Spin the Black Circle

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.
Subscribe to RSS
Back to Spin the Black Circle

Archive for January, 2010

Seattle’s Hard Rock Cafe will be city’s newest music venue, but will it be good for the scene?

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Seattle’s Hard Rock Cafe is opening its doors next month and the music-themed restaurant will be featuring more than a menu peppered with tourist-priced burgers and walls littered with pieces of music memorabilia.

Along with having food options aplenty, Hard Rock Seattle will also feature live music regularly in a 400-person capacity theater located at the business’ second level.  The folks over at Hard Rock Seattle are calling it “one of Seattle’s most intimate and state-of-the art live venues.” It will feature a top-of-the-line lighting rig, several video screens and Hard Rock’s plans include booking local and national talent for the venue’s stage.

The music will mostly be happening on the weekends and will include a variety of genres. On the local talent front, Hard Rock Seattle is planning to host monthly residencies for local artists where artists play shows at the Hard Rock every Tuesday for a month. Also, there will be weekly all-ages shows on Sundays. No artists have been named for the residencies or concerts to be held at the theater but the venue’s talent buyer is currently seeking out local acts. The residencies are a great way for the venue to distinguish itself from other local clubs and a great way to showcase local artists. Click here for details if you’re interested.

Overall, having another live music spot in town is great for the scene. It will give local artists more opportunities to showcase their music and it appears as if the venue will have a big focus on local music if Hard Rock Seattle keeps its word. Also, fancy lighting, an intimate setting and video screens seems like a pretty cool combination that gives Hard Rock Seattle another way to separate itself from its competition.

However, the venue’s high-rent location along with the likeliness that Hard Rock will cater to tourists, probably means ticket prices will be a bit on the spendy side. But a high-rent location equaling steeper ticket costs isn’t something that’s new to local clubgoers (I’m talking to you, owners of the Crocodile).

(more…)


Nerding out: Discs of Fury and WE @ The Crocodile 01.23.10

Monday, January 25th, 2010

Did you ever wonder what would happen when the Dungeons & Dragons dorks you knew in high school grew up and traded in their 20-sided die for six-stringed guitars?

Me neither. But I found out Saturday when Discs of Fury told the epic tale of Marvin Laser before a near-capacity crowd at the Crocodile during a theatrical rock opera for the ages.

Sure terms like “epic” and “for the ages” are a bit cliché, but really when you’re watching the spectacle that is Discs of Fury these are very appropriate words considering DOF is more or less a big, dorky, talented and rocking cliché itself.
(more…)


VIDEO: Conan O’Brien shreds ‘Freebird’ with Ben Haper, Beck, Billy Gibbons and Will Ferrell

Monday, January 25th, 2010

In case you missed the ending of Conan O’Brien’s tenure with The Tonight Show, here’s how he ended his stint on the late-night television staple. Not only did CoCo go out with a classy monologue during which he discouraged cynicism and encouraged people to be kind and work hard, he also assembled perhaps the most random grouping of modern rock musicians ever to share a stage on late-night TV. Here’s the video:


Set lists: Jay Farrar and Ben Gibbard with John Roderick

Monday, January 25th, 2010

A review and photos from last night’s Ben Gibbard and Jay Farrar’s Kerouac-inspired concert will be posted soon. Until then here’s the set lists from the show which included some new Long Winters and covers of Tom Waits and Bob Dylan.
(more…)


They’re going to need a pretty big amp for that thing

Monday, January 25th, 2010


Hard Rock Seattle sign :: photo by Mat Hayward

Seattle will be getting its own Hard Rock Cafe soon and today construction crews were busy erecting this massive faux Fender Mustang above the building. The guitar, which is 15-feet long and modeled after the guitar Kurt Cobain used in the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” video, will be the restuarant’s marquee.


Some words about Shabazz Palace’s Neumos show on 01.09.10

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Shabazz Palaces. Where to start?

I’ll start by letting you know that this is not a review of Shabazz Palaces first public concert, which went down Saturday at Neumos. Yes I was there, but I don’t think my words could add much to what has already been said here, here and here just to list a few prominent places where the show has been reviewed. I will also let you know that this is not a think piece ruminating on the meaning of Shabazz Palace’s lyrics or romanticizing the whole quasi secret identity of Ish Butler (he of Digable Planets fame), who is known as Palaceer Lazaro in Shabazz Palaces. Nah, this entry won’t contain much of that stuff at all. Instead consider this post to be observations of what went down Saturday night along with a little bit of commentary thrown in for good measure. So allow me to begin:

(more…)


Something cool: ?uestlove with Ringo Starr

Friday, January 22nd, 2010


VIDEO: Ben Gibbard ’405′ solo acoustic

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

One shot Seattle is a video series shot inside the Crocodile where local musicians play a song sans crowd at the historic venue. The latest in the series sees Death Cab For Cutie/Postal Service main man Ben Gibbard playing a solo acoustic rendition of “405.” Check it out below and check out all of the One Shot Seattle videos here. Also, if you’re interested, Ben Gibbard will be playing the Showbox at the Market with Jay Farrar on Jan. 24.


Sasquatch! predictions: A look at who might and might not be at the Gorge Memorial Day Weekend

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

A new year brings new concert experiences and what better to think about during the cold and wet winter months than the warm and dry summer festival season? Speaking of which, the ninth annual Sasquatch! Music Festival is fast approaching and its lineup will be revealed in about a month (Feb. 16 to be exact).

In the past I’ve prided myself in accurately guessing and sometimes breaking the lineup of the annual Memorial Day Weekend event before it’s announced. Unlike previous years, little has been leaked about this year’s edition of Sasquatch prior to the festival which has made cracking the lineup a difficult task. Currently all that is known is that Pavement will be there and Vetiver is confirmed for the three-day fest.  Here’s a look at 20 potential Sasquatch! performers and a guess at the likelihood of whether they will show up at The Gorge May 29-31.

The Flaming Lips

Could it happen?: Everyone’s favorite freaky Oklahomans have been a part of Sasquatch three times in the past seven years (twice as headliners) and they have a new album to support. This makes them good contenders to reprise their headlining role, but if they do don’t expect your typical Flaming Lips set. The group’s Embryonic-tinged Dark Side of the Moon begs to be performed live outside of the one-off New Year’s Eve performance last year. The last time the Lips played Sasquatch! they closed the festival down with a U.F.O. show, which was a one-off event in OKC prior to Sasquatch! so there is precedent for a unique Flaming Lips set at Sasquatch!
(more…)


From Crosscut: Sup Pop’s newst act

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

I wrote the below profile about local label Hardly Art for Crosscut. The full article can be read after the jump.

Hardly Art is hardly your typical indie record label.

How can it be when it boasts the distinction of being an imprint label connected to Sub Pop Records? However, the label hasn’t banked on its Sub Pop roots to ensure success. Sure it has financial support and help in the distribution department from papa Sub Pop, but after nearly three years in business Hardly Art is turning itself into the big little label that could and starting to make a name for itself outside of the Sub Pop legacy.

At the rate Hardly Art is growing it could almost be considered more of a sister label than an imprint. Think of Sub Pop as the punk-rock-loving big brother with a GED and Hardly Art the hipper younger sibling who attends art school. The analogy isn’t much of a stretch given Sub Pop’s history with the g-word and the stable of current scene favorites The Dutchess & The Duke, The Moondoggies, Arthur & Yu and others who call Hardly Art home.

“Basically Sub Pop wasn’t able to work with a lot of smaller bands and wanted an outlet for that so they could get back to what’s going on on a smaller level locally,” said Sarah Moody, Hardly Art’s general manager. “All of the things we do are geared towards those smaller bands and we create a more welcoming label environment for them instead of this big scary label experience.”


continue reading


Available on Kindle

This Blog

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.