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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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Posts Tagged ‘Schoolyard Heroes’

Weekend wrap-up: Quick notes on No Depression Festival, Grynch, Robin Pecknolo solo and Schoolyard Heroes

Monday, July 13th, 2009

I had a crazy weekend filled with good drinks, good tunes and good people. Today is a travel day, which means I’ll be trekking about 150 miles east back home in a few minutes, so you won’t be getting full recaps of last weekend’s shows today. I will, however, offer up a bit of a brief rundown of what transpired on the nights of July 10, 11 and 12 with soundtracks provided by The Whore Moans, Schoolyard Heroes, Robin Pecknold, Throw Me The Statue, Grynch and others.

• The weekend started Friday night with Schoolyard Heroes at The Vera Project. I chatted up one half of the motley crew of Skeleton Army leaders over drinks before the show and, well, let’s just say the drinks fueled the night’s performance. The band performed with new guitarist Nick Cates, formerly of Three Inches of Blood and The Divorce, and as always Ryann Donnelly asserted her dominance over the throngs of sweaty, mosh drenched teens in the crowd.

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VIDEO: Schoolyard Heroes covering “Territorial Pissings”

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Here is some video from the Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee’s Lounge Acts 2008


What you missed at the Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee’s Lounge Acts 2008

Monday, September 15th, 2008

Last weekend the unplugged Endfest, featuring Bad Religion, PUSA and others, as well as the Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee’s Lounge Acts concert featuring Schoolyard Heroes, Harvey Danger and others, were happening at the same time on the same day. Two great shows happening at conflicting times on the same day happens a lot in Seattle because the music scene is just so rich and abundant with awesomeness in the Emerald City. It’s one of the only bad byproducts of living in such a cool place.

Anyway, a friend of mine had an extra ticket to Endfest and I was almost compelled to trek over the hill to check out the unplugged event. However, instead of making the five hour round trip drive to Seattle and back, I chose to stay home for the weekend (which is a rare choice for me). And since I decided again driving five hours to Seattle you know there was no way I was going to make the eight hour trip to the Aberdeen area.

But just because I wasn’t out and about doesn’t mean I am not able to report what went down in Hoquiam at Lounge Acts 2008.

So if you weren’t there, here’s what you (and I) missed:

* Aberdeen band Black Top Demon covered “Smells Like Teen Spirit” but it wasn’t your typical “Teen Spirit” cover. KISW (99.9 FM) radio personality The Ricker joined the band on stage and sang the song while the Aberdeen High School cheer squad did their pom pom thing as the band performed, recreating a scene straight out of the iconic music video.

* Harvey Danger kicked off their set with “Aneurysm” during which singer Sean Nelson was wearing a red mask over his eyes. After the song, in a very Cobainian move, the band abruptly left the stage and came back five minutes later to finish their headliner. The set also included a great cover of “Very Ape.” Check back in about 10 minutes for videos of both performances.

* Nelson and Schoolyard Heroes’ Ryann Donnelly performed a duet of “All Apologies” during sound check. However, that is not the song they performed together during the concert. Donnelly joined Nelson and the rest of Harvey Danger on stage for “Heart Shaped Box.”

* Schoolyard Heroes covered “Territorial Pissings” and “Drain You.” Again, come back in a few minute for the video.

Also, expect to see a photo gallery from the show soon. And a massive hat tip goes to my good buddy Steven Friederich for the rundown of the show and for the pics and videos.


Harvey Danger, Schoolyard Heroes to cover Nirvana at Kurt Cobain tribute

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

As mentioned earlier this summer the Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee is holding its second annual Lounge Acts concert. The concert is a benefit for the committee with proceeds going toward building a youth center in Cobain’s name as well as other Cobain-related community projects.

The concert is happening Saturday at the 7th Street Theatre in Hoquiam and it is well worth the drive south down I-5. Headliners include my buddies in Schoolyard Heroes and the always excellent Harvey Danger. Each band will perform at least one Nirvana cover, and a little bird told me that one of the aforementioned bands will play “Tourette’s” or “Drain You” or possibly both.

Aside from hearing some great Nirvana covers, you’ll also get to see two bands with some of the best hair in Seattle. Put Sean Nelson, Jonah Bergman and Steve Bonnelll in a room with the dudes from SHIM (who are not on Saturday’s bill) and you’ve almost got more hair than human.

All hair jokes aside (I’m just jealous because I can’t grow rock star hair), tickets for the all-ages show cost $20 and can be purchased by clicking here. The concert, which also features openers Black Top Demon (from Aberdeen) and Gebular (also from Aberdeen), starts at 7 p.m.

I zipped an e-mail over to Jeff Burlingame, one of the organizers of the event, and asked a few questions about Kurt, Aberdeen, the committee and the concert. Here is what he had to say:

Tell me a little bit about the committee. How did it get started, what are its goals, how close is the committee close to achieving them, who are the members and how can people help or donate if they are interested?

The committee was formed in 2004, after myself and my co-founder, Aberdeen City Councilman Paul Fritts, decided to finally do something to honor Kurt in his hometown of Aberdeen. We were prompted by a newspaper article written by three Aberdeen High School students who wondered, on the 10th anniversary of Kurt’s death, why nothing had been done to honor him. So our goals, in general, are to memorialize Kurt. Specifically, we are now working on the goal of building an artistic youth center.

Our committee is made up of community members who also believe Kurt needs to be memorialized in Aberdeen. Most prominent among them is Kurt’s grandfather, Leland Cobain, who has built quite a cult following for himself by interacting with Kurt’s fans across the world. He is proud of his grandson and one of our more active members. He even went to England to fundraise. The rest of our committee are professionals in the community. You can see their names on our myspace or kurtcobainmemorial.org. How someone can donate is also there. Everything is tax deductible.

How did the idea for Lounge Acts come about?

The idea to hold a concert to honor Kurt was a natural fit with what we are trying accomplish and what Kurt did for a living. Countless fans of Nirvana and Kurt constantly come to town looking for a way to pay their respects and a place to gather and mourn. This gives them that once a year. Our youth center will give them that on a daily basis. I created the name Lounge Acts as a play off Nirvana’s song, “Lounge Act.” I think it fits perfectly, although the name will continue to grow more ironic as the quality of our acts continues to improve. And, no matter how big Lounge Acts gets, we will always have a spot for a local band, or bands, on the bill. That’s the true spirit of what we’re trying to accomplish.

What were some of your highlights from the first Lounge Acts?

There were several. Those include seeing a large crowd waiting in line to get in; the tears I saw in a woman’s eyes when the first band, local teen group Clouded Minds, opened the show with a very solid rendition of “In Bloom,” and how nervous and excited those kids were prior to the show; the positive comments all the bands had after the concert; seeing the smile on the face of Kurt’s grandfather, who was thrilled that so many people came to honor his grandson. Being a big fan, the whole event was a highlight for me.

I read that a band from Europe traveled to Aberdeen for the opportunity to play at first Lounge Acts last year. Did you think the event would be so well received?

I was hoping it would be, but you never know. The story of the European band was an interesting one. A group from Belgium came to see the show last year. They approached me in the afternoon and said they would be honored if they could play for a few minutes. So we let them use the opening act’s gear and they played prior to the official start of the show. Another highlight.

For readers like myself who have never been to Aberdeen, could you please describe the city?
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CHBP: Schoolyard Heroes, The Saturday Knights

Monday, July 28th, 2008

10:15 It’s almost time for the weekend of music in Capitol Hill to end and what better band to close down the Vera Project stage than Schoolyard Heroes.

While I have seen Schoolyard perform on smaller stages, the tiny Vera stage could barely contain the rock ‘n’ roll insanity that was Schoolyard Heroes’ set. Within minutes of the first song, which I think was “Plastic Surgery Hall of Fame” although I’m not 100 percent on that since I was operating on a bit of a beer buzz at the time, the crowd erupted into a massive mosh pit.

The band’s set was fierce and fast, with each song becoming a celebration of bloody zombies, serial killers, vicious creatures of the night and other monsterous abominations. Unfortunately the sound was a bit off so at times it was difficult to make out Ryann Donnelly’s operatic screams and SYH ringleader Jonah Bergman’s growling yells. But that didn’t seem to bother the crowd as they all ate up every precise riff off Steve Bonnell’s guitar and each one of Brian Turner’s thunderous drum fills.

One of the highlights came during “Dawn of the Dead” when a youthful boy who was likely no older than 13, found his way on stage and Bergam stopped him mid-song.

“I know you know what’s next,” Bergman told the boy, who looked confused.

Bergman then whispered in his ear and the kid took the microphone and quietly uttered the lyric “But it was not over yet.”

Then the song continued and the crowd thrashed around in a fury, like a bunch of sweaty teens stuck inside of a washing machine on spin cycle.

From what I recall the set list was an event balance between tracks off all three of the band’s records. “Cemetery Girls” was a highlight for me, as was “Mechanical Man …,” which is always a fun song live.

11:30 To end my CHBP experience I went into Neumos to catch the last few songs from The Saturday Knights. I was only able to see one full song, since I stuck around for all of Schoolyard’s set,” but it was nice to end my Block Party weekend by watching the city’s best party rap group do its thing on stage.


Cool show alert: Kurt Cobain memorial concert featuring Schoolyard Heroes and Harvey Danger

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

If you’re up for a little road trip in September, the Kurt Cobain Memorial Committee has announced part of the lineup for its second annual Kurt Cobain memorial concert.

This year the concert will feature the scary kids of Schoolyard Heroes and the lovable geeks of Harvey Danger. Both are fixtures in the Seattle music scene and should put on great sets to honor Cobain.

The concert is being used to raise money for a park and youth center in Cobain’s name. Currently the only real acknowledgment of Cobain in the Aberdeen area is the city’s welcome sign, which reads “come as you are.”

The concert is scheduled for Sept. 13 and will take place in Hoquiam at the 7th St. Theatre. Tickets cost $20. You can read more about the show here.


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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.