Tonight in Seattle:  

The Physics

Timber! Music Festival Recap

at Tote-McDonald Park

In case you missed out, here’s a recap of all the great happenings from this year’s Timber! Outdoor Music Festival:

First, a bit about the setting. The festival took place in Tote-Mcdonald Park over in Carnation, which is just the right size for this festival. There were a good amount of attendees there, but it never felt packed or crowded -- and the park is set right on a river, so if you get a little hot, you can just walk down to the water and cool off. The atmosphere here is more laid back than the larger festivals as well; there’s less security between the crowd and the stage, and members of the performing bands were seen walking around with the audience, talking and enjoying some drinks after their shows.

There was only one show going on at all times, so there were no multi-stage conflicts, which is pretty nice. I was only able to attend the third and final day of the festival, but I still managed to experience tons of great moments! In a live setting, Cumulus rocked a little harder live than they do on record, and their nice, sunny harmonies fit well in the middle of a festival lineup. The Physics are a Seattle hip-hop institution at this point, and they had the crowd swaying and rapping along to their late afternoon set. They brought a full band along, including a keyboard player, guitar player, trumpet player, and two back-up singers, sounding full and energetic.

Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires closed out the main stage with style, captivating the crowd with both his voice and his moves -- he even took the time to make two different outfit changes during his show! The highlight of his set was during the slow jam “Lovin’ You, Baby” when he pulled a couple onstage and serenaded them while the sun set. During his encore, he made his way down to the crowd and hugged as many members of the audience as he could.


Latest comment by: imaginary amie: "Great wrap-up, John! I was there Thursday for a bit, and I LOVED it. Definitely planning a longer visit next year. These guys really know how to put on a great festival. "

Timber! Outdoor Music Festival is happening this weekend!

{Timber! Outdoor Music Festival poster}

Looking to get out of town this weekend and check out some great music while you’re at it? We’ve got just the festival to suit your needs. The same lovely folks from Artist Home who brought us Doe Bay Fest and Slackfest (among other events) introduced The Timber! Outdoor Music Festival last summer and have come back this year with an equally exciting lineup of fantastic established and emerging artists. Headlining this year’s festival are local singer songwriters Rocky Votolato and Damien Jurado, indie guitar legend and founding member of Dinosaur Jr. J Mascis, and one of soul music’s best live performers, the impossible-not-to-love Charles Bradley.

The festival covers three days, starting this Thursday, July 24th and going through Saturday, July 26th. It all goes down over on the east side at Tolt-McDonald Park in Carnation. It’s far enough to still be out of the city, but close enough that you don’t have to fill up your gas tank just to get there.

The lineup features tons of great local talent, from recently emerging acts like The Comettes, to other indie favorites that are gaining a lot of traction in the local scene like Hounds of the Wild Hunt, Cumulus, and Smokey Brights. There are also some great acts making their way up from Portland, like The Shivas and the softer, folk-based Horse Feathers, who should sound just about perfect in the outdoor, intimate setting. Fans of hip-hop won’t feel left out either; the self professed “king of Ballard” Grynch will be there, as will one of Seattle’s finest hip hop groups The Physics. The Seattle Rock Orchestra is even going to be performing the legendary Beach Boys album Pet Sounds, and you know that’s going to sound amazing. Did I mention that kids under 12 get in free, because they do.


Sasquatch 2014, Day 1

This year's Sasquatch! Music Festival, taking place at the beautiful Gorge Amphitheater, was originally scheduled to be split between two separate weekends the second incarnation slated to take place over 4th of July). While that never ended up materializing, we were still left with a fantastic three days of music -- the weather stayed nice for most of Memorial Day weekend, with only a little bit of wind and a light drizzle momentarily interrupting what was, overall, an excellent festival. 

Here's a few of the bands I managed to catch over the first day (Friday):

Modern Kin: The Portland outfit kicked off Sasquatch 2014 with a 1:00pm set at the Yeti stage, and did a good job of getting the crowd warmed up. All three members of the band contribute vocally, and the live show is a communal effort of sorts. Modern Kin is essentially Drew Grow and the Pastor’s Wives cut down to three members, picking up where the Pastor’s Wives left off, channeling their live energy into catchy tunes; at times loosely reminiscent of The New Pornographers. The rhythm section was pretty on point as well.

The Physics: Over on the larger Bigfoot stage, the Seattle hip-hop trio got the crowd grooving, bringing in a lot of passers-by just making their way into the venue. The best crowd reaction was for maybe their best summer-time jam “Coronas on Madrona”, from their fantastic 2011 album Love is a Business. The young crowd -- still fresh and ready to start the weekend -- was more than willing to dance along with them.

Kithkin: This local quartet wasted no time getting down to business on the small and entirely local Narwhal Stage. The band jumped, kicked, thrashed and shouted their way through songs off of their recent debut LP. Some bands confuse energy with quality, but luckily, Kithkin are blessed with both. Lead singer and bassist Kelton Sears spent most of the set yelling so hard you could see the muscles and veins in his neck, and also spent a good amount of the show in the crowd, holding his bass over the heads of their raucous crowd and attempting to crowd surf on top of them. It's clear why they put mics in front of all four members of the band -- someone on stage would probably feel left out if they didn’t get to scream along.


Bumbershoot 2013 music picks: my dream list for Saturday!

Bumbershoot Music Picks: Heart

Now that I've covered everything else I'm looking forward to this weekend at Bumbershoot, it's time to get into the music. Please note: I say "Dream" list, because it's entirely possible I might not make it to see every single one depending on how much of an old lady I feel like I am after trekking around all day. (HAHA) Anyway! Music. Music is good. Here's what I'm planning to hit on Saturday (8/31)

MainStage (Key Arena) 

Heart!!! OMG Heart!!! Because Dreamboat AnnieLittle Queen and Dog & Butterfly were frequently spun on the Simon family turntable, I have a deep and abiding love for Nancy's guitar skillz and Ann's gorgeous vox. In fact, my first real concert was seeing Heart at The Coliseum (now the Key) with my dad during their "Passionworks" tour. Oh man, was I stoked to see the band the he loved -- even though we totally had the most nose-bleedy of all the nosebleed seats. 

This time I'll be front and center at the Key, rockin' to these amazing ladies. Bring on the "Barracuda!" And the "Magic Man!" And the "Heartless!" And maybe "Even It Up!" And for the love of god, please bring on the "CRAZY ON YOU!!!"  (I'll even settle for some "These Dreams," you guys. Because I once loved that album whole-heartedly and sang my little 14-year-old heart out to it!). YES YES YES AND YES. 


Bumbershoot personal pan preview 2013: Saturday & Sunday

I am going to tell you what I know about this year's Bumbershoot line up for its full three days -- fortunately, it's a great year and there's almost too much to chat about! Thus, I'll be breaking it down in parts. And I know a little bit about a lot of things, and parts of things (I keep them in my drawers). But there are some other things that I don't know that much about so will either leave them out... or, take completely random and perhaps inappropriate wild-ass swings at previewing them! So, without further ado:

Things I wanna wanna do on Saturday, 8/31:

Dave B (12:30 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage) 

Sometimes a fella or boo just wants to jam it. Doesn't want to hear about the economy, doesn't want to hear a bunch of threats or emotional larceny, doesn't need some drizzling "profound" sound effects in ponderous drip-hop mode, but merely wants to hit the beach or dance on the bleachers at a sports afterparty. Bumbershoot kicks out with recent Sound Off! wildcard winner Dave B, who didn't hit me when I first heard him a while back. But then he slayed us all sweetly at the Capitol Hill Block Party (his happily pureandtrue hip-hop set was a high point), and I'm primed for this live flesh follow up of his freshness. Gotta get his long-been-out The Coffee EP pronto. 

Mike Vecchione and Marc Maron (1 p.m., Comedy at the Playhouse)

Always take in a Marc Maron joint. He can be as nasty as he wants to be and still plays nice with others. I probably don't have to hype this too much, and Marc performs throughout the festival, this is just the first shot and I thought I'd mention it. He reminds me of my father-in-law if the dude was as well-read and more neurotic like me, which I guess says a lot about my wife. Anyways, when you think of Marc Maron, think of Californication if it starred a comedian. 

Nacho Picasso (1:15 p.m., TuneIn Stage)

XXL and Vibe love him now, but that's not why you need to get involved. There's a Cubist antagonism to NP's rants, tucked inside a city at the end of an all night rampage epilogue feel. It's dark, it's art, it's trap, and for regional rap it seems neither grotesquely falsely humble or hive-minded deluded about who's really cutting the checks and getting the minstrel spotlight. 

Down North (2 p.m., Plaza Stage)

One of the most underrated bands in the Pacific NW, Down North is tough enough to be jam-it Afro-punk, stylish enough to buy your lady a drink with a smile you just gotta forgive, soulful enough to bring the spirit of Michael Jackson into your neighborhood church, and born to make you bounce into the crowd. What I love about them the most is that I could totally see them kicking ass in an East Coast club between sets of no wave bands and noise units, bringing the heat and the heart to the art school scene. Yes, they're that smart and that on fire. 

Seattle Arts & Lectures presents The Lunchbox Project Live: Literary Pleasures and Musical Shenanigans (4 p.m., Words & Ideas Stage) vs. Kendrick Lamar (same time, Mainstage)

Okay, because I was obsessed with DMX too I will probably be at Kendrick to hear more and say I was there. I hear he was part of someone else's song and apparently named some names, something that never, ever happens in rap! Otherwise, if Down North drenched me in dance sweat, I will be seeing a bunch of word scribblers yammer about stuff I'm into while it's still light out.

How Was Your Week? with guest Ted Leo (4:45 p.m., Comedy at the Bagley)

Ted Leo is a man I really want to see interviewed live, and this podcast conducts great interviews. Ted Leo. Damn! So many things I want to ask him. I might take this one over, wrestling the mic from Julie Klausner (nah, I'm sure she'll do fine. But if there's a chance for audience questions, be ready lady!) 

The Physics (5:15 p.m., Fountain Lawn Stage)

Keep up with The Physics. That's what they say. They slyly subvert a lot of their contemporaries with lyrical surprises, nuanced rhythms, and choice samples. It's been "next big thing" yap for years but it really should happen. 

Fantagraphics Follies (6 p.m., Words & Ideas Stage)  

One-time maniacal punk music manager and now publishing maven Larry Reid hosts this roiling ode to the mightiest publisher alive, with talents like sublime graphic novelist Ellen Forney (Marbles, The Stranger), completely mesmerizing fine artist Jim Woodring (Jim and Frank and many other books), indie comics comedian Kelly Froh, and others entertaining us in weird and wonderful ways. Special happenings: Can You Imagine? plays! That's right, that girl group from comix-punk heaven lights down to light up the Words & Ideas stage! (Fantagraphics' own Peter Bagge plays drums for this sweetness.) This one will be packed out. Get in line on Friday, champs. 

Weird & Awesome with Emmett Montgomery (7:00 p.m., Theatre Puget Sound Stage) 

Emmett loves the strange, and wallows around in it with us comedically, but it's his humanistic touch, his gentle heart, his mindful awe that keeps his entertainments from seeming like a mere freak show. He always puts out a positive vibe even when things get Hunter Thompson-level "professional" (i.e., bonkers). 

Gary Numan, (8 p.m., TuneIn Stage)

You might not believe this, if you only know him from his hits, but Gary is killer live. Yeah, I know, sometimes synth-based artists aren't that inspiring, just standing there singing like robots as they push some buttons. Gary was a rocker first, and has cultivated an impressive following of fans who have been buying his albums whenever he cares to release them, and bone up on the live boots and such as well. This isn't "new wave exploitation" by Bumbershoot by any means; Gary's a worker, and has been rocking audiences regularly for as long as you've been clapping your hands to that synth-drum beat in "Cars." I can't wait to see him play "Praying To The Aliens" and most especially "Down In The Park" live -- the latter song being  a common cover by discerning, loving GM fans in bands all over the indie world. 

Heart (9:45 p.m., Main Stage) 

If you're a Seattle area kid of a good span of ages, you remember when they made the covers of magazines like Rolling Stone, spending many an incense-burning evening in a park listening to Dreamboat Annie etc. on your car stereo, turned up LOUD to seduce the minds of hicks from Eastern Washington. They've always rocked, and we've never not been proud of them. (Everyone gets a pass for 80s shoulder pads these days.) This show will be super powerful for anyone who has never caught Ann and Nancy soulfully putting their wild, witchy, loving talents out there for everyone to soak in. Do it. And for those who have caught 'em a few times as I have, we'll be back in the Black Velvet saddle again.


Latest comment by: Cameron Lowe: "Agree JC was a great show and thoroughly looking forward to next year already, do you know if they have decided upon dates yet? everyday fun for anyone just play or browse for fun


Don't miss: The Physics cd release show at Neumos {8/25}

Whether the rest of the country takes notice or not, most of Seattle is already well aware of our burgeoning and ever-growing hip-hop scene. The past few years have shown it to grow in new and progressive directions, from the heart-on-sleeve, stadium anthems of Macklemore to the forward-thinking sounds of Shabazz Palaces, and everything in between. The Emerald City is loaded with talent -- and while the bulk of it is not only recognized but also facilitated, somehow, The Physics have somehow managed to slide a just a little bit under the radar. With their newest album Tomorrow People, they’re hoping to change all that.

It’s not that the Physics haven’t already been putting out great material: their 2011 album Love is a Business is an underrated gem from start to finish. Featuring some top-notch production work courtesy of Justo, Love is a Business oscillates between smooth R&B grooves and soul-sampling feel-good jams with the greatest of ease. And it keeps on coming -- in the lead-up to Tomorrow People’s release on August 25th, the Physics have released two songs, “Days” (a nostalgic look back on their journey to get to this point, and the city that nurtured their growth thus far) and “Take a Win” (featuring production from Jake One). Thig Nat and Monk Wordsmith’s flows are as tight as ever, and you can get a sneak peak for yourself by clicking over to the band’s bandcamp page here. Tomorrow People also features guest appearances from fellow Seattle rapper and current world traveler Sol, as well as “King of Ballard”, Grynch.

If you want the best representation of what the Physics are all about, look no further than Love is a Business’ standout track “Coronas on Madrona”, which was my own personal I can’t stop listening to this song! jam from last summer. And take in all things new at The Physics' Tomorrow People album release show at Neumos on Saturday, August 25th. Joining them are fellow Seattle hip-hop acts Brothers From Another, The Bar, and local producer extraordinaire Jake One. Don't miss out!

{Neumos / Saturday, August 25th / 8PM / $12 Adv / All Ages. More info and tickets here.}

Bumbershoot 2010: Album 101 Prep for Recommended Artists

Bumbershoot 2010

It is sheer madness that there are so many great live performers appearing at Bumbershoot 2010 this year. This is my personal schedule to see a cross-section of irascible indie-ness (be it indie pop-friendly Pac NW hip-hop, indie rock, Brooklyn funk, etc.) but mostly focusing on those TIG-sparking artists who either put out a great record recently (and may or may not have gotten the deserved acclaim) or have one coming right up.

So let's begin the plan, and bear in mind if you haven't heard the music that may already be available from these performers, we would recommend checking the releases hyped below out before you attend Bumbershoot 2010. This is not because you would be in any way disappointed with what you will see and hear when you hit the full-genre full-on phenomenon that is the festival this year; just the opposite, we want you to already have some of these songs down to sing/chant/rap along when they pop during the sets. All are recommended and approved.


Latest comment by: Jay Matheson: "What?! No mention of Lisa Dank?!?"

Capitol Hill Block Party 2008: The Physics

The Physics photo by Marybeth Coghill

at Capitol Hill Block Party 2008

I knew the Vera Stage was going to be the scene of some sweet home-brew hip-hop as I passed the tent where people were paying five dollars to hit ex-Stranger writer Ari Spool in the face with pies as Ol' Dirty Bastard and Kelis rapped and sang "Baby, I Got Your Money" on the sound system pre-show. The weather was somehow both cool and humid (?) and the vibe reminded me of when I saw The Saturday Knights for one the first times at the Block Party on the same stage two years previous. The rap music that ensued did not disappoint.

Thig Life, "Justo" D'Amato, and Monk Wordsmith have been partners since teenagers, growing up in the South end of Seattle and living on a steady diet of quality hip-hop. Their fandom comes out in their rhymes and music, as they show their influences proudly but also honestly discuss the daily thrills and spills of being marginalized by society even when you're smarter than most of it.


Cancer Rising rose above

at King Cobra

They have gotten so busy, so unifying, so captivating as a four-piece...


Latest comment by: Chris Estey: "Clarification from The man himself(Larry): "Thanks for the love on TIG man! Our sometimes-present fourth member is Bruce Illest, the MC alias of djblesone, Massive Monkees' Dj and a intensely creative underdog himself. He produced most of our most recent ...

Cancer Rising's victorious return show (now with Caves added to the bill)

What a weird line-up, but you can't want for variety...