Since international readers of the columns of Reverb's John Roderick and Duff McKagan had a hard time making it out to see the men play their respective, one-time-only sets last night, I've emptied my notebook for y'all here. It should be noted that in order to catch both sets, I missed the Q&A portion of "An Evening With Duff McKagan" at the Neptune, and the first couple songs of John Roderick's set with his band, The Long Winters, at the Showbox at the Market. But I did to see enough to learn that . . .
1. Duff's decision to enlist some ringers -- and longtime sideman Jeff Rouse -- to back him up during "the reading portion" of a night celebrating the release of his memoir, It's So Easy, was killer. Nothing like a little acoustic "Paradise City" to keep things moving and the mood light.
2. I brought a pocket full of one-liners to the show, but held back after seeing that those who didn't remain quiet during the reading portion were promptly drop-kicked in the face.
3. Not that we needed any reminding, but Mark Pickerel, who backed up Duff, is one of the best drummers in town. There's something about drummers who moonlight as singer/songwriters. They know when they don't have to play.
4. The Neptune is one of the most versatile rooms in town. The "cabaret" setup last night made the 850-plus room seem extremely intimate.
5. Roderick's decision to enlist teenage students at Seattle's School of Rock to back him up at The Long Winters' set was killer. Nothing like some fresh blood and enthusiastic grins to keep things moving and the mood light.
6. I was surprised to find myself choked up a couple times during the set. It was inspiring to see how authoritative and comfortable the musicians were onstage. Guys, I've been trying to get an audition with The Long Winters for five years. Well done!
7. Everyone in the crowd at The Long Winters show looked like they could have been a parent of one of the School of Rock students.
8. It was a hoot seeing a former Harvey Danger frontman and onetime Long Winters collaborator singing backup and high-five members of the School of Rock. But, seriously, something needs to be done about that self-important smirk he wears on his face.
9. One musician in the School of Rock wore a red dinner jacket and a medallion and played guitar, mandolin, and viola. He reminded me of seeing every member of Paul Simon's band play a half-dozen instruments each on the very same stage earlier this year. Keep it up, kid. Everybody can play guitar. But every instrument you can play, at least conversationally, will open another door for you.