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Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.
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Archive for August, 2008

Bumbershoot 2008 Day 1: Thao and the Get Down Stay Down

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

From The Valley it was on to a completely different kind of coolness courtesy of Thao and the Get Down Stay Down. This was the best set I saw from a non-mainstage act all day. Not only was Thao cute and quirky, she interacted with the crowd and told funny stories, and man could she play guitar.

She took to the stage wearing a Thao beer clock like a necklace and later told a funny story about how she thought the clock was cool because it had her name on it. Backed by a solid rhythm section, she twirled and danced while singing. Her voice is like a more tolerable Bjork.

At one point during her set she played guitar with a toothbrush. It was the best toothbrush guitar playing I have ever seen. Although to be fair Thao is the only person I’ve seen play a guitar with a toothbrush.


Bumbershoot 2008 Day 1: The Valley

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

We left Sweet Water 30 minutes into their set (and admittedly, I was a little downtrodden after seeing SW’s poor performance) and walked to the Sky Church to see local power rockers The Valley. It was a beautiful day outside so we decided not to go inside of the dark Sky Church and instead sat on a bench and watched the band’s set outside on EMP’s large video screen.

Every time I see the Valley (this was my fourth time) I wonder why they aren’t a huge band yet. They play a hybrid of power rock and metal, they always deliver solid shows and they don’t sound like much else out there right now. The Sky Church set was just like the previous The Valley sets I had seen before: loud and awesome.

As I watched them on EMP’s video screen, I had a vision of being at QWest Field for a big Monsters of Rock type of concert and The Valley rocking the faces off of thousands of fans while being projected onto a big Daimondvision-style screen. That’s one of the great things about Bumbershoot, you get to see the next big thing before they hit it big. And with The Valley I think it’s only a matter of time.


Bumbershoot 2008 Day 1: Sweet Water

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

From Grynch we headed to see Sweet Water, a band that I have fond memories of and whose sophomore CD “Superfriends,” which was released sometime in the mid ‘90s, I still rock today.

The last time I saw Sweet Water was at Mercer Arena during Bumbershoot in 1995. The band was loud, the songs were pure rawk and I immediately became a huge fan. The group disbanded sometime during the 1990s and reunited last year. Unfortunately, since I live in Wenatchee, I have not been able to see any of the reunion gigs so I was ridiculously stoked to see my teenage rock heroes again.

Unfortunately I was extremely let down. First off, they were performing in the Exhibition Hall, which has the worst sound of all the Bshoot stages, so they had that going against them. But I figured I could be forgiving if there was poor sound, these were some of my teenage idols after all. But sound issues aside, the reformed Sweet Water just simply weren’t as good as the old Sweet Water I remember.

The singer had about as much charisma as my big left toe. The guitar player sounded decent, but his stage presence needs a lot of work. The band was playing the songs from my youth, but they weren’t the same as I remembered them. So much for that nostalgic trip down musical memory lane I was hoping for. Maybe I’ll catch them again at the High Dive or a smaller club and they’ll be better, but Saturday at Bumberhoot just wasn’t Sweet Water’s day.


Bumbershoot 2008 Day 1: Grynch

Sunday, August 31st, 2008

The first day of Bumbershoot is over and I’m happy to report that, aside from a small disappointment, things went rather smoothly. One of the great things about the festival is its variety and I was able to take in a little bit of art, comedy and plenty of music.

When my friend and I arrived on the Seattle Center grounds the first notes of music we heard were the familiar sounds of “Black Hole Sun,” only guitars drums and a screaming Chris Cornell weren’t delivering the goods. It was another Seattle group, Das Vibenbass. Unfortunately, we couldn’t stick around for too long because Grynch was about to take the stage.

Seattle rapper Grynch was the perfect choice for who to see during the sunny early afternoon. His flow was smooth, he brought out a few guests (local rapper D Black and another local rapper whose name escapes me at the moment) and he was able to own the stage while performing.

Grynch is relatively young (he raps that he is 21 in one song) so it was not only cool to see such a fresh talent play to a large audience (likely the biggest he’s been in front of) it was cool to see him not get swallowed up by the size of the stage, or audience, because sometimes the sparse stage presence of an MC and a DJ can’t carry a set. But Grynch simply owned his time on stage.


Bumbershoot guides

Friday, August 29th, 2008

I didn’t create a Bumbershoot guide this year. The closest thing you’ll come to getting a Bumbershoot guide out of me is my schedule, which was posted earlier this week (it’s been modified since I last posted it, so check out the updates if you like).

But just because I didn’t create a Bumbershoot guide doesn’t mean there aren’t BShoot guides out there. So here are a few I have been reading in preparation for this weekend.

The Kitsap Sun has listed a bunch of acts to look out for here.

The Seattle P-I has a whole page dedicated to Bumbershoot stuff.

The Seattle Weekly created a microsite for Bumbershoot.</</strong>a>

The always intresting, and always a bit pretentious, The Stranger vs. Bumbershoot is posted here.

The Seattle Times has a blog already set up with Bumbershoot stuff.


Hear it here: New AC/DC “Rock ‘N’ Roll Train”

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

Ladies and gentleman, I give you the new single from the most badass rock band on the planet:


PHOTOS: Oasis @ WaMu Theatre

Thursday, August 28th, 2008

 


Photos by Steven Friederich. You can see more on his flickr page.


VIDEO: Radiohead covers Neil Young’s “Tell Me Why”

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

I have yet to get around to writing my second review for last week’s Radiohead show at White River Amphitheatre (here is my first review in case you missed it), but that doesn’t mean I forgot about the show.

One of the highlights of the show was when Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood flubbed up “Faust Arp” twice and after one of the mess ups they broke into Neil Young’s “Tell Me Why.” The funny part about that song was Thom mumbling the lyrics because he didn’t know all of them.

Well, Radiohead played in San Francisco a few days after blowing me away (again) at White River and the performed a cover of “Tell Me Why” in full. Here’s the video:

 
Radiohead :: “Tell Me Why” (neil young cover) from gorilla vs. bear on Vimeo.


VIDEO: Oasis’ “The Shock of the Lightning”

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Because the post about the Oasis/Jay-Z feud has me feeling all nostalgic for 1996 (“Wonderwall” was the jam back then) I wanted to share the below video for Oasis’ new single “The Shock of the Lightning.”

It’s actually a pretty decent song. But am I the only one who thinks it sounds a little like something former Oasis tourmates Kasabaian would put out?

 


FREE Jay-Z vs. Oasis mixtape

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Am I the only one who has been keeping tabs on the Jay-Z/Oasis feud?

Of all the blokes for Jigga to start some verbal warfare with it seems odd he would choose the Gallagher brothers. But hey, to each his own, right?

If you’re looking for something to listen to this afternoon, check out this free Jay-Z/Oasis mashup mixtape from Cooking Soul out of Spain. It’s called OJAYZIS and you can download it for free here. 

 


Available on Kindle

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Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.