Friday, July 29, 2011

Nowhere Men and the Beatles

The Nowhere Men

Last night was a gift: golden summer evening, bare feet on the grass dance "floor," and the Nowhere Men playing Beatles music! These players, led by George Myers on rhythm guitar, and Rick on bass, capture the real, live sound of the Beatles' foursome.

From their website:
"The group decided early on that they wouldn't try to physically impersonate The Beatles, but rather to concentrate on how to deliver the total sound in a live format within the context of a foursome. This has become the group's challenge and motivation. As a result, their audiences enjoy the interpretations of the early Beatles and the creativity involved in performing some of the more complex arrangements from albums like "Sgt. Pepper" and "Abbey Road.” In 2005 the band played a farewell show, intending to wrap it up after 15 great years, but the pure enjoyment of the music and the fun of sharing the experience with an audience brought them out of “retirement.” Their goal is still the same as it was when they started in 1990 – to create a live musical experience that comes as close as possible to "The Beatles" unforgettable sound."

Passionate players, fine instruments, exeptional electronics, and sophisticated mixing board and tech (thanks, Steve!) bring the Sound home.

One of the best live music experiences in the Northwest.

Experience The Nowhere Men this coming Wednesday, August 3, 2011, at University Village 6:30-8:30.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Little River Band

Wayne Nelson on bass and lead vocals

It’s a Long Way There

Hey everybody…yeah, don't you feel that there's something?
Feel it, feel it?
Hey everybody…yeah, don't you feel that there's something?

People on their own are getting nowhere,
I am on the road to see,
If anything is anywhere and waiting, just for me.

Every night I walk around the city.
Seems like I'll never know,
That feeling of being together when I go.

And it's a long way there, it's a long way to where I'm going,
And it's a long way there, it's a long way to where I'm going.

This is great songwriting, brought to you by Little River Band, one of my favorite--and somewhat unheralded--bands of the '70s.

Their show at Snoqualmie Casino near Seattle last week was testament that good songwriting doesn’t fade with time. Formed in Melbourne, Australia in 1975, Little River Band based their success on good songwriting, guitar harmonies, and powerful vocals. One of the longest running band members, and arranger of most of their material, Wayne Nelson (bass/lead vocals) also hasn’t faded—his playing was just as fresh and vibrant as ever. And he plays that big old custom bass with such authority. You could tell he still felt the words and music pour out of his soul. I have to hand it to him; he really connected with the crowd (in spite of the sing-along, which, on principle, I never participate in—hey, if they want me to sing, they gotta pay me!).

Also of note was Matt Watts; with a name like that he’d better be a good drummer! And he was stellar, although if he had sat any lower in his kit he would have been on the floor, like a catcher at home plate. Turns out he’s played with a constellation of greats including The Allman Brothers, Little Feat, Charlie Daniels, and Badfinger.

It was fun seeing the whole band dressed in their idea of what Seattle-ites wear: lumberjack flannel shirts and torn jeans. C'mon, we're cooler than that.

There were some magical moments: the stunning lead guitar work in "It's a Long Way There;" the lilting and poignant “Reminiscing” and “Lady," and the cracking “Happy Anniversary." It was interesting that over 50% of the crowds’ hands shot up when they asked, “How many are celebrating NOT being married?” A bit of Aussie humor there, or a result of being On The Road for as long as these road warriors.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Steely Dan

Steely Dan graces WAMU Theater in Seattle, July 2, 2011

It’s not possible to exaggerate when describing Steely Dan’s show in Seattle last week. Called the “Shuffle Diplomacy Twenty Eleven” tour, Donald Fagen and Walter Becker and their group couldn’t have played a more astounding concert. Are they Jazz? Rock? Funk? Blues? Pop? The definition of Fusion.

Classics like the poignant “Hey 19,” the simultaneously driving and haunting “Aja,” and a very funky “When Josie Comes Home,” all hit the groove beyond our wildest dreams. With the first notes of each song I was amazed at the breadth and depth of Steely Dan's body of work. No wonder the Wamu Theater was packed to the rafters with about 2,000 lucky fans.

I was mesmerized by Fagen’s tremendous writing and arranging, as all the players proved they are the absolute best of their class, from the crisp horn section to the thunderous bass and spot-on lead guitar of Jon Herington. I happen to love Walter Becker's warm sounding Fender expression, too. And it was fun to watch the three backup singers dance and groove while they added their rich soprano harmonies. It was hard to believe this was the first show of their tour, they were so incredibly sharp and tight.

The group of top players dubbed the “Miles High Band” (ode to Miles Davis?) feature the “Embassy Brats.” The “Band” and “Brats” include Jon Herington (guitar); Freddie Washington (bass); Keith Carlock (drums); Michael Leonhart, Walt Weiskopf, Roger Rosenberg and Jim Pugh (horns); Jim Beard (keys); with singers Tawatha Agee, Carolyn Escoffery and Catherine Russell.

Check out their new song, “The Bear” on YouTube.