Archive | July, 2011

20 Ounce Bliss

30 Jul

Seattle is known for a number of things. Coffee, for example. Funny thing is that when you get there, the coffee shops that are not mere Starbucks blueprints are few and far between. Now, I am not saying Starbucks doesn’t have its place. You know, skinny iced latte, lemon pound cake and all that to go, please. But: Starbucks IS NOT breakfast. Breakfast is a stream of endless espresso in wonderfully frothy milk, crispy toast with cinnamon swirls, comfort, a good book, friendly people, some conversation and the right music playing in the background. Of course, all this must come with an “as long as you want”-attitude.

As luck may have it, I stumbled across the perfect spot during my last Seattle adventure. The Bedlam. it’s coffee, tea, toast, all wrapped up in wonderfully unintentional interior design (the 7 Year Bitch showcase poster on the back wall almost makes me reverent…).

Plus: the first time I had breakfast there, I got Them Crooked Vultures with my 20 Ounce Latte. I guess Bedlam really knows how to win a girl over.

Go try it: Bedlam, 2231 2nd Ave, Seattle
Or visit first: bedlamite.com

 

 

No Pain, no gain

20 Jul

House of Pain @ BatschkappThere’s truly nothing better to heal the hurt of a jet lag than a nice, sweaty, indoor show. So, upon returning from the saga that was my summer adventure, I obviously could think of nothing better to do than frequent my local live music hall, the Batschkapp. Luckily, the timing was perfect. House of Pain was scheduled to play a show.

Of course, House of Pain is not strictly “rock”. However, it is a regular – and always has been – on the turntables of all my favorite clubs. I’m not denying that “Jump Around” and the track from Judgement Night got the most play, but as a loyal expander of the musical mind, I did get all the records, including Everlast’s solo stuff, and listened to them religiously for quite some time. I must admit, I was biased by my environment. I had an old-skool b-boy type showing me the musical ropes at the time. A broadening of the horizon I am grateful for to this very day. After all, we all should learn about Grand Master Flash and such, no matter what albums we end up buying in the long run.

House of Pain @ BatschkappAnyway, I digress. I didn’t catch much of the support due to aforementioned jet lag. But I did catch the House of Pain show. Granted, a hip-hop based show has a very different energy to – let’s say – Slipknot (Or Limp Bizkit, thank God). But all the necessary tunes were played to get the crowd moving, nontheless. From “Danny Boy” to the must-do “Jump Around”. The proverbial sprinkles on top? An acoustic session by Everlast aka Whitey Ford aka Erik Schrody himself. A couple of solo tracks. A big yay from me,as I have nothing but respect for the guy and have spent many an awesome moment listening to exactly those tunes. By the way, new stuff is being released as we speak.

Now, it’s hard for me to really compare this to anything or itself. I have never seen House of Pain live. I haven’t really seen many hip-hop based acts, period (Not counting J-Zay at Rock am Ring, where I actually decided to get a drink from the bar instead). But all in all, I have to say it was a pleasant surprise, a good time and exactly what the insomnia doctor ordered. Head-bobbing and all.

Tickets for Batschkapp: batschkapp.tickets.de/en/customer/home
More on House of Pain: www.myspace.com/houseofpain
Everlast: www.myspace.com/everlast
Also check out Everlast’s, Danny Boy’s and DJ Lethal’s side project, La Coka Nostra: lacokanostra.com

 

 

 

Rockin Red

18 Jul

There’s this thing about growing up in Europe. I mean, sure – all the bands drop by sooner or later. But you seldom get to see them at a really iconic venue. You go to Wembley, Slane Castle, Rock am Ring and other “big” locations. But you never really feel like it’s the full experience. I put that down to the existence of Live DVDs. If there is a waiting period before your favorite band arrives, you may watch their live show – or snippets thereof – beforehand. In doing so, you get acquainted with said iconic venues. Madison Square Garden seems to be a popular one, for example. And then there’s also Red Rocks.

I think my first glimpse of this place was through the “Alive at Red Rocks” DVD Incubus put out (which a friend lent me ca. 2005 and I still haven’t given back and I officially apologize for that here). And I can remember being mesmerized. A stage nestled into an awesome red rock structure, right there in the mountains behind Denver, CO. A natural amphitheatre that can hold up to 10,000 and sets an incredible scene. Illuminated rocks, starry skies, you get the picture. Of course, I wanted to go. But Denver isn’t really a place you “swing by” if you live in Europe, is it?

Finally, this year, I came to terms with the fact that the Red Rocks Experience wasn’t going to happen coincidentally. So I planned it instead. And got lucky, too: The band to fit my travel plans was none other than a-bit-too-rock-for-grunge Seattleites Soundgarden who I hadn’t seen before. Needless to say, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The band went through an almost two-hour set of all the favorite tunes from Jesus Christ Pose to Black Hole Sun. The acoustics were awesome. And so was the atmosphere.

As a fan of the club-size gig, I have to admit that going to Red Rocks was more than worthwhile. The place makes you wish the night would never end. On that note, do pay attention to where you park your car. I swear it all looks different when you come back to the parking lot.

More info on Red Rocks: www.redrocksonline.com
More info on Soundgarden: www.soundgardenworld.com
Photos from the Red Rocks Show here

Some rough quality photos here:

Soundgarden at Red Rocks

Red Rocks

Ukulele Songs

16 Jul

I grew up on flannel shirts, sulky dispositions and Pearl Jam. The loyal listener that I am, I have followed Ed & Co through an array of albums. Of course, for anyone who was stripped of the innocence of childhood to the tunes of “Ten”, that will always be the album to remember. But there have been others that have had the pleasure of being on repeat in whichever device I was using at the time. Now, after 20 years of Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder has released a solo album titled “Ukulele Songs”. And yes, he plays the Ukulele on it. The title’s a dead give-away, so to speak.

Though it’s hard to imagine, this album is a wonderfully insightful and powerful piece of work. One you listen to over and over again. Eddie has somehow managed to make the Ukulele less annoying. As unbelievable as that sounds.

So when I received news via the Ten Club that Eddie was taking this album on tour, I spontaneously decided that I had to see it. And where better than Seattle, right? Last night of the tour in the hometown. And one of my favorite places to visit, anyway. So I somehow edged it into my summer travel plans. As did one of my favorite allies. And off we went to Benaroya Hall.

Benaroya is part of the Seattle Symphony, located downtown. It floats on giant pieces of rubber to keep the noise out and the music in. The acoustics are pretty unbelievable, needless to say. And so was the show. Three full hours of Eddie Vedder and Glen Hansard from The Frames/Swell Season and movies such as The Commitments and Once. Songs off the featured album, the “Into the Wild” soundtrack and even a few from Pearl Jam. All held neatly together with a few class anecdotes that, though Ed claims to be a bad storyteller, entertained to no end. All I can say is that it was totally worth the detour.

Setlist:

Can’t Keep
Sleeping By Myself
Without You
Hey Fahkah
You’re True
Soon Forget
Longing to Belong
The Needle And The Damage Done
Long Road
Wishlist
Man of the Hour
I Am Mine
Long Nights
No Ceiling
Far Behind
Guaranteed
Rise
Lukin
Just Breathe
The End
Unthought Known
Better Man

And as there were no cameras allowed whatsoever, here’s a video someone else filmed:

More on Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam: www.pearljam.com

Setting fire, Part Two

1 Jul

Boysetsfire at BatschkappWow. I mean: wow. You’d think going to the same gig twice would be stifling. But that’s not so if the band in question is Boysetsfire. The second sold out show at Batschkapp was just as awesome as the first. A sweaty, vibrant 2-hour-long set that had the power to bliss anyone out, not only the die-hard fans. And thanks to an off chance of exchanging a few words with Chad Istvan and one of the crew, we can now safely say: talent and modesty do still come as a pair.

Boysetsfire at BatschkappMore on Boysetsfire here: www.boysetsfire.org
Tickets for future Batschkapp events here: batschkapp.tickets.de