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Recent Articles

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Marcus King Band & Hannah Wicklund 5.8.22 (Photos)

Monday, May 9, 2022

Paul McCartney 5.3.22


Climate Pledge Arena
Seattle, WA

Words & photos by Willacker Photography

I can feel the excitement building with every mile passing as I drive up I-5 north from Olympia.  I'm heading to see one of the greatest musicians of my lifetime, Sir Paul McCartney! Seeing Paul McCartney has been a bucket list item for quite a long time, I mean who doesn't want to see one of the last living Beatles. After a short monorail ride from downtown Seattle to the new Climate Pledge Arena in the Seattle Center, I've arrived for what will turn out to be one of my most exciting concerts I've seen. I grab my press pass and ticket and am led down to the risers at the soundboard for my two songs I get to shoot. Having seen the previous setlists for the tour, I knew what to expect. Or at least I thought I did.


Opening with a Beatles classic, “Can't Buy Me Love,” I'm honestly surprised by how well Paul McCartney still sounds even at 80 years old. As I try focusing on taking pictures and not being distracted by the amazing light show on stage, I can't help but think of how special this night is going to be in the end. As the second song, “Junior's Farm,” a Wings song that I'm not as familiar with, comes to an end I rush back to store my camera and make my way back down to the main floor to find my seat, Row 14 Seat 24, pretty much dead center.  


By the time I make it to my seat, I've missed a couple songs, “Letting Go,” “Got To Get You Into My Life,” and “Come On To Me,” but I do manage to catch the Jimi Hendrix's “Foxy Lady” jam at the end of  “Let Me Roll It,” and it was so good! After the jam, Paul tells a story about Jimi playing in a club in London filled with local musicians before he was really famous and asking for Eric Clapton to come up and help him tune his guitar. This got a huge laugh from the crowd. From here, he plays “Getting Better,” accompanied by visuals of crumbling, post apocalyptic cities like New York and London that slowly change into flowers and vines. After dedicating the song “My Valentine” to his wife Nancy, he's accompanied on the screen by Natalie Portman and Johnny Depp, who sign the lyrics before Depp begins to play guitar in time with the band. After ripping through an amazing version of “Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five,” complete with three screens of visuals, he slows it down with one of my favorite songs of all time, “Maybe I'm Amazed.” Again, I'm amazed at how well this 80 year old rock legend sounds. You can definitely hear the age in his voice, but he still sounds really great! We were then treated to another tour debut, the classic “We Can Work It Out.”  


Before going into The Quarrymen's “In Spite of All The Danger,” we're regaled with the story of this classic song, as the band members moved in front of a screen projecting a small run down shack. It was apparently their first professional recording, and cost five pounds to record, so each of the five members chipped in one pound each and made the recording in a home studio in Liverpool. Because there was only one record, they each kept it for a week then gave it to the next member who kept if for a week, and so on. That is until it got to John Duff Lowe, who apparently kept it for 20 years before Paul McCartney bought it back in 1988, “at a substantial profit” to Duff. After the doo-wop sounding “In Spite Of All The Danger,”  we were treated to “Love Me Do” and “Dance Tonight,” which featured special choreography by the drummer during the song. Paul proceeds to move to the very front of the stage and begins playing “Blackbird” as the stage rises and he is surrounded by visuals of trees and blackbirds in a very emotional moment. While still elevated on the stage, Paul performs a tribute to John Lennon, “Here Today” while visuals make it appear that he's floating above Earth in space. Back down on stage, “Queenie Eye,” “Lady Madonna,” and “Fuh You” preceded the super psychedelic “Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite,” complete with cartoon like visuals that matched perfectly.


Bringing out a ukulele gifted to him from George Harrison, he plays a tribute to his late friend. Strumming out the beginning of  “Something” on the ukulele, it slowly transforms from a quite acoustic tribute into a full blown electric event. Next was the sing a long “Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da,” where Paul had everyone singing the choruses. Here it really picks up and rocks with a couple songs from Abbey Road, “You Never Give Me Your Money” and “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window.”  “Get Back” and “Band On The Run” finish strong before slowing things back down with everyone's favorite, “Let It Be,” which whether intended or not, became another sing-a-long. We're then reminded of the fact that Paul McCartney is nothing short of a rock star as pyrotechnics explode from the front of the stage during “Live And Let Die,” fireballs and fireworks light up the arena as lasers blast through the smoke and haze in what was probably one of the best productions I've seen. Finally, after about two hours of non-stop performing, he moves back to the piano again to close the set with “Hey Jude.”


After a short break, the band comes back on stage carrying flags from Ukraine, UK, USA and Washington state, before telling us that they have something really special for us. And man, was it special! “I've Got a Feeling” done as a virtual duet with John Lennon! As the band plays, the screen behind the stage shows footage of John Lennon from the famous 1969 rooftop concert in London with his isolated vocals perfectly meshing with the band and Paul's own vocals in what was a very emotional moment. After asking if anyone in the crowd had a birthday today, he dedicated the song “Birthday” to everyone who had a birthday that day or even this year. After an almost too intense version of “Helter Skelter” where the visuals were dominated by strobe lights and what appeared to be a never ending tunnel flashing by at incredible speeds, things were slowed down again and the sweet sounds of “Golden Slumbers” began. This led into the show closing medley from the end of Abbey Road, “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry That Weight,” and “The End.”


Standing there as the house lights came on, seeing all the smiles on everyone's faces, I knew how special this night was and how lucky I am to have been able to see this show. Slowly making my way home to Olympia from Seattle, my mind was swirling with images and sounds from the show that I know won't disappear any time soon.




Sunday, May 8, 2022

Kyle Tuttle Band, The Sweet Lillies & Jack Cloonan Band 5.6.22 (Photos)

Monday, May 2, 2022

The Flaming Lips & Particle Kid 4.25.22


Mission Ballroom
Denver, CO

Words & photos by Andrew Wyatt

Sometime during the last year of my dad’s life, he once remarked to me that he enjoyed “the magic of refrigerator wisdom.” He went on to elaborate that refrigerators, in homes across the country, collaged with family photos and children’s drawings, also are interspersed with an infinite variety of poetry, philosophical quotes, words of practical advice. And, of course, his favorite, Bible verses.

It may seem odd amid the flurry of confetti cannons, inflated stage props, and a large flashing hallucinogenic LED back screen imagery, but it was the magic of refrigerator wisdom that struct me, during an enthralling evening of the Flaming Lips performing a rapturous set at the Mission Ballroom in Denver. Placed in the upper right corner of our refrigerator is a bumper sticker sun in the center of a haphazard orbit of photo booth strips of my wife and I in crazy festival costumes and wigs with this beckoning statement: “Until Further Notice, Celebrate Everything!”

Avid fans of the Flaming Lips brand of psychedelic rock, intuitively recognize that exhortation as a recurring theme of their live shows. Every Lips performance rises with champagne effervescence precisely because the lyrics and melodies are fermented with the recognition of human mortality and the imperative to live and love life while we are still living. Just three songs in and lead singer Wayne Coyne beckoned, from within his trademark inflated plastic ball, with the favorite, “Do You Realize??" Later, The Lips returned to another tune off the Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots album with, “All We Have Is Now.” “You and me were never meant to be part of the future,” Coyne’s high tenor voice gently warned in that song.

Coyne acknowledged between songs that musicians and their fans, before the Covid-19 pandemic, may have taken the joys of live music for granted.  After an abrupt halt to live shows, a two-year hiatus, and rescheduling snafus, Coyne said, “Now we have to play as if every concert is our last, because it really might be.”

The Mission Ballroom show was a rescheduled event meant to promote their 2020 album release American Head. The band deftly sprinkled songs from that album while reaching back to early hits like “Race for the Prize.”  Each song in the setlist seemed to be chosen as a reminder to music fans to recognize human loss and turn those losses into celebrations. Between one song, Coyne offered one statement encouraging fans who were experiencing personal struggle to keep smiling. This struck a chord because the last time I attended a Flaming Lips show was in 2016, the year my father battled brain cancer. His memorial service was held the day of my birthday that year.

Even the show opening act, Particle Kid, played their Syd Barret-influenced set with urgency and jarring abandon. So, it seemed quite natural, as I picked bits of brightly colored confetti and scattered musings from my tousled hair that the thought of refrigerator wisdom popped into my American head. Until further notice, celebrate everything, because all we have is now.

Andrew's Photo Gallery



Saturday, April 30, 2022

Deftones, Gojira & Vowws 4.25.22 (Photos)

Friday, April 29, 2022

The String Cheese Incident 4.22 - 4.24.22


Salvage Station
Asheville, NC

Words & photos by C. Alan Crandall (Rocky Mountain Jams)

Carolina bluebird skies and near perfect weather welcomed the String Cheese Incident’s second Spring Tour concert, Friday, April 22, 2022, in Asheville, NC.

The Incident, held at Asheville‘s Salvage Station, kicked off the first three day set of shows on SCI’s spring tour. The salvage station is a cool outdoor venue nestled next to the French Broad River and is less than a half a mile from downtown Asheville.

Friday the excitement in the near capacity crowd was palatable, in part because it’s spring tour and the joy of getting back out and seeing shows. Also, because these particular shows, along with the Charlottesville, VA, and Wilmington, NC, spring tour shows were/are make-up concerts for shows that were rescheduled from last August. Many ticket holders had held onto their tickets from those postponed shows as they were good for admittance for the spring tour. 

Of note, for Friday’s incident, the band performed two new songs, "Lend Me A Hand" and in the second set, SCI played "Dragonfly" for the first time live. Bill Nershi said how great it was to be back out touring, and that the band was having a great time.  During their Friday set the band teased so many tunes one fan gave them the Moniquor “String Tease Incident.”

For Saturday’s sold out incident the band came out punching! The energy was noticeably stepped up from Friday and continued throughout the night.  During the first set they played "Into the Blue," the title track off of their new 4-song EP.

For Saturday’s encore SCI played "Rivertrance" and were joined by Sam Brouse of Papadosio, an Asheville band that Michael Travis said, during the introduction, that he really loved. 

For Sunday's incident the band was on fire, taking the audience on a very jammy trip, playing fan favorites.  They opened with "Little Hands" and Jammed into "Birdland," into "Pickin’ to Beat the Devil," back into "Birdland!" 

The shows were fun all around. Quite a few fans I spoke with were continuing on to catch the next shows in Wilmington, NC.  There are several more Spring Tour shows coming up, for tickets and information visit: www.stringcheeseincident.com

Alan's Friday Photo Gallery
Alan's Saturday Photo Gallery

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Lotus, Strfkr & Cut Copy 4.23.22 (Photos)

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Snail Mail & The Goon Sax 4.19.22 (Photos)

Monday, April 18, 2022

The Story So Far, Joyce Manor, Mom Jeans 4.13.22 (Photos)

Saturday, April 9, 2022

WinterWonderGrass Festival 4.1 -4.3.22 (Photos)

Monday, April 4, 2022

Frozen Dead Guy Days 3.18 - 3.20.22 (Photos)