A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.
You are currently viewing all posts written by Gene Stout. Gene Stout was the pop music critic for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer for more than two decades. He is currently freelancing for the Seattle Times. His stories have appeared in newspapers around the country through the New York Times and Hearst Corporation news services. Gene is a Seattle native who grew up on Mercer Island and graduated in communications and editorial journalism from the University of Washington. “I started this journey when Little Richard knocked me out of the cradle,” Gene says. “And I continue to be a sucker for a great musical hook.” Over the years, Gene has interviewed hundreds of musicians, from Eddie Vedder and Courtney Love to James Taylor and Quincy Jones. He was front and center when Seattle’s insular garage-rock scene exploded internationally in the early 1990s.
December 6, 2013 at 1:51 PM
Seattle-based Pearl Jam — one of the most influential rock bands of the 1990s — has been outdoing itself on a two-leg, 24-date fall tour in support of its current album, “Lightning Bolt.” The marathon show includes more than 30 songs, among them “Pendulum,” “Leaving Here,” “Do the Evolution,” “Black,” “Alive” and “Rearviewmirror.” The concert features two lengthy encores and such showstoppers as The Who’s “Baba O’Riley,” Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World” and guitarist Mike McCready’s incendiary, Jimi Hendrix-inspired version of “The Star Spangled Banner.”
More than a half dozen songs from “Lightning Bolt” are included, among them “Sleeping by Myself,” originally recorded for Eddie Vedder’s 2011 solo album, “Ukulele Songs.” The five-member band featuring McCready, Vedder (pictured), Jeff Ament, Stone Gossard and Matt Cameron (who divides his time between Pearl Jam and Soundgarden) is finishing up the tour in Seattle, which could mean that fans are in for an especially long and vigorous performance.
7:30 p.m. Friday at KeyArena, Seattle Center; $65.50 (800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com).
Gent Stout, Special to The Seattle Times
December 6, 2013 at 12:08 PM
With her star on the rise, Illinois-bred singer-songwriter Lissie easily could have filled The Crocodile by herself with her rousing performance of songs from the powerful new album, “Back to Forever.”
But opening act Kopecky Family Band, a troupe of indie rockers from Nashville with its own boisterous following, assured a full house Thursday. The late-night show was a high-value doubleheader for fans of edgy folk-rock, even though the audience seemed divided into separate camps.
Lissie, whose full name is Elisabeth Corrin Maurus, recently completed a short European tour and made appearances on “Conan” and “The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson.”
Wearing a white T-shirt and jeans, she opened just before 10:30 p.m. with “Bully,” a heartfelt song about youthful independence from her 2010 debut album, “Catching a Tiger.”
December 5, 2013 at 3:47 PM
Who will be the next Nirvana, Pearl Jam or Macklemore?
A new TV program will showcase Seattle’s vibrant music scene each week in front of a live audience. It’s almost like a reality show to find Seattle’s next big thing.
Victory Studios owner and executive producer Conrad Denke and KSTW, The CW11 (Ch. 11), have teamed up to create “Band in Seattle,” which makes its debut at 11 p.m. Dec. 7 on CW11. Featured bands on the first episode are Acid Angels and Big Sur.
Airing in 30-minute segments at 11 p.m. Saturdays, the show will introduce Seattle bands and their music to viewers by going behind the scenes to reveal what makes bands tick and what drives their passion and creativity.
“Seattle fosters music like no other (city) in the world,” Denke says about the new show. “It has an incredible, cooperative spirit, a large number of venues in which bands can perfect their style – and fanatical audiences.
“Seattle in some ways is like Nashville and Austin, two great places for music. But Seattle has the unique quality of continually re-inventing and creating new and great material and performers.
“A new band from (Seattle) will eventually rise up on the national and international scene, something that is inevitable and clearly evidenced from (past) history.”
Victory Studios has constructed a set that recreates the look and feel of a local club, with a capacity for audiences of 80 to 100 people for each taping. The concerts will be taped live using six cameras and recorded on multi-track equipment for editing. Complete concerts can also be viewed on the studio’s website.
The first season includes 13 shows with two bands per show, each performing a 45-minute set in front of a live audience. “Band in Seattle” hopes to expand the number of episodes once primary sponsors sign on.
The next episode on Dec. 14 features Dead Man and Letters From Traffic, followed by The Dolly Rottens and Summer Babes Dec. 21, Funky 2 Death Dec. 28, and Crooked Veils and The Bend Jan. 4. The Jan. 11 episode features Gun and Furniture Girls, followed by Cracker Factory and Something in the Trees Jan. 18, and Van Eps and Mts & Tunnels Jan. 25.
Learn more about the show and fill out an application for free tickets by visiting the official website here.
December 4, 2013 at 10:19 AM
It was cold, crisp and clear Tuesday afternoon as concertgoers lined up outside KeyArena for Deck the Hall Ball. But indoors it was snowing.
The snow was fake, or course, and confined to a giant video screen. But the flurries were just enough to lend a holiday vibe to 107.7 The End’s annual year-end concert, which featured such hot alternative-rock acts as Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, Alt-J and Seattle’s new-folk darlings, The Head and the Heart.
Seattle station KNDD has been staging its Deck the Hall Ball for more than 20 years as a well-stocked concert marathon for faithful listeners. This year’s holiday-themed concert also provided bands with a chance to thank the station, as well as fans, for their support.
The thank-yous came in the form of tight, spirited sets showcasing the bands’ best music. There were no shoe-gazers in this energetic lineup.
November 29, 2013 at 5:45 AM
While she was growing up in Rock Island, Ill., Lissie’s feistiness and outspokenness often got her into trouble with those in authority.
“If you grow up in a small town and you stick out or draw attention to yourself, you’re going to attract some unwanted people who try to put you in your place,” says Lissie, a fast-rising singer-songwriter whose real name is Elisabeth Corrin Maurus.
“It motivated me to say, ‘I’ll show you. I’m going to get out of here and make something of myself.’”
Indeed she has.
On “Back to Forever” (Fat Possum), her sophomore album, Lissie’s teenage rebellion has evolved into a knack for sharp commentary about adult themes — unrequited love, dead-end jobs and environmental degradation. Her country-tinged folk-rock songs are filled with emotional urgency and huge pop hooks.
November 29, 2013 at 5:17 AM
Seattle’s longest-running alternative-rock station — 107.7 The End — has been putting on big holiday concerts for more than 20 years, showcasing a who’s who of modern rock.
The station’s 21st annual Deck the Hall Ball features perhaps the most international lineup in the event’s history with Vampire Weekend (New York); Phoenix (France); The Head and the Heart (Seattle); Alt J, Arctic Monkeys and Foals (England); Lorde (New Zealand) and Chvrches (Scotland). Chvrches replaces Tame Impala of Australia.
November 26, 2013 at 10:36 AM
More photos here.
John Legend romanced his fans at the Paramount Theatre with nearly two hours of music Monday night — sexy, soulful fare that made them swoon, cheer and sing along.
Backed by a four-piece band and two female backup singers, the nine-time Grammy Award-winning singer-pianist opened with the silky-smooth “Made to Love,” from his current album, “Love in the Future.”
Dressed in black shirt, jacket, slacks and shoes, the Ohio native looked stylish but casual for a show that highlighted soul and R & B songs from “Love in the Future” and his previous album, “Evolver,” as well as “Once Again” and “Get Lifted.” Some the lyrics — “Give me the green light/Give me just one night” — sounded like pickup lines. (more…)
November 22, 2013 at 5:35 AM
New-soul singer John Legend’s “Made to Love” tour, which comes to town Monday, is named for the hit song from his current album, “Love in the Future.”
Before he went on the road in late October, Legend, a nine-time Grammy Award winner, released the sexy, romantic video of “All of Me,” the third single from “Love in the Future,” his fourth studio album. The video features Legend’s wife, Chrissy Teigen, and footage from the couple’s wedding and honeymoon in Italy.
Born John Stephens in Ohio, the future star began singing gospel and playing piano at age 5 and left home at 16 to start college. In 1998, he was asked to play piano on Lauryn Hill’s “Everything Is Everything.” It led to writing and session work for such artists as Janet Jackson, Kanye West and Alicia Keys.
One of sexiest singers in soul/R&B, Legend released his first album, “Get Lifted,” in 2004. First single “Ordinary People” led to a fast-rising career.
8 p.m. Monday at the Paramount Theatre, 911 Pine St.Seattle; $47-$87 (877-784-4849 or stgpresents.org).
November 22, 2013 at 5:26 AM
Influential rocker Trent Reznor has made a long-awaited comeback after five years away from the public eye. The industrial-rock phenomenon of the 1990s and early 2000s went underground a few years ago, but he finally ended his long hiatus in September with the release of “Hesitation Marks,” a new Columbia Records album featuring the single “Came Back Haunted.”
Recorded in secret, “Hesitation Marks” represents a triumphant return for the celebrated musician, backed by his current band, including Alessandro Cortini, Josh Eustis, Robin Finck, Lisa Fischer, Sharlotte Gibson, Pino Palladino and Ilan Rubin. The album, Nine Inch Nail’s first in five years, made its debut at No. 1 on Billboard’s Alternative Albums and Top Rock Albums charts and drew raves from Rolling Stone.
The Grammy-winning band has sold more than 30 million albums since its debut. In 1997, Reznor landed on Time magazine’s list of the most influential people of the year, and in 2004 NIN was ranked at No. 94 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest artists of all time.
Reznor, who founded Nine Inch Nails in 1988 in Cleveland, launched NIN’s current trek, “Tension 2013,” in late September. The brutally loud, two-hour program reportedly features a dazzling light show exceeding any of NIN’s past spectacles, and the music is characterized by dark themes and complex instrumentation. Explosions in the Sky opens the Seattle show.
Nine Inch Nails
8 p.m. Friday at KeyArena, 305 Harrison St., Seattle Center; $39.50-$99.50 (800-745-3000 and ticketmaster.com).
November 13, 2013 at 11:02 AM
Tween queen Selena Gomez kicked off her concert Tuesday at KeyArena with a bang — literally — with “Bang Bang Bang,” her 2011 single.
A near-capacity crowd of mostly girls and their parents responded with a deafening roar, holding up signs and waving lighted cellphones as the Texas-born singer-dancer opened her high-energy, tightly choreographed concert blending pop, reggae, dubstep and electronic dance music.
Backed by a six-member band and an entourage of dancers, Gomez performed on an S-shaped stage (for Selena) with a circular platform emblazoned with a “G” for Gomez. Her outfit — a white skirt and white top showing her bare midriff — included white boots decorated with her initials.
Before singing “Who Says,” an anthem encouraging fans to believe in themselves, Gomez reminded the audience that she always tries to be a good role model, saying “Kids trust me … parents trust me.” It wasn’t a stretch, despite her sexy new video with actor Shiloh Fernandez for the magazine Flaunt.
The set included songs from her new album, “Stars Dance,” and previous CD, “When the Sun Goes Down.” Among them were the romantic “Write Your Name,” the celebratory “Birthday” and a boisterous version of Katy Perry’s “Roar.”
The best song of the show was “I Love You Like a Love Song,” which simply soared. Unfortunately, Gomez often enhanced her vocals with backing tapes, typical of young stars on arena tours.
A video mimicking tabloid coverage of her failed romance with Justin Bieber preceded the reflective ballad, “Love Will Remember.” A cover of Priscilla Ahn’s wistful “Dream” featured Gomez briefly on harmonica.
The singer finished the main set with the high-energy songs “Whiplash” and “Naturally” before returning (amid piercing screams from the audience) for the huge hits “Come and Get It” and “Slow Down,” the latter accompanied by a sexy, stylish video.
With her long, brown hair, the attractive, still-girlish-looking Disney Channel star looked more like 15 than 21. Her show struck a comfortable balance between sassy and classy.
Opening acts were Emblem3 and Christina Grimmie, a spunky YouTube phenomenon who led the audience in a singalong of her feisty “Absolutely Final Goodbye.”
Emblem3, a boy band blending rock, hip-hop and reggae-flavored pop, performed songs from its current album, “Nothing to Lose.” The trio featured siblings Wesley and Keaton Stromberg and friend Drew Chadwick, who grew up in Sequim. Well-received by Gomez fans, the energetic, engaging trio appears to have a bright future.
As for Gomez’s future, it includes a Dec. 8 performance at the Comcast Arena at Everett on the 106.1 KISS-FM Jingle Ball.
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