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!


2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at 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,,,, and

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

MOHAI – History on the Move

This year on Museum Day, September 25, I decided to check out the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI).  Amazingly enough, I had not been to MOHAI before, even though it’s current location is a short distance from me, just across the Montlake Bridge from Husky Stadium in the U District. The Smithsonian’s Museum Day provides a printable ticket for free admission to the museum of your choice (for up to two people), so it seemed like the perfect time to check it out.

Carroll’s Clock

Greeting you at the entrance of MOHAI is the old Carroll’s jewelry store clock, which seems out of place in MOHAI’s park like setting.  It is not out of time, however, at least not literally. There was a clock repairman performing maintenance when I got there.

Great Seattle Fire

The Great Seattle Fire on June 6, 1889 burned down 32 city blocks according to the MOHAI sign. One of those epic events that changed the city. All because a glue pot boiled over in a carpenter’s shop.

This glue pot:

Glue Pot

Wow! This is it? This little pot filled with glue boiling over and much of the city was gone.

One exhibit I couldn’t photograph (because there was a sign asking me not to) was the visiting Women’s Votes, Women’s Voices exhibit from the Washington State Historical Society. I was really impressed how progressive Washington State has always been on women voting and other equal rights measures. In addition to being the 5th state to give women the right to vote in 1910; twice – in 1883 and 1887 – the Washington Territorial Legislature gave women the vote, only to have the Territorial Supreme Court stike it down. An equal pay law in 1943!

Details on the Washington State Historical Society’s timeline:

History is on the move into the museum. . .

Hey, wait! What’s the Lincoln Toe Truck doing in here? I miss going by it on Fairview on the bus. . .

Lincoln Toe Truck

. . . and I guess now the Lusty Lady sign is officially history. . .

Lusty Lady Sign

. . . of course, we all miss the wild & humorous Lusty Lady signs. I know. It’s a family museum.  Actually, those real signs were across the street from the Seattle Art Museum, often with long lines of school kids on field trips, though. Hopefully that wasn’t all they remembered when they got back to class!

Sometimes WTO seems like really ancient history, in spite of, or maybe because of?, the fact I lived through it.

WTO Turtle Costume

The turtle costumes were great! They got people asking why and learning how the treaty, created for large corporations benefit, knocked down laws to protect sea turtles.

Of course, WTO wasn’t Seattle’s first major protest that shut down downtown. In 1919 the Unions were also out for the Seattle General Strike.

A dire warning from The Seattle Star newspaper:

Seattle General Strike Headline

Another epic part of American history, including Seattle’s, was the Great Depression. A photograph of Seattle’s Hooverville, stretching out in the current SODO neighborhood where there are now two sports stadiums is at MOHAI.

Seattle’s Hooverville

It was kind of jarring to walk by Seattle’s current Nickelsville tent city on the way home.


We seem to be going backwards. While I’m glad at news from this week’s Real Change newspaper that Nickelsville may soon have a permanent location, we really need housing (and living wage jobs) for all.

One of my favorite exhibits were the ship mastheads:

Ship Mastheads

I hadn’t realized there were ones of men as well as women. Wonder if that’s where the expression “like ships passing in the night” comes from?

History is really on the move with MOHAI, because MOHAI is moving. Evidently the planned I-520 expansion for the Evergreen Point Floating bridge is displacing it from it’s current beautiful, but obscure, location; and it’s going to be moving into the old Naval Reserve Armory building on South Lake Union.

In fact, MOHAI has a separate website on the move:

Wait! Is that a picture of Pearl Jam I see? Well, at least it’s under “History is Relevant”!

Old Armory/Future MOHAI

It will be a great location for the museum. I checked out the new Lake Union Park that’s around the old armory building following an Sunday afternoon Amnesty International planning meeting at the Westlake Ave. Uptown Espresso.

There’s more history behind the armory building, with the Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Center and their historic fleet, including the 1889 Arthur Foss Tug, which they let you wander around on (and have a donation box, suggesting $1 a person):

Arthur Foss Tug

Next door to the Lake Union Park is the Center for Wooden Boats:

Center for Wooden Boats

Native American boat carvers were working on a boat that day.

Boat carver talks to a family

You can wander around and check out all the beautiful wooden boats:

Wooden Boat

All of which will add to an interesting visit once MOHAI moves into the old armory in 2012!

More information on MOHAI and current exhibits at:

Bumbershoot Flashback

OK – I’m way behind again, but there was too much good music at Bumbershoot not to get around to it.  I had an incredible amount of fun on my $22 economy ticket. Yeah, I do wonder what it would have been like if I sprung for the full ticket and caught some Bob Dylan as well as Solomon Burke and Ozomatli. That was just it though.  They scheduled some great music at the same time, and I wasn’t sure if I would have made it anyways, and it would have been $18 more, on my very small budget.

Bumbershoot Banner

So, I didn’t decide for sure which ticket to get until a few days before (and actually just before they announced the full tickets for the mainstage that day were sold out). I figured it would be easier if I bought in advance and they held it at will call. Wow was I wrong!

I built a little time in, and even with the bus being late, I as there an hour before Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs were due to take the stage at the Mural Amphitheater early Saturday afternoon.  The sun was now shining, while earlier it was raining. . .and. . . the Will Call line was a couple blocks long and slowly moving on the Mercer Street side of Seattle Center. As a half hour, 45 minutes went by it was starting to look rather grim.

Did I mention that Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs were one of the main reasons I bought a Saturday ticket and I was eagerly looking forward to hearing them play with the  new line up, even before the rumors that Mike McCready of Pearl Jam would be joining them for a few songs? Oh, yes, I even blogged a rave about that, and in a timely manner (which, as you know, is relatively rare for me).

I finally got to up the will call window and got my ticket less than 10 minutes before they were due to hit the stage, and while I was trying to dash back to the entrance near the EMP (OK, I am not in dashable shape), I did not think I would make it in time. I got there, though, just before they started!

OK, now I know Bumbershoot has apologized and hopefully got Will Call right for the next two days of the festival, but. . .as I rushed by the ticket sales at the gate near EMP, I realized I would have had no line to wait in if I had waited and bought my ticket there. . .

Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs were awesome! Even before first Carrie Akre, then Mike McCready joined them.

Here they are with Mike for Wolves in Disguise, the first of two videos I took:

and All Alone in This Together, their closing number:


I wandered around some before heading back to the Mural for The Maldives, finally finding the traveling hot shop from the Museum of Glass, but without enough time to check it out, yet. Also ran into Amnesty friends, with their children. I do want to give Bumbershoot praise on this one – letting children in free with their parents on the economy ticket! Great idea.

Mayor Mike McGinn introduced The Maldives (which was kind of cool).  Here they are with Blood on the Highway at Bumbershoot, video from Tacoma Rock City:

Then it was time for some old time soul and funk with Wheedle’s Groove a super band composed of members of at least 6 or 7 of Seattle’s biggest soul band from the 1960s & 70s. They came together for a documentary, which will be showing soon on PBS, and are still playing gigs around Seattle. It was great seeing an all generation audience grooving  on them at Bumbershoot!

Here’s my video of (Stop) Losing Your Chances  (and the audio is better than the video on this one):

With no break again, it was back to the Mural Amphiteater for Justin Townes Earle.

Justin Townes Earle

Justin and his band were in fine form! I had not seen Justin before, and what surpised me was that he went in the opposite direction from his famous dad, Steve Earle, than I expected. I figured he’d throw in something “young” like indie music or hip hop; but instead he went back to the country roots with a depression era sound (which seems to be coming back in style these days).

Here’s Justin Townes Earle with Mama’s Eyes from KEXP‘s Music Lounge broadcast earlier that day:

It’s a beautiful song, and I don’t mean any disloyalty to his father, who I’m also a fan of.  I know it’s also an ironic song, in light of  Justin’s own recent struggles with addiction, but he’s the first to admit, and in the song itself, that he’s following too closely in his dad’s footsteps that he’s so critical of.

On the other hand, at my age, I’m starting to have a different perspective. First, you start realizing your parents did the best they could , based on their own parenting and childhood, as well as whatever else was going on in their lives and causing stress. Often trying to do better. Then you look at their parents and their lives. . . Then you start realizing your children, or the children of your contemporaries (for those of us who have none of their own), are complaining about their parents; while already starting to make some of the same or different mistakes themselves, with their kids. . .

Museum of Glass Mobile Hot Shop

After that, it was time for some wandering, and I finally searched out the mobile Museum of Glass hot shop that was happening throughout the weekend.  Of course, they lacked the groovy giant cooling tower of the actual hot shop down in Tacoma, but just like there, you get to watch the glass artists create their pieces from start to finish.

Museum of Glass Mobile Hot Shop

I wasn’t sure which band I wanted to see next, but had several possibilities. I decided to head over to the EMP and start there. On the way, and nearby, I caught some of  This Providence. They were good, and verrry young. 

Here they are at Bumbershoot with Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing, video by shutterbugTrin:

I headed over to the EMP’s Sky Church to check out See Me River.


See Me River


They sounded really good, and were really intense.

Here they are with their song Ed Jackson at The Tractor Tavern last year:

As I left the EMP, I caught the Circus Una Motorcycle Thrill Show right outside:

Circus Una Motorcycle Thrill Show

Then I headed back to the Mural Amphitheater to see Solomon Burke, in what I just realized was his last U.S. performance. He died October 10, while on tour in Amsterdam.

Solomon Burke

They darkened the stage lights to bring him on stage in his wheelchair, and he performed on a throne, the man and his voice still majestic. He had a bucket of roses he had assistants pass out to women in the audience.

Here’s a clip toward the end of his set by SMI TV, ending, appropriately enough, with When the Saints Come Marching In:


I ended the evening with Ozomatli, the band that made Seattle dance! I was realizing I’m terribly out of shape and was having a hard time keeping up.

Here they are with Malagasy Shock, video by satherp5 (and the band itself has such tremendous energy!):

They brought children up toward the end as well, who were dancing all around the stage with them.


I headed home, having really gotten my money’s worth out of my economy ticket (and hearing mixed reviews about Bob Dylan, who I’m not sure if I would have caught even with the full price ticket, between Solomon Burke and Ozomatli).

Another Hoot – One for the Gulf

September started out the Hootenanny for a Healthy Gulf, another sing-a-long with some of Seattle’s greatest musicians, this time at the Moore Theater. No cameras were allowed, so I didn’t bring mine, not that I’m not tracking down what bootleg video exists. OK, questionable on the goodie-two shoes award here. . . It probably was a good thing for me to just enjoy a show for a change instead of taking too many (maybe not so great) photos, and sometimes a decent video or two.

Hootenanny for a Healthy Gulf 9.2.10
Hootenanny for a Healthy Gulf 9.2.10 by Pearl Jam Official, on Flickr

Once again, Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready and his wife Ashley O’Connor headed up the effort, pulling together some of Seattle’s best talent, sponsors and all the other logistics needed to put on a successful benefit. 

I won’t even pretend to remember the order of the songs this far after the event (and while there’s a lot of video, there are a lot of good moments missing as well).

Duff McKagan Wild Horses, video by Outlaw Digital Media

Guns N’ Roses dude Duff once again headed up the line up with Mike as the big name draws, also promoting the show in his Reverb blog for Seattle Weekly. In reality, Duff and Mike shared the stage equally with all the other musicians, letting them shine.

There weren’t really any moments like this:

Saw that one coming!

Here’s how Patience went at the real Hoot, with Jeff Rouse (who is in Duff McKagan’s Loaded), Star Anna & Shawn Smith leading up vocals:

While My Guitar Gently WeepsMark Pickerel & Star Anna on vocals, Tim DiJulio (aka Rock Tim) on lead guitar, and Ty Bailie on keyboards (video by ShastaLoup):

Blue BayouRachel Flotard  of Visqueen, with Rusty Willoughby on guitar:

Wonderwall – Jeff Rouse and Victoria Wimer Contreras (video by ToryRenManagement):

Instant Karma -Star Anna – awesome, with a little help from her friends (video by rb1229):

Purple Rain– Shawn Smith (with Tim DiJulio once again stealing the show on lead guitar):

You can see the great thing about Seattle’s music scene in the video – all the musicians are supportive of each other and love jamming together. The not so great thing is the audiences’ tendency to just sit or stand there. I don’t think it’s really that they, or rather, we, don’t love the music. I don’t know . . . is it that we’re a city of introverts -people who read, spend a lot of time online or hike alone in the woods? . . . or that we’re so polite? The latter was part of my problem that night, as I wanted to get up during Star Anna’s last number (which I think was Instant Karma), but everyone was sitting. . .except a few people and the guy in front of me was apologetic. . . and I told him he shouldn’t be. I finally did get up during Shawn Smith’s Purple Rain finale, only to be glared at by at least one woman (who I wasn’t even standing in front of).

One of my favorite moments of the night (which I wish there was a video clip of), was when Rick Friel, after running the raffle and auctioning off a dinner with the two Deadly Catch guys, opened the second half of the show with The MonkeesI’m a Believer, hamming it up and getting everyone out of their seats first, and dancing! Alas, they all sat down again after that, instead of rocking out the rest of the night. . .

Other musicians playing that night included Pete Droge (Crimson and Clover – another blast from the past!), Kristen Ward, Gary Westlake, Kim Virant, Chris Friel, Rebeqa Rivers and Justin Davis.

The concert was a fundraiser for the Gulf Restoration Network, to help clean up the Gulf following BP’s disaserous oil spill. Learn more online at:

Catch Star Anna & the Laughing Dogs at Bumbershoot!

You should definitely catch Star Anna & the Laughing Dogs at Bumbershoot, and not only because Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready is joining them for a few songs (and even if the standard tickets that include Bob Dylan are already sold out).

I know. I’m 4 concerts behind on this blog (and need to get back to mixing in some human rights issues), and yet here I am writing about one of the great ones that got away, with both the Columbia City Theater being a little too challenging to get back from by public transit after midnight, and being so broke at the time I really didn’t have the $12, I think it was (unless I skipped food until payday, and yes, I probably should have).

Fortunately there is video of the show up on YouTube, and I’ll start with this one of Space Beneath the Door by Outlaw Digital Media:

I knew I was missing something special, as she hinted there was going to be a fourth Laughing Dog, and that it was keyboardist Ty Bailie (who plays all those benefit concerts with Mike McCready & friends, including last night’s Hootenanny).   Of course, it wasn’t just Ty Bailie, everyone else’s intensity level increased, and this was already an awesome band.

Here they are on a slower, and very beautiful, new song, For When I Go:

Wow!  Star’s voice. . .The band, too, though: that’s Justin Davis (lead guitar & back up vocals), Travis Yost (drums), Keith Ash (bass), along with now, and hopefully a permanent addition, Ty Bailie (keyboard), and, of course, Star Anna.

What comes to mind with Ty joining the Laughing Dogs is a discussion I had with my friend Merri Ann when we saw Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band their last time though. She wanted to know what Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out was all about: “When the change was made uptown and the Big Man joined the band. . .” Well, of course that part of the song is about the E Street Band coming together. I hadn’t really given that line much thought before or since, until now. I hadn’t really realized what a wonderous thing a band coming together is. Of course, The E Street Band was already fully together by the time I heard of them.  This is the first time I’m aware of seeing it happen.

. . . and tomorrow (or, rather, tonight – it’s after midnight). . .Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs are playing with Mike McCready!  Once again, it’s not going to be just Mike that makes it so great. See this clip of Star Anna and the rest of the Laughing Dogs when Mike joined them for Wolves in Disguise at Spaceland in Silver Lake, CA (from the band’s YouTube page):

Check out Star Anna dueling on guitar with Mike McCready toward the end. I had no idea she could play like that.  Then it’s a three-way, with Justin, and the rest of the band is really going full tilt as well.

I know this is posted way too late. It’s less than 13 hours to showtime (1:15 – 2:15 at the Mural Amphitheater, Saturday). If you don’t catch Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs there, check their schedule to see them somewhere down the road.

Their website, with streaming audio, is at:

Back to Seattle After a Flight to Mars

So, I was starting to get back into the Seattle music after my wayward adventures in New Orleans. Now it was time to come totally home with another Flight to Mars!


Yes, that’s right! Time for the annual Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation fundraiser, with Pearl Jam’s  Mike McCready and friends and their UFO tribute band, Flight to Mars. Our Captain, Paul Passereli, above.

Seriously, they really should have a sci-fi series based on Paulie and his crew!

On with the Flight to Mars show, though!


As usual, we had some acoustic sets opening, including one by Mike McCready. One of the songs he did was Neil Young’s Too Far Gone. Here’s a clip (by stefferzz1970) from a previous show at Fuel Sports:

Jeff Rouse (from Duff McKagen’s Loaded) came out and joined Mike to sing River of Deceit, by Mad Season (a Seattle super-group that included Mike McCready and Alice in Chains Layne Staley on lead vocals) as he did for the Hootenanny for Haiti show. A clip, also by stefferzz1970, from the same Fuel Sports show:

Star Anna and Justin Davis, from her group the Laughing Dogs, also came out to do a set.


Devil Don’t Remember was an intense opener, but then again, when you’ve got a short acoustic in a totally packed Showbox at the Market. . .

Here’s Star Anna the full band with Devil Don’t Remember at the Mississippi Pizza’s Atlantis Lounge in Portland last year (video by humanclock):

More from Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs soon. I caught them at a totally packed Tractor Tavern show last week.

Sweet Water got things rocking, next.


Intensely rocking! They were all over the stage and they have the rock moves. . . Got to love their bio on their website:

Rising from the ashes of 80s Seattle punk bands SGM, Skank Puppies, and The Experience, Sweet Water (Adam, Cole, Paul, and Credo) shot to near-stardom in the early 90s Seattle explosion. Propelled by keen pop-punk sensibilities, spacey glam songwriting, and fueled by a roaring wall of guitar, Sweet Water delivered on the promises of rock and roll.

Sweet Water’s live performances back then were hot, sweaty, screaming, smoky, passionate, substance-fueled affairs that permanently burned memories into their fans’ brains.

Singer Adam Czeisler shined like the bastard child of Freddie Mercury and Mick Jagger – a real frontman in an era of shoegazers.

Here’s a clip of Head Down from a show at Neumos last year (video by BlackTemplar73):

Up next was the drawing for the raffle items ($5 a ticket, 5 for $20), with the evenings’ proceeds to benefit the CCFA’s Camp Oasis for kids with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis; and Advocacy for Patients with Chronic Illness, Inc.


Autographed posters, Pearl Jam cds, Mike & his wife’s tickets to the Mariners for a night. . . All kinds of good stuff, for a worthy cause!

Now it was time to blast off!


This is just an awesome band and show, with some of Seattle’s best rock musicians – Mike McCready, Gary Westlake, Paul Passereli, Kelly Van Camp, Ty Bailie and Tim DiJulio.

I got some video this time. Here they are with Natural Thing:

“Don’t you think the band’s real tight?. . .”

Mike’s solo at the end sounds like it’s from outerspace, too!

Got to love these club shows! Mike McCready up close and personal all night.


And the whole band playing so well off each other, sometimes literally. . .


My second video was too long for YouTube’s 10 minutes max rule, so I set up an account on Vimeo. You really can’t edit Rock Bottom! Especially with an extended Mike McCready solo in the middle of it. . .

Epic, and just when you think it’s over, they start in again!

“Where do we go from here?”

Well, they brought out the guy who won the charity bid to play with Mike and the band.

IMG_0779 (2)

Sweet! He isn’t going to forget that night. . .

This was on Iggy Pop’s  I Wanna Be Your Dog. This guy came out to sing:


. . . and I know I probably should know who it is. He came out and did this song for at least one other Flight to Mars show.


Let there be light! Someone else got video other than me! Here’s the start of their cover of Let There Be Rock by AC/DC, by rsavillo21. His memory card became full. I’ve been there (in fact, mine did that night, too; but I was just shooting photos and switched it out).

Are those the infamous Pearl Jam super balls Mike’s handing out at the other side of the stage? The ones with Tom Tomorrow’s artwork?  Hey, I wouldn’t have sold mine on e-Bay! Mike was throwing out guitar picks all night, too. Too bad Seattle crowds aren’t as jaded with Pearl Jam memorabilia as the New Orleans crowd is with Mardi-Gras beads. I didn’t find any just laying around.

OK! I’m back in Seattle. Safely landed with the Flight to Mars crew!


. . .and. . . still over two weeks behind!

A couple more shows and a couple human rights events coming!

Oh, yeah, and my birthday! It was a big one. Let’s just say I haven’t trusted myself in over 20 years. . . OK, I never trusted myself. That’s beside the point!

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: . 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. . .

Rocking and Rolling Around Outerspace

I finally visited the Experience Music Project/Science Fiction Museum (EMP/SFM) last Thursday, continuing my free tour of museums. I was a little too early for the Taking Aim rock and roll photo exhibit which opened Saturday, though.

I’m not sure how I resisted it so far. It’s not like I haven’t walked by the wavy, smashed guitar/giant bug crawling over the Sci Fi collage, Paul Allen funded extravaganza on my way into Seattle Center many times. . .


The EMP/SFM is free on first Thursdays from 5 – 8 pm, so I headed over after work, following the monorail line through Belltown (and stopping to snap pictures as I went).


After I checked my backpack (not required, but mine is heavy, coming from work), and checking photo policies (OK without flash), first I checked out the robot in the lobby. Which way to go next? I could have either started out with Sci Fi Museum or headed up to the EMP where a bluegrass band was playing.


Geek that I am, I headed to the Sci Fi Museum. The Captain’s chair was beckoning. Oh, yes, Captain Kirk’s seat and Kirk and Spock’s uniforms. Memories of my childhood now looking antique and on display in a museum.

Yes, that’s right, I saw them in their first run (but I had to be in my pajamas first)! Seems like it was yesterday. . .


I was especially shocked to see how bulky and clumsy the original Star Trek tricorder and communicator were. The cell phone in my pocket (free, with contract renewal) is considerably more sophisticated. . .


Of course there’s more than Star Trek, with other tv series & film memorabilia, and sci fi books and magazines.


Oh, cool! Another blast from the past of my childhood – The Jetsons’ world in 3d. . .

Just perfect for being in the shadow of the Space Needle. . . but, wait. . . it morphs into the darker worlds of Bladerunner and The Matrix. . . What happened to our future?


Then there’s this tripping wormhole appearing on the floor as part of the current Gelatine Lux glass art installation.


Before heading over to check out the rock and roll half of the museum, I looked for the restrooms. . .

IMG_8146 (2)

So wonderfully geeky, yet so perfectly the Seattle way of inclusion. . . We don’t want female robots confused on which one to go in. : )

IMG_8149 (2)

OK. Time for some rock and roll! The guitar art installation. . .


Ahh, Jimi! Gone too soon!

I remember hearing Hendrix from my older brother’s bedroom in the 60s. . . Yes, I remember the 60s. It probably helps that I was a kid at the time, and took nothing stronger than Fruit Loops or Cocoa Puffs!

Still, this is trippin’. . . It’s like the Twilight Zone. . . How did my childhood end up in a museum?

IMG_8155 (2)

One of Jimi’s guitars. a little worse for the wear. . .

Especially check out the videos. There’s a small theater playing his life in 4 or 5 sections.


There’s more, though, including more music from Seattle and the Northwest. Bing Crosby. The Kingsmen. The Ventures. . .


Surf’s up!

That’s not all. . . Wait. . . I’m still in the 60s here. . . Moving into the future. . .


Grunge! Wait. . .Grunge? . . . in . . . a . . . museum already? I just figured out what grunge is about a decade after it happened. I thought I was pretty hip. Nirvana? Pearl Jam? I just went to their show. . .

OK. . . free concert in Magnuson Park. . .That’s history. . .

I’m just happy when the whole band actually plays Seattle (and totally spoiled by all Mike McCready’s charity gigs). . .

Wait. . . Another familiar band. Mudhoney? They’re playing a free gig at Neumos a few nights after this.

OK. They’re not quite so young anymore (who is)? Love the hair thing they got going. . .and Mark’s primal scream!

Still. . . I saw them Monday night. . . and they are not ready to be put in a museum yet. . .


Finally, I checked out the sound lab. There were kids cutting their own records, err. . cd’s? . . .ok, maybe mp3s. . . and drumming on this groovy table!

Farout! . . . but how did my childhood get in a museum?

Mudhoney next. . .bringing me somewhat into the modern era. . .

OK. . . even the band looks confused when I flash peace signs during an anti-war song. . .

I may be out of touch even for the 90’s. . .

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!