2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is doing awesome!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,500 times in 2010. That’s about 8 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 47 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 199 posts. There were 334 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 146mb. That’s about 6 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was October 17th with 40 views. The most popular post that day was Rocking out with Mike McCready.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were ifreestores.com, facebook.com, en.wordpress.com, homercat.blogspot.com, and mariaozawa2u.blogspot.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for kim virant, mike mccready, mike mccready wife, kristen ward, and aztec dancers.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Rocking out with Mike McCready May 2008


Aztec Dancers & Altars November 2009


Another Flight to Mars with Mike McCready & Friends May 2009


The Dusty 45s Playing Everywhere This Summer August 2010


Cruisin’ the Fossil Freeway at the Burke January 2010


Reverb Festival – Music & Art in Ballard

On October 9, I wandered the streets and bars of Ballard.  Wow, does that sound bad. . . I was wandering the streets of Ballard with my $10 wristband for the Reverb Festival, which got me in to see over 60 bands at 10 locations from 2:30 pm to 2 am. Well, at least theoretically. I wasn’t quite that ambitious. I saw 8 bands in 3 bars.

Moshi Moshi

I stopped first at Moshi Moshi. a sushi restaurant offering a discount for Reverb wrist band holders. I had their delicious chicken yakitori.

Roy Kay Combo

After that I went over to Conor Byrne to check out some rockabilly by the Roy Kay Combo. They were good!

Check out their music and where they’re playing next at: http://www.myspace.com/roykaytrio

I wandered the streets of Ballard after that to find my next venue.

Street Marker in Sidewalk

I loved the street markers they had embedded in their sidewalks to help you find directions.

Elgin Watch Ad on Building

I also loved all the old ads left on buildings, like the one above for Elgin watches. They were kind of like the Timex of the pocket watch era. Oh, wait, does anyone remember Timex anymore?

NW Ballard & Ballard NW

 In spite of the street markers, I still got a little lost, at one point finding this 3 way sign, which includes both NW Ballard and Ballard Ave NW. . . OK! I know I’m in Ballard. . .

The 2 Bit Saloon

I finally found what I was looking for – The 2 Bit Saloon, a dive bar I probably wouldn’t have been adventurous enough to wander into if it wasn’t part of the festival. That’s OK, the other patrons weren’t so sure about me either. . .

Imperial Legions of Rome

I caught the end of the Imperial Legions of Rome‘s set. They played good and L O U D heavy metal. My hearing may never recover.

Find their music at: http://www.myspace.com/imperiallegionsofrome

I stayed and listened to some more good and loud music from Hobosexual. Here they are with Concrete Corporate:

Their MySpace page is: http://www.myspace.com/hobosexualtheband

I stayed for the whole set. It was time to head out again after that, while I still had some hearing left! It was also dark and pouring rain. I headed back to the direction of the other venues, not sure which I wanted to check out next, or if I wanted to stop for desert first. Suddenly, I was accosted near a beauty salon by a man who wanted me to see his artwork. He was very persistent, so I went into the Source Salon & Spa . . . and I did like his art!

Red Stickmen Salute Dubya

I later realized from the info card he gave me that it was also the night of the Ballard Art Walk and his opening night reception. I guess he thought I was wandering the neighborhood for art and thought I was dissing his work when I didn’t want to come in at first. Of course, I’m wandering around looking for music venues, and thinking . . . art? . . . in a beauty salon?. . .

According to his card he is TV TommyVision and his website is: http://www.tv-tommyvision.net/

Cupcake Royale

It was still pouring, and I did decide it was time for desert and coffee at that point, so I stopped by Cupcake Royale. I had a lemon drop cupcake, not realizing that it was a lemon drop hard candy on top until it was in my mouth. So I finished it first, even though I probably would have saved it for last if I had known. The cupcake was delicious.

I was back to my more traditional fare of Americana music for the rest of the evening.  Massy Ferguson, always one of my favorites, rocked out  The Tractor Tavern. Here they are with Powder Blue, near the end of their set:

They also won the Seattle Weekly contest for favorite Reverb Festival band and won a trip to Iceland to play in the Iceland Airwaves Festival the next weekend!

Massy Ferguson’s website is at: http://www.massyfergusonband.com/

I stayed at The Tractor and listened to Lindsey Fuller and the Cheap Dates next. I’ve always been impressed by Lindsey’s songwriting, and the Cheap Dates are, in fact, some of Seattle’s best musicians. Here they are with Big White Lie, a song about Leonard Peltier:

It’s hard to believe Leonard Peltier is still in prison.  It’s been over 35 years. Still no justice.

Learn more about Leonard’s case at: http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/

Lindsey Fuller’s website is at: http://www.lindsayfuller.com/

The Young Evils

I caught some of The Young Evils‘s set before leaving The Tractor. A bit toward the pop, or indie music, with good harmonies (and Mark Pickerel doing double duty with the drums, having just played with Lindsey Fuller).

Their MySpace page: http://www.myspace.com/theyoungevils

It was pouring rain out again (or still). Here’s a picture of it coming down over the Lock & Keel sign on the way back to Conor Byrne.

Rainy Night in Ballard

Time for some Irish Coffee!  Of course, without the cream for me these days.

Carrie Clark & the Lonesome Lovers

I caught the end of Carrie Clark & the Lonesome Lovers‘ set. More great twang!

Her website is at: http://www.carrieclark.com/

Kristen Ward

Finishing off the evening with Kristen Ward and her band (with Simona Bressi on drums, their newest member). Terrific as always, here they are with Faith:

That’s lead guitarist Gary Westlake tearing it up on guitar (including some fancy behind his back playing) and Nate Mulubay on bass!

I had another awesome and rainy night in Ballard!

. . . and I’m still one month, 2, probably going on 3, music events and an Amnesty International conference behind on this blog. . . on this rainy night in the U District.

Yes, I brought some of the rain with me to San Francisco last weekend. It keeps hiding in my luggage. . .

An Almost Perfect Evening at the High Dive

After missing Kristen Ward, on a double bill with Kasey Anderson (who I also really like), at the Columbia City Theater due to bus logistics, I was glad to see she was playing at the High Dive in Fremont next. If worse came to worse, I could walk home from Fremont, or at least part of the way. . . or maybe not, depending on my health, as I was to find fortunately (or maybe not) after the show.

I enjoyed all three bands. First up was Explone, whose music has been getting some play on KEXP.  Here they are with Michigan:

Kristen Ward and her band were up next. She played a lot of new music from her upcoming cd (which I’m looking forward to). A lot more than Last Night on Division, but what can I say? I like the song, so it’s the one I taped again:

Closing out the evening were The Bradbury Press. Their lead singer was evidently just back from living in Boston for awhile, and their fans were obviously happy to have him back and hear the band again. I really like their sound and their songwriting. This one is The Front:

There’s another song they do, Domino, that’s real mind-bending. Three very different outcomes (& 2 of them life changing) for a man at a bar deciding whether to first make a phone call, have another drink or talk to an old friend. I was thinking at the time that hopefully most decisions on a night out aren’t that eventful; but then again, maybe sometimes it is the small decisions (and come to think of it, I’ve had at least one bad, and maybe a possible good one since).

I got out of the show just in time to run for the last bus around 1:30 am. One that leaves me a usually short 10 minute walk home.  Ran for the bus just as I realized my gut problem was back again.

Let’s just say I renewed my respect for Mike McCready for speaking out about Crohn’s Disease (which is far worse that what I have), including the bathroom legislation he helped pass; and for stilll getting out there and rocking. This stuff is hard enough as a music fan. . .

. . . and I was having an enjoyable evening. . .

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: http://www.myspace.com/kimvirant

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: http://www.shawnsmithsinger.com

& http://www.bradcorporation.com/

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: http://www.hellsbelles.info/

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: http://www.jessesykes.com/

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: http://www.dusty45s.com/

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

Hopefully, before September. . .

Great June Shows

OK, I’m way far behind, but I don’t want to entirely skip mentioning all the great shows I’ve been lucky enough to see this summer (and maybe even some I’ve had to miss). Starting in June, since I’ve made it up through Folklife so far.

Hard Rock Cafe, Seattle

On June 5, I caught Kristen Ward at the Hard Rock Cafe. This was my first time at the Seattle Hard Rock, which was a nice, if very small, err, make that intimate (marketing, marketing), venue.

Lindsay Fuller & the Cheap Dates

Lindsay Fuller & the Cheap Dates opened. Lindsay is a really great singer/songwriter, and had some familiar faces in her band, including Jeff Fielder and Mark Pickerel.

Here’s a clip by sourmilkbiscuit of Lindsay Fuller & the Cheap Dates at the  Crackle & Pop  recording studio playing Trigger Happy:

For more of Lindsay’s music and where she’s playing next, see: http://www.lindsayfuller.com/

Kristen Ward

Kristen Ward and her band were terrific, as always.  While I didn’t get any video that night (my first club show with my new camera) I did at West Seattle Fest, which I will be posting shortly. Here’s Kristen with Drive Away at The Crocodile in February, posted  by jpseawa to YouTube:

Kristen’s music and what she’s up to next at: http://www.kristenward.com/

While I already mentioned the Sting and Tom Petty concerts I tabled for AI in my Amnesty International update post, since they’re both going in slightly different directions, I thought I’d post a clip each here.

Sting was playing with the Royal Philharmonic (and has an album out with them now):

. . .and really enjoying himself doing it!

Tom Petty took a turn towards blues roots music with his latest album Mojo:

Also having a great time and re-energizing his music.

I know some people would just like to see their favorite musicians playing only all their oldies from when you were back in high school or college, and maybe writing new stuff along the same lines. It seems to me when they do that, they become almost a cover band of themselves (and usually end up playing county & state fairs). I think it helps keep the music fresh when they stretch in new directions and play side gigs with other musicians like the guys from Pearl Jam do locally.

There was one more show I table for Amnesty International at the very end of June. Steve Earle came back through again, this time  with Joe Ely opening, playing Zoo Tunes at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo on June 30. Percy from my AI group tabled with me this time, on his birthday.

I had not gotten a chance to hear Joe Ely live before, and really enjoyed his set.  Here he is with Live Forever at SXSW 2010 by Music Fog:

Steve Earle dedicated City of Immigrants to “the idiots in Arizona” with their new law (that’s been partially struck down today). He also talked about his gig on the Treme series on HBO, and the BP oil spill which has created far more havoc to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region on top of the recovery from Hurricane Katrina. Then he played This City, his song on the closing credits on the season closer of Treme (which I haven’t seen yet, not getting cable).

Here’s a clip of Steve singing it at Brit Fest by TheEnolaJay on YouTube:

I’ve got to say, I really admire the tenacity of Louisianans, those coming back after floods to New Orleans, and the Cajun fishers and seafood harvesters now inundated by oil who can’t make any money now but still don’t want to leave. . .

Kristen Ward, West Seattle and My Birthday

So, last Friday was my birthday. What year is it? I’m how old? How did this happen?!!!

How old was I?  I’ll give you a hint. TV show from my childhood with a tune from The Ventures for it’s theme song. . .

That’s right. . .I hit the big 5–0! Book her, Danno!

Fortunately, those AARP folks aren’t as wily as McGarrett & his crew. I still haven’t got my card from them.

I didn’t go to Hawaii for my birthday, but I did go to West Seattle!


photo by JoJo Tran

Yes, I actually did take my birthday off this year! Although I felt a little guilty about it, I even went to hear music that night instead of to a human rights event.

I was originally planning to go to the UW Center for Human Rights 1st Annual Celebration. Even though Sophia from my Amnesty International Group thought I was nuts. It was my birthday! They had it covered!

Then I saw Kristen Ward was playing the West Seattle Easy Street Records that night. I missed Kristen’s cd release party while I was in New Orleans for the Amnesty International AGM, and it was my 50th (and our AI group was well represented at the Center for Human Rights event). . .

I came over to West Seattle early with my friend JoJo from our AI group. We checked out Alki Beach.


We walked up it a ways and got some good shots of the Seattle skyline.


On our way back up the beach, I stopped at the ladies room and discovered it was a city furlough day, which turned out to mean no toilet tissue. Fortunately I had a pack of Kleenex in my purse. I gave out the rest of the tissues to the other women in line

We were checking out the restaurants once we go to the commercial stretch of Alki and found the Saigon Boat Cafe. JoJo ordered for us in Vietnamese, and we had a tasty meal of sandwiches, pho (soup), and then chicken and rice. All very spicy and good. Unfortunately the one thing I couldn’t eat were the cream filled puff pastries they brought me because JoJo mentioned it was my birthday.

We hopped the 37, which took the scenic route to the Junction (California & Alaska, the heart of the business district in West Seattle).

Fortunately, I could get away with a cupcake at Cupcake Royale with my health problem. Cupcakes seemed a much better idea than a party with a big cake and trying to fit all those candles on there and needing to call the fire department. . .

Hey, wait a minute! No, I wouldn’t want to keep them from putting out real fires. . . besides, if I want to see hunky firemen, I could go to the WSCFF Burn Foundation Firefighter Calendar judging event next week. . .


Ahem! So anyways, after our cupcakes, JoJo and I headed across the street to Easy Street Records, where Kristen and her band were just setting up. No hidden doors like the Queen Anne Easy Street. They take out the tables from the cafe section at the West Seattle store.

IMG_1166 (2)

It was, as Kristen noted, like playing in someone’s living room. People gathered out in the street, as well as in the store (with children bouncing along), and even drivers passing by were pausing to listen. Kristen (and her band), as always, sounded great.

Here’s a clip of Last Night on Division I recorded:

JoJo took a lot of photos, too; and had photos taken, not being shy about talking to people like me.


After I got a signed cd, JoJo and I went out in search of an Irish pub, and ended up deciding to hop the bus and go to Paddy Coynes in JoJo’s neighborhood, where they were just starting their second happy hour when we arrived.

All in all, a pretty good birthday (and I’m still dodging that AARP card)!

Hootenanny for Haiti: Seattle’s Rock & Roll Campfire

I went to the Hootenanny for Haiti with Mike McCready, Duff McKagan and friends last Sunday night and it was a blast!


It was kind of like singing around the campfire with 1,100 of your closest friends, who happen to include some of the best musicians in Seattle, and a song list that includes The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Tom Petty and a couple surprises from the deepest vaults of Seattle rock history.


They started the show off, to a sold out and capacity crowd at the Showbox at the Market (the original Showbox), with Wild Horses. Here’s the preview before the show from KISW radio.

Let’s see: Duff McKagan (Guns N’ Roses, Velvet Revolver, Duff McKagan’s Loaded), Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Gary Westlake (Kristen Ward, Flight to Mars -the UFO tribute band that also includes Mike), and Jeff Rouse (Duff McKagan’s Loaded, Alien Crime Syndicate); and many more at the actual show.

Maybe it says something about the crowd (including me), that the first good sing along got going with Tom Petty’s Even the Losers (Mark Pickerel taking the lead on this one):

 Some of the songs were a real hoot (and totally unexpected)! Jeff Rouse covering Prince’s I Can Never Take the Place of Your Man? Kim Warnick (The Fastbacks) taking the lead on Belinda Carlisle’s Heaven is a Place on Earth? Actually, Duff warned us this one was coming a couple weeks before on his Reverb blog on The Seattle Weekly site. Still, that he had so much fun playing it. . .


Johnny Thunders Can’t Put Your Arms Around a Memory was another one Duff told us was coming:

Star Anna really stole the show with her version of Otis Redding’s That’s How Strong My Love Is (version below not from the Hootenanny). I’ve said it before, but her voice is just incredible. The amount of emotion that just breaks your heart (but in a good way).

Kim Virant took up the challenge of following Star with Stevie Nicks’ Stop Dragging My Heart Around (doesn’t seem to be any video of that up). I’m not sure which of the guys was singing the dead on Tom Petty part of the duet.

Kristen Ward really held her own, taking the stage early with Hank WilliamsI’m So Lonesome I Could Cry amidst wolf whistles. Here she is with Gary Westlake singing Dolly Parton’s Jolene (and, yes, the drunk guys shouting at the start see Pearl Jam’s Matt Cameron. . .). Some people need to get out more, or maybe not. . .

Now for some pure Seattle moments. River of Deceit, from Mad Season, the super group Mike played in with the late Layne Staley (Alice in Chains), among others. Jeff Rouse takes Layne’s part:

There was also a mini-reunion of one of  Pearl Jam member Stone Gossard’s side projects, Brad, after the raffle. Brad is playing at the Showbox on April 14, and that show is already sold out.


Then, back deeper into Seattle’s past – Crown of Thorns, from Mother Love Bone (a band before Pearl Jam that Stone and Jeff Ament were part of before their lead singer, Andrew Wood, ODed when they were on the brink of fame). Shawn Smith, from Brad, took the lead vocals. Holy Cow!

Then Duff and Star Anna did a duet of Bob Dylan’s Knocking on Heavens Door. Even Duff was in awe of her Otis Redding cover, and really embarrasses her (but in a good way) going on about it.


Closing out, Duff taking the lead on Iggy Pop’s I Wanna Be Your Dog, followed by the ladies taking the lead on I’ll Fly Away.


Awesome show for a great cause!

With the packed house and raffle tickets ($5 for one, $20 for 5), they must have raised a lot for Partners in Health and their work for Haiti. There is still supposed to be an autographed guitar that was played by Mike and Duff at the Hootenanny coming up on Charity Buzz. If you have $1000 or so lying around, it should be coming up this week at: http://www.charitybuzz.com/auctions . Search for Hootenanny for Haiti.

Obligatory late night transit story for this concert:

They’ve got police posted at the Westlake tunnel late nights. A cop was dragging a guy away in handcuffs for. . .(cue Dragnet theme). . .smoking a cigarette? OK, I’m not a big fan of second hand smoke, but . . . “You’re busted!”?   I can see a ticket. He deserves a ticket (the officer helpfully pointed out the sign on the way out when the guy claimed he didn’t see any rule about it).

At least with the cops there, people aren’t getting the crap beaten out of them and getting robbed with everyone including the security guards standing around. Looks like the police are looking for something to do, though; so I’d suggest not lighting that cigarette and throw away your trash properly! Granted, a good idea anyways. . .

After Christmas Show at the Tractor

I finally decided yesterday afternoon to go hear Star Anna and Kristen Ward at the Tractor last night, and was glad I did. I knew it would be a good show. I first heard both Star Anna and Kristen opening for Mike McCready’s side bands, and both play and write passionate Americana.



Pufferfish opened – a young, indie band who have been getting some exposure on KEXP. Yes, accordion music!  Someone said to turn up the accordion.  I wasn’t so sure about the squeaky, small, stuffed birds the drummer was playing; but the band was pretty good.

Here’s a clip for Cumulus from YouTube:

Check out their music at:




After the set change, before Kristen’s set, we had a surprise guest:


Mike McCready

Yes, Mike McCready from Pearl Jam came out and played an acoustic set, most of them with his old friend Gary Westlake, who’s also Kristen’s lead guitarist. 


Mike McCready & Gary Westlake

Mike opened with a song about his daughter, followed by one about his son, then a number of covers, with a Happy Birthday sing-along to Kristen thrown in. Mike and Gary closed the set with the Rolling Stones’s Wild Horses, a request from Kristen. Here’s where I start feeling old – there were a couple of the indie kids behind me who had no idea what the song was or who it was by. A little more reassuring were the trio of 20 something girls who pushed their way through the crowd with one of the girls saying it was her favorite song.  They had no idea who Mike was, though, and asked if he was Kristen Ward. . .

To avoid any confusion, this is Kristen Ward (I don’t think many guys would confuse her with Mike):


Kristen Ward

Kristen keeps improving her stage presence, and add that to her voice, guitar playing and song writing.  She did a number of new ones from her upcoming album, including “the one about Spokane” someone from the audience requested. My Last Night on Division, if I remember right (which I see is the title of upcoming album). “My home town it brings me down. . .”  Reminds me a lot of St. Helens, Oregon, where I went to high school.

Someone finally YouTubed Kristen at Bumpershoot this summer!  Here she is with Good Time Man, off her current album, Drive Away:

Kristen asked if everyone was all right at one point.  I don’t know, I keep seeing all these guys clutching their hearts when Kristen’s on stage, some of them only in their 20s.  I think they’ll survive, though. . .

More of Kristen’s music at:





Star Anna

Finally, Star Anna.  I’ve heard her before, but Star Anna really blew me away last night.  Like Kristen, she writes and plays some incredible songs.  It’s the passion in her voice, hearing her live, reminiscent of Janis Joplin, that really got me. 

Here she is with her band, the Laughing Dogs, with Space Beneath the Door at the Triple Door in August:

Here they are with Through the Winter at The Tractor in 2007:

Check out more music from Star Anna & the Laughing Dogs at:




What a great evening!  Then back into a cold Ballard night to make the bus in time (which fortunately was running late). 

That ought to hold me until New Year’s Eve!

Booking My Flight to Mars Soon (& Rocking Out Meanwhile)

So Thursday night I took another Flight to Mars with Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready and friends from Neumos and I had a blast (and survived re-entry, except maybe my hearing)!

What can I say?  Buzz Aldrin says we need a flight to Mars

OK.  I know Buzz meant a real flight to Mars.  We’ve already got a couple rovers there.  We could do it!

We can’t book flights there yet, or can we?  We’ll see later.

First on to the rock show.  Well, first after getting re-directed after getting disoriented taking the 43 bus that I haven’t taken in a while.  Fortunately my friend George was the driver.  OK.  Don’t depend on me for coordinates for your real flight to Mars!

I made it there before they started letting people in, which turned out to be another hour and a half before the show.  Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  I got close to the stage (and was able to regain my close spot throughout the evening.

Mike came out to do an acoustic with Gary Westlake and Rebecca Young first, including Dead Flowers by the Rolling Stones and a song about getting wasted Neil Young’s wife will no longer let him do.


Gary Westlake was wearing a vintage Flying Burrito Brothers t-shirt at this point. We were to see a lot of Gary that evening, as he’s with Kristen Ward’s band, who was opening, as well being a charter member of the Flight to Mars.


Kristen Ward’s set was next and she really wowed the audience (especially the guys).  Her singing and the band’s playing were even more intense in a small club setting.


Check out Kristen’s music at: http://www.kristenward.com/

Kristen also designed the posters for the show, which were signed by all the band members and certainly must have sold out early on.

Next it was time for our Flight to MarsFlight to Mars is a UFO cover band.  While Mike is their most famous member, they have a terrific line up. Don’t just take my word for it.  Here’s the Sound Magazine write up before their last Chrohn’s and Colitis benefit show:

Haven’t heard of Flight to Mars? (Sad for you.) Think of your favorite old cheese-rock band—yes, you have one—then add better musicians (North Twin guitarist Tim DiJulio, bassist Gary Westlake, and drummer Kelly Van Camp) and an almost scarily authentic ’80s frontman (Paul Passereli).


Nah, Paul’s not really scary.  He’s really a nice guy.  I’ve almost literally bumped into him at a couple of these shows and he’s always a real gentleman.


They started with Lights Out and kept rocking out the house.  What kind of evening was it?  Well, as Paul pointed out, Mike had his shirt off after the second song (and was up front playing incredible guitar solos to the audience all night).

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Check out this video from a Chrohn’s and Colitis Foundation fundraiser in 2004 to get an idea of both the band and one of Mike’s epic guitar solos.

Mike did a really epic solo during Rock Bottom.  He’s just exhausted.


That was just the end of the main set, though (at nearly 1 in the morning).  Mike came out to ask how many encore songs the audience wanted – 1 or 2?  As you can see there were a lot of 3’s!


They tried to get all the guests out on stage for the evening out, and had most of the guys for their first encore song, I’m a Loser. Gary now had his shirt off, too.


Perfect song for these scary times with the economy.

You can come to my place and sleep on the couch
Lots of people do it and we won’t leave you out
Hard times out on the Street
Hard times, hard to beat

They even got Kristen and Rebecca out for the finale song.


They played some Lynyrd Skynyrd.  No, not Free Bird (although someone did call it out).  Tuesday’s Gone, which really is a great song to get everyone on stage and go out to. Train, roll on. . .


It was about 1:10 am when things wrapped up.  I really thought I had a couple more minutes then I did to catch my bus, and that I had time to have a glass of the free water they had at the bar. I even bought  a copy of the Real Change homeless newspaper from a vendor on my way out.

I reached the corner of Broadway and Pine and saw my bus had already left the stop in front of the theater and was at the light.  I had to run for it, through a barricade maze for construction, to the catch it at the stop in front of Seattle Central Community College.  That almost did me in. 

I would have died happy, except, except. . .I finally have a fan ticket to Pearl Jam, who are playing Seattle for the first time in years in September!  Not only that, my friend needs me there with my ID for both of us to get in.  I better catch my breath.

When I got to the bus to get on, all exhausted, a guy in fatigues getting off started laughing hysterically and kept saying to the driver, “Be careful, she’ll bite you!”  He seemed to be on something much stronger than the one drink I had earlier in the evening.  Hope he’s not active duty!

So, what about those real flights to Mars?  We don’t have those yet, do we?

Wait, Expedia is booking!  Only $99 round trip!  Not quite as cheap as the $21.50 (including service charges) for the flight with Mike and his friends, but still. . .


Of course, this flight was posted on April Fools Day.  You might want to wait. . . Wait!  You can book a hotel on Mars as well!

Hmm.  I don’t know.  I think I’ll wait for the flight run by Buzz’s buddies at NASA, or maybe I’ll just wait for the next flight from Mike and his friends.  Paul doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d take any guff from bad ass aliens.

IMG_3799 (2)

I don’t know, though.  Those activities on Mars on the Expedia website sound mighty enticing!

Maybe after the Pearl Jam concert I’ll look into it. . .


7/27 6 pm update:  I did want to add two more links.

First, there’s more music from Flight to Mars on their MySpace page (including an epic version of Rock Bottom they broke down into two clips):


Second, as usual when I have my camera with me, I took probably too many pictures that night.  They’re up on my Flickr website in their own album:


Photos are downloadable (with some restrictions – not commercial use, attribution, not making major alterations with Photo Shop etc.).  Just click on the photo and then on it’s page the “All Sizes” tab above the photo and choose which size you want, then the Download link on the left side just above the photo (and also probably change the file name to something you’ll recognize). 

Generally if I add my own photos to these posts, there’s a lot more up in their own album on the Flickr site.

Sun, Rain, Music in West Seattle

So, I headed back over to West Seattle on Sunday, riding a packed bus from the U District with what turned out to be a rowdy high school math academy class. I knew there were some more bands I wanted to check out at the West Seattle Fest.

Kristen Ward was just starting her set at the Alaska Stage when I got there. I’ve heard Kristen opening for Mike McCready’s Shadow ‘86 and Flight to Mars side bands at least a couple times in the past. I really enjoy her music, which also tends towards Americana (I’m thinking a double bill with Mark Pickerel, who played Friday night, would make a great show). Great voice, great band and great song writing.


Oh, yeah.  Did I mention she’s beautiful?  A lot more guys were taking pictures than usual.  One of whom walked by me a couple times without saying anything, then slyly snapped my photo before he left!  You’ll also notice Kristen has a very young fan club.  At one point there were at least 7 little girls and one boy lined up beneath the stage, literally looking up to her.

Check out Kristen’s music on her main website and MySpace page.

Kristen also brought out the sun.  That was not to last.  This is summer in Seattle.

I went over to the California Stage next to catch another woman who has played with Mike McCready at his benefit shows – Kim Virant.


Kim’s been rocking out Seattle for some time now, and is always great.  Here’s a clip of her singing Crystal Clear from a gig at the Tractor Tavern in May:

After Kim’s set, I headed back to the junction, and decided to head over to the Easy Street Records booth. 

After finding I was so close to being broke buying the $10 cd after Mark Pickerel’s set Friday night, I decided to try to sell the video card I bought on eBay that didn’t fit my computer to REPC on Saturday.  I got, guess what? Oh, yes. I got $10 for it, and guess I was lucky to get that.  “A PCI card?” One of the guys asked the other.  One of the reasons I should be neither buying nor selling anything computer related on eBay is that I have not a clue what a PCI card is, why it’s so ancient, or what’s evidently replaced it.

So, what did I do with my $10?  Went over to the Easy Street Record booth and spent it all.  What can I say?  I was just going to buy a $2 cd.  Maybe 3 for $5. . .  Boxes and boxes of fairly unorganized cds, with some real gems hidden (well, not real gems or I would have bought more).  Then the record store guy said the prices were cut – $1 a cd, 12 for $10 and I started finding more.  Even though some kind of marching band was going by I could only hear, but not see, that I knew I wanted to be out taking pictures of.  Even though it started pouring rain and everyone crowded into the tent.  “The sky is falling and our prices are falling!” the enterprising record store guy cryed out.

I came out with a very interesting mix, and got props from the record store guy for both my Nils Lofgren pick and for having bought the copy of Real Change news (the homeless paper) I had on me.

OK.  Now I had to find out where that drumming was coming from.  I think, if I’m figuring out their online schedule right, it was the Filipino Youth Activities Drill Team.


They had been out performing even in the downpour. 

I decide to head back over to the California Stage, where Carrie Clark & the Lonesome Lovers were still playing to a rain drenched audience.  I noticed some of the locals had went back home to change into rain gear.


Country and Americana mixed with cabaret.

She sang a couple songs about the rain, figuring it’s already raining, so it couldn’t get any worse!

I was thinking I’d head home after her set.  I walked back down to the Junction, but heard another band I liked at the Alaska Stage.


Green Pajamas!  No, they weren’t wearing them.  That’s their name. A little towards Americana too, but they also lean toward a 60’s psychedelic vibe.

Here they are at the West Seattle Fest, from the West Seattle Blog:

They sang a couple songs about cold nights, appropriately.

As I was near the bus stop, I actually did manage to head home after their set.  A great weekend of music, and I only made part of it.  This is the season.  Keep an eye out in your town or neighborhood!