Summer Arrives With Pirates & Music in West Seattle

I know summer was supposed to arrive on June 21, but in Seattle it took until July 5 to get here.  It was time for more music and pirates landing in West Seattle the next weekend.

I headed off after work Friday, August 9, to catch the rest of the first day of West Seattle Summerfest. I wandered around first, spending some time at the Easy Street Records booth to dig through their bargain cds (& enjoying the mariachi band playing nearby). While I wasn’t planning on any more food than the raspberry lemonade I got from one of the stands, the $3 chicken skewers they were offering outside Tom Yum Koong, a Thai restaurant about a block west of Easy Street, was too tempting (and tasty).

Kim Virant at West Seattle Summerfest

Kim Virant was playing the Alaska Street stage with an all star line up in her band including Chris Friel (her husband), Jeff Rouse, Ty Bailie and Jeff Fielder.  She sounded great, and the band did, too!

While I don’t have any video from their West Seattle set, here’s a clip by OutlawDigetalMedia on YouTube of Kim from the Wine, Women & Song night showcasing Seattle’s women singers, with, maybe not coincidentally, many of the male musicians who were on stage with Kim in West Seattle playing as the house band:

Check out more of Kim Virant’s music at:

A little bit later, I caught Satchel at the same stage.  Satchel really rocked, as you can tell from the clip below (from West Seattle Blog). I had only heard lead singer Shawn Smith at the mini-Brad reunion with Stone Gossard & friends at the Hootenanny for Haiti, where they played Buttercup from Brad.

Shawn (& Stone)’s other band, Brad, had a cd release this week, and are playing a free gig at Easy Street Records’ Queen Anne location on August 12 at 7 pm (wait, its after midnight, so that’s tonight).

Websites at:


It was finally getting dark at the end of Satchel’s set, but I wasn’t done rocking out for the evening. Playing a couple blocks up the street, at the California Stage were Hells Belles, the all girl AC/DC tribute band. They totally rocked out the place, with a huge and fanatic crowd, singing along. I had not realized how many AC/DC songs I knew by hear. Hey, I was going to high school when these guys were big. . .  The girls had all the moves down, too; and the guys in the crowd were going ape*#@%!

See where they’re playing next, and links to merch and music at their website:

Here they are with their TNT encore, from eyeheartgiraffe on YouTube:

Wow! I was finally rocked out for the night and headed home; but I would be back in West Seattle soon. . .

That Saturday’s West Seattle adventure started out at Alki Beach. I decided to check out the Seafair Pirates‘ landing this year. I don’t know, maybe I’m just not young enough. The pirates’ landing didn’t seem that exciting to me. The kids (& a lot of grown ups) love them though.

Just be careful with your possessions. . .

Seafair Pirate Auctioning Camera

Is that a stolen camera you’re trying to sell me, or are you happy to see me? . . . or are you checking out my camera?

I did not join the bidding on the camera nabbed, no doubt, from some poor soul who thought he’d take a few pictures of the nice pirates. OK, maybe not so poor. It would have been a nice upgrade. . .

I learned my lesson about Seafair Pirates at this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. This charming scalawag. . .

Pirate who stole my backpack

“Look up there!”, he said to me, and so I looked, while he made some outrageous claim about someone flying an Irish flag off one of the flagpoles (still flying the Stars & Stripes and the Washington state flags, as usual). Seconds later, he’s running down the street with my backpack. . .

Hey, wait a second!  Well, at least I had his photo to show the cops. . . Come to think of it, though, there was a cop right at the intersection. . .Fortunately, the pirate returned my backpack.

So, no, I didn’t bid on the stolen camera at the pirate’s landing. Is this a good thing to be teaching kids? How easy it is to steal? I know the Seafair Pirates return their loot, but will all the little rascals (especially when they grow up)? Just asking. . .

It was a nice, if hot day, so I took the time to dip my toes in the water and walk up Alki Beach to the lighthouse before heading over to the West Seattle Junction for more music at their Summerfest.

Alki Beach Lighthouse

While it isn’t the ocean, Elliott Bay does have salt water and little waves. Although, alas, it and the rest of the sound does need some cleaning, which is why I think the idea of the Puget Sound Partnership is a good one. It’s just that there have been reports that they’re spending their money in questionable ways. . . Lets hope most of it is being used to clean up Puget Sound.

After my stroll on the beach, I navigated the buses to go back to The Junction. As I’ve learned in the past, going to more than one place in West Seattle, especially on the weekend, when the one route that runs from Alki to the Junction isn’t running. I figured I’d take the bus I came on back to California Street in the Admiral District and hop a bus down California to the festival, which worked.

Did I mention my chosen attire for the pirate’s landing?  My Riot Act era Pearl Jam t-shirt with a skull & crossbones and my pink sun hat. Now, I always get strange reactions when I wear that t-shirt. On the one hand, I get compliments from die-hard Pearl Jam fans, always guys. . . Hey, wait a second, maybe I should wear it more often. . . Sigh. Unfortunately, even the Pearl Jam fan base is generally 10 years younger than me. It’s getting even stranger now that I realize most of the bands I’m watching are young enough to be my kids. . . Regarding the t-shirt, on the other hand, a lot of people recoil, or give me dirty looks because of the skull and crossbones. . .

Even when paired with this pink hat:

Pink Sun Hat

I wandered around at first, as the two bands I knew I wanted to hear, playing at partially overlapping times, were later in the afternoon. A lot of indie music that I wasn’t that into at first. I decided to look around for a bite to eat, and ended up going to the Taco Guaymas on California for a couple of beef tacos (holding the cheese, of course, much as I miss it). It was good, and so was the non-carbonated aqua fresca I had with it.

I walked on down to the other end of the street and caught Massy Ferguson at the California Stage. They were playing some great Americana. Here’s their Wagon Wheel closer (and my not so great video):

Here’s a better clip, by TheShadyOne of them playing Take Down the Company at the Sunset Tavern in Ballard:

Check out Massy Ferguson’s website for upcoming gigs, including their cd release party September 17 at Neumos:

Next, I listened to an acoustic set by Marc Olsen down at the Alaska Stage. Good songwriting. There’s not a lot current about him or his music online (a MySpace page that looks like it hasn’t been updated in far longer than my own or our Amnesty International group’s which I’m supposed to be maintaining, and an album from 2003 on cdbaby, for example). Marc has played with bands like Sage and Sky Cries Mary.

Marc Olsen

I then headed over to the California Stage to catch the start of Mark Pickerel and his Praying Hands‘ set. More great Americana. I know a lot of people still think of him as the Screaming Trees drummer, and he still does a lot of great drunning with groups around town; but if you haven’t checked out his singing, you really should; and he’s got a great band backing him with the Praying Hands.

Here’s a clip from the West Seattle Festival of Graffiti Girl:

Check out more of Mark’s music on Bloodshot Records and his MySpace page:

Of course, you can also find Mark’s music (and many of the other bands I’ve mentioned on this blog) at Damaged Goods, his record store in Belltown.

I slipped away from Mark’s set in time to catch Kristen Ward at the Alaska stage.  It makes no sense that they scheduled them at nearly the same time. . . Of course, I could have caught Kristen the next day at the Ballard Seafood Fest, . . .but that would have meant having my act together, which I sadly didn’t on Sunday. . .

Kristen and her band were in find form. Here they are with a new song:

. . . and Shoot Me Down, from West Seattle Blog:

Kristen’s website for more music and upcoming gigs:

Her one Friday night at the Columbia Theater with Kasey Anderson and Barton Carroll has fallen off the front page with all the other gigs coming up, but is listed on the Shows page.

I caught a little of Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter before I left. Here’s a clip from the West Seattle Blog:

Her website is:

As I waited for the bus back, I was already plotting my return trip the next morning to catch The Dusty 45s. I had it together, or at least I thought I did. Somewhere between Saturday evening and and Sunday morning I lost track of the time.  12:45. . .  It’s not that early on a Sunday. OK, maybe for me it is. . .

OK.  There were other things distracting me, which is why I built in extra time for the 1:45 start. . .oops. . .to get there early and even have a cupcake from Cupcake Royale. . .which at least meant I only missed half of their set instead of all of it. . .

The Dusty 45s

It just wasn’t my day. When I got home, and checked the two videos I took, I realized just because I can zoom in during video on my camera, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Unfortunately, it takes to long to recover focus. . . OK, so my camera is kind of like me. . .

Here’s one of Walking in the Rain from the West Seattle Blog:

Fortunately, that was not my last chance to catch The Dusty 45s this summer, or even that week. . .

Check out their upcoming schedule at:

A lot more music coming soon, and lantern floating on Green Lake!

Hopefully, before September. . .


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