show preview: the redwood plan tomorrow @ Chop Suey

As soon as I heard KEXP’s song of the day  “Something to Prove” from The Redwood Plan, I went online to find their recording. The self-titled EP was available, and though I knew they’d most likely have some for sale at their upcoming show(s), I couldn’t wait and ordered it right then. It arrived just a few days later and I highly recommend picking it up at Thursday’s show at Chop Suey or ordering it when they sell out. The energy, intensity and enthusiasm that floored me at their live show are all there.


The Redwood Plan is getting lots of well-deserved press. I was stunned at their March 7 show at The Sunset, which aired on KEXP’s Audioasis. Lesli Wood is a powerful force with vocal chops that match her beautiful voice. Add the fact that she’s actually got something to say, possesses mad guitar and keyboard skills, and throw in some of the finest musicians in Seattle to create the rest of the band, and we’ve got something very special.

Jamie Hellgate is a devastating bass player. I am a puddle at her feet. Drummer Betty ST and guitarist Sydney Stolfuss round out The Redwood Plan’s perfection. I feel sorry for The Redwood Plan in one sense – they’ll never be able to be in the audience at one of their shows. If you’re not on their stage, you should certainly be in front of it, ready to dance.



The Redwood Plan play Chop Suey Thursday April 9, with Team Gina and Chupacabra.


Interview: The Heels (see them this Friday w/ X!)

I joined local rockers The Heels in their cozy practice space on Capital Hill for a chat early Saturday. They open for X this Friday at Showbox.

The Heels are:
Paula, guitar and vox
Shelly, guitar and vox
Mikhel, bass and backups
Heidi, drums and backups

Paula: It’s story time!

Amelia: I’m actually a little bit out of the loop with The Heels right now and would like to know what’s going on. I know you’ve got an exciting show next weekend.

Paula: We’re playing with X on April 10th and we are super-excited about it. We wanted to play with them since last year and when we heard that they were coming around again we said hey we want to play with them!

A: And that’s all it took?

Mikhel: Personal tryouts – I had a personal tryout.

Shelly: Was that on a couch?

Paula: No – we joke. We have known the band peripherally and my band before played with them years ago and we are friends with their manager and we know some people that were able to help us when we asked and so they said yes.

A: That’s excellent

Paula: I know!

A: I think The Showbox will be a great venue for you – have you played there before?

Paula: I have not.

Heidi: I have not.

A: Has everyone here been in bands before? I actually don’t know a lot about the history of The Heels. I’m interested to find out how you came together as a band. Mikhel, I know you’re a more recent addition.

Mikhel: Yeah.

A: We don’t need to get into the history of that, but it’s a great dynamic now and I’d like to hear a little about how you all came to be The Heels.

Heidi: Kirsten, the old bass player and I were in a band called The Hot Rollers together. When we quit that we both knew we had to get into something else. So Kirsten was like, hey, this chick just moved up from California and she’s a guitarist and singer and we should see if she wants to play with us. And then Shelly…

Shelly: I was nine months pregnant and I came baby in belly.

Paula: So it’s been three years… Three years in May.

A: And then when did you come into the picture?

Mikhel: A little over a year ago.

A: One of my favorite songs is “Pink Eye”. True story?

Heidi (laughing): No!

Shelly: That would be a good true story.

A: I wonder if you all write together. What’s your process for coming up with what we hear in the audience?

Heidi: For awhile there, it was Shelly coming up with choruses and then I’d write the rest of the lyrics and build the song around the structure of the words. But then more recently we’ve been coming up with the riffs and then I’d put the words to it.

Mikhel: It’s pretty collaborative. There’s no sole songwriter that says, ok, here’s today’s song.

A: The shows I have been to I’ve noticed you have really fun fans. Loyal fans. Hopefully some of them will read this. What would you like to say to them?

Mikhel: Stop stalking us. (all laugh)

Heidi: I like Maker’s Mark!

A: We’ve all been to shows where there’re few audience members. I would think that with a band like The Heels, there’s so much energy… is it harder to play when there’s not much of an audience?

Shelly: We’ve got a 30 minute set.

Paula: I think we play for ourselves regardless of the amount of people that are there. You just play your show. I always think that even if there’s one person standing there, I want them to walk away thinking, Fuck! That was awesome!

Heidi: I can’t remember which show it was, but someone came up to us and said they liked watching us because it genuinely looked like we were having fun.

A: Paula, there was a show I was at where you called all of us in the audience sluts, and that was really great. Is your onstage persona an intentional thing or is it driven by alcohol or…?

Paula: I don’t know what’s going to come out of my mouth onstage.

Shelly: It’s the Red Bull!

Paula: It’s true. There’s a certain feeling I have onstage that I am way different than in my regular day-to-day and it could be a combination of alcohol and having a guitar is huge too – it’s powerful. And I’ve got a microphone and I can say what I want! So yeah! We are all whores!

A: Ok – so you’re sticking with that.

Paula: Yeah!

A: Fantastic. How do you view the current Seattle music scene and your place in it?

Heidi: We are clearly underappreciated.

A: I’m going to agree with that.

Paula: There is a lot of variety now in the Seattle scene. A lot of music to choose from and I think anytime you get people coming to your show to see you, you’re lucky because there’s so many different offerings in the city at one given time. The Crocodile’s open, The Comet… there’s so may different venues where you can see music. The fact that they came to your show and are choosing to see your music is really something.

A: Thanks for your time! Anything any of you would like to add?

Shelly: Come to the show!



Photos: Travis @ the Showbox. Tuesday Night: White Lies

I took photos last night at Travis’ Showbox appearance. Many more to come and a few are over here too. I am also posting photos from new Back Beat Seattle contributor Nicky Andrews, who sent me some really lovely photos!

This was my third time seeing Travis and I can’t wait to see them again. I don’t think I could ever get tired of this band.

Fran Healy – Photo by Dagmar

Dougie Payne, Fran Healy and Andy Dunlop – Photo by Nicky Andrews

Dougie Payne – Photo by Dagmar

Fran Healy – Photo by Dagmar

Fran Healy – Photo by Nicky Andrews

Fran Healy and Andy Dunlop – Photo by Nicky Andrews

Check out more of Nicky’s photography here.

Tuesday April 7th sees Brits White Lies playing at Neumos. I have been waiting to see this band for nearly a year.

And if you missed it here’s White Lies on David Letterman:

Those rose petals are amazing. I hope they have those Tuesday night.


Show Preview: Head Like a Kite this Friday @ The Croc

I can’t wait for this show!


Sound Magazine Presents:




Here’s what HLAK‘s Dave Einmo has to say:

To celebrate the opening of the new Crocodile, we’re brewing up a special show Friday, April 10 with Head Like a Kite, The Wild Orchid Children and PartMan PartHorse. We’ll be debuting the new feature film “We Were So Entangled” and projecting it behind Head Like a Kite as we bust out a frenzied soundtrack of beats and HLAK hits. Based on the song “We Were So Entangled” from Head Like a Kite’s most recent Mush Records full-length, “There Is Loud Laughter Everywhere,” the movie follows the steamy affair of two impassioned Barbie dolls hell bent on adventure. Sex, fire, Superman, Barbie dolls, and a car chase. Sound weird? Wait until the doll house burns down.


Head Like a Kite always puts on a great live show and with openers PartMan PartHorse and Wild Orchid Children on the bill, there’s nowhere but The Crocodile to be this Friday.

Head Lik a Kitehlak-dave



Wild Orchid Children woc-ktho


PartMan PartHorsepmphg



Photos: Egyptian Lover & Jamie Jupiter, Truckasauras @ Chop Suey

I’m not sure I would have seen Egyptian Lover if Truckasauras hadn’t been on the bill and would have missed a show that far surpassed my expectations. I adore Truckasauras and Chop Suey was an ideal venue, providing a sound system able to deliver the thump and showcase the delicacies that lie underneath. The crowd seemed to love Truckasauras as much as I did, responding more as their set progressed.




DJ Sean Cee provided between-set music that was just incredible, and then came Egyptian Lover, who deftly worked his turntables as Jamie Jupiter asked if we could imagine what it was like to be a 16 or 17 year-old listening to Egyptian Lover back in the day. I didn’t have to imagine since I was 16 or 17 in 1984, and a frequent patron of an all-ages dance club in Eugene when “Egypt Egypt” was a new hit and played along with the other rap hits of that era. Watching the largely young and enthusiastic crowd dance along, I realized that Egyptian Lover in 1984 is essentially the same as in 2009, a great DJ with sexy hits who is ridiculously fun to see live.





More photos in our flickr pool. Got any you want to add?