Whether I am out on the road, or at home here in Seattle, seeing good live music for me always acts as a “restart.” We all have so much noise and even chaos in our day-to-day lives, that sometimes, a live gig is just the ticket to lift us out of the humdrum-ness and/or drama of matriculating normal life. Music is a positive mantra for us, and great live bands can spin that positivity to unimagined heights.
The SubPop Silver Jubilee in Georgetown earlier this month afforded me the chance to see a bunch of live music all in the same day. I discovered a few new artists that I somehow missed the boat on as of late, and I caught up with a few journeymen in their prime. Here are a few highlights from that weekend along with some other cool gigs that have helped me restart in the past few months.
METZ: It’s always great to “discover” a band through its live show. I was drawn to the main stage at the Sub Pop thing sometime around 4pm by the power and abrasiveness of this band live. This trio from Toronto is a Nirvana-esgue Bleach-period rock outfit, but somehow totally original and mean. I bought the record when I got home, and it is just as good.
ROSE WINDOWS: I saw these guys first acoustically earlier in the day as a three piece and was blown away. Before the gorgeous full-band set later that day, I went up to guitar player Chris Geveyo and praised his radical skills (really quite brilliant). He sort of nodded at me and walked away... fucking cool!
GREG DULLI: Whether he is an Afghan Whig, a Twilight Singer, a Gutter Twin, or on his very lonesome; Greg Dulli is a force of nature. He is the songwriter and performer who has the ability to inspire an audience, and lift them to a higher place. Killer and OG. Dulli is always good these days.
J MASCIS: He did a poignant acoustic show on the headliner stage, at a time of day when everyone else was turning their amps up to 11. A songwriter like J Mascis can strip it down like this and be confident, because the bare-bones essence of the songs themselves are so damn good. I’m truly glad to have stopped at this stage at this time. There was ton of stuff I missed that day. TAD with his Brothers…thing (saw it once before. Great!), Mudhoney, Catheters, and a bunch more.
The rest ...
QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE: I got to see these guys in June in England at the Download Festival on the week their new record came out. This is one of those few bands that can make a huge festival gig seem like an intimate club. A band in its prime that simply remains not to give a fuck what you think. Perfect.
ALICE IN CHAINS: I had the good fortune to see these guys live recently when they played on the Jimmy Kimmel Show. We have all witnessed how their career has morphed over the years. Now however, and that night especially…I saw a band of 5 guys settle into their ginormous spot…with ease and ferocity. New songs or old, they owned it Again, perfect.
THE POSTAL SERVICE: The latest show I’ve seen (last week at Key Arena), the Postal Service put on one hell of a show (italicized because it really was a show. The lights and stage and sound were top shelf). These scant few songs mean so much to so many, that even with only a 75 minute set, there was enough brilliantly played and executed songs to please that arena-full for a long time … which is good, because, well, it may just BE a very long time until PS does another tour as big as this one.
MARINERS: Yes, I know its not a musical thing—but the way the M’s have been playing as of late can lift a person. We haven’t had a MLB team in town for some time with any hope. This Raul Ibanez-led team with the young bucks like Miller and Franklin and even Mike Zunino … gives us all hope up here, of getting some place higher in the not-too-distant future.