TBT / First Show Ever

TBT / First Show Ever

By the time I was in tenth grade I was a full-blown Hip-Hop head.

Later I would fall fully into Seattle’s Hip-Hop scene, but it all started with the likes of Outkast, Cypress Hill and Nas. I can remember the moment I was told Cypress Hill was uncool and what I listened to next. I remember the first Method Man verse and where I was when I heard my first Too Short song (third grade at my friend Aaron’s house, pillaging his older brother’s CD collection).

Regardless of genre, for me, live is the best way to experience a favorite song, album or artist. I’m 31 now and I’d guess that out of all of the live shows I’ve been to, the vast majority have been Hip-Hop shows. My love for live shows started at the Paramount with my first ever live show. I was probably 9 or 10 and the one, the only, Weird Al Yankovic came to town.

At the time, pretty much the only thing I listened to was Weird Al and Michael Jackson (the latter I discovered only because of the former’s affinity for spoofing his work). I’m not sure if my parents would’ve taken me to an MJ concert if I’d asked, but I only had eyes for Weird Al. That wasn’t just a show, it was my first show. It was a big deal. In my young, confused mind, it was the biggest entertainment event of, well, ever.

I went to the show with my father and my buddy Mitch. I imagine my father lost a few rounds of Rock-Paper-Scissors with the other parental units but Mitch and I didn’t care. All we cared about is whether Al would open with Just Eat It or Like a Surgeon. I remember being briefly in awe of the Paramount and quickly switching focus to bothering my father about when Al would grace the stage.

Eventually the great one came out, performed his greatest hits, changed costumes between 50 and 75 times, and left again – presumably back to his place just to the right of God up in heaven. (Imagine my disappointment years later when I saw Nas live and he had exactly zero costume switch ups).

I don’t believe that my love of live shows was solidified at the Weird Al show, but the seeds were certainly sown there. No matter your opinion of Al’s craft, he can entertain the pants off of a crowd. I remember very little, but the passion, wardrobe changes and energy Al brought to the performance stayed with me forever.

What was the first show you ever attended? Let us know in the comments!

All Star Opera @ Barboza

All Star Opera @ Barboza

Hey, you. Go to this show.Really, it will be good. How do I know?

…Full disclosure, one of All Star Opera’s members is my brother. Also, these dudes are great live. Tons of energy. They love performing and they are getting really good at it.

This Thursday (tomorrow!) ASO and their live band will crash Barboza’s intimate stage and you should be there because it’s a great venue for getting to know a new band or a budding group better.

Even if I didn’t know anyone in ASO I would recommend this show for three reasons:

1. Every song they release is better than their last. (Proof here.)

2. Ever live show they play is better than their last. (Proof Thursday at Barboza.)

3. What the hell else do you have better to do? (A good hip hop group with a live band is hard to beat on a Thursday night.)

As always, find me at the show and say what’s up and I’ll buy you a drink. See you tomorrow!

Welcome Home, KEXP

Welcome Home, KEXP

There was a time, not that long ago, when I thought KEXP’s new home was a frivolous idea. Writing that sentence is pretty much blasphemy in this town, I know.

Not that long ago, my thinking was that KEXP’s home on Dexter wasn’t good enough, but a state-of-the-art facility costing at least $15 million (!) was a swing way too far the other way.

The issue is not that I don’t like KEXP or support it. It has it’s flaws (we all do) but there is nothing else like it in this world. The role is does and can have in music and the future of music is beyond tremendous. I do support KEXP. I love it. KEXP is the reason I got into local Hip-Hop (Street Sounds, specifically).

At the same time, musicians are struggling to sell records and get people out to shows. Those same supporters should help chip in $15 million so KEXP can have a fancy-ass new home? What about the artists?

My reasoning was damn simple: Do you guys need all that square footage, a shower room, a sleeping room and all the other bells and whistles? All this shit is great for those mid to big name touring acts that already have your favor, but how will all of this shine and perks and spending help local other up and coming bands? Will you guys remember the community when you’re sitting in your shiny new palace?

But that was then. Recently, I’ve changed my opinion.

Last week when the KEXP family marched to the new facility I realized that they are the community. KEXP has gotten big and elements of it are suffering from the size and prestige, but these people are as much a part of this city’s musical community as anyone else. And they flippin’ love KEXP. They are falling out of their chairs they are so excited for the new home. They can barely speak they’re so excited.

And it’s not just that, it’s also this: For all of it’s other worts, no one else is doing anything close to what KEXP does for emergent artists. They care. They want musicians to succeed. The support and love they’re poured into local, regional, national and global music communities cannot be questioned. KEXP gives a damn about music, and know they have the home to match their heart and vision.

KEXP’s role in music goes beyond entertainment. It even goes beyond art. To me, the most important thing they stand for is community and Seattle’s is better off now that they have a physical space worthy of their ambition.

So, here’s to KEXP, music, art, community and all of the people who have helped create this beautiful anomaly and keep it running. I love that my son will know KEXP not as a radio station but as a crusader for art, music and community.

Thank you KEXP and here’s to a magnificent 2016 and beyond [clinking beer mugs emoji].

Four Feet Higher with T Sisters

Four Feet Higher with T Sisters

Badass sister folk band T Sisters just wrapped up an awesome set of shows at Tractor and Green Frog in Bellingham before heading out to Douglas Fir with Giraffe Dodgers tonight and the Wild Rivers Music Festival in Brookings on Sunday. We had a chance to learn a little more about what makes them so darn great.

1. Who are you? What’s your favorite sandwich?

TS: We are the T Sisters, a vocally driven roots music group from Oakland, CA. Bring on the pork
belly sandwiches with some pickled stuff on there are these girls are stoked.

2. What got you into music?

TS: Music has always been a big part of our lives. We come from a musical family. Our dad is a musician who plays guitar, piano and writes great songs. We started singing together from an early age.

3. What have you been listening to recently? 

TS: There is a great vocal group out of Canada called Chic Gamine whom we love. Anais Mitchell is amazing and always a go to and sometimes we annoy the rest of our band by playing songs from the Broadway musical Newsies…or the theme song from Frozen.

4. “Sassy sister folk” is probably the best genre ever. What’s the most ridiculous thing that’s happened during a show/while touring?

TS: We were playing a benefit in Bend that was dedicated to a couple of kayakers who had passed away. We had been playing for a while and had run out of raucous tunes so we decided for our encore to sing an a’ Capella tune and dedicate it to the folks who had passed. One of the hosts of the event was still in full party mode and quite drunk. He continued to hoot holler and started stripping off his clothes during the song. It was pretty incongruous and funny.

5. Describe your dream tour.

TS:  On our dream tour we would have an upgraded vehicle, perhaps a luxury bus and a chef. The shows would be sold out and we would have some days off to explore. Location would be…hmmm….Hawaii, Europe, South America. We want to go everywhere so it doesn’t really matter where.

6. Anything else you’d like us to know about?

TS: We have a great band that we travel with including our upright bass player Steve Height and our mandolin/guitar player Andy Allen-Fahlander. We love to do band outdoor activities like hiking, swimming etc. so we’re excited to head back to the beautiful Pacific Northwest!

Recap: T Sisters are super rad and worth following. Check them out

#TBT: A Pair of Skates, Plenty of Handbills and that Westbound Sound

#TBT: A Pair of Skates, Plenty of Handbills and that Westbound Sound

-A Note from Editor Stuck: Life has been catching up with me and my Showgo Brethren, so massive apologies for not having some good show calendars in the last few weeks, but enough of that, let’s discuss what you’re about to read: This is from my brother in Ska aka Little Brother #2, Kyle Dols, and it’s his personal journey through ska music, DIY promotion and a strong personal connection with the songs of a great band, Westbound Train. I thought this would be a nice addition and a new voice to here from aside from my tawdry ramblings as of late. Something like this, I believe, deserves to be shared:

In highschool I teamed up with my older brother Kristof and his best friend Jesse to form what we called The Skamission. Our mission? To put on some amazing ska shows for Eastside kids. 

Kristof and Jesse would handle venues and band relations, and I was on poster design and partial promoting. The glory days of that brief time when the seattle ska scene was blowing up? We were there. Every Recliners and Natalie Wouldn’t show, the birth of the Georgetown Orbits: We were there.

It started out as fun little ska shows in the Bellevue Skate King, combining skanking and rollerskates with tiny stages for an overall amazing experience. 

Then, the Ska Brawl happened. 

The details still allude me, but somehow we got promotion rights for a national tour featuring the Toasters, Westbound Train, Satori, with 3 opening slots for local acts (Natalie Wouldn’t and Georgetown Orbits as far as I can remember). 

Nobody thought we could make money off this show, but 3 kids and a bunch of passion SOLD OUT Studio 7. 

To add to the pride of that achievement Lynval Golding of The Specials came up to me and said he loved my artwork, and over delivering some sandwiches I got to know Westbound Train, my ultimate favorite band. 

It was one of the happiest experiences of my life, to have had a part in that moment. To share something with so many people and meet so many idols.
4 years later I saw Westbound Train again.

Walking into the show I spotted the trombone and sax players outside. Walked up and said “Hey I doubt you guys remember me, but I just got my first tattoo and its a Westbound one…” “Yeah man! You’re the Skamission dude! You gotta come backstage and show Obi Fernandez!”

Ended up catching up and smoking a cig while Obi exclaimed “Man I don’t even have a Westbound tattoo and it’s my band”

Halfway into the set they slow it down and do a shoutout to me, dedicating the next song to me and my first tattoo. They start playing “Salvation”. 3 weeks before the show I had tried to commit suicide, and they could have not chosen a more perfect song.

It was all I could do to not start crying. I was so moved. Strangers all around me were slapping me on the back, dancing with me, and asking to see the ink. There, at that show, I saw a light at the end of the tunnel. 

After the show I talked to the band about what I had just gone through and how much that song meant to me. Snow starting to drift down, I receive the biggest ska group hug ever achieved in the Seattle winter. 

The picture my brother took of us has been on my desk ever since, and I will always cherish these memories. 

Also, I met Morgue Anne for the first time when she blatantly hit on me as I was flyering for a Skamission show outside the Bellevue Square Mall, and we all know what that relationship gave birth to. 

3 young men putting on shows at skating rings…… Funny how much those times influenced the rest of my life.