Tonight in Seattle:  

Swans return to Seattle with a bludgeoning!

Photograph by Lino Brunetti

at Neumos

Michael Gira has been to town several times in the past decade, both with his group The Angels of Light and as a solo acoustic act. He has not, however, brought his legendary original band to town since it was officially boxed up and stored in the attic back around 1998. In fact, he has rarely even brought along an electric guitar on the tours he has done. So when Mr. Gira reinvigorated Swans last year and announced that they would take on a massive tour, I knew this was going to be an experience that was not-to-be-missed. And last Saturday evening, this was exactly the case as Swans performed a ninety minute set of what very well may have been The Loudest Show That I Have Ever Attended.

Opening with a thirty minute cacophony in which each member of the band took the stage about five minutes after the previous one created a massive build-up: first drums, then hammered dulcimer, pedal steel guitar, bass; and finally guitars to finish off layer upon layer of noisy complexity before Swans launched into  "No Words/No Thoughts" from their excellent 2010 release. It was booming drums, bells, and guitars oscillating in some kind of mutilated brilliance.


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The Church @The Triple Door: future | past | perfect

at The Triple Door

{The Church is playing a 2nd show tonight, Tues 2/8 @The Triple Door in case you missed last night's show}

I have to admit, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into when I told my friend that I’d happily take his extra ticket to see The Church at The Triple Door. It was only after I looked at the web site and realized they were playing not one, not two, but THREE albums in their entirety that I thought, “ohcrap. I’m going to be stuck in one place for HOW many hours?”

But the last album was 1988’s Starfish—you know, the one with the song everybody either loves or hates, “Under the Milky Way”— and an album I played so much that my car’s shitty tape deck broke it, which caused me to buy the CD that I still own (the cover cracked and scratched after spending lots of time at the bottom of a messenger bag). And I COULD NOT pass that up.

Billed as The Church: future | past | perfect – Winter Tour USA 2011, the program that accompanied our show was impressively put together and full of more information than I knew about the band’s current projects, history, wardrobe and drinks of choice (I’m kidding about that last part). Original members Steve Kilbey, Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper were joined by drummer Tim Powles...


Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "Thanks Andrew! Both nights would have been mucho $$$. :) "

Kristin Allen-Zito

at WWU Underground Coffeehouse

{Kristin is doing a free in-store performance at Bellingham's Everyday Music, Saturday December 18th at 3pm - a great excuse to pick up some last-minute Christmas gifts for your favourite vinyl junkie.}

Welcome to the world of Kristin Allen-Zito:  Tinged with awkwardness; she greets a roomful of people waiting to see her by confessing that after meticulously bleaching her white jeans just for the event, she trod in a steaming pile of dog poop on the way to her own show and spent much of Cumulus' support set dabbing at herself with paper towels in the ladies' room.  As Britpop guitar virtuoso Graham Coxon puts it; rock stars are not cool.

Much like her public speaking; Allen-Zito's string-picking is not perfect; but provides a charming and sincere framework upon which to share her stories, ranging from the excitement of her first tour, to losing a friend to terminal illness, and an ode to her mother; who was in the crowd and thought nothing of making her song requests known.   "I'm only just beginning to tell people what these songs mean", the Bellingham songstress admits.  Vulnerability can be scary, but she puts it to good use - the room is transfixed during her performances of 'Helium', despite the introduction "Hey!  Has anyone else ever been told that they have bipolar, and then years later their doctor says 'Just kidding!'?".  Frivolity aside, the songs are touching, and remain undiluted by self-conscious straining to remember scales; nor the barista's last call for coffee.


Dear Posies, I love you…always.

at The Showbox at the Market

The Posies by Jason Tang

{The Posies with Star Anna at the Showbox. Photo by Jason Tang.}

We’ve been through a lot together, The Posies and I. Graduating high school and college, getting married (and then getting divorced), losing and finding myself multiple times, so many drinks I can’t count, and more tears, laughter, pain and happiness than I ever thought was possible when I first popped that freshly unwrapped Failure cassette tape into my boom box.

Through all of it, I’ve caught as many live Posies shows as I could, and each one has been amazing in its own way: from standing so close to the (old) Croc’s speakers that I could literally FEEL the music, to swaying in tandem with an appreciative crowd as Jon & Ken acoustically blew our faces off with their awesome harmonies.

The show Saturday night at The Showbox belongs on the list of the best Posies shows I’ve ever been to. Following a rockin’ set (in which Jon and Ken played) with Brendan Benson (I sadly missed Aqueduct entirely), The Posies took the stage to several enthusiastic cheers—and rightly so.


Latest comment by: Imaginary Amie: "Thanks Dave! I was so overwhelmed with excitement I couldn't remember. ;) "

The Moondoggies and The Cave Singers at the Showbox

Moondoggies photo by Christopher Nelson

at Showbox at the Market

You can guess the ambience in the Showbox on an early November Friday night, especially once you add key details like these: The Moondoggies were holding down the second slot on a 3-band bill, prepping the crowd for the Cave Singers as both bands warm their engines for road swings.

Yes, there was rain – slightly Old Testament at times, pelting First and Pike. Yes, there scads of people seeking dry land and the solace of a locavore night of rock n roll. And the Moondoggies, who refer to themselves as the “Everett Shit Kickers” in their liner note on the stellar new disc, Tidelands, leaned in and let fly to warm the room.