ROCKIN' THROUGH MY 50's & BEYOND!
Band In Seattle Featuring Prom Queen and Von Wildenhaus
As I sit in my red, vinyl beanbag chair, put my headsets on, cord attached to my turntable…..
For those of you that are new to my music blog, my red, vinyl bean bag chair is in my childhood bedroom. On a small wheat farm in Eastern Washington. That bedroom no longer physically exists. I’m pretty sure, though, that in another time and dimension a little girl is dreaming of her future in that beanbag chair.
My birthday is June 15. Like all summer birthday kids, I was envious of everyone who had a birthday during the school year. They always got to bring cupcakes to celebrate and share with the class. School usually got out the week before my birthday, so I never got to do that. My birthdays were typically small family parties.
I can honestly say, though, celebrating my life with music during my 50’s has more than made up for any missed childhood birthday parties! Meeting and hanging out with musicians is certainly more entertaining than playing pin the tail on the donkey and eating birthday cake.
I follow Band In Seattle on Facebook. About 1 month before my birthday, I saw them post that they would be filming Prom Queen and Von Wildenhaus on my birthday! Immediately I bought tickets for my family and myself. This was going to be my birthday party.
What is Band In Seattle? It is a music television series created and produced by Victory Studios. They feature everything from up and coming Pacific Northwest bands, to international pioneers. Filmed in an intimate studio setting, before a live audience. It airs on CW11 on Saturday nights at 11 pm. Alaska Airlines also features Band In Seattle on their inflight entertainment. Two of the sponsors are North Coast Brewing Company and Sparkling Ice. So, for a $10 ticket you receive 4 coupons for beverages during the taping! Live music and 4 beers for $10…Did you all catch that?
My son had college finals, so only my daughter and husband joined me on my birthday adventure. As luck would have it, Noah’s Ark style of rain decided to make its appearance on the day of the show. Add that to…here we go again…Seattle’s traffic sucks! Thankfully, we left early. That’s just the way it is in Seattle. We’re traffic survivors. Once everyone checked in at Victory Studios, we were led downstairs into the actual studio area.
A small bar was set up with our choices of beverages available. It’s always surprising to see how small and intimate the studio is, when you come for the first time. You are literally standing right next to the stage, with the camera booms above your head. We grabbed our beers, stood next to the stage and it was SHOWTIME! Victory Studios owner, Conrad Dencke, came onstage and welcomed us. Explained the protocol, and what to expect.
And then introduced the first band, Von Wildenhaus. I had never seen them before. The only word that I can come up with to describe them, is captivating. The stunning lead singer had a stage presence and voice that demanded your attention. She was telling an important story, that made you lean in and listen. I need to make an apology right now. I always like to include the musicians’ names in my blogs, but I do not I know what they are for this band. I am so sorry. When I looked up Von Wildenhaus, the only accurate name I saw was of the band leader Ben Von Wildenhaus. There were other names mentioned, but I do not know if that is who performed that night. They were all great, though! Ben Von Wildenhaus plays a wicked guitar, along with his dry sense of humor. “Don’t clap until the fog is sprayed onstage.” Accompanying them were a combo keyboard/ saxophone player, another guitarist and drummer. The genre was of a jazz base, I would say.
Unique, with exceptional musical skills. That is what I enjoy about Band In Seattle. I don’t hear the ordinary. I hear the underground extraordinary.
The next band was Prom Queen. We had heard them last year at The Kirkland Performing Arts Center. AND..lead guitar player is Jason Goessel. He has also played with the band I’m a ‘merch girl’ for, Jessica Lynne and The Cousins.
I love his work, especially when he just tears it up. When you see this Band In Seattle episode, you will agree %100. He also performs with his lovely wife, Kate Voss, as Sundae + Mr. Goessel. A 30’s style jazz. I had wonderful opportunity to chat with Kate in-between sets.
We refreshed our North Coast Brewing Beers, and stood next to the stage. Out came Prom Queen! Doom Wop is how they describe their genre of music. Prom Queen (Celene Ramadan), Tom Meyers, Jason Goessel and Ben Von Wildenhaus. Additional band members that night were from the previous Von Wildenhaus band. Plus, two (Drag Queen) Doo Wop singers. It was a full stage and a lot of fun! A musical production, with a vintage flair. When looking over their influences, they list from Nancy Sinatra and Amy Winehouse, to Quentin Taratino and Alfred Hitchcock. I loved the Doo Wop backup singers. They added a fun pizzazz, to get us swinging in rhythm. Their music is original, written by Celine. And the vintage style clothing adds to the feeling of being involved in a retro cinematic movie experience. Watching and listening go hand in hand. I could totally see them as a guest artist band on Saturday Night Live.
Check out Prom Queen’s YouTubes, to get the full vibe of their music. And their website for future shows and information. A definite must see in the Seattle music scene!
Music Education Programs: Live It OutLoud and Practicing Musician
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, cord attached to the turntable…
When my parents got married, my Dad was an optometrist in Spokane, WA. 6 years and 3 children later, Dad decided to make a career change. He became a wheat farmer in the rolling hills of the Palouse. And then I arrived. Child number 4. There was very little money available to spend on extra-curricular activities. Fortunately, my fraternal grandparents believed strongly in music education. Grandfather Varnes handmade beautiful violins as a hobby. They bought us a piano, and initially paid for piano lessons for my older sister and me. My brothers played trombone in the school band. I did not have a lot of social activity living on the farm. Music became my best friend. Some of my prominent memories are about trips to Spokane. I would get so excited when we visited a music store, and I was able to pick out new sheet music. On the 60-mile drive home, I would hold tightly onto my new friend. If we arrived home at night, my parents would let me stay up late and sit at the piano. Slowly reading the notes and pressing down the ivory keys. In my mind, I was playing a masterpiece. In reality… well, I’m sure it was a little painful to their ears. What a great memory, though. And what a great gift. I have never met a person who said they regretted learning an instrument. I know plenty of adults, though, who wished they had.
A rich historical part of the Seattle-Tacoma area, is the importance of music. Recently I read the book “Sonic Boom” by Peter Blecha. The history of Northwest Rock. It was a fascinating read. I had no idea that Quincy Jones and Ray Charles had their musical careers start here. The Ventures, The Sonics, The Kingsmen, Paul Revere and The Raiders, Heart, Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden… And the list goes on. These musicians did not end up in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame overnight. They started out as children who were given an instrument and then given opportunities to learn and play, via family, friends and community support. Today I am sharing about two music education programs available in the Seattle-Tacoma area; Live It Out Loud and Practicing Musician.
Ted Brown Music Outreach, Tacoma, is on their 7th year of hosting the Live It OutLoud Program. An 8-week rock camp for kids ages 12-18. And speaking of Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, their new partner is London Bridge Studios (this studio has an impressive history of Northwest band recordings.) Their vision is “to see young people improve their lives through the gift of music….music enhances the quality of life by improving learning abilities, relieving stress and providing a chance to change lives.” An exciting addition to this year’s program is newly appointed Director, Nashville recording artist, Jessica Lynne! Jessica is a full-time musician herself. She actively plays in over 100 shows a year, so definitely understands all the nuances of performing. I can personally vouch for her, BECAUSE, I am one of the people who works her merchandise table during shows. Her energy is so positive, children automatically flock to her.
Where was this program when I was growing up? The ability to learn music and create the confidence to perform it, is life changing. Especially if you’re an artistic and creative child. Those are the kids who have a challenging time during their teenage years. Their creativity may set them apart from others in their age group. Through this camp, they receive an opportunity to meet other people just like them.
The kids are put into bands and given a mentor to guide them through the ins and outs of being a musician. They are provided with lessons and rehearsal spaces, along with clinics by some of the Northwest’s greatest musicians, such as Ben Smith (Heart and Roadcase Royale), Lynn Sorenson (Bad Company) and Travis Larson (Travis Larson Band). The program highlight, is the August 12th Red Carpet Awards Show at the Rialto Theater, which is open to the public. At the end, students get to experience recording live at the London Bridge Studio, where Alice and Chains, Sound Garden, Pearl Jam and Queensryche have recorded. WOW! Imagine the self-esteem boost that would give a child who was really struggling to find themselves. I will be posting a link to this program at the bottom of the page.
Another opportunity to grow in music, will be with the Practicing Musician Program. This is a brand-new program being created by Jake Douglass, with the goal of being available online to the public this fall. 15 teachers will record foundational lessons. These teachers are members of the Seattle Symphony, professors from the University of Washington, instructors from the Seattle Drum School, and even a standup bassist down in New Orleans. Most of them have held positions in top orchestras and bands around the world.
The Practicing Musician will be offered in schools as a free teaching tool. Any individual who begins using the program will pay $10 per month to gain access to all prior lessons. To gain complete access to the entire program is only $20 per month. That’s an incredible price for professional music lessons! Plus, the ability to access these lessons in your own location and time frame is priceless. As a working parent, who had to try and coordinate music lessons around my job, this flexibility is wonderful. Or, as an adult, trying to find time to learn an instrument. You will have it at your fingertips, available to you at your own discretion. The Practicing Musician will be the catalyst that evolves music education from the currently limited scope of students to true equal opportunity; it will make music education affordable and accessible for everyone.
I asked Jake for some background information and the motivation for him to create this program. He was very honest. “In my opinion, music is one of the most powerful tools for transformation. In fact, it was the catalyst that led to my sobriety. I was drinking a fifth to half a gallon every day, while taking at least 2 (and sometimes up to 8) other drugs simultaneously. And I was highly functional. But if I had kept going almost certainly would have died. Family, school, work, friends, jail, nothing could get me sober. Except Music. Music finally did it.”
That’s a very powerful story, and statement on how healing music is. It can get into your soul and brain, and give you the peace and love you are looking for. It can literally change your life. Heal you and make you whole. Bring new opportunities and people into your life. Create friendships. You just need to let it into your life. As Ben Smith told me “The Practicing Musician is going to help anyone develop into the musician they want to be. Without an outlet for my inspirations, who knows where I would have gone?”.
And although we may have dreams of being a Rockstar like Ben, that’s not what learning an instrument is all about. It’s something that you can enjoy for your entire life. It doesn’t matter if no one is in your audience, it only matters that you play! And, it gives you a terrific opportunity and reason to get together with friends. Not too long ago, I stopped by a friend’s house on a Friday night. They had created an entire studio for them to play in. Sometimes they perform for friends. But that is not what their goal is. It’s just about getting together, and connecting through music.
But first, you must learn an instrument.
I suddenly have a desire to pull out some sheet music, and become one with the ivories. The music is calling me.
For more information on Live It Outloud, visit their website www.liveitoutloud.net
For information on Practicing Musician you can check out their Facebook page or contact Jake Douglass at firstname.lastname@example.org
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, cord attached to the turntable…
Growing up on a small farm in Eastern Washington, I saw very little of the world. My big adventures were an occasional visit to Spokane and Seattle. In my imaginary bean bag chair world, I was traveling the globe shopping and listening to music in exotic cities. Paris, London, New York City …Cleveland, Ohio. CLEVELAND?! The needle suddenly comes scratching across the vinyl record. Why would I want to go to Cleveland, when I could be eating dinner in Paris?
Even though I’ve been a flight attendant since people could light up cigarettes on airplanes, I’ve never been to Cleveland. Home of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from its opening in 1995. “The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, located on the shore of Lake Eerie in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, recognizes and archives the history of the best-known and most influential artists, producers, engineers, and other notable figures who have had some major influence on the development of rock and roll.”
It’s been on my bucket list for quite some time. Every month, we create our own flying/work schedules. I noticed that there was a trip in May that had a 30-hour downtown layover in Cleveland. Perfect! When we received our schedules, I looked up my crew. There were 2 flight attendants who had about 2 years’ seniority, and then my friend Tonya, who has 19 years. She was the Flight Leader. I immediately sent her a message. “Want to know why a flight attendant with 30 years’ seniority is on a trip with a long layover in Cleveland? Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum, baby!”. She stayed on the trip. And we had a blast!
Heart is one of my favorite bands. I have started my own Rock Wall of Fame in my house. This is what it looks like behind me, as I sit typing on the computer.
Tonya and I flew a trip to Amsterdam the week before our Cleveland trip. I told her I was going to wear my Heart concert t-shirt to the RRHOF, because I wanted to take a picture of me wearing it in front of Heart’s display (they were inducted in 2013). She wanted to do that, too! So, during her crew break, somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, she went onto their website and ordered a t-shirt. The amazing power of current technology. I think it’s always more fun to add a theme/purpose to an adventure!
The day arrived, and off we went on our trip. Early flight departures and long days on either side of our Cleveland layover, but since we had a plan, it was okay. We arrived in Cleveland late at night. It was dark, so I really had no idea where we were. Our drive to the hotel took us by gigantic sports facilities, a large downtown area and we were let off outside a beautiful, old hotel. Completely opposite of what I expected for Cleveland. We made plans to meet the next morning, and headed off for a great night of sleep.
It was only about a 12-minute walk to the RRHOF from our hotel. A glorious 12-minute walk. When we left Seattle, it was 45 degrees and raining. In Cleveland, it was sunny and upper 70’s! To be honest, I hadn’t looked at a map to see where Cleveland was. It was a total surprise to me, to find out it was on Lake Eerie! The RRHOF is part of the city’s redeveloped North Coast Harbor. A beautiful setting, right on the water. It was not a crowded day, so it was a quick and easy entrance into the building. Everyone was nice and helpful.
The first display was of the 2017 RRHOF Inductees. Pearl Jam, Journey, ELO, YES, Joan Baez and Tupac Shakur. It was cool to see Steve Perry’s black tuxedo jacket that he wore in so many of the videos and pictures I have seen. Although I’ve seen Journey twice, it was with Arnel as the lead singer, not Steve. Like many fans, I was disappointed he declined singing with the band one more time at their induction ceremony.
And being from Seattle, it was a proud moment to see Pearl Jam’s display. I had Eddied Vedder on a flight this past winter. Nice man. And he pops up frequently as a surprise guest at many local concerts. Just recently he made an appearance at the U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2017 concert in Seattle. And Mike McCready is an active part of the Seattle community, too. He jammed onstage with Heart at their concert here last summer.
The rest of the museum was a winding display through time and history. Elvis, The Beatles, Rolling Stones and the 60’s British Invasion, Michael Jackson… A little bit of everything. It was interesting to read their notes and see actual clothing the artists wore onstage. I’m a huge Beatles Fan. I’ve been in love with Paul McCartney for as long as I can remember. So, I loved their display.
And then….we came to the Seattle display. With a heavy heart. That morning, the world woke up to the tragic news that Chris Cornell of Soundgarden had passed away (apparently, suicide). A beautiful voice inside of a troubled soul. That is a challenging situation to understand. And ironic that I was here to see Heart’s display, and he was the one who had inducted them in. I know they were all hurting. He had just performed in Seattle this past November. One of many concerts that I now regret missing. See your artists when you have an opportunity, is the lesson learned. Life has a way of suddenly changing.
There were a lot of artists on display, who are no longer with us. But their music is! That last forever.
A fun surprise ending to our visit, was finding that in their theater, they were showing a 3D movie of a U2 concert! We put on our special glasses, sat down and watched. It was like they were performing right to us. OH, to just reach out and grab Bono’s hand! I loved looking at their display case, too. Especially since I had just seen them in concert a few days prior.
This is also the 50th Anniversary of the Rolling Stones Magazines. A whole floor was dedicated to their magazine covers and interviews. It is located next to their radio station. It’s fun to grab a pair of headphones and listen in to what is airing at that time.
An observation that we made, though, was the lack of women musicians being honored. Although, many have been inducted as part of a band, the lack of individual artists was apparent. It is quite shocking to do research and find out the women who have not been honored yet. Dolly Parton, Carol King, Bette Midler, Cindi Lauper, Cher, Barbra Streisand, Grace Jones, Pat Benetar[sn1] ,Kate Bush, Tina Turner (individually)Ella Fitzgerald, Janet Jackson, …just to name a few. That needs to be rectified.
And even though Heart was inducted in RRHOF in 2013, there was not a single display item up of them. I mean, HELLO! You can’t go anywhere without hearing ‘Barracuda’ or ‘Magic Man” or ‘These Dreams.’ Talk about trail blazers for the women of rock!
So, we took matters into our own hands, and created our own display.
Not only is the RRHOF an impressive place to visit, the downtown area of Cleveland has a lot to offer. Intriguing bars and restaurants, and a strong music scene. I look forward to my next visit.
Because I’m going back. I purchased a membership.
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
Supporting Local Music: Limberlost, Modern Day Poets and Darby Picnic
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….
I drop the needle, hear the familiar crackle, take a deep breath and wait for it. ‘IT’ is the sound that seems to provide whatever the world cannot. Perfect love and acceptance. That is what music does. It’s a perfect relationship, that never rejects you. Music needs you, as much as you need music. Without our ears, its voice would never be heard.
I’ve always felt like the obscure puzzle piece you find, but have no idea where it fits into in the puzzle. Or, even what puzzle it belongs to. Depending on the lighting and time of day, the shape and color of the piece changes. It can fit into a lot of puzzles. You don’t want to throw it away, because it may be the perfect piece you’re looking for some day. So, you hang onto it. Just because you don’t know what else to do with it. Its home is in ‘that’ drawer we all have in our kitchens. The ‘this is a really odd item, but I might need it someday’ drawer. That’s what I’ve always felt like. Friends of many, but never at home in one group. I just fly in and out of people’s lives. Literally. For 30 years, I have been a flight attendant. Odd hours. Long days. Constantly traveling. It’s been a struggle to find a group of people that understood and accepted me.
And then I met musicians.
My puzzle piece finally discovered other puzzle pieces who were happily living outside of the ‘here is what the completed puzzle should look like’ box. I was lost, and The Music found me.
This blog is about 3 of the local/Pacific Northwest bands that I have become friends with. Limberlost, Modern Day Poets and Darby Picnic.
Mike Burt is the drummer for Limberlost. He is also the drummer for Grieve The Astronaut. In case you didn’t realize, look at the header on this web page. This is Grieve the Astronaut’s website! I’m just orbiting with them as a guest music blogger. Mike asked me if I would cover them in one of my blogs. SURE! I love the music of Limberlost. And when I saw they would be sharing the stage with Darby Picnic and Modern Day Poets, it was an even more enthusiastic YES! I had seen both Limberlost and Modern Day Poets perform as finalists at the 2016 Annual Jammin’ Challenge, Seattle Hard Rock Café, last November.
May 19, 2017
I arrived at Louie G’s Pizza in Fife, WA a few minutes before the show was going to start. What a great, little venue! They showcase local musicians on a small stage. A biker bar atmosphere, that allows families to dance together by the stage. Awesome! My name was on the guest list and I had a front table reserved with the owners of Seattle Wave Radio; Mark and Linda Gordon.
Okay…I had just walked across the skies of America holding a plastic, gray garbage bag saying, ‘Thank you’ to people as they handed me their germ-infested rubbish. And now, I’m on a Guest List for a local show. Works for me!
The first band on stage was Darby Picnic. I recognized the name, but I had never seen them perform before. “Darby Picnic is a PNW band with genre hopping colorful sound, intelligent lyrics and sweeping arrangements.” Lee Gregory, Kent Beatty, Troy Moss, Terry Hickey and David Mark Smith are the band members. Their music covered a wide genre of musical decades. There were a group of children dancing away in front of the stage. I wish I had taken a picture of them, as they totally captured the spirit of the band’s music. Fun, free and easy. The kind of music that makes you feel happy inside.
The second band onstage was Limberlost. The band that I was a guest of. It had been 6 months since I had seen them perform live. I WAS BLOWN AWAY! The energy and the sound they created was phenomenal. Their latest EP has been rising on the local and regional Reverbnation Charts and recently was #13 in the nation for rock! Deservedly so. They are an exciting combination of energy onstage together.
Mike Burt on drums, Ricky Dunn on lead guitar, Ben Beeman on bass, and Krystle Pyette lead vocals. Calissa Knox also joins on keyboard. “Limberlost is a rock band from Puyallup, WA formed in 2014. From our roots in the Worship world our passion is to create music with a powerful message...”. And that’s what you feel when you’re in the presence of their music. Krystle’s compelling voice pulls your soul out and onto the stage. I kept thinking, who do they remind me of? And then she said it. “Carrying on the tradition of Seattle women who ROCK with their voices.” Ann Wilson of Heart. BINGO. That’s the power of Krystle’s voice. Combined with the extraordinary guitar shredding skills of Ricky Dunn, Ben Beeman’s hair whipping bass and Mike Burt impressively killing the drums in back, it’s an electrifying performance that you don’t want to stop! Pacific Northwest Rock and Roll is alive and thriving! And, their message is so strong and inspiring. Nothing dark. With this awful rainy winter, we just experienced, we do not need any darkness added into our lives. We need hope and energy. And when beautiful Calissa Knox joins in on keyboard, she adds a soothing presence to guide our souls down this musical journey.
It’s going to ROCK! This is a band that we are going to see grow and make their presence known in the world of Pacific Northwest Music. Everyone is waiting for the next Seattle Sound. Well, here you go. Served up to you on a spinning, vinyl platter.
The final band of the evening was Modern Day Poets, from Vancouver, BC. Speaking of strong women who rock, lead singer Jina Anika owns the stage with her soulful voice. Bob McAloney, Ryan MacNab and Frazer Pelling complete the new sound they are creating. A rock blues, that takes on its own life with their energy. Jina pours every ounce of herself into each song. There’s nothing left on the shelf by the time their performance is over. One of the most powerful moments of the evening, was when Jina and Bobby performed their song ‘Rise Up’. Jina’s voice was raw and emotional. Everyone was on their feet by the end of the song. I personally had to walk up to the stage and reach out to her with thanks and gratitude.
Afterwards, I asked Jina for the story behind her song. She said wrote it, after a watching a painfully emotional documentary on bullying. Rise Up; a powerful message of hope and strength. They are currently working on a new CD. This song should be included, in my opinion.
And because I was wearing my new U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2017 t-shirt, I found out something really cool about Jina. For the Vancouver, BC show, Jina was on their back-production team! WOW! She even had an amazing picture of Bono on her phone.
The entire show at Louie G’s that night was a blast! I’m so incredibly thankful and grateful that I was Limberlost’s guest and asked to write about it for my blog. I got to experience the history of Pacific Northwest rock music being carried forward into the future. One of those moments when I will look back and say, “I was there at the beginning.”
Not a bad night, for a puzzle piece that lives in ‘that drawer’.
Check these bands out. This is rock history in the making.
You can find Limberlost on Facebook at Limberlost Music, or on Reverbnation at www.reverbnation.com/rpk/limberlost 5
Modern Day Poets are on Facebook and www.ModernDayPoets.ca
Darby Picnic is on Facebook and http://darbypicnic.com
And check out Louie G’s event calendar for upcoming live music events www.louiegspizza.com
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
Experiencing the U2 Joshua Tree Tour 2017, Century Link Field, Seattle WA
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, cord attached to the turntable...
I drop the needle, hear the crackle and start remembering. What were you doing in 1987?
I had just started my career as a flight attendant. Big dreams in a big world. I spent a lot of time flying back and forth across the United States. My trusty Walkman and cassette tapes in tow. There was a new band on the scene that I loved; U2. Their latest album had just been released. Joshua Tree. It was fantastic, and everybody was listening to it. I still remember talking to a co-worker who said she had grown up with Bono. “He’s really not that cool or talented.” Hhhhmmm, I wonder what she would say now.
Well, that was a quick 30 years! Many things have changed in the past 3 decades. But one thing that hasn’t changed is U2. Still the same band members (Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jr.) and still packing out stadiums. Still healthy, still friends, still creating music together. What current bands will be able to say that 30+plus years from now? I honestly can’t think of any.
The moment U2 announced their Joshua Tree Tour 2017 dates, one of my BFFs from college, Marie, asked me if I wanted to go. YES! She oversaw buying tickets. I said, “Whatever the cost is fine.” She came back later and said,” I hope you meant that. I bought VIP tickets! “. GULP. And now that the concert is over, I can honestly say those tickets were worth every dollar! WOW, what an experience!
Our VIP tickets included parking, a catered pre-party, our own merchandise table, a raffle for a backstage tour and an exclusive book (only 35,000 made). The evening started out rather stressful because of…. Here we go again, because I talk about it frequently on my blog. TRAFFIC!! It’s HORRIBLE in the Seattle-Tacoma area. Adding an additional hour to your drive time seems to be the safe plan, now. However, once we arrived and checked in, the traffic nightmares melted away.
We were warmly greeted with our VIP lanyards, gift bags and a giant backdrop photo of U2! We walked inside and the atmosphere immediately changed. The room was enclosed with dark curtains. Tables were set with fine linens, dinnerware and candles. The buffet style food tables were loaded with salads, vegetables, roasted chicken and salmon. Dessert tables were filled with chocolate delights. Everything from strawberries dipped in chocolate to fried bacon? I didn’t try the bacon, but the rest were quite delectable. Two bars were set up in back. The only line I stood in, was for the merchandise table. But compared to the 50 deep in line outside in the venue, this was a piece of chocolate cake! We ate, drank and relaxed. A DJ was set up on the stage getting us in the mood for the concert. It was nice to be chilling out in a private room, instead of battling the enormous crowds outside. I read somewhere that 63,000 attended this concert!
Enjoying a nice sit-down dinner, instead of fighting through crowds to buy a $10 glass of wine poured into a plastic cup, was quite civilized indeed.
The warm up band was Mumford and Sons. When the concert started, we were escorted through the venue to our section. The minute we arrived at our seats and saw our proximity to the stage, we were WOW! This was going to be extraordinary. And, it had stopped raining. Very important, since this is an outdoor football venue (GO SEAHAWKS!) And then, it was time for U2!
The stage layout was in two sections. The main stage, with an incredible, gigantic backdrop video screen. Then an S stage, that curled out onto the floor section. U2 began their performance with” Sunday Bloody Sunday”. They walked down the S stage and started the concert in the middle of a sea of people. The crowd went wild! Marie and I were ecstatic to be sitting so close to U2. My pictures don’t do our location justice.
After 5 songs, they returned up to the main stage and began with “Where The Streets Have No Name.” The video graphics behind them were phenomenal. Very powerful performances. And as is becoming an expected standard at a Seattle performance, a local celebrity musician came onstage for a song. This time it was Eddie Vedder. They took a quick break and came back for their encore with 6 more songs.
I found their setlist on Instagram, posted by do206. It seemed to go by in a matter of minutes. I was trying so hard to absorb the magnificence of it all. Truly an incredible experience. Even though we had seats, we all stood up and danced in our section. So much fun!
Afterwards, we started checking in on Facebook to see who else was there. I knew Bill Bungard was going to be close to the performance. He had a special Press Pass to take photos for The Tacoma Weekly. But then I saw Lynn Sorensen (former bassist for Bad Company. Currently in Seattle with Spike and The Impalers, Magic Bus, The Fabulous Johnsons, Powercell…) and Andrea Hollister were in the Red Zone! Right next to the stage! All great people, so I was happy they got to experience U2 at such an intimate level. I loved looking at Andrea’s photos. They were literally less than 20 feet away at times. I asked her what it was like being so close to their performance. “We didn’t realize what we had until we got in there. I was shocked at where we ended up and was just standing there with my jaw on the ground when the drummer came out and started right there....That concert was amazing. Best one I have ever been to. And I loved the vibe in the stadium. It was nice to step into an area of so many and feel like everyone was one.”
I agree. Everyone acting as one. Music is quite powerful that way. Also, check out Bill Bungard’s photos on Facebook and The Tacoma Weekly. In addition, he was shooting for The Upstream Music Festival in Seattle that weekend. Busy guy!
I want to give a shout out/recommendation to The Georgetown Town Inn, Seattle. Only about a 10-minute drive to Century Link and Safeco Field. When I checked in, they had the Joshua Tree Album playing, and handed me a freshly poured beer from a local brewery!
A busy area, but the ambiance is warm and welcoming. A perfect spot to stay when in Seattle for an event at one of the stadiums. While we were enjoying, a leisurely continental breakfast the following morning, I struck up a conversation with a gentleman sitting next to us. Still wearing his backstage wristband from the previous night. He had grown up in Ireland and had seen ‘the lads perform at the local pubs when they were first starting out.” Quite the interesting conversation indeed. You just never know who you’re going to cross paths with in life.
This was an expensive experience. However, it was SO worth it! Save your time and energy for things that really matter to you in life.
’Bono’ even gave me a harmonica to take home, with instructions on how to play it. 😉That’s a first.
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
DJ Indica Jones, Cody Beebe and Rust on the Rails, Scott Pemberton Band
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, headset on, cord attached to my turntable….
I love listening to all genres of music. It depends on my mood and surroundings. When I’m up in the ski condo at Snoqualmie Pass, WA, I like to listen to the stack of CDs that I’ve bought from local musicians. At home, I tend to use my Bluetooth speakers with Spotify. But when I am up in the retro 1972 condo, I like to revert to my beanbag chair and listen to CDs. And how cool that I’ve met these local musicians. It makes that music connection even more special.
As I mentioned in a previous blog, summer 2015 was the inaugural of the Chinook Fest Summit Music Festival at The Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Resort. 3 days of music! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting the Chinook Fest co-owners, Cody Beebe and Michelle Bounds VandenBrink. Cody is also the lead singer of the band Rust on the Rails.
I am so thankful and grateful to Cody and Michelle for bringing up such great music to the mountains! I have a lot of new favorite local bands and musical artists now, because of them. I’ve experienced 3 just this past week!
The Cinco de Mayo party is always a lot of fun at The Alpental Ski Lodge. Skiing, costume competition, food and drinks, laughter and music! This year, DJ Indica Jones provided the music for the festivities. I recognized his name from Chinook Fest and other events since then. I’m sure this was the first time I have danced in ski boots. And I’m also sure I ended up on somebody’s YouTube video. Cough, cough cough. That’s okay, I was wearing a wig. He always creates excellent music to dance to. I stood next to him for a while, watching him skillfully spin some tunes. It was fascinating to see how he changed the sounds and speeds of the songs, and what he chose to play. He has an intriguing background story of his career. One comment he said really stuck with me. “It’s amazing to see how the type of music you play, affects people.” Music is a very powerful tool.
Cody Beebe and his band Rust on the Rails just completed their first European Tour. I’ve had a lot of fun with that! I found out that they were flying out of Seattle to Amsterdam on the airline I work for. I had some friends on their crew, so advised them to give the band some extra TLC. Next best thing to working the flight myself! Their tour took them throughout Germany, Netherlands, France and Spain. As luck would have it, I worked the flight back with Cody’s wife and brother; Mackenzie and Cassidy. I loved being able to meet them, and hear their stories. What a terrific adventure they experienced!
It was perfect timing, because their first performance back in Seattle was the day after we returned from Amsterdam. The Bale Breaker Brewing Company was presenting a Beer Week Party at The Nectar Lounge. Rust on the Rails and Scott Pemberton Band were sharing a show. Scott Pemberton is also a band that I fell in love with at Chinook Fest Summit. Perfect alliance!
I had never been to The Nectar Lounge before. Located in the Fremont area of Seattle. What a cool and quaint venue. An outdoor patio area, plus an upstairs with larger tables and seating. That’s where we ended up sitting. Magnificent view of the stage. It felt like we were up in the VIP area. A Shout Out THANKS! To Frank, Shaunn, Shane and Brooks for joining us. I love being able to introduce friends to some of my favorite local bands.
Rust on the Rails performed first. It was obvious that they had just been touring together for a month. A smooth operating, music machine. And Blake Noble with his Didgeridoo and guitar. A funky blues connection. And how unique! It’s not often you hear a Didgeridoo in a rock band. Their band description is ‘American Aussie Roots Rock. Blending influences of Rock from Seattle, with the ancient Australian Didgeridoo, tribal percussion, and a rock-solid rhythm section.” I had heard them perform for the first time at Chinook Fest Summit 2016. It was fantastic to hear the ‘man behind the music festival.’ Incredible talent! Eric Miller on bass and Chris Lucier on drums/vocals. We were having a blast groovin’ away at our table upstairs. Their last song was a mix of dance covers songs, and the floor was packed! A perfect way to wind up their set. And kudos to Cody. He arrived in from Amsterdam several hours after I did the day before. Jet lag is not easy to recover from, and he totally rallied!
I also heard Scott Pemberton and his band for the first time at Chinook Fest Summit 2016. Another funk, jazz, rock band, based in Portland, OR. I heard them again at the Alpental ski lodge Roktoberfest Party last October. When I saw that these two bands were sharing a show at The Nectar Lounge, it was an automatic I’M GOING! Wear comfortable shoes when you go to their show, because you will be on your feet dancing the entire time. Their unique quality is their percussionist Rudy Slizewski. Steel drums, various elements of percussion and the keyboard. Also, Scott plays his guitar more like a piano, than a guitar. Laying it flat across a stool onstage. One of my favorite songs is their cover of ‘Dear Prudence.’. Jack Johnson coolly strums the bass, while Sam Berrett tears it up on the drums. Often sharing them with Scott.
I burned off any extra calories I had ingested from drinking the Bale Breakers brews! Such a fun night of dancing.
Both Rust on the Rails and Scott Pemberton band are touring, so make sure and check their websites to see locations and times. You will not be disappointed. And be ready to dance!
Rust on the Rails www.rustontherails.com
Scott Pemberton Band http://scottpemberton.com
And if you’re looking for a great DJ for your party or venue, check out DJ Indica Jones www.djindicajones.com
And don’t forget Chinook Fest! Unfortunately, Chinook Fest Summit will not be returning this summer. However, original Chinook Fest at Naches is going strong and sells out quickly. www.chinookfest.com
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
A Secret House Show With Grammy Award Winner Larry Mitchell
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, cord attached to the turntable….
I drop the needle, hear the crackle and …aaaahhh. Peace and serenity. I have a bad habit of holding my breath when I am tired or stressed. Which causes me even more anxiety. I find myself holding my breath, shoulders hunched up to my ears and muscles clenched. Fight or flight mode. I have a new Fitbit that has a breathing exercise on it, so I try to remember to use it. Oxygen is important. Especially after I have worked a long 10-hour international flight. I need to breathe in fresh clean air, and breathe out all those toxins. Just Breathe…
I have not mentioned Raymond Hayden lately, the creator of Grieve the Astronaut, so it’s time to bring his name up! Every so often, Ray and his fiancé Jessica Lynne, will host a Private House Show. They invite friends that they know will appreciate the musicians who will be performing. Everyone brings food and beverages to share, we sit back, relax and enjoy the music. Usually around 30 people or so.
This past weekend was a Private House Show with musician Larry Mitchell. Larry is a Grammy award-winning producer, engineer and performer who has toured the world playing guitar with well-known
artists including Tracy Chapman, Billy Squier, Ric Ocasek and Miguel Bose. He lives in Alabama, and was touring through our area for the Tacoma Guitar Festival, in Tacoma WA. I was excited that I could attend!
I woke up the morning of the event, anxious. My night had been filled with stress dreams, my shoulders were tight and up to my ears, I was frustrated and not breathing. I kept reminding myself to breathe in…. breathe out. We were running late, and I was a bit cranky. But that was about to change.
We finally arrived and Larry had already started performing. They had rearranged the performance room from the last time I was there for a House Show. It was Larry’s suggestion, and worked wonderfully! A very intimate setting, for a very exceptional performance. The speakers were set up perfectly, too. Wherever you sat, you could hear him.
At this show, it was just going to be Larry playing his guitar. So, he had music tracks set up in his computer. And he accompanied them. All instrumental. Within a few minutes of siting down, I felt my eyes close, my ears open and my breathing becoming deep and even. Relaxed, peaceful and smooth. I found myself getting tearful, because I realized how badly I needed his music. Simply beautiful. It was mesmerizing to watch and listen to him play. Beautiful guitars AND a beautiful person. Smiling and looking at all of us as he played. And I loved hearing his stories in-between songs. Explaining the background behind the songs he had written. Funny stories that occurred on tours and at celebrity parties. And, we also found out that Larry can’t swim, so don’t have him sit in any canoes for a photo shoot! He’s been there, done that, LOL.
It was amazing to be sitting so close to such an incredible musician. I was literally 3 feet away. One of the songs I enjoyed most was “Unforgotten”. Written to remember those that have passed on in life. Something that I see happening more and more frequently, at this stage of my journey. That’s one thing I really enjoy about listening to instrumental music. You create your own lyrics and story, as the notes intermingle around in your head. Instead of the words speaking to you, it’s the actual music itself. I can just imagine all those notes entering in through my ears, then moving down into my heart, where they get pumped all through my body. The notes flowing along in my bloodstream, filling every cell with oxygenated music. The notes breathing in and out, as they circle and swirl around. Breathe in…Breathe out.
The first half Larry’s show was more mellow and soothing. During his break time, he mingled around with everyone. What a nice man. I had a whole conversation with him about breathing. Breath is life.
The second half, it was time to switch it up a bit with some rock! It was fun to sit so close, and watch his fingers effortlessly move up and down the guitar, creating this phenomenal sound. That’s when you realize how talented a musician is. When you see the speed and accuracy of their hands up that close. During one song, he grabbed one of the guest’s hands, and moved her fingers up and down the guitar neck as he played. What a cool experience for her!
All too quickly, it was time for the show to end. I’m really looking forward to his next visit to the Seattle-Tacoma area this summer! I would like to see him perform at an actual large venue, in addition to another Private House Show.
Oh, and it’s not just musicians who attend shows, photographers do, too! Bill Bungard does beautiful work, and the Tacoma Weekly publishes his concert photos frequently. The 3rd photo on this blog was his. I’m looking forward to viewing his complete gallery of them.
Make sure and check Larry out at www.larrymitchell.com
Keep breathing by supporting local musicians and local venues.
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
An evening with Ben Smith and Friends, at The Highway 99 Blues Club
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, cord attached to my turntable..
Although growing up on a wheat farm is healthy and creative, it can be quiet. I spent a lot of time just listening to nature. Grasshoppers chirping, grass and wheat rustling in the wind, an occasional bird or airplane flying overhead. Big cities were completely unfamiliar to me. I always looked forward to our occasional family trips across state to Seattle, WA. The waterfront was filled with amazing sights and smells. Musicians busking in front of Pike Place Market. Someday I was going to move to Seattle, and live in the Big City.
After I graduated from Washington State University, I followed my heart and moved over to the Seattle area. I never did become a Big City Girl. I still live in a rural setting. But it’s only a quick drive to the freeway, and off I go. A mere 25 miles to Seattle. That takes over an hour at times, because our traffic SUCKS! The traffic was a deterrent to me, for many years. However, now that I started ‘ROCKIN’ Through My 50’s’, I’ve just accepted it. I’m not going to let traffic interfere with my ability to enjoy my life through music!
I had never heard of The Highway 99 Blues Club, until I met Ben Smith, and started following him on Facebook. After Heart’s 2016 Tour completed, he started creating music opportunities in Seattle. The first one I attended was at The Highway 99 Blues Club. It’s “Housed in a 1909 brick building on the Seattle waterfront. Inspired by juke joints of the South and neighborhood blues clubs of Chicago.” A cool and unique venue. I loved it! Small, casual and intimate. I flew over to see Heart perform at The Royal Albert Hall in London, and now I’m sitting just a few feet away from Heart’s drummer. Crazy! I had a blast at that first Ben Smith and Friends Show. So, I always keep an eye out for future shows. Like I’ve said so many times, Seattle is filled with talented musicians. You just never know who is going to show up.
This past Saturday was another Ben Smith and Friends Show. The lineup up was incredible! Ben referred to them as Seattle’s Rock Royalty. Their talents spread from Heart, Pearl Jam, Guns N’Roses, film and tv…the list goes on. Ben Smith, Ryan Waters, Kathy Moore, Andy Stoller, Jeff Rouse, Shawn Smith, Brooke Lizotte and Jeff Angell. Google up each of their names, and you will be impressed. They played the first and third sets. The middle set was a local band Javelin. This was also their CD release party. What a wonderful way for these local, professional musicians to support new artists.
Six degrees of separation is alive and well in the music world. At the first Highway 99 show, I reconnected with one of my WSU sorority sisters. Her sister has been friends with Ben for many years. So, Lisa, Gina and I attended this show together. We sat at a small table, close to the stage and dancefloor. During the soundcheck, Ben walked by. “Hi Susan! Glad, you could make it!” And gives me a hug. My head still has a tough time wrapping around that I’ve seen him perform numerous times with Heart, and yet he knows me and sat at our table and talked for a while. It was wonderful to hear his description of the upcoming performance that evening. Explaining who the musicians were. While Heart is on hiatus, he and Nancy Wilson have put together a new band; Roadcase Royale. Their guitarist, Ryan Waters would be onstage that night. After Ben left, lead singer Shawn Smith walked by. We talked to him for a while and learned about his musical background. Impressive. I need to keep my eye out for his band named Brad.
It was time for the show to start. The club is packed, and I could feel that the energy was going to be great!
The first set was with Shawn Smith, Kathy Moore, Ben, Andy Stoller and Ryan Waters! WOW! For a band that got together for a one night performance? Unbelievable! Ryan blew me away. I wish I could include a video of his performance. It was like Jimi Hendrix in the house! He was just killing it on the guitar. I’m excited to see him perform with Roadcase Royale
. Andy was groovin’ with him on bass. A perfect match. Andy is also currently touring with Ann Wilson on her side project. So, there was a whole lot of Heart connection going on. Perfect since Heart originated in Seattle. It was an amazing set. Cameras were everywhere. Shawn’s voice, Kathy on guitar, Ben on drums..plus Ryan and Andy tearing up the side of the stage we were sitting on…AWESOME!
The second set was the young, local band Javelin. They rocked it out, too. I kept thinking that this was probably a lot like when Nirvana started out in Seattle back in the 90’s. They had lots of fan support, and even gave away free CD’s to everyone who came. What a way to have a release party!
The third set arrived. And this time Brooke Lizotte joined on keyboard. He also plays in the band Dreamwreck, with Ben. Both Jeff Rouse and Jeff Angell performed onstage throughout the evening, too. I lost track of who/when everyone played. There was so much talent happening all evening. It was crazy fun! And all in this small venue, tucked away from the beautiful Seattle waterfront.
Make sure and check their website to keep track of their event calendar. www.highwayninetynine.com
Also make sure and follow Ben’s music page. www.bensmithmusicco.com His band Dreamwrecks and Stonecutters perform frequently. Keep an eye on Roadcase Royale. Just WOW!
The ability to listen to this caliber of musicians, in such a small venue, is such a gift! And, you get an opportunity to talk to them, also. Which is what I am really enjoying about this whole ROCKIN” Through My 50’s experience. I’m meeting these musicians and their families/friends. Talking to them about their lives and their experiences. It adds an individualized touch and perspective. Musicians are real people, with real feelings and emotions. And pretty cool people, too.
Susan In Seattle
Experiencing The Zombies at The Showbox, Seattle WA
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, cord attached to my turntable….
I drop the needle and just listen. I’m the youngest of 4, therefore, I have a wide exposure to music. By the time, I was 5 years old, I was madly in love with Paul McCartney. The 60’s British Invasion fascinated me. I loved the music, the fashion, the cool vibe. Someday…I would travel to London and be as groovy as those teenage girls were. When the 1970’s rolled around, I started developing my own tastes in music. I loved listening to my transistor radio, and learning all the new songs. In 1972, I was in the Junior High drill team. One of our routines was to Argent’s “Hold Your Head Up.” I vividly remember holding my blue and white pom poms high above my head, in rhythm to the beat.
April 2017, The Showbox Theater, Seattle WA
I’m a late bloomer in the adult concert scene. Hence, I’m making up for it by ‘Rockin’ Through My 50’s’. I only discovered what an awesome venue The Showbox at Pike Place Market is 2 ½ years ago. My daughter and I saw Heart there, and we ended up right next to the stage! Amazing to be just a few feet away from such a celebrated band. Now I keep an eye open for special opportunities to see legendary bands that I love. When the Zombies advertised their tickets for sale at The Showbox, I immediately bought tickets. I knew this was going to be a unique performance.
I learned at The Heart concert that you want to arrive early and sit in the bar, Kerns Music Shop. There is a limit of how many people are allowed in there, and you are the first ones to enter the venue when it opens. Very important, if you want to stand next to the stage, or sit at a table. While you’re sitting there, though, it’s a fantastic opportunity to talk to other concert attendees. We’re all there for the same reason, so it makes for enjoyable conversation. On this night, my husband and I ended up sitting next to Larry, Debbie and Steve. Complete strangers, but by the time the venue doors opened, we had a special bond. That’s what music does. It erases boundaries, and opens the doors for our souls to communicate. We were in the same stages of life. The kids are grown, so it’s time to start reviving your passions. They were amateur musicians, who had set down their instruments and voices when the responsibilities of being working parents took over. However, like myself, they were reviving their passions in life. We shared our concert stories. I loved Larry’s story about seeing Joe Cocker in concert! Another musical legend gone too early. Time flew by quickly and it was time to enter the venue. I gave them the name of my music blog, so hopefully they will see this! ‘Hi Guys! It was great sharing music with you!’.
Jeff and I were thrilled with where we could sit. At the back of the floor, center stage. And, in chairs! Valuable location. Once again, we had great people to sit and talk to. This couple traveled all the way from Florida, just to see The Zombies! They had never been to Seattle before, so it was a perfect reason to travel. Another great aspect of attending concerts. It creates a reason to travel to new destinations, and meet new people. They were lucky to have VIP Meet and Greet tickets. I regretted not buying those tickets myself. After eyeing their special merchandise (a Zombies bag, filled with an autographed book, a CD and other items) I decided to visit the merchandise table. I don’t need another black concert t-shirt, but this was a very special tour. And I even bought a personally autographed CD. When the concert ended, I realized I had made a smart decision!
It was ShowTime, and out they walked! The show was split up into two sets. The first half was their current touring band. Rod Argent, Colin Blunstone, Jim Rodford, Steve Rodford, Tom Toomey. They performed some of their well-known hits, along with songs from their latest album ‘Still Got That Hunger’. I did not have any expectations. I recognize that they are in their 70’s, so I certainly cannot expect them to sound like they did in the 1960’s. I was floored. They sounded amazing. Colin Blunstone, at age 71, is still singing strong and crystal clear.
Hitting all the high notes and in full rhythm. And Rod Argent, also age 71, was still performing magic on the keyboards. When they performed ‘Hold Your Head Up’ (by the band Argent, post Zombies), it was a full 12 minutes of pure excellence. I couldn’t believe it! All that energy and precision. It was like time had stopped for their voices and musical abilities. I also loved what Rod said before they performed this song. It had been sung wrong this whole time. It was supposed to be sung with the words, ‘Hold Your Head Up High, Woman.’ The crowd went wild and sang along with enthusiasm. They received a long, standing ovation after the song concluded. Totally impressive.
The second set reunited all the surviving members of The Zombies, with the current touring band. Colin Blunstone, Rod Argent, Chris White and Hugh Grundy. They performed the legendary Odyssey and Oracle album. I was blown away. Many times, I found myself feeling very emotional. This was a special, once in a lifetime moment for me. And, I could tell I was not alone in feeling that way. The crowd showed so much love, respect and recognition for their lifetime of work. Initially, when they came out onstage, you noticed their age. Men in their 70’s. By the end of the concert, all you noticed was their immense talent. Pure quality, pure harmony, pure genius. They were a band that formed ahead of their time. To be honest, I had never listened to the entire Odyssey and Oracle album before this concert. Now, I can’t turn it off. I have it playing through my Bluetooth earphones right now. It’s an incredible masterpiece. A rock opera. Rolling Stone has it listed at number 100 of its “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list. How did these young men, in their 20’s, create such a work of art?
The concert ended. They stood tall on the stage, and received several minutes of applause. Every person standing on their feet. A performance of a lifetime, that we will not see repeated. It was very emotional for me, to see these men honored and respected, after so many years. 50 years since Odyssey and The Oracle was recorded. And the age group? It was a mix of young and old. 20’s through 70’s. All sharing in giving thanks to a very legendary, groundbreaking band from the 60’s British Invasion. The Zombies.
It’s the time of the season for loving….
Susan In Seattle
Meeting Allen Stone in Amsterdam
As I sit in my red, vinyl bean bag chair, put my headsets on, cord attached to my turntable…..
My older sister got married, and her husband was from Chewelah, WA. A small town, about one hour north of Spokane, WA. They were big time winter sports enthusiasts, so I started to learn to ski. I had a lot of fun up at the Mt. Spokane and 49 Degrees North Ski Resorts.
What does this have to do with the blog? Not much. I’m just trying to find a segue to start talking about today’s musician story. 10 years after I was skiing outside of Chewelah, an amazing musician was born there. Allen Stone. I have no idea if he skis, but he sure knows how to sing!
2015 to Present
Speaking of skiing, we own a little ski condo up on Snoqualmie Pass, WA. Part of The Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Resort. One hour out of Seattle. My little slice of heaven. The spring of 2015, I started to see advertisements for a music festival coming to The Summit at Snoqualmie Ski Resort; Chinook Fest Summit. I WAS ECSTATIC! 3 days of music and over 30 bands. In my mountain backyard. The Friday night headline band was XAmbassadors. I had heard them on the radio. The big headline name for the entire festival was the final band on Saturday night. Allen Stone. I had never heard of him. But everyone kept raving about how great he was. I looked him up on YouTube, and immediately fell in love with his music. A fun funk and RB sound. This was going to be a great music festival!
July and Chinook Fest Summit finally arrived. I was ready to ROCK it in the mountains! I had not attended a lot of local shows at that time, so did not recognize the band names. But that’s what I love about Chinook Fest Music Festivals. They work hard to bring the best of the best in the local music scene. Because of Chinook Fest, I now know who I want to see when I am down in the Seattle area. Since it was a brand-new festival, it was not crowded. Both Friday and Saturday night, I ended up standing right next to the stage.
When Allen Stone came out onstage with his band, I suddenly felt this whole exciting vibe rippling through the crowd. Welcome to The Church of Allen Stone. I had SO much fun dancing and moving to their funky soulful sound. His interaction with the audience was authentic and powerful. I felt like I was at a soul revival. The organ style keys, backup singers, his whole dance/ strut across the stage…I was hooked.
When he announced his 2016 tour, I was initially disappointed that he did not have any shows in the local Seattle area. Then I noticed he was doing a European Tour. One of the shows was going to be in Central Amsterdam. I’m a flight attendant who works the Amsterdam flight every month. Done deal. Ticket bought, I was going to see Allen Stone in Amsterdam!
I have no problem going to concerts by myself, but it is always more fun with someone else. I asked my friend, Kristy, if she wanted to go with me. She trusted my music judgement and said sure! Another music adventure waiting to happen.
It’s time for our trip. We leave Seattle and arrive in The Netherlands. Since we worked the 10-hour flight over, a short nap was necessary. We then headed into Central Amsterdam and stopped for a beer with the rest of the crew. The concert was being held at The Paradiso; an old, converted church in The Museum District. According to Henny, the owner of the bar we were at, The Paradiso is known for its excellent acoustics. Apparently, The Rolling Stones rent out the facility for a private show, whenever they start a new tour. That was some interesting local trivia to learn.
Kristy and I arrived at a packed concert. But we managed to get all the way up front, on the side. What a beautiful venue. It was time for the show to begin, and out came Allen and his band. The floor was filled, and people were going wild! How cool. A local Washington native, being so loved all the way over in Europe. The music starts, and once again this whole positive vibe starts rippling through the crowd. It was time to dance with the rhythm, sway with the soul. Welcome again to The Church of Allen Stone. A phenomenal concert.
After the show was over, Kristy and I were hanging out and enjoying a post-concert beverage in the main room. I was SO surprised to see the band come back out and to start break down their instruments. Okay, at what point do professional musicians stop doing that? We started talking to them, and explained that we were from Seattle and that I had seen them at Chinook Fest Summit. Super friendly guys and great conversations. But we needed to let them get back to their work.
We went out the back door and saw their big tour bus and trailer. Other people were waiting around to see Allen. So, we looked at our watches and decided to wait until midnight to see if we could meet him. Right at the stroke of midnight, out he walked. Completely warm and friendly to everyone. Giving hugs and attention to all. What a nice and genuine guy. It was fun to tell him that my brother in law was from Chewelah, and that we were from Seattle. It was time for us to head back to the hotel, so we grabbed a quick photo before leaving. What a fantastic evening!
I continue to watch his tours, and am SUPER lucky this summer. I get to see him twice! First down in L.A. as the acoustic opening act for Hall and Oates and Tears for Fears. Then, his own full band concert at The Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery in Woodinville, WA. I’m looking forward to that one.
And just think. It all started at a small music festival in the mountains, where I was standing right next to the stage. That’s why I love to support local music. You just never know who you’re going to hear perform.
If you haven’t heard his music before, check it out on YouTube, ITunes and Spotify. Very soulful and full of rhythm and blues.
SUSAN IN SEATTLE
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