Photos: Ida Maria and the Redwood Plan

Ida Maria played a free show at the Crocodile last weekend. I was curious to see the Norwegian singer for a few reasons, one being I have a soft spot for Scandinavian artists, the other was that I read about her being compared to the goddess Freyja on the Crocodile’s press page. Another was that I thought she’d be a great photo subject – and she turned out to be a wonderful subject no question there. There is also no question about her being compared to a goddess – I can see that. Freyja is one of the best female goddesses in any pantheon, I mean, her chariot is drawn by cats.

Nils Blommér painting

Ida Maria was wonderful, invigorating in fact. One fan even got onstage and took his pants off during I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked.

The Redwood Plan opened the show and were just so exciting. I saw them on Saturday night and I was happy to see them on Sunday night too. That’s a sign of a great band – that you can see them again and again and it’s a wonderful experience.

all photos by Dagmar
More photos of Ida Maria: page 1 & page 2
& More photos of the Redwood Plan.


Julio Iglesias Show Canceled

Julio Iglesias was scheduled to appear on May 31st at the WaMu Theater. According to the show has been canceled. I am really disappointed – does anyone know why the show was canceled? I’ve been digging deep into his catalog and am so comforted by his voice. I hope he’s not ill or something.

Enjoy El Amor


Photos: Brent Amaker and the Rodeo & the Redwood Plan

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo
and The Redwood Plan played the High Dive last Saturday and how fortunate it was to have them on the same bill. I’d been hearing good stuff about Lesli Wood’s new band, the Redwood Plan and they more than lived up to all the wonderful things said about them. I recommend you buy their debut EP now as it’s sweet and glorious. And as always Brent Amaker and the Rodeo were supreme. They’re getting even better and I am so pleased they’re recording new material right now.

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo – photos by Dagmar

The Redwood Plan – photos by Dagmar

More photos:
the Redwood Plan at the High Dive

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo at the High Dive, page 1

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo at the High Dive, page 2


Photos: two kick-ass nights with the redwood plan

The Redwood Plan played last Thursday night with Dept of Energy and Brent Amaker & the Rodeo, whose loyal drunk fans filled the High Dive, dancing and shooting toy guns. Beer-cozies were flung (I got one), and shots of… whiskey? were administered (Dagmar got one).


The Redwood Plan has changed bassists since I’ve seen them – Jamie Hellgate has been replaced by Billie Stultz, who was unable to play after a recent bike accident, so we were treated to Larry Brady’s efforts both nights. Larry sounded great at the High Dive, then he stepped it up, as they all did, on Friday. The Crocodile was full of Ida Maria fans who signed up through 107.7 The End to be listed for the free show. The Redwood Plan took the stage to a fairly full room and gained a lot of new fans, selling out of on-hand CDs immediately – probably before they had their gear packed away. They rocked that stage and I can’t wait to see them again at the Comet Tavern on May 21st.

I realized while reviewing my The Redwood Plan photo set that I’m a much better fan than photographer to this band – I can’t seem to leave that spot right near Lesli and would rather sing and clap along than snap photos. Here are my favorites from both nights.








Album Review: Casiotone For The Painfully Alone – Vs. Children

Casiotone For The Painfully Alone
Vs. Children

* * * *

In a highly anticipated follow up to 2006’s Etiquette, Owen Ashworth offers plenty of lo-fi sounds, rounded out not just with his signature electronic tinkering, but with a more grown-up presence.  The honkytonk keys are toned down, and Ashworth slips in a mature selection of horns and strings.  Don’t be fooled though – this is still music for The Painfully alone.

Ashworth broods over plenty of dark subject matter on the album, mostly of a deviant nature.  Criminals, parents and even one of Ashworth’s former co-workers are all lyric fodder, and why not?  No one is spared in this thirty-minute smorgasbord of angst, but great art sometimes requires great suffering.

‘Optimist Vs. The Silent Alarm (When The Saints Go Marching In)’ conjures up the work of Conor Oberst, with a steady country beat and crooning hallelujahs that are the backbone of any great travelling song.  Ashworth sings of “skeletons of cigarettes & empty cans & bottles”, but without any trace of ennui.

‘Northfield, MN’ is a standout track, a moody and lilting monument to every parent’s worst nightmare unfolding – “you took the baby to your mother’s end of June, & kissed her for the last time”.  The staccato keyboards and Ashworth’s deadpan vocals make for an affecting five minutes which will draw you to the track again and again.

The horrorshow is reversed in ‘Killers’, a tick-tock tale of the pressure to abort an unwanted child and the flippant force with which the decision could be made – “call in sick, I’ll get some movies…we could be killers just for one night”.  The music is minimal, and poised to create an atmosphere of morose tension.

The chilling trilogy reaches its third trimester with ‘Harsh The Herald Angels Sing’, a song fit to undo all of the gloss and glory of a certain “edgy” movie about teenage pregnancy released a couple of years ago.  In an apathetic anticlimax, our unwed mother-to-be is harassed by her neighbours and spends the morning puking her guts out.  There are no supportive parents, no baby showers and no unrealities here – “it’s difficult & it’s boring”.

Vs. Children is a collection of uncomfortable stories, but it’s one that you can probably relate to and take comfort in.  If you’re looking for a summer party album, Vs. Children takes a backseat to its predecessor – there’s more of a country flavour, which decreases the tempo significantly.  But hey – while you’re out in the country, you might as well slow down to enjoy the view.

Vs. Children is out now on Tomlab Records.

Nicky Andrews