8/27/15 American Music Session #2 – The Moondoggies

On Thursday, August 27th, 2015, we presented our American Music Session #2, with Seattle band, The Moondoggies! American Music Sessions are a live and intimate performance and taping in the iconic American Music Storefront! Only 70 spots were available for this one and it SOLD OUT FAST! A special American Music beer was concocted by friends over at Naked City Brewery, and everyone got to meet and hang out with the band after the private concert! Check out the video (filmed by Urban Elements and edited by American Music) below and scroll down a bit further for a peak of the photos taken by George Bentley!

Don’t miss the LAST American Music Session of 2015 on Wednesday, October 21st with The Young Evils!
7:30pm doors, 8:30pm music
$14 Pre-sale only – Only 70 spots available!
21+ Only / Beer provided by Naked City Brewery
Get your tickets HERE!

 

Photo gallery by George Bentley.

Seattle Secret Shows at SAM Remix 8/21/15!

This Summer we were asked to curate a Seattle Secret Show for Seattle Art Museum’s annual Remix event at Olympic Sculpture Park! This all happens among Sam Vernon’s site-specific installation, How Ghosts Sleep (Seattle): Hive and SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park collection, during a special evening of performances, tours, dancing and more at this late-night creative explosion.

We were thrilled to present SISTERS and Flavr Blue DJ Set to a sold out crowd of 3,000 (records sales for SAM)! Below is the photo gallery of the event by Jason Tang plus a special video of SISTERS by our video team, Urban Elements!

 

 

Below video of SISTERS by Urban Elements!

Summer Concert & Cruise Series #2 w/Ayron Jones & The Way & DJ Indica Jones 7/28/15

On a gorgeous sunny Tuesday on Lake Union, we had our second Summer Concert & Cruise Series of the season! We cruised past Duck Dodge sailboat racing in a large retired car ferry with hundreds of sailboats just inches away, all while the amazing Ayron Jones and the Way rocked the waters in the way that only this band does. In between sets, DJ Indica Jones got the crowd moving and ready for more! People danced, shared picnics on the grassy knoll on the main deck of the boat, laughed with friends, sipped wine, and basked in the clear evening and warm Summer sun. This incredible 3 hour cruise ended with a beautiful sunset just behind the Space Needle and many new friends! Check out this amazing photo album below by our talented photographer, Jason Tang!

And don’t forget to get your tickets to our next cruise, one of the very last of the Summer! Details below:

Seattle Secret Shows/Seattle Living Room Shows & Lake Union Charters & Adventures are excited to announce our the 3rd ’15 Summer Concert & Cruise Series on a retired ferry boat on Lake Union with The Hoot Hoots and DJ Indica on Sunday, August 23rd!  

Buy Tickets:
Get your tickets HEREhttp://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2162928

Check out this video by The Hoot Hoots to get a taste of the fun you will be having!


Details:
Sunday,  August 23rd, 2015
Load on boat at 1:15PM and leave dock at 2:00PM Sharp
The boat will arrive back to dock at approximately 5pm
Location will take place on a retired ferry boat and you will be picked in a secret spot on Lake Union. The location will be released upon purchase of tickets. There is a”grassy meadow” on board and plenty of room to dance!
21 and over only/BYOB

Price:
Show Price: $55.00 and will include a 3 hour tour on Lake Union, live music from The Hoot Hoots & DJ Indica and light snacks. This event is BYOB! Please feel free to bring something to share if you like! Chairs, blankets and coolers are also welcome!  Pack up your picnics!
VIP tickets are available for $75.00 and will give you all of the above, beer & wine, PLUS access to the upper deck! Limited to 15 tickets. VIP area is sponsored by For A Song Wines!

Buy Tickets:
Get your tickets HEREhttp://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2162928

Photo gallery of Summer Concert & Cruise Series partnered with Lake Union Charters and Adventures on 7/28/15 with Ayron Jones and the Way and DJ Indica Jones. Sponsored by American Music and Proletariat Wines.

American Music Sessions #1 with Hobosexual 7/23/15

On Thursday, July 23rd, 2015, we presented our very first American Music Session, with Seattle band, Hobosexual! American Music Sessions are a live and intimate performance and taping in the iconic American Music Storefront! Only 50 spots were available for the lucky guests that got their tickets, a special American Music beer was concocted by friends over at Naked City Brewery, and everyone got to meet and hang out with the band after the private concert! Check out some photos by SLRS/SSS photographer, Jason Tang, below from the event! And stay tuned for the video (filmed by Urban Elements and edited by American Music) to be released soon!

Don’t miss the next American Music Session on Thursday, August 27th with The Moondoggies! Get your tickets HERE!

Seattle Living Room Shows 7/14/15 – Massy Ferguson Boat Show

11751417_10153461922803794_6559361319856401584_nThrough the waters of Lake Union on July 14th sailed a full-on floating concert party – complete with live music – from Seattle Living Room Shows.  Passing boaters clapped (and bounced and fist-pumped) in rhythm to Seattle’s rowdy rockers Massy Ferguson as they poured their signature blend of rock, roll and country over the water from the Trek, a retired Alaskan car and passenger ferry now outfitted entirely for listening, drinking and dancing in the sun.  It marked the first of many SLRS boat concerts this summer, and thanks to spirited sets, spirits, and sunshine, it came off brilliantly.

Guests loaded onto the Trek from Lake Union Park to hits and remixes from DJ Indica, who played three sets alternating with those of Massy Ferguson.  Wine and beer (you can bring your own for the boat shows!) accompanied spectacular views of downtown and the Duck Dodge sailboat race – which takes place on Lake Union every Tuesday in summer months – as the ferry’s synthetic grass-covered deck filled with lawn chairs, coolers and blankets.

Upon shove-off, Massy Ferguson took the stage.  They turned up the amps, said a friendly hello and immediately started punching through a heartland of warm, compulsive rock.  It was friendly, it was familiar, and it had a liberated blue-collar feeling to it that went well with the sun and wind washing over the boat.

In many ways, Massey Furgeson just seems to fit.  The reason for this is pretty simple:  co-founders Ethan Anderson and Adam Monda have been writing and performing together since 2006.  They came up playing farmers markets in Mukilteo (their first paycheck was a basket of fruit) and have since become “one of Seattle’s best bar bands.”  It’s a reputation they revel in but, along with Tony Maan on keys and Dave Goedde on drums, they’ve toured all over the world – Australia, Iceland, Germany and England, to name a few.

Although they’ve come close on two occasions, Massey Ferguson has never played a boat show.  The offer to play a wealthy Amsterdam local’s yacht was botched thanks to political debate (which Ethan has “forever regretted”), and a performance slot on the ferry from Tasmania to mainland Australia was never quite locked down.  As such, they relished the opportunity to finally check “boat concert” off the list and played with according gusto.

Doing jump kicks, rallying the crowd and swilling beers during performance, the boys were boisterous alright, but surprisingly penetrating.  One might expect a lot of guns, Jesus and twang from a band named after a tractor company, but that’s not the case with Massy Ferguson.  Amidst the classic Americana influences (Springsteen, Petty) and modern, at times almost poppy twists on rock and roll gleam occasional pangs of poignant narrative.  They’re delivered with the same joyful thrust as lyrics about beer and girls (and are sometimes about these things), but they jump out and make your heart ache a little – which in turn makes you rock a little harder.

In addition to playing like crazy, Massy Ferguson is currently recording an album.  They’ve been in and out of the studio since May.  “It’s nice to be able to throw some real time at an album for a change,” Ethan reflected before the concert.  “Out here you can shake your hands and shake your ass a little bit and it goes a long way,” Adam added, “in the studio it’s entirely different.”

Another difference in the studio is that Massy Ferguson won’t have their keys player for this record.  Tony Maan has been in Costa Rica for a year, and will soon be heading back there – it was sheer coincidence that the Seattle Living Room Show fell during his brief return.  “It’s become more of a power trio thing,” Ethan remarked, “we miss him, but you can really turn the volume up recording fewer parts.”

The name of the album is still forthcoming (it’s expected to come out in early 2016), but we got to preview “Away From the Devil” on the boat.  It was exactly what one might hope for – more highway rock, more stiff drinks in the motel parking lot and more surprisingly introspective lyrics.  We also got to sample Massy Ferguson’s unbeatable cover of the Marshall Tucker classic “Can’t You See.”  It started with a real live flute solo from Ethan, rolled for lazy miles on a southbound train, and ended with… another flute solo – this one possessing Ethan to parade throughout the entire boat (including the captain’s off-limits navigation room).

All of the above blasted over the lake as the Trek made its rounds, doing a fly-by of Gasworks park, squeaking under the Montlake Bridge and thoroughly exploring Lake Union before returning to Lake Union park for a sunset view of the downtown skyline.

As mentioned, this won’t be the last Seattle Living Room Shows boat concert!  Check out our Upcoming Shows tab for a schedule of swashbuckling concert cruises.  Should you be interested in other Lake Union boating adventures, head to Lake Union Charters and Adventures.  They set us up with the Trek, so you know they’re down for a good time.

Seattle Living Room Shows – Catherine Feeny w/Chris Johnedis, The Weather Machine

Photo by Jason Tang.

Photo by Jason Tang.

Crossing the Fremont Bridge and driving down Westlake avenue passed a few run down industrial buildings, you would have no idea what was happening inside of the hardly noticeable, Conduit Coffee roaster warehouse. Its a small building with a sign that would only be visible if you were actively looking for a coffee roaster. Inside is a completely different story. The room is home to rugs, candles, ambient light fixtures, sound equipment and eventually filled with Seattle music fans.

Catherine Feeny &Chris Johnedis. Photo by Jason Tang.

Catherine Feeny &Chris Johnedis. Photo by Jason Tang.

It is a sold out show with the acts yet to be known to most attendees, but the energy is palpable. Unlike a lot of shows at busy venues, concertgoers are here for the music, not necessarily a night out and excuse to drink on a work night. Beer, wine, tea and iced coffee are the beverages of choice. Backstage, Catherine Feeny is doing her (seemingly) preshow- honey and tea routine while guitarist/drummer Chris Johnedis is keeping his instruments in tune.

At 8:30 pm sharp, Feeny and Johnedis make their way to the stage area. The Portland duo may look fairly unassuming, but they exude confidence. With nothing more than a ukulele and an angelic voice, Catherine Feeny lights up the room. The light ukulele finger picking pairs perfectly with the back beat laid down by Johnedis. They played songs off of their 2015 self-titled album, Catherine Feeny & Chris Johnedis. About 3 songs in, Feeny paused to comment on the attentive crowd being so close and so focused on every word. Feeny and Johnedis’ music is focused heavily on the songwriting and subject matter and it sounds like it could have been recorded in a rainforest or underneath a waterfall. There is a very natural, Northwest feeling to the sound.

The Weather Machine. Photo by Jason Tang.

The Weather Machine. Photo by Jason Tang.

After brief intermission long enough to catch some fresh air outside or grab another Rainier, the Weather Machine took stage. With an equal emphasis on musicianship, the Weather Machine took the energy level up. The 5 piece from Portland features a cello as secondary guitar in some cases. Front man Slater Smith, commands attention as guitar and singer, but he shares the shine as the every member in the band is crucial to the sound. Using Mumford and Sons as a comparison can be polarizing these days, but the Weather Machine sounds like how Mumford and Sons WANTS to sound. They mix the acoustic stompers in with with electric guitar solos and yes, a few cello solos. The Weather Machine had the whole crowd in tune whether they knew the words or not. The magic of such a small venue is the artist/crowd dynamic. The band joked around and very willingly killed time as guitars were being switched out after a broken string.

After a two song encore, the music ended and people milled around chatting with the artists, buying some merch and perhaps finishing the last of their wine. Turning back onto westlake towards home and looking at the unsuspecting warehouse in the rearview mirror, it couldn’t help but feel like some sort of rootsy time warp.
By,
Ian Bremner
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Fisherman’s Village Music Festival – SLRS Showcase 5/16, 5/17

Not content to spread music and peace/magic/love through one city alone, Seattle Living Room Shows took a hike up to Everett for Fisherman’s Village Music Festival on Saturday May 16 and Sunday 17.

Now in its second year, Fisherman’s Village Music Festival (or “Fishville” as DJ Marco Collins affectionately dubbed it) is a Block Party-style celebration of music in downtown Everett.  Multiple venues around the city center included The Historic Everett Theatre, where Seattle Living Room Shows presented two showcases – one Saturday, one Sunday – with four artists each.

The daytime showcases were pleasantly relaxed.  The modest but very presentable Historic Everett Theatre – its red felted seats, matte black walls and sweeping balcony with domed roof above – had an approachable old school pomp, and the crowd was a loose fit in its long regiments of comfortable upholstery.

Saturday Showcase – Ruler, Maiah Manser, Ravenna Woods and Cataldo

Seattle poster group Ruler kicked off the festivities with a set full of thoughtfully upbeat numbers begging for a bedroom rockout session.  “Unhindered Task,” played early on, is the band’s unofficial single.  The tamed fuzz of front man Matt Batey’s guitar and his slightly nasal tenor, the humming basslines from Leah Julius (of Thunderpussy), the occasionally cymbal-heavy drums of Michael Lerner, they pinpoint an intersection of polished and down-to-earth that just makes you want to nod your head.  Matt is also a member of Cataldo, who’s lead singer Eric Anderson played keys and harmonized on refrains during Ruler’s set.

After an elongated sound check (the theatre’s equipment gave most bands at least some trouble), Maiah Manser opened with an epic vocal aria intro straight out of ancient Greece.  She’s a tech-savvy experimental singer/songwriter who backs up her gorgeous voice with a nuanced grab-bag of synths and beats ranging from industrial to angelic.  On stage with her were drummer James Squire and beat/synth master Jason Cairati.  A few songs in, Maiah laid down a twistedly hypnotic cover of the Jay Hawkins classic “I Put a Spell on You.”  Calling up dystopian images of dark alleyways, broken glass and stained concrete, it was in sharp but compatible contrast to her prickly and uplifting new single “Hold Your Head Up” with which she finished.

Alternative indie rockers Ravenna Woods gave us a special treat – a set consisting mostly of songs from their new album The Jackals.  Listening to bands like Menomena and The National could give you a general idea of this group’s leanings, but theirs is a unique sound.  “Kenya” is full of Chris Cunningham’s flickering acoustic licks and somber vocals, kick drum heartbeats and creepy atmospherics.  Meanwhile, “Centralia” features electric guitar sounds played in reverse, serene piano from Nic Danielson and toy piano/pleasant harmonies from Brantley Duke.  Backed by the tom avalanches and snare-heavy indie beats of drummer Matt Badger, it’s quite a different beast.  Ravenna Woods are an exciting listen – the only thing you can count on is that they’ll leave you in a place of intense contemplation.

Closing Saturday’s showcase was Cataldo, with Eric Anderson on lead vocals/guitar, Matt Batey on guitar, bass and backup vocals, Aaron Benson on percussion and Jacob Hoffman on bass.  At this time they were excited to play Sasquatch – which they did, at the Uranus stage on Sunday – but we saw them first (hipster points all around).  Eric is a delicate but courageous rocker, his white collared shirt, Ben Gifford-like heady lyrics and self-conscious commentary set off by an intense stare and occasional rock out sessions like that in the chorus section of “Other Side,” a song off of the band’s new album Gilded Oldies.  Their set came primarily from that record, which is a spacious, at times meditative, and absolutely enveloping exploration of Anderson’s experience.

Sunday Showcase – Cathedral Pearls, Preacher’s Wife, Jherek Bischoff, Brent Cowles (of You, Me and Apollo)

Hailing from Spokane, Cathedral Pearls impressed the pants off of the lucky audience members who’d made it to the Historic Everett Theatre by the time they took the stage at 3pm.  Oh, and they also marked the beginning of the second Seattle Living Room Shows showcase at Fisherman’s Village Music Festival.  The dynamic indie rock four-piece is led by Max and Karli Harnishfeger.  Startlingly unique and variable, their sound exists somewhere between Yeasayer, Vampire Weekend and Arcade Fire.  Max’s lead guitar and vocals are doleful in the latin-sounding ballad “Spies Like Us,” clean and smooth in “Sophia,” and brightly poppy in their latest record’s title track “Off My Chain.”  Offering yet more variety, Karli (also playing bass) takes the lead on vocals in lonely reveries like “Barnacles” and soft folky acoustic numbers like “Sleepwalker.”  We heard all this variety during the set, and they left most of the audience in anticipation by announcing that they’ll be releasing a new album in July.

Preacher’s Wife kept the indie theme coming.  Lead singer Brad Heyne isn’t afraid to step back from the mic, tilt his head back and belt it when duty calls – and though it often does in Americana ramblers like “Sinner’s Prayer,” the spotlight shines on Sarah Feinberg and her voice for dreamier numbers like “Changing Shapes.”  All five members of Preacher’s Wife hail from Everett, and the locals came out in force for their performance, nearly filling the theater.

None of the enlarged audience expected what came next.  It was Seattle artist Jherek Bischoff and his brilliant experiments in the classical vein.  With him were two violins, a viola, and a bass clarinet player.  During what can only be described as labrynthine adventures through the changing complexion of the human condition.  Bischoff switched off between a ukulele and electric bass, also conducting his entourage of classical musicians and singing during some songs.  He’s currently finishing an “ambient, spooky record” called Cistern that he wrote in the hollow chamber of an empty 2-million gallon cistern… with a 45-second reverb… buried underground… for three straight days.  The last song he played will be the album’s title track.  Like a prepossessed midnight walk through a snow-covered provincial town, it hovered over us, trembling violins pontificating on some cold mystery until like falling frozen flakes, eight twinkling bells held by eight secret song participants stationed throughout the theater rang in the piece’s soothing conclusion.

It was hard not to doubt that Brent Cowles – the mop-headed, bespectacled and rather small lead singer of former band You Me and Apollo – could own the stage as he shuffled up to the mic accompanied by only his hollow-body electric guitar.  But after a few bars of strumming, Cowles started singing with an abandon usually reserved for solo road trips and showers after a long day of work, and you just had to relish the fact that he was also alone onstage.  His reedy tenor and ringing falsetto are clean, round and almost bubbly in their southern-tinged swoopings up and down.  After a few loose and bluesy R&B tunes, he was joined by Erin Austin of OK Sweetheart for a spicy “missing you” type breakup song.  Cowles finished with the first song he’s written since the recent breakup of You Me and Apollo.  It’s called “Tired of Blue,” and it came with an introduction.

“I have a side job making teeth.  It’s kinda weird, but I work in my friend’s dad’s basement…making teeth,” Cowles started.  “One day [my friend’s father’s] son came downstairs, he’d drawn a picture for me, it was him and me together under a green sky.”

The discussion between Cowles and the boy turned to questions about whether the sky is ever really green, whether it was ok that the sky was green in the picture (of course it was), and eventually led to Cowles’ realization that one can get tired even of something they’ve been able to count on for a long time.  “Tired of Blue” is a lonely cowboy ballad, warm and sweet as all the music he played, and proof that though his band may have broken up, Cowles is nowhere near done singing and playing guitar.

Seven Year Anniversary Show!

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Photo by Jason Tang

Believe it – Seattle Living Room Shows and Seattle Secret Shows have officially been treating the Emerald City to personal, wild and sometimes teary-eyed shows for seven years!  Determined to outdo themselves on this occasion, the Watt sisters put together a big celebration.  Packed into Crown Hill Center’s ex-gymnasium were no fewer than eleven short performances (each by members from a different SLRS alumni band), a full-on show from Grace Love and the True Loves, a raffle, free beer and wine, hors d’oeuvres galore, and a special performance courtesy of the Melodic Caring Project – all washed down before, during and after by live sets from DJ Indica.

Artists included Olivia de la Cruz and Isaac Castillo, Whitney Monge, Ayron Jones, St. Paul de Vence, Naomi Wachira, Ravenna Woods, Mycle Wastman, Vicci Martinez, Mikey and Mattey, The Local Strangers, Levi Ware (of Melodic Caring Project), and Grace Love and the True Loves…  Whew!

One of SLRS’s biggest venues to date, Crown Hill Center is an elementary school turned arts function building.  The high-ceilinged gymnasium housing all the action was cozied up by rows and rows of low-strung and twinkling Christmas lights, softly glowing lanterns, free booze and snacks in the back and an improvised stage and DJ table up front.  The adjoining locker-filled halls outside, old basketball tape over heavily-lacquered hardwood within, and air of anticipatory excitement took one back in time to a high school dance.  Subtract the awkward slow dances from the equation and replace top 40 hits with Seattle’s wealth of kickass artists, though, and you get a party to remember.

The eleven SLRS alumni performances started the night off.  Each artist performed one song for this “in the round” section of the event, taking the audience on a trip through the past and present of living room shows music.

First up was Olivia de la Cruz and Isaac Castillo  Olivia’s sweet voice sang out a brand new song, “Sunny in Seattle,” while Isaac laid down the kind of fat, chilled out background only a standup bass can provide.  It was an indie tribute to life in our town, Olivia delivering lines like “Sunny in Seattle, it’s an ever losing battle/but as clouds say farewell I give them my kiss” in a wry and endearing tone.  Both artists were barefoot, and practically pranced offstage after their thank you’s and goodbyes.

Alternative soul singer Whitney Monge played next, solo with her guitar.  A seasoned street performer (starting out busking in Pike Place in ’07), she’s not afraid to let it all out, and did just that with a brooding number set off by a richly belted refrain about old mistakes coming back to haunt her.  It was obvious from the song’s stark mood and pained emotion that Whitney’s has not been an easy journey, but that it’s been a beautiful one.

The audience was next flattered by a performance from Ayron Jones, who opened for B.B. King last year – and just played at Sasquatch – with his blues/punk/rock group Ayron Jones and the Way.  In true blues-star style he shredded his acoustic, shadows of Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn haunting his hands.  That was, of course, between verses ensuring us that “I’m in no rush” and a refrain entreating listeners to “Take Your Time.”

Ben Doerr, Lydia Ramsey and a saxophonist from their band St. Paul de Vence came through to play “Spring,” a sweet romance flavored with Ben and Lydia’s vocal harmonies, Ben’s guitar, Lydia’s banjo and expansive saxophone solos between each verse.  Like all of Ben’s music, it was sewn through with the delicate thread of a true heart’s story.  “Spring” is a piece of new music, from St. Paul de Vence’s late 2014 album Farther Than Light which we reviewed upon its release.

The striking solo artist Naomi Wachira took the stage next.  Swaying back and forth in a traditional African dress, she played a (new)? Song ‘run, run, run.’  Her nylon-string guitar (uncommon in an amped performance) had a gentle thumpy sound to it as she strummed a reggae-sounding south-african influenced tune inspiring us all to escape our obstacles by overcoming them, not running away.  Wachira’s music and personality have an open, giving atmosphere – the dark subject matter was brightened by her broad smile and the warm twang of those nylon strings.

“This is a brand new song, it really just got finished being written last night,” said Chris Cunningham of Seattle folk-punk-rock… alternative, band Ravenna Woods upon approaching the mic.  Chris’s characteristic delicate and glassy fingerpicking started us out with an intro reminiscent of The National’s darkly thoughtful lyrics and weighty subject matter (the song’s title is “Dirty Wars”).  That section builds up into a brit-poppy chorus (trade fingerpicking for pounded chords) referencing fascist states, power plays and murder, and then settles back into the ‘A’ section for conclusion.  As usual Chris was fun to watch and listen to during his performance, and fun to think about afterwards.

A smoothly groovy Mycle Wastman made us all laugh with a song about going to the gym… and eating fast food, downing desserts and quaffing beer all the way there.  He’s another solo artist – though he often plays with a band – and had a good run on hit show The Voice in 2012 which evinced his more characteristic blend of pop, soul and blues.

Vicci Martinez lowered the mic (but not the bar) for her performance just after Mycle’s.  “I don’t feel offended… I am short… but damn!” she laughed as she fiddled with the stand.  She’s a Seattle pop/rock favorite with a long list of complete albums to her name, which her trained voice and immaculate guitar work gave away.  She busted out a sing-along-with-the-car-radio-worthy jam complete with epic sustained high notes before taking off for her next gig.

Brothers Mikey and Matty Gervais wandered onstage next in their usual attitude of relaxation.  They’re all about harmony, two warmly clear voices reveling in the thoughtful post-grad road trip their twin guitars’ indie-folk strumming conjures up.  You better believe it got the audience swaying.

The final “in the round” performance was thanks to SLRS veteran performers The Local Strangers.  Their core duo of Matt Hart and Aubrey Zoli were in full effect, rocking the crowd with a powerful blast of western folk.  They actually played two songs because according to Matt “We’re ahead of schedule for the first time in show business history!”  Aubrey’s voice is a force to be reckoned with – luckily it always treats the audience to a hell of a soulful show – and Matt doubled down on vocals and guitar.

At this point, Levi Ware strode out of the crowd and onto the stage cradling a ukulele and warm words for all his experiences with SLRS and SSS organizers Carrie and Kristen Watt.  Levi is the co-founder of the Melodic Caring Project.  It’s an endeavor he started with his wife Stephanie that live-streams all kinds of concerts to hospitalized children.  After introducing the project, Levi called not only most of the previous performers up on stage, but also Cassidy Reynolds – a young girl who’s had concerts streamed to her – to sing with him.  Together they all sang “Hey Hey,” a touching song about walking life’s hard roads for and with the love of those around you.

After the whirlwind musical variety show, DJ Indica Jones took his place at the turntables again (he also spun as guests entered) and pumped out a stream of variant jams (think Micheal Jackson, The Talking Heads,  mixed hip-hop etc.) over the crowd.  After a few minutes’ milling about and loosening up at the bar, the record abruptly switched over to a dirrrty hip-hop mash-up.  Before anyone could react, a gang of crazy teenagers tore through the audience and broke into synchronized dance in the center of the stadium.  Surprise!  It was a performance by Northwest Tap Connection.  They popped, locked, and essentially tore it up with their tribute to Rhythm Tap before disappearing as suddenly as they had materialized.

Still buzzing from that bombshell, the audience was all revved up for Grace Love and the True Loves.  By this time, the gym was lit only by the layer of lights and lanterns hovering above the crowd and everyone but everyone was grooving around.  Jazz, blues, Motown and the drug of Grace Love’s stunningly soulful voice were just what the doctor ordered – if he wanted to fill a room with get-down vibes and dancing of mixed caliber but great enthusiasm.  Crisp horns, old school Johnny-be-Good era guitar riffs, a sultry cover of Blackstreet and Dr. Dre’s “No Diggity” and an electric solo played by guitarist Jimmy Jones’ teeth… it was all good, and all eight members of the True Loves left everything they had onstage.

Or so we thought.  After a short surprise set by Seattle hip-hop artist RA Scion (who rocked the mic with political criticism and suggestions of mass revolt) the True Loves came back for two more songs: “Love You Down” and “Say What You Gotta Say” that brought the house down once and for all.

At the end of the show, as happens at most Living Room and Secret Shows, people mingled on and only slowly headed home, seeming to search for someone to thank, and seeming to find it in everyone they spoke to.  Well, we’ve got Carrie and Kristen Watt to thank for these rare and valuable experiences, so here’s to them.  Here’s to seven years of music, straight from the bands to the fans – and where these shows are concerned, right back again.

Seattle Secret Show 5/1/15 – Lonesome Shack and Mia Dyson

Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

Old-school delta blues, thick and heavy as the smell of a fresh-ground dark roast, washed over a small crowd.  The languid yet invigorating sounds of Lonesome Shack oozed out of lead singer and guitarist Ben Todd, fitting the Seattle Secret Show scene at Conduit Coffee’s roasting facility perfectly.  The small warehouse (which was, in fact, fantastically aromatic) had been transformed into a shabby-chic temple to music, coffee and beer – three things one could easily picture propping up the days and nights of Lonesome Shack’s latest album More Primitive.

Ben had squeezed calmly through the crowd minutes before, followed by band mates Kristian Garrard (drums) and Luke Bergman (bass).  There were a lot of new faces in the audience, their excitement to see Seattle’s Lonesome Shack and LA’s (formerly Australia’s) Mia Dyson lighting up the space.  The comfortably industrial setting was further softened by candles, Christmas lights, and a little alcove of a bar dressed up with dark wooden beams, wall-mounted growlers and the gleam of glass and bronze coffee brewing equipment.

Lonesome Shack. Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

Lonesome Shack. Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

It was a decidedly cool venue, but as soon as Lonesome Shack started in we were transported to a rickety back porch in old, slow, hotter than hell Mississippi.  Ben picks his twangy electric in the style of John Lee Hooker, that loose and stuttering boogie blues guitar ramping up between vocal lines and backing off when the words come wailing out.  And wail they do, swooping up and down in lamentation over broken love and salty observation of life’s missed stitches.  Bumping the show on down the road are Luke’s thumpy bass footfalls and Kristian’s pattering shuffle of drums.  It’s loose, but it’s loose together – a purposeful exploration of the “less is more” mentality that creates more atmosphere than you can shake a sun-dried chicken bone at.

Set selections came mostly from last year’s More Primitive, but we heard a few new tunes as well, among them a track called “True Vine.”  With march-like drums, start-stop guitar picking and steadily plodding bass, it continues to explore the dazed but driven wasteland of Ben’s musical sentiment.  It’s part of a larger effort because (heads up!) Lonesome Shack just finished recording a new album.  The record’s future is “undecided at this point,” but if the material comparable to “True Vine,” it’ll be well worth your time.  Ben said he and the boys will be playing new material at shows in Seattle, so check them out around town this summer for a little taste.

A brief intermission let the audience trickle back into their own lives (and over to the bar for a beer or freshly roasted bag of coffee beans), some of them spilling outside into the warehouse entryway on Westlake Boulevard.  Conversation seemed to come easily for everyone, even in this group of thoroughly mixed age and experience.  It’s a nice feeling – music as a community event rather than just entertainment.  As the fading sky darkened gently over Lake Union, it almost seemed tempting to keep hanging out with these happy folk and delay going back in.  Of course, that all changed when we heard Mia Dyson play.

MIaOriginally from Australia, living in LA and breezing through Seattle on a west coast tour, Mia Dyson was an artist few members of the audience had ever listened to.  It’s likely because she grew up in Australia, listening to 60’s and 70’s blues and rock and roll.  Her music enthusiast and luthier father (he built the guitar she plays to this day!) introduced her to groups like Little Feet and Van Morrison & The Band, and their influence shone through immediately as Mia performed.  Revved up electric guitar, pounding drums, the open road, that righteous sense of release innate to real rock – it was all there, but spiked with poppy riffs (think Kings of Leon) and her addictingly scratchy voice.  It was Mia on guitar and vocals, Erin “Syd” Sidney on drums, and a mutual friend Sam they picked up to play bass.  And it was good.

The above description characterizes most of Mia’s upbeat tracks, but she switches gears into full blues/soul mode for tracks like “Tell Me,” which she played towards the end of her set.  By this time the crowd had been dancing a while, and “Tell Me” saw a lot of people really let go to the sway and swing of things.  Why?  The vocals channeled Van Morrison – easy, beautifully furrowed melodies full of feelings we’ve all had, but maybe haven’t come to terms with in a while.  The momentum of the song builds and deepens like that of a good story.  And her blues soloing on that guitar is truly fantastic.

It was quite a show, Sam animated on the bass, Syd taking care to smash the drums just right with a huge smile on, and Mia almost rocking her tilted black fedora off her head many times.  In some ways, Syd put it all best when he said “well, we sound like… we sound like three people getting together and playing some rock and roll.”

These shows are a lot of fun, and at Seattle Living Room Shows, we’re looking ahead to a busier summer than ever.  Appearances at music festivals, more cool secret venues, concerts on Lake Union aboard a retired car and passenger ferry…come play with us at one of our upcoming shows!

By,

Brandon Taylor

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Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

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Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

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Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

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Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

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Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

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Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

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Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

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Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

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Photo by GeorgieCat Productions

Chinook Fest Kickoff Party

A veritable smorgasbord of Northwest talent graced the Crocodile for Chinook Fest’s kickoff party in Seattle, presented by Seattle Living Room Shows on Friday April 30.  Tango Alpha Tango, Rust on the Rails, Austin Jenckes, The BGP and Courtney Marie Andrews played – all of whom will also rock Chinook Fest Summit coming up in July.  So minus a lot more exciting headliners and breathtaking scenery (we love you, Crocodile, but you aren’t as pretty as Snoqualmie), the show truly was a teaser for the upcoming festival.

Courtney Marie Andrews is a quiet soul.  In fact, her soft voice and flower child/cowgirl vibe might have seemed out of place in the grunge dungeon if she hadn’t played first, when it was still quiet within and light without.  The folky singer/songwriter was introduced by DJ Marco Collins (who’ll be hosting select stage events at Chinook Fest) as “an artist whose voice stole my heart,” and it became obvious why as she began to play.

Courtney’s voice sounds like something off an old, well-loved record.  Warm and warbling, it feels comfortable – right somehow, like she’s just supposed to sing.  She’s also a songWRITER, her lyrics speaking vividly about the heart behind them.  Laying itself like a familiar blanket over your shoulders, Courtney’s music is reminiscent of something from the era and sentiment of Fleetwood Mac’s “Landslide.”  Courtney is originally from Phoenix, but has been living in Seattle for years so keep an eye and two ears out for her at local venues.

Hailing from Tacoma, The BGP got this Seattle party going with their aggressively groovy mix of pop, rock, soul and R&B.  Their super clean sound was almost as tidy in the Croc as it is on their studio tracks, but the performance felt loose and comfortable.  Front man Brandon Ghorley (keys, lead vocals) lends a relaxed, “all in good fun” feeling to everything The BGP does, and isn’t afraid to tilt back his head and let that glossy tenor rip.  The band played mostly selections from their debut album Love and Rent, which got favorable notice when they showcased it competing in America’s Got Talent in 2009.  It was a lively show – they’ll be a lot of fun on Sunday at Chinook Fest Summit.

Next up was Austin Jenckes, a country singer big on heart.  He’s originally from Duvall, WA but has moved around a lot, having lived in Nashville (where he recorded his latest single “Whatever You Want”) and toured all over the nation.  A natural performer, he strode casually onstage and began to pump out the tunes – no big deal, just a fervent, eyes-squeezed-shut performance going on here, that’s all.

Seattle bands are hesitant to use the word ‘country’ to describe themselves.  Folk, Americana and ‘alt-country’ abound, but even groups with a strong western influence don’t often embrace the term and all it entails.  Jenckes is a refreshing exception to this tendency, proudly singing out the drawls, growls and down-home subject matter we can all relate to.  Coming in after a long day of work to find everything in its place?  That’s listening to Austin.

Rust on the Rails has to be one of the most unique fusion bands on the local scene.  They hit the stage after Jenckes, turning it into a theater of wild, unwritten stories.

Here’s how it usually goes down:  Lead singer/guitarist Cody Beebe and bass player Eric Miller (both from Cody Beebe and the Crooks) lay a foundation of blues rock.  They meet up with Blake Noble’s percussive guitar and didgeridoo somewhere in the outback, where Tim Snider throws in heady doses of world music and jam-band influence with his virtuosic violin playing.  And when long-time rock drummer Scott Mercado (Candlebox) swaps his kit for the hammered-dulcimer (a horizontal harp played with small, ultra-fast mallets), the band sounds like theme music to a rock-and-roll tribal dance on Olympus – if the mythical peak was located in Australia.  That’s how it went down this time, too.  It was awesome.

Closing down the night was Portland’s Tango Alpha Tango.  It was getting late, so after thanking everyone for sticking around, lead singer and guitarist Nathan Trueb got right down to business.  Alongside his wife Mirabai (bass) and bandmates Daniel Jones (keyboards/guitar) and Joey Harmon (drums), he punched into selections from their latest LP Black Cloud.

It’s hard to capture the energy of a Tango Alpha Tango show in words.  The music is fast and hard blues with a hard-assed rock and psychedelic twist.  The antics include Nathan shredding his guitar wile grinding his teeth, jumping off the stage, climbing onto the monitors, climbing back down, laying his axe down horizontal atop Daniel’s kick drum and playing it like a lap-steel, and occasionally swinging his instrument through the air (in order to produce additional distortive effects on the sound, it would appear).

Don’t let the theatrics mislead you, though, Tango Alpha Tango is a tight, talented group.  The songwriting is original, the composition is wild but connects, and the playing is legitimately superb.  Good news then, that they’re working on a new full-length (currently being recorded/produced).  Short of waiting for that, you can get a taste for them on Tango Alpha Tango – Live from the Crystal Ballroom.  It’s a collection of live recordings featuring selections from Black Cloud and one brand new song “White Sugar” which they played for us at the Croc.  Or you could just go to Chinook Fest Summit and see the real thing.  I mean, that’s what this concert was all about anyways, right?  And if this show is an indicator, Summit is going to be a good time.

If you can’t make it to Snoqualmie, you know Seattle Living Room Shows and Seattle Secret Shows have you covered for music.  The 7 Year Anniversary Show is sold out, but there’s a Living Room Show coming up on June 13th with The Weather Machine, and Catherine Feeny and Chris Johnedis.  Hope to see you there!