A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.
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 7, 2013 at 4:33 PM
Seattle’s Barsuk Records, which specializes in peppy, smart pop music with a focus on songwriting (Postal Service, Ben Gibbard, The Long Winters), is in the middle of celebrating its 15th anniversary all over town this weekend, with a slew of concerts that, unfortunately, are mostly sold out.
You never know when a ticket might turn up, though we’ve been cautioned that the Saturday show at Neumos is hopeless. “Special guests” (Gibbard?) are promised for the Saturday show at the Tractor.
If you can find a ticket, the proceeds go to a good cause — the cancer-support group Gilda’s Club Seattle.
Here’s the lineup:
The Long Winters, David Bazan, Minor Alps, Sunset Valley, 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Neptune Theatre, 1303 N.E. 45th St., Seattle; sold out (877-784-4849 or www.stgpresents.org).
Phantogram, Menomena (pictured above), Maps & Atlases, Yellow Ostrich, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Say Hi, doors open at 7 p.m. Saturday at Neumos, 925 E. Pike St., Seattle; sold out (206-709-9442 or www.neumos.com).
Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter, Rocky Votolato, Laura Gibson (solo), guests, doors open at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Tractor Tavern, 5213 Ballard Ave. N.W., Seattle; sold out (789-3599 or www.tractortavern.com).
Ra Ra Riot, Aqueduct, doors open at 9:30 p.m. Sunday at the Sunset Tavern, 5433 Ballard Ave. N.W., Seattle; sold out (206-784-4880 or www.sunsettavern.com).
November 2, 2013 at 12:48 PM
Friday, Manhattan Transfer opened a three-night stand to a packed house at the Triple Door and while they were down a man — Tim Hauser’s out, having back surgery — Trist Curless, whom you may remember from the group m-pact, which got its start in Seattle — did a stellar job filling in.
From the sizzling quartet’s first “Ooo-bop!” on “Tuxedo Junction,” I was reminded that despite a kneejerk aversion to the glitz of this group, the luxuriousness of its shimmering blend and its crisp delivery of scat solos are hard to resist. So why try?
It was pretty much a “greatest hits” night, from “The Duke of Dubuque,” featuring Curless on an athletic bass scat solo, and the retro-swing of “Java Jive” to a stunningly fast “Air Mail Special” (complete with Charlie Christian solo), Bird’s “Billie’s Bounce” and the megahit “Birdland.” (more…)
November 1, 2013 at 9:05 AM
When Seattle comedian Danielle Radford got the opportunity to open for Dave Chappelle at the Moore Theatre last month, the only thing on her mind was to avoid falling flat on her face. Radford, who’s been performing stand up for six years, not only managed to stay on her feet, but was able to get some big laughs — especially when she told an anecdotal story about attending a butterfly-themed wedding with a pastor who was dressed more like a pimp.
Radford is among 32 comedians entered in the Seattle International Comedy Competition, which runs Nov. 6 through Dec. 31. A full schedule with complete bios for all competitors is available here. Radford will perform on Nov. 6 at the Columbia City Theater in the preliminary week of the competition and was gracious enough to answer a few questions via email.
Name: Danielle Radford
Base of Operations: Seattle
Age: Same as Beyoncè
How did you get the chance to open for Dave Chappelle?
Radford: Live Nation contacted talent agent Ron Reid. He’s the go-to guy up here, and he recommended me. I got the call from him while I was walking up hill on the way home from work. We’ll just pretend the phone call was the only reason I was breathless.
What was it like to get laughs from that large of a crowd?
Radford: Making people laugh is the best feeling in the world, no matter the size of the crowd. Getting a giggle from one person is enough to make me light-headed and giddy, let alone thousands at once. All I could think when I left the stage was “don’t trip over your shoes, don’t trip over your shoes.”
How old were you when you decided you’d try comedy and what spawned that?
Radford: I was in my mid 20s. One of my roommates had been doing open mics, and he encouraged me to start. I’d just gone through a break up and hadn’t experienced enough rejection, I guess.
What was that first time on stage like?
Radford: I went onstage expecting to have to bribe the people in my life to never speak of it again, but I got a lot of laughs. The Sandman didn’t sweep me off the stage, so I went back the next night and every night after that.
Is comedy a full-time job and if not what do you do to pay the rent?
Radford: I used to be a paralegal full time, but it was really demanding work so I quit to focus on comedy. Now I work a part time job at a call center, which is the most boring sentence anyone has ever written.
Do you have a favorite spot or a certain night you prefer for performances and why?
Radford: I love any spot on any night if the people there are expecting comedy. A lot of times I’ll do a show somewhere and the crowd has NO idea it was going to happen. They all came out to get drunk, talk to their friends and watch the game and then, SURPRISE! STAND UP!
I love performing literally anywhere at anytime, so long as I don’t feel like I’m assaulting polite strangers with sudden spoken word.
What’s the best way to handle a heckler? Do you have a go-to response?
Radford: Hecklers aren’t that mean in Seattle; they just want to make it all about them. It’s best to shut them down quickly and move on.
Every dateless man who’s ever heckled me bought me a drink immediately following the show, which is a terrible plan. You can just buy me booze, dudes. No need to make me embarrass you in public first. Unless that’s what you’re into. In which case, there are websites for that, stop interrupting when mama’s talking.
Can you share a one liner?
Radford: My credit score is so low that it isn’t made of numbers, it’s just some dude who hits you in the face for asking.
Jeff Albertson: firstname.lastname@example.org
October 24, 2013 at 3:22 PM
Now in its 17th year, FreakNight is Seattle’s premiere, Halloween-themed, electronic dance music party. Dubbed a “sinister circus” and a “creepy carnival,” the marathon, two-day event at WaMu Theater includes more than 50 EDM acts at indoor venues Twisted Big Top, Midway of Mayhem and Bass Asylum. Big names from the world of EDM include Afrojack, Dieselboy, Benny Benassi, Infected Mushroom, Baauer, Dash Berlin, Dillon Francis, Cosmic Gate and Alvin Risk. (more…)
October 10, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Wynton Marsalis, Ahmad Jamal and Pat Metheny will headline the 2014 U.S. Bank Portland Jazz Festival, which takes place Feb. 20-Mar. 2.
Seattle trombonist and composer Julian Priester will also be featured as part of the festival’s For Portland Only production, which reunites Priester with two bandmates from Herbie Hancock’s fabled ’70s Mwandishi ensemble, Bennie Maupin and Buster Williams in a group called Something More.
The 11th edition of the Rose City bash also features a program of artists associated with Blue Note Records, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary next year.
Other artists include the great, Portland-bred jazz-world-fusion group, Oregon; the Spring Quartet - Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Esperanza Spalding and Leo Genovese; Bobby Watson & Horizon; Brian Blade & Fellowship; Eliane Elias; the Yellowjackets; the Kenny Werner Trio; Geoff Keezer; Aaron Diehl; the Christian McBride Trio; Cecile McLorin Salvant; Toshiko Akiyoshi, with Lew Tabackin; Bob Dorough & Dave Frishberg; Darrell Grant’s “The Territory,” with Joe Locke; Tord Gustavsen and Grace Kelly.
“Fans may recall that the 2009 edition here was the only U.S. Festival to honor Blue Note Records all the way through,” said festival managing director Don Lucoff. “For the 2014 festival we recognize a selection of artists who made an impact on the storied imprint, tagging their performances, Blue Note @ 75 which will include, Who’s on First with Bob Dorough & Dave Frishberg; the long overdue reunion of hard bop masters Bobby Watson & Horizon, featuring Victor Lewis, Terell Stafford, Edward Simon, and Portland native Essiet Essiet; Eliane Elias in a special program recasting the works of Bill Evans, Antonio Carlos Jobim and Chet Baker; Brian Blade & Fellowship, and imposing leaders who certainly made their mark on the label in the past 20 years, Jack DeJohnette, Joe Lovano, Wynton Marsalis and Kenny Werner.”
Portland Jazz Festival
Feb. 20-Mar. 2, 2014 at various Portland venues; individual tickets $15-$58, packages available (503-228-5299 or www.pdxjazz.com
October 6, 2013 at 3:20 PM
By Todd Hamm
Special to The Seattle Times
Pulled together in a little over a month, the inaugural Macefield Music Festival in Ballard Saturday was a bit of a trial run for the newly minted group of organizers, who took over the event when it was dropped by The Seattle Weekly.
Playing it safe, the presenters scaled the festival back to three venues and 27 acts, roughly half the size of its precursor. That turned out to be a wise move. The talent level was high, and the venues mostly full for the duration of the night.
Staggered start times might have enabled more festival-style venue-hopping — sets began simultaneously at all three venues at the top of each hour — but it was possible to keep up with what was going on at the Tractor Tavern and Conor Byrne, across the street. Speed-walkers were a common sight, trying to catch the tail ends of shows at the Sunset.
The Fame Riot, which played a wild, gyration-heavy set at this year’s Sound Off! underage battle of the bands, had noticeably tightened things up, and played a winning set of synthy glam-rock at the Tractor. At Conor Byrne, improvisational jazz fusion champions Afrocop worked their now-trademark expansive, almost non-stop stream of sound, which continues to be one of the more inspiring live experiences in town.
After an ear-splitting performance by Princess (whose lead singer Andrew Chapman has effortless charisma and an enviable scream), The Intelligence provided another highlight at the Tractor. Taking full advantage of the performance aspect of its show, the band made a choreographed entrance, each member appearing at the moment his part kicked in during the opening number.
Casually adorned in sweaters and suit jackets, the Intelligence was on-point, and really teased the most out of its catchy indie pop. Their songs are slyly quirky, taking – well, yes — intelligent turns at the end of many sections, something aanother Tractor-stage band, The Blakes, who relied heavily on instantly gratifying pop numbers, couldn’t quite do.
Other bits and pieces that made an impression included the surfy-sounding LURES, heavy-hitting Constant Lovers and classical experimentalist Lori Goldston.
October 4, 2013 at 1:32 PM
By Todd Hamm
Special to The Seattle Times
When The Seattle Weekly pulled the plug on its sixth Reverb local-music festival with a full roster of musicians still expecting to play, a group of Ballard-area folks (which includes former Reverb booker Kwab Copeland and KEXP DJ Hannah Levin) stepped in with the intention of continuing the lively spirit of the all-day event, seasoned with a few new ideas of their own.
Though still culled exclusively from the deep well of Puget Sound talent, the lineup for the rebranded Macefield Music Festival was held to 27, down from Reverb’s nearly 60 in recent years. The venues were also kept to a tighter radius, utilizing only three Ballard Avenue staples: Conor Byrne Pub, the Sunset Tavern and Tractor Tavern.
October 2, 2013 at 2:48 PM
Apart from a first, revelatory encounter with Keith Jarrett in the ’70s — and that probably doesn’t count, since it was comparable to a first date with a future spouse — Tuesday night’s performance by Jarrett and his trio at Benaroya Hall surpassed anything I’ve heard in 40 years by this extraordinary pianist.
When he’s really on, Jarrett has a way of drawing listeners into his compressed realm of concentration, where the notes seem to fall like crystals in a snow globe.
Even when he was probing intensely, or flying over the keys at top speed, Jarrett’s playing had a clarity and lightness, the egolessness he famously strives for but does not always achieve. Nothing felt forced — there was little gospelish vamping — and he got in and out of his ideas quickly, as if to say, “Well, there is it is. Hope you like it.”
Boy, did we ever. The jubilant crowd cheered the trio back for an unusual four encores, which suggested that the 30-year-old trio was playing very well, indeed.
As always, Jarrett, bassist Gary Peacock and drummer Jack DeJohnette offered a mix of standards, bebop and originals in a variety of tempos, with some melodies heavily disguised. Include in that group the opening ballad, “Some Day My Prince Will Come,” which began with a long, cross-handed rumble over knocking drums, melted into swing time and a bass solo, glanced by the melody, then vamped out.
September 30, 2013 at 9:54 AM
Deck the Hall Ball will feature Vampire Weekend, Phoenix, The Head and The Heart, Alt J, Arctic Monkeys, Lorde, Foals and Tame Impala.
The annual holiday show put on by Seattle’s 107.7 the End takes place at KeyArena on Dec. 3. Tickets, which cost $47.70-$77.70, will go on sale at noon on Oct. 4.
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