Posted by flotz on Saturday, May 10, 2014 | Live Review

Had always seen the name but never seen the act, so busted up to the “North Country” in Shoreline for Crack Sabbath. Great show. Loud. Skerik shredded on the sax with some seriously tricked out effects, including a one where he could play chords. And some other pedals that compressed and freaked the fuck out of his sound. Just read his Wikipedia page, damn.

They played some great covers, including “Misirlou” (Dick Dale, Pulp Fiction), “Good Times Bad Times” (Zep of course) and the James Bond theme song. Vocalist joined them for some tracks, dude tore it up with operatic hardcore, great front man, bustin it out, super entertaining, on one tune chanting MAKIN BACON over and over. Drummer “straight outta Bremerton” with a jazz composition. Ended first set with funk jam that segued into doom metal and back again. 

Fun show. Love genre bending shit like this.

Posted by flotz on Friday, February 14, 2014 | Live Review

Great show with organ, guitar and drums, no bass. D’Vonne Lewis amazing, playing around and against the beat, adding so much texture while others soloed. The organ, played by Delvan Lamar, had the walking bass covered as well as explosive organ solos. Guitarist Gregg Belisle-Chi with this buttery tone, spidery solos and thoughtful comping.

They played a Monk tune, also Coltrane Afro Blue. Another tune called “I got it bad and that ain’t so good.”  And a Grant Green tune too, which is interesting cause on Wikipedia it sez Grant Green often played in a trio with an organ and drummer. Really loved the sound these guys got that night, in front of a small appreciate crowd on a rainy Monday night at Tulas.

Posted by flotz on Thursday, January 23, 2014 | Live Review

Was a big Enon fan back in the day, so had to go check out John Schmersal’s latest incarnation at the Croc.  Very Enon-like really, although even less of a pop hook. Lots of effects, crazy set up, including Ableton Live, vocal synthesizer, a rack of strange keyboards, pedals galore. Schmersal played bass mostly, only on guitar a little bit. Lee got some strange sounds out of his many keyboards. Drummer was tight and the sound overall was angular, crisp.  Best quote was Schmersal: “We are the only surveillance-core band in the world.”

Opening was Half Kingdom, some nice building climactic songs. They were young compared to the 40 something crew that was Crooks On Tape and the smattering of Enon/Brainiac fans that were there in attendance. Oh and everything went down in the back bar of the Croc, which worked for the number of people that were on hand.

Posted by flotz on Sunday, December 29, 2013 | Live Review

Fun show to a full house. He’s been coming to Jazz Alley since 1975. Damn. Perennial favorite indeed. Lots of great players in the current configuration of 8 guys on stage: trumpet, trombone, saxophone, percussion, drums, bass, piano and of course Pancho on the congas. The percussion all blended with a constant rhythmic undertone as different soloists got chances to shine. As did the percussionists, one dude getting in a sweet bongo solo in and then the drummer with a crazy drum solo that was fast, fiery. Closed with two covers, first “Afro Blue” made famous by Coltrane and then “Shotgun” by Junior Walker. 

Here’s a rad photo from his website with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:


Posted by flotz on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 | Live Review

They play @jazz_alley every year. Lucky Seattle. Rightfully dubbed all stars. Consider the folks they’ve collectively played with: Blood, Sweat and Tears, Miles Davis, Jaco Pastorius, Billy Cobham, James Taylor, Bruce Springsteen, Parliament-Funkadelic, Frank Sinatra, Steely Dan, David Sanborn, Horace Silver, Frank Zappa, John Mayer, Sting, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, Diana Ross, Faith Hill, The Blues Brothers Band, Leni Stern, David Johansen and the Harry Smiths, Richard Bona, Chris Botti, Wayne Krantz, Rudder, Harry Belafonte, Oz Noy, Larry Carlton, Clay Aiken, Rascal Flatts, Paula Abdul and Grover Washington Jr., Dizzy Gillespie, Pat Metheny, Chaka Khan, Roberta Flack, Chick Corea.  Damn.

They served it up to a packed Tuesday house at Jazz Alley, both floors nearly full. (The top booths are a pretty sweet incidentally.) Played about five songs that each lasted 15 minutes, odysseys and long solos, musicians really got to explore. First cut was “Out of the Blue” then followed by “Avenue B.” Didn’t catch the name of any other tunes. Third song was very major scale sounding, maybe a little mixolydian.

Stern was playing his signature Yahama guitar with Boss pedals (digital delay and overdrive) run through a Yamaha XPS 90 and then pushed to dual Fender Twin reverbs. See here for more on his set up. Great sound, killer tone and of course sweet technique. He did a lot of vocalizing with the melody, also some cool digital delay moments, and of course blistering, expressive solos mixed with some super pretty moments.

Bassist Anthony Jackson pioneered the six string bass, which he calls the contrabass guitar. super cool to see in action. Quite a range on the instrument tonally. It is tuned B-E-A-D-G-C. He did a lot of chording and played the hell out of it. Fun to watch him play too.

The drummer Keith Carlock was mesmerizing. Pushing the band with the beat and taking insane solos. He had two snare drums; similar set up as Steve Smith.

Overall, a great show. They kept it dynamic, lots of different modes and styles, musician configurations, just killer jazz fusion show. Catch their second show tonight!