that straightened out!

Northwest Love for Bernie

So after a night of Springsteen, a couple days off. Time for some quiet. Get away from the maddening crowds. . . Oh wait, Bernie Sanders is coming to town, finally on a day I have off!  Then the next day is caucusing, and I switched days off so I can come in person.

Spoiler alert. . .Seattle loves Bernie, really loves Bernie. . .and the rest of Washington State. . . loves him more. . .

First, though he got some Portland, Oregon love. . .They put a bird on it . . .A real bird on it. . .

We didn’t have a bird. We had a long and winding line. . . and a guy with a goat. . .a guy with a goat named Deer. . .who can’t vote. . .Not sure if he made it past the Secret Service check point. . .

It took awhile to get us all in. Bernie did not disappoint. . .healthcare, jobs,  income inequality, racial injustice, getting money out of politics . . . for starters. . .and without taking money from big donors or forming PACs. . .from we the people, averaging $27 donations.

Funny, some people were claiming it was all over before this.

Caucus lines were long too the next morning, too. . .looping around the neighborhood of the middle school where mine and a lot of other caucuses voted.

Total chaos, started over an hour late with everyone coming in, and how were all the precincts assigned to the gym going to caucus in such a small space?

Actually, my precinct went out to form a circle on the basketball court. All five of our delegates went to Bernie! Even counting the absentee ballots (allowed for those working, having religious services, military duty or ill), Hillary had only 6 votes, less than 1% with 15% needed for even a single delegate. Bernie had, I think, 75. We voted for 5 delegates and 5 alternates (who have to show up for the next two meetings of Legislative District and King County so we don’t lose our delegates).

Washington went overwhelmingly for Bernie – 72.7% to 27.1% Hillary. What I found interesting was the margin was even higher in the rest of the state, in rural areas, than in King County (where Seattle is located).

Is it a crazy way to pick candidates instead of elections? YES. Is it unfair, leaving a lot of people out? OH, HELL YES. Crazy and crowded as it was, as Danny Westneat pointed out in his column, only about 5.8% of registered voters show up. Do I think the WA State Democrats should get rid of it and go to primary elections, by mail, like everything else? YES. It seems to me ironic they tell us we’re packed in such small places and need money from us to pay for the rather expensive rent as there still are a lot of buildings that needed to be rented and they’re not cheap, when the party could save the money buy just letting the ballot we’re still going to get by mail actually count.

Don’t get me started on superdelegates.  Although I’m sure I will later. So far all our elected officials who are superdelegates are going for Hillary.

The River Revival

So, an exciting end to last week, starting last Thursday with the epic Bruce Springsteen concert that almost didn’t happen (for me). Tickets for the cheap seats gone even though I got online minutes after the show went on sale weeks earlier and sticker shock! On my budget (and my hours were just getting back to normal after some short shifts). . . Oh, man, I wanted to, but the seat that was something like $125 that was the cheapest they had at the time all the way across Key Arena. . .I’m someone who barely has anything after rent (which is way below market) and other bills.

So I thought I’d see if anyone had an extra cheap seat on Backstreets. No luck. Then for some reason I had the thought to go back and check on Ticketmaster and. . .a cheap seat had reappeared. $65 before fees raised it to $88.75, in behind the stage (which for a Springsteen concert is a good seat, he doesn’t block the view back there). Not only that, I got a slightly better paying job with steadier hours and a shorter commute shortly after. After so many runs of bad luck, it’s kind of eerie. . .

The River, which he played straight through, is also one of my favorite albums. One of the songs I especially waited for was Independence Day. Many of Springsteen’s songs about his dad remind me of mine. Independence Day especially gets to me though, and even before my father’s death and burial just before the Fourth of July (after a year of care and sometimes neglect from the VA starting just before the Fourth the previous year).

So say goodbye it’s Independence Day
Papa now I know the things you wanted that you could not say

Springsteen’s lines have a way of bringing back clear memories and the one this brings back was when my mother was sick a few years before she died and my shock when we went to the mall and he walked into one of the expensive stores, something he’d never do, and looked at a fancy nightgown and said he wished he could afford to buy it for her.

Hungry Heart is a great song to dry your tears by. . .and especially when Bruce is surfing the crowd!

The River, of course, one of his most haunting songs. . .”Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse?”

I got a job working construction for the Johnstown Company
But lately there ain’t been much work on account of the economy

Bruce, of course, has never forgotten there are a lot of people not doing well, and that has both continued to reflect in his songs and his raising money for food banks, in our case, the West Seattle Food Bank.  I dropped $5 in one of their buckets on the way in. There didn’t seem to be too many people paying attention to them. Until. . .Springsteen spoke about them on stage and announced our hometown boy Eddie Vedder would be matching our donations, just before Eddie joined him on stage to sing Bobby Jean.

People were filling the buckets on the way out (and I dropped in $15 more).  $24,000 according to the West Seattle Food Bank (before Eddie’s match!):

Of course, this being a Springsteen concert, people walking out was still a long time away. Meanwhile, Bruce pulled someone out of the crowd to dance with him for Dancing in the Dark . . .

Did I mention Springsteen doesn’t play encores any more? No, because he just plays 3 1/2 hours straight through and never leaves the stage. So, about a half hour before the show wrapped up at nearly midnight with an epic version of Shout (part of it below), I started seeing all these people in hard hats on both sides of the stage. . . the crew to take everything down . . . waiting. . . and waiting. . .

I’ve been lucky enough to see Bruce Springsteen and even luckier when it’s with the E Street Band, for over 30 years, and he (and they) still bring it!