For my final Ear Candy column of the year for the print edition of the Seattle P-I my editor has asked me to write about my top 5 club shows of the year. While I was not able to make it to every club show in Seattle (due to my geographical location as well as the fact I spent most of the year covering major concerts and festivals for the P-I), I did spend plenty of nights in dark, sweaty, booze-filled clubs witnessing some really great music.
So here’s a recap of my five favorite club shows of the year:
Yes, it was an invite-only event. Yes, it wasn’t an actual =W= concert. And yes, Rivers Cuomo’s mustache made an appearance. All of those things only touch the surface of why this was one of the coolest shows of the year. Take 200 =W= fans, crazy instruments and a rocking kazoo solo on “Beverly Hills” and you’ve got one heckuva hootenanny.
The Gutter Twins @ Showbox at the Market
The two-day Sup Pop 20 Festival was an amazing fete the venerable local label threw for itself, but you didn’t experience all of SP20 if you weren’t at this show. The combination of Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli in the darkened confines of the Showbox was spellbinding.
This get-out-the-vote show didn’t include any big surprise special guests like many speculated it would (come on, three-fifths of Peal Jam was in the building and no PJ surprise appearance?) but really the show didn’t need any razzle-dazzle stars to impress. Tom Morello broke out RATM riffs and played enough of his upbeat new material to prove he is a more than adequate frontman. Mike McCready kicked out a set of six spectacular Hendrix covers and Stone Gossard played honky-tonk versions of “1999” and “Ace of Spades.” Oh yeah, and at the end of the show McCready and Morello jammed together.
Dyme Def 3Badbrothaaas Mixtape Release Party @ Nectar
Hip-hop gets a bad reputation by critics because for the most part it often comes off as boring when performed live because the crowd is often not engaged. Well, this release of the “3Badbrothaaas” Mixtape (which was handed out for free at the show) and the performance by Dyme Def at Nectar proved Seattle can do hip-hop right. The performance by these three MCs was one of the most charismatic sets I saw all year, and I saw more than 200 acts this year (yes, I keep count).
Sup Pop wasn’t the only Seattle institution celebrating 20 years in business in 2008. The rockabilly punks in Supersuckers railed off a 35-song set list during a show that lasted more than two hours and touched on every one of their records. The only thing that was missing was their excellent cover of “Hey Ya!” Oh, and to help mark 20 years, Green River got together for another show ( only the band’s third in its 20 years since breaking up) to toast their friends in Supersuckers.