Our Memory Lane Series features Back Beat Seattle photographers’ work, that, unfortunately has not found itself on Back Beat Seattle yet. But we believe photos are forever and always relevant! As photos go live on the site, they will be added here.
Let’s just get this out of the way now: Jay-Z is the god-damned man. He managed to spend two full hours strutting around the stage like it was the “Big Pimpin'” era, never missing a beat or lyric. In many ways he outshone the next generation of rappers, not bringing a hype man on stage or letting the background track do most of his singing/rapping for him. The only performers in KeyArena that brought a matching level of energy and skill was his insanely talented house band. Partially buried beneath the ever-moving stage in what can only be described as a fairly conventional orchestra pit, the musicians manning drums, percussion, guitars and more, not only kept the energy level at 100% through the entire set but elevated HOV to an even higher standard of performance. In one case, the guitarist (who had no part in the song), jumped up and down swinging a hype towel for the entirety of “Big Pimpin'”. This is worth mentioning not because it was some outstanding moment of the set, but because it was the standard for every second of it. Whether sauntering around the stage or standing at a mic stand in the center of it, Jay-Z kept the energy level high and delivered every beat of his classics perfectly, mixed in with selections from his new album, 4:44.
Speaking of 4:44, the album itself is good. It boasts a ton of acoustic instrumentation and has a very organic feel to it. But good lord, this album was meant to be performed live. Every single track from 4:44 was more compelling in its softer and more honest moments, or energizing in its more upbeat ones, than any recording that Jay-Z and company put to tape and released. If I’ve ever before yearned for a live bootleg of an album, 4:44 takes the cake.
In stark contrast to the energy of the night was the glaring issue of the most effective way to present a solo artist, keeping them interesting and compelling while they, well, walked around stage rapping. Unlike Justin Timberlake or other pop acts, there were no dancers or onstage antics, and unlike Snoop and crew-based rappers, there wasn’t an entourage of hype men jumping around in the background. It was just Jay-Z and the crowd.
Another cool set of photos by Peter Dervin, these ones taken at the Shins’ Marymoor Park headlining performance in ’17. Last year and this year, the Shins did a very intriguing thing: after releasing Heartworms in ’17, they redid that album in ’18. Called The Worm’s Heart, the album was “flipped”, which means the band made new versions of every track. Remakes are always exciting. Also on the bill for the Marymoor Park date were California’s Foxygen and Day Wave.
The Seattle area has been lucky to have Yes play two shows in the last two years: Tulalip in 2017, and Woodinville in 2018. The 2017 concert was part of the Yestival tour, while the 2018 concert was one date of the 50th Anniversary tour. Congratulations on that anniversary! Todd Rundgren, who opened in 2017, has also been busy with six albums already released this decade. There are loads of opportunities to catch both bands again right now, so check them out.
The beginning of 2017 found Talib Kweli looking forward to sharing new works: his own ’17 album, Radio Silence, and the EP The Seven, with rapper Styles P. But first, he kicked off the year with the Seven Tour, which featured Styles P and hip hop artist K’Valentine (on Kweli’s label, Javotti Media). After you check out these photos, head over to Billboard, who has a great interview with Kweli and Styles P about their collaboration.
Okay, Less Than Jake’s most recent show in Seattle was just earlier this month, but we’ve got you covered on their 2017 show here. The always-popular Gainesville, Florida pop/ska band has even more dates coming up, including a spot on the 2018 Vans Warped tour. Less Than Jake’s most recent release is 2017’s Sound the Alarm EP, which included seven previously unreleased songs. Thanks, Less Than Jake!
For day two of its inaugural event, Upstream 2017 brought out another variety-filled lineup, including Dinosaur Jr., Sundries, J GRGRY, Helms Alee, Gazebos and the Soft Offs. Punk, hard rock and pop got attention from photographer Monica Martinez – all in one day. Congratulations to Upstream, and thank you for letting us cover your debut!
Before you tuck into this, alert: Upstream 2018 tickets are on sale now! Everything was so awesome last year, they’re doing it again. In 2017, photographer Monica Martinez attended, and her first group of photos are from day 1. Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, Charms, the Fabulous Downey Brothers, Metz and the White Tears & Pearl Dragon Is Dead were among the performers. Thanks Monica, for racing all over and getting these cool shots.
Brandon Williams, going by the name of Chastity, performed (with band) at Barboza last March. The Ontario, Canada native, who’s signed to Brooklyn label Captured Tracks, released his debut full-length in July ’17. Grab that album, called Death Lust, over here and/or watch the video for “Children,” the first track from it.
Wonderful pianist and singer-songwriter Regina Spektor headlined the Paramount Theatre for a spring show in April, 2017. The Russian-born artist’s most recent album, 2016’s Remember Us to Life, included an incredible group of string artists, from cellists to violinists to double bassists. Some of those string players were onstage with her. Lovely! Cute side note for 2018: Spektor’s, husband, musician Jack Dishel, appeared in his second full-length movie, Wanderland, this year.
British trio Clean Bandit, along with touring singers, were headliners at the Showbox in March, 2017. I know, the band were meant to return here in 2018, but drummer Luke Patterson need surgery on one of his feet. We hope he is recovering nicely! Still, enjoy some smashing photos of Clean Bandit’s 2017 show, and have a listen to their new track, “I Miss You feat. Julia Michaels.” You probably know Michaels from her hit, “Issues.”
Little Big show hosted the wonderful Mitski at the Neptune in the spring of ’17. She’s totally cool. An incredible songwriter and lyricist, Mitski will tour America again this year, with Europe shows also arranged. Some of her dates will find her opening for Lorde, giving her some extra exposure to new fans. For the Seattle April ’17 date, she had Steady Holiday and Kadhja Bonet open.
This one really fits in our Memory Lane Series! It’s awesome photos by Kirsey Danae of Old Dominion’s Seattle, December 2016 show. The country rock band shared songs from their second album, Meat and Candy, which got them many nominations in the country music world – plus the American Music Awards. In 2017, Old Dominion hit the charts hard with a number 1 spot on Billboard’s Top Country Albums for Happy Endings. Big bonus? You can catch them on tour with Kenney Chesney this year!
The brilliant DJ Kaskade brought his unique sounds to Seattle in the summer of ’17. Playing two nights in June, Kaskade entertained fans with music and totally trippy lights. If you couldn’t get into these shows, and if you have the dough, head over to Vegas and catch him this spring. And did you miss this?: He closed out 2017 with the release of a really cool Christmas album (I know, electronic Christmas music???), appropriately called Kaskade Christmas. Illenium, a Denver-based DJ specializing in bass and trap, opened.
Details: Portland’s got many things you can call their pride and joy; one of them is definitely the Dandy Warhols. They shared songs off 2016’s Distortland live in Seattle for the first time (by the way, if you love that album loads, you can get it live on vinyl), and the psychedelic quartet had London’s Telegram open the evening. Touring with the Dandy Warhols brought Telegram to America for the first time!
A belated congratulations to the final four competitors in Sound Off! 2017. Folk artist Jason McCue, a transplant from Philadelphia, won first place. He followed up that win with numerous shows in Seattle last year. Coming in second was R&B singer Falon Sierra, who also had a huge live presence in the area. At third and fourth places were, respectively, the electronic Torpoise (another prolific live act), and rock quartet The Good Weird. These wins open up many opportunities, and you can see the 2018 Sound Off!, starting on Friday, February 9th, at MoPop.
Details: MoPop hosted Muppetational Celebrational!, a very fun opening night party for the The Jim Henson Exhibition. The exhibit, extended through February 28, 2018, features actual Jim Henson puppets and puppet-related activities. The spring kick-off included a costume and fashion parade along with a great version of the Kermit classic “The Rainbow Connection” by Jon Pontrello (the Moondoggies) and Jason Dodson (the Maldives). Thanks to MoPop and Museum of the Moving Image for putting this all together.
Details: AFI, with a lot to be proud of, including the January 2017 release of AFI, headlined Showbox at the Market on January 25th, 2017. It’s been four years since AFI gave us an album! For those interested in tour statistics of songs played, etc. during the first leg of the Blood Tour, which this show was part of, check this out. Nice to keep track of that. And before we head into 2018, we’re sharing photographer Alex Crick’s moving shots of AFI and openers the Chain Gang Of 1974 and Souvenirs.
Details: So, this is pretty amazing: Toro y Moi (real name Chazwick Bradley Bundick) has a date named after him in Berkeley, California. As of 2017, June 21st is Chazwick Bradley Bundick Day! That’s an honor. Toro y Moi also put out a record, Boo Boo, in 2017, making it a big year for him. He’s already made two videos, “Pavement” and “Windows,” from the album with photographer Kristie Muller, but hasn’t announced any tour dates. As an opening band, Toro y Moi chose duo the Mattson2, with whom he made 2017’s album Chaz Bundick Meets The Mattson 2.
Part 21 of Memory Lane Series
Details: Let’s mention this first, because it’s super awesome: Grouplove has created their own special jacket. While only the band’s been sporting these beauties, they’re available for pre-order now on their site. They’ve got a scorpion on the back (the jacket, not the band)! No one asked us to mention this, it’s just, damn the jackets are cool. But back to the main point of this post, which would be the photos from Grouplove’s Seattle’s 2016 visit. They’ve even been here twice in 2017, by the way. For the Crocodile show, the audience was able to enjoy for the first time songs from the just-released Big Mess. Also check out Jonathan Leung’s sweet shots of openers, MUNA and Dilly Dally.
Part 20 of Memory Lane Series
Details: Man! I’m not lying, this was the super lineup for the Tacoma Dome appearance of tour I Love the ’90s: Salt-N-Pepa, Coolio, All-4-One, Color Me Badd, Tone Loc, Rob Base and Young MC. The inaugural 2016 tour was in fact so successful, the production followed up in 2017 with I Love the ’90s: The Party Continues. And I already see 2018 dates shaping up. . . but first, check out Young MC representing the Seahawks in a Richard Sherman jersey.
Memory Lane Series, part 19, brings us to another fantastic billing of Slipknot and Marilyn Manson. While Slipknot headlined the tour, Marilyn Manson has some bragging rights of 2016 & 17 for having a part in the TV series, Salem. His character was Thomas Dinley, a barber who’s also a surgeon. Although the beginning of his 2017 Heaven Upside Down Tour had an unforeseen scary beginning with part of the stage falling on him in New York, he’s just starting a European tour. Manson: stay well for all those who love you!! And if you’re also here for Slipknot (you probably are). . . following 2 2016 tours, the band’s main page warns the following: “Be Prepared for Hell, We’ll Be Back Soon.” Until then, you can listen to the live Slipknot album, Day of the Gusano: Live in Mexico.
Part 18 of our Memory Lane Series is the cool combining of Wild Child and Walker Lukens (Texans), and one local band, Vaudeville Etiquette. With a new album, Expectations, coming out in February, there should most likely be another Wild Child tour involved. . . already the band’s violinist and lead singer, Kelsey Wilson, is on tour with Matthew Logan Vasquez; one of the dates is at the Fremont Abbey on December 5th. Vaudeville Etiquette has 2 shows set up in December on the 9th and 23rd. Merry Christmas to all their fans!
Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, from Georgia and Florida, respectively, comprise the country duo we know as Florida Georgia Line. They’ve been nominated for – and won – so many awards you start to lose count. And the awards are from a huge variety of organizations, from Billboard to Teen Choice Awards to CMA Awards. Really impressive. The Tacoma Dome appearance they made in 2016 was just one date of their Dig Your Roots Tour, which found its roots in the album, Dig Your Roots. If you’ve been paying attention to them this year (we hope you have), you’ll know one of their projects is “Meant to Be,” a collaboration with Bebe Rexhe. Texan Granger Smith provide support for this concert, which we’re sharing as part 17 of our Memory Lane series.
Part 16 of Back Beat Seattle’s Memory Lane series features Irish singer-songwriter Róisín Murphy. One of BBS’ photographers, Josh Daniels, made a fall trip to San Francisco, and how could we not help him get a photo pass for this show? Thanks to Murphy’s publicist, permission was granted! The performance included numerous costumes, and Murphy herself, of course, so these are well worth checking out. Murphy, who was the singer in the now disbanded Moloko, received a Mercury Prize nomination in 2016 for Hairless Toys.
One day before Halloween in 2016, the wonderful and varied K.Flay performed at Barboza. This year has been very good for her, as she’s released her second album, Every Where Is Some Where, and grabbed an opening slot for Imagine Dragons. She’s also given back; proceeds from her book, Crush Me Book, benefit three organizations to help battle homelessness and child abuse. Well done. For her Seattle date, she was joined by Nightly and Layne. Here we are, with a very special part 15 of Back Beat Seattle’s Memory Lane Series.
A springtime visit from Two Door Cinema Club was hosted by Showbox SoDo. The Northern Ireland trio is always a must-see and must-cover band for us at Back Beat Seattle, and we thank them again for being so awesome. The group just completed another US tour, but we could always do with more Two Door Cinema Club. Thanks, photographer Alex Crick, for the lovely shots of the guys. And now, part 14 of our Memory Lane Series.
Foals @ the Paramount, 9/23/16
Photos by Casey Brevig
England’s Foals made an appearance in Seattle last fall. We’re always committed to sharing photos, no matter how far in time we need to go, so this photo series by Casey Brevig comes in as number 13 in our Lane Series. Again, our editor apologies that this series even exists, but we’re making a huge push to get all the awesome editorial work up before end of the year. How exciting is that? Thanks to Foals for visiting Seattle, and for being an amazing band!
Memory Lane Series lucky number 12 features Jonathan Leung’s photos from Nick Waterhouse’s show at Neumos in 2016. A rhythm and blues musician, Waterhouse’s newest album, Never Twice, includes a track with Leon Bridges. The album is also the first Waterhouse album not self-produced. Instead, production duties went to Michael McHugh (Black Lips,Ty Segall). Seattle’s Acapulco Lips celebrated in style by touring Europe this summer, with loads of dates in France.
Memory Lane Series number 11 brings us photos from Australia’s Violent Soho’s headlining show at the Sunset in August 2016. A grunge band, the quartet lived in New York for a while, and are now on the Australian label, I OH YOU (same home of DMA’s and DZ Deathrays!). Also on the bill? Seattle’s Mutiny Mutiny.
Ja Rule & Ashanti
Installment 10 of our Memory Lane Series catches rapper Ja Rule and R&B artist Ashanti performing at the Showbox. The two have collaborated numerous times, including on “Down 4 U,” a track Ashanti revealed in Billboard as one of her favorites with Ja Rule. In fact, the pair seems to enjoy working with each other so much, they have two shows in California this weekend, and will actually have a Thanksgiving Eve show in Atlantic City.
Details: Los Angeles-based quartet Warpaint make their third appearance in Back Beat Seattle with photos by Casey Brevig of the September 2016 show. These photos are part 9 of our Memory Lane Series. Warpaint have now released three albums on the Rough Trade label, and are an incredibly strong live band. Their tour manager and photographer, Robin Laananen, just released a photo book of Warpaint tours from seven years of touring, called US / THEN. Fans will want that. First, enjoy photos of the Seattle 2016 show with Facial.
Atmosphere @ Showbox SoDo, 9/15/16
Photos by Casey Brevig
Details: Minneapolis’ Atmosphere (that is, rapper Slug and DJ Ant) played Showbox SoDo in September 2016. Bringing along Rhymesayers (motto: Don’t Sweat the Techniques) label mates Brother Ali and deM atlaS, Atmosphere celebrated album eight, Fishing Blues. Keep an eye on their Facebook, as it appears the duo has an announcement to make on June 28th, with a teaser of bicycle wheels and that date flashing on their page. . . hmmmm. . . Enjoy photos by Casey Brevig, which are Memory Lane Series, Part 8.
Details: Belly, the beloved alt-rock band from Boston, Massachusetts/Newport, Rhode Island, played their first shows since 1995 when they toured last year! One of their dates brought them to Seattle’s Neptune Theatre, where the band – Tanya Donelly, Thomas Gorman, Chris Gorman and Gail Greenwood – performed for their strong Belly fanbase. You may know that bassist Greenwood was diagnosed with endometrial cancer right before their UK dates last year. Her treatment didn’t keep her from touring though; none of the dates were cancelled, and she didn’t miss any of them. Stay well, Belly! We want to see you more often.
Details: Georgia’s Gringo Star, an indie rock band featuring brothers Nicholas Furgiuele and Peter Furgiuele, headlined Vera Project in September 2016. They’ve got a DJ set in their hometown this Friday, and go on the road with Shantih Shantih this month. Gringo Strar describes their songs as “echo-slathered, doo-wop-indebted indie gems.” That’s right on! Animal Camera opened the Seattle date.
Details: How jealous should you be that MSTRKFT’s Jesse F. Keeler is in the also awesome Death from Above 1979? So jealous. BTW, photos of Death from Above 1979’s show last year will be up here shortly. Anyway, that’s just one cool thing about the Toronto musician Keeler, who makes up half of MSTRKFT with fellow Canadian Al-P. MSTRKFT celebrated the tenth anniversary of album one, The Looks, in 2016, and do check out last year’s release OPERATOR.
Details: Sadly, Yellowcard is no longer. The Jacksonville, Florida rock quartet went out with a bang in 2016 and 2017, performing final shows for fans. Although it’s unfortunate the band has split, it was classy of them to play so many concerts, where longtime fans could appreciate them one last time. Yellowcard named their last album Yellowcard, and with that, payed homage to themselves – and they deserve it. Thank you, Yellowcard!
Details: 5 Seconds of Summer’s Sounds Live Feels Live White River Ampitheatre tour date finds itself as part 3 of our Memory Lane Series. The Australian quartet has now travelled the world officially as headliners – great job! In December 2016, the band turned five years old; one of their accomplishments is creating their own label, Hi or Hey Records, which includes tour mates, Hey Violet.
Details: Memory Lane Series Part 2 features Modest Mouse and Brand New, who co-headlined KeyArena in July 2016. Originally from Issaquah, Washington, Modest Mouse celebrates worldwide popularity – and tour as an eight-member band. Always a favorite live act, they’ll have a few dates in May-June of 2017. And note: Their most recent album, Strangers to Ourselves, was recorded singer-guitarist’s Isaac Brock’s own studio, Ice Cream Party. Long Island’s Brand New has not released an album since 2009, but performed their newest song, “I Am a Nightmare.”
Details: Part 1 of our Memory Lane Series is Sting and Peter Gabriel at KeyArena in June 2016. Walk Down Memory Lane is a new series, which will feature show photos, that, unfortunately did not find themselves on Back Beat Seattle yet. But we believe photos are forever and always relevant.
Sting and Peter Gabriel have toured together before, and called 2016’s tour the Rock Papers Scissors Tour. That’s not a typo! Since the tour, Sting bravely played the re-opening date of Bataclan, the Parisian club that suffered a terror attack in 2015. He’s also got his own 57th & 9th tour going on right now. One of Gabriel’s most recent works is “I’m Amazing,” a tribute to Muhammad Ali.