Review & Photos: Willie Nelson & Family @ Emerald Queen

Willie Nelson and Family @ Emerald Queen Casino, 1/29/15
Show Review & Photos by John Rudolph

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Willie Nelson

Texas native Willie Nelson entertained a sold-out crowd at Emerald Queen Casino on January 29th. The surprisingly diverse crowd was excited to see the longtime country legend in action.

Supporting the release of 5 albums in 2 1/2 years, Nelson reached into his vast archives for inspiration for his latest album, December Day.

His performance was great. The sensation was very much like being in a Texas honky tonk. Willie’s stage set up was very low tech. He let the music stand on its own without being overproduced. There was no big light show, no lasers – just Willie Nelson and Family being themselves playing the harmonica, single drum, stand-up bass, and grand piano.

Willie Nelson received many standing ovations for songs like “On The Road Again,” Georgia on My Mind,” and “Whiskey River.”

Willie is like an old Harley. A little patina on the paint, a little smokey when you rev it, but you’re guaranteed to have a great time if you let your hair down.

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Willie Nelson

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Photos: Elizabeth & The Catapult @ Neptune Theater

Brooklyn-based Elizabeth & The Catapult, fronted by Elizabeth Ziman, played a fantastic, but unintended solo set at the Neptune Theater. The drummer was stranded in New York because of Snowmageddon 2015, but an audience member in the front would fill-in with random drum sounds. I saw Elizabeth & The Catapult for the first time at SXSW 2014 and took advantage of the opportunity to cover them again. Elizabeth’s great voice and catchy songs were hard to pass up. The band’s third album, Like It Never Happened, was released last year.

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Elizabeth & The Catapult

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Show Review: Cirque du Soleil’s KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities @ Marymoor Park

Cirque du Soleil‘s KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities @ Marymoor Park, 1/29/15
Review by Dagmar

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KURIOS Entrance – photo by Dagmar

Cirque de Soleil‘s KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities opened at Marymoor Park on Thursday evening to an excited, and sold-out audience. The show, which premiered only last year in Montreal, featured acrobats, contortionists, live music along with creative sets, and beautiful costumes and makeup.

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Mini Lili & Mr. Microcosmos – photo by Martin Girard

Under a blue and yellow big top that’s so large you can spot it from quite some distance, a character called the Seeker started the steampunk-inspired fantasy. The machine he worked on seems to have stopped time. Weird insect-like robots milled around, sweeping. As things got stranger, I realized I didn’t need to pay attention to the entire plot, as I was so interested in watching the different feats the artists performed. And there were many intriguing acts, all done expertly and with extravagant facial expressions. Without giving away too much of what you’ll see during KURIOS, pretty much every act seemed to be crowd favorites: comedy by David-Alexandre Després (a date spoiled by a cat; an invisible circus), aerial straps duo Roman and Vitali Tomanov, acro nets with acrobats as leaping fish, contortionists as eels, an acrobatic dance set, fancy juggling from Gabriel Beaudoin, and Mini Lili, played by Belarus’ Antanina Satsura, who marvels at the acts with us.

KURIOS, which was directed by Michel Laprise (who also wrote), effectively joined the audience with the stage performance immediately. Scientists from the Seeker’s team mingled in the audience before the show even began. Seating surrounded the stage, meaning there is not a bad seat in the house. With a live band and singer stationed in the metal, tunnel opening of the stage, KURIOS created an inclusive experience. If you are a fan of all things steampunk (fiction involving steam power, and Victorian fashion – to put it in a very basic way), you would love this show. I’m not sure what kind of strange dreams KURIOS will inspire tonight, but the surreal things such as a giant brass hand or the underwater world should stick with me.

KURIOS runs through March 22nd.

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Poster of KURIOS’ Nico the Accordion Man – photo by Dagmar

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KURIOS Cast Members – photo by Dagmar

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Photos: Bumbershoot – Day 3 w/Twin Shadow

Twin Shadow had one of the fullest photo pits (and largest outdoor crowds) I saw at Bumbershoot last year. Photographer Simon Krane was there as well, and so Back Beat Seattle had two photographers to capture pictures of the very photogenic Twin Shadow and band (yes!!!). Want more Twin Shadow? He’ll return to Seattle on April 23rd to headline Neumos.

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Twin Shadow – photo by Dagmar

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Twin Shadow – photo by Simon Krane

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Twin Shadow – photos by Dagmar

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Twin Shadow – photos by Simon Krane

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Twin Shadow – photos by Dagmar

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Twin Shadow – photos by Simon Krane

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Photos: Wolfmother & Electric Citizen @ the Neptune

Australia’s Wolfmother hit the Neptune in Seattle on July 31, 2014. The very rocking trio released its first album in five years, New Crown, also in 2014. Welcome back, Wolfmother! We missed you. With them was Electric Citizen, a Cincinnati, Ohio band including husband and wife Ross and Laura Dolan. All photos by Monica Martinez:

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Wolfmother

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Electric Citizen

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