Posted by flotz on Tuesday, May 28, 2013 | Live Review

Random night at the Royal Room (which is what makes that place great: a rad venue where worthy folks can get a gig). First up, speaking of worthy, the most worthy record label Tables & Chairs was previewing an upcoming event at Benaroya Hall on June 17th honoring the monster saxophone player and composer, Roscoe Mitchell. They did some exposition on Mitchell, showed some YouTube videos and then performed some Mitchell compositions, which were avant-garde-o-riffic.  A quartet of saxophones bleating and honking in composite unison, flowing from agitation to serenity and back. Pretty amazing to get to hear it.  Check out the Nonaah website for more on the upcoming event and Roscoe Mitchell.

Then Tarmac Adam, Australian band on a promo tour for a new record after a 10 year hiatus.  The tunes had a mid-eighties vibe big time as does the video below.  Consensus at the bar was that the singer invoked Richard Butler (Psychedelic Furs, Love Spit Love) which yr gonna get when you sing with an accent like that. He had presence. Some nice melodic moments, catchy pop tunes.  A stripped down band; would be cool to see them with everyone, including ex Crowded House members. Check it:

Posted by flotz on Saturday, March 30, 2013 | Live Review

Wasn’t sure what to expect with this gig. Thought it was gonna sound like Flying Burrito Bros/Gram Parsons/late Byrds but sounded more like 1985. So 30 years old instead of 45. Guess it’s all relative. He’s got a huge cult following, all of whom turned out to hear him play, almost selling out the Neptune, giving him a standing ovation when he got on stage and a standing o when he left. He played material from all over his career (although no Monkees songs) but even the songs penned in the 60s and 70s had a distinctly 80s quality, prob due to both his song writing instincts (which favor the cheese) and the backing band, which embellished the compositions with fluorescent love. Drummer played an electronic kit (except a high hat and crash/ride cymbal) and some tracks had syncopated click track too, leaving him free to unleash fills on his toms for the entirety of the song. Keyboardist was locked into some sweet synth patches and samples.  Nesmith himself played a shimmery lovely 12 string acoustic and the lead guitarist was all vintage including gorgeous pedal steel – could’ve given that pedal steel more spotlight fer my money.

His shtick was to prelude each song with a short story vignette, aka “The scene: 1967, Paris, spring. He: dapper, handsome, confident. She: a beauty, in a red dress and 5 inch heels. They were lovers but she wanted a child and he wanted his freedom…”  then state the name of the song and album it came from. He stuck to this style the entire set, except a brief tangent when he made some jokes about using an iPad on stage and having his Gmail pop up during a performance.

Couple songs were real standouts, “Shelly’s Blues” was one, can’t remember the names of the others. Yeah, there were some pretty moments when it all came together: his song writing prowess, the band super tight, the flow of the song just right.  Gotta give the guy props. But he didn’t wear the hat in case you were wondering.

Posted by flotz on Saturday, March 2, 2013 | Live Review

After going classical at Town Hall with the Puget Sound Symphony Orchestra who performed Second Essay for Orchestra, Op. 17 (1942) by Samuel Barber, The Garden of Fand (1913) by Arnold Bax and Symphony No. 7 in A, Op. 92 (1813) by Ludwig van Beethoven, all of which was stellar and rousing like only classical music can be, headed over to Vito’s and ended up in this nook behind the band, disco ball overhead, maroon velveteen warmth, First Hill crowd, a quartet of sax, guitar, drums and bass playing some covers (a Monk tune, Proud Mary too) and some originals as well, the drummer, Jeremy Jones, mesmerizing, a titan on the skins, his beats super inventive while backing The James Band, letting the bass player keep time as he played up, down and all around it and his solos jaw dropping, bad ass. Fun night.

Posted by flotz on Friday, March 1, 2013 | Live Review

Professorial night at Tulas with UW maestros Marc Seales (piano), Bill Smith (clarinet), Tom Collier (vibes). Didn’t catch the the drummer’s and bassist’s names—think one of them was faculty too. Full house, not a seat to be had, lots of  students, ex-students, etc. there. Didn’t realize Smith was such a legend. He’s 87 and his pedigree is damn impressive.  During the two sets, they played Smith compositions almost exclusively, tunes like “Blues For New Orleans,” “Matt,” “Hex,” and “Azmal.” Cool compositions for sure.  They also played some choice standards like “Isn’t It Romantic?” and some pop interpretations, including “Fire and Rain” by James Taylor and “Anyone Who Has A Heart” by Burt Bacharach (made famous by Luther Vandross whose version Seales called out as choice). Something awesome about these profs covering easy listening pop. Collier on vibes tore it up – heck he’s the director of jazz studies at UW, taking over the spot from Seales, who had it for 20 years!  His solos are wack, interpolating across the beat and generally going all kinds of directions as once.   Drummer and bassist were completely on their game.  Indeed school was in session.

Posted by flotz on Friday, February 15, 2013 | Live Review

Caught the last set of Dave Peck Dave Peck Trio with Chuck Deardorf on bass and Eric Eagle on drums.  So tasteful, super melodic playing on the keys, straight up jazz, drummer trading eights and fours at the end of each tune, bassist getting a chance to shine, taxis driving by outside, Belltown doing its Friday night Belltown thing and inside Tula’s yr transported. Bet the first two sets were equally lovely.

Cool write up about the history of Tula’s here – owner is Elliot “Mack” Waldron (like the island) who was a big band leader in the navy.  Thus all the big band action at Tula’s – well also cause 17 players bring in a bigger crowd than a trio. The economics of entertainment.