It’s the beginning of a new year and the cliché holds that we’re supposed to be making resolutions this time. The things we want to improve that will just make us better people. We’re going to exercise more, eat healthier, volunteer more, read The New Yorker more than supermarket tabloids, and, of course, donate more money to KEXP in 2009.
This column is going to be about one of my biggest New Year’s Resolutions. Of course, I didn’t get to go to every show I wanted to or hear every record I wanted to and I certainly didn’t get to write about everyone who deserves coverage; I found that becomes even more and more difficult as I become more prolific as a writer. Last year I tried covering as many “big” shows as I could -- and I saw a lot of amazing live music -- but I found that my favorite moments were unexpectedly seeing Northwest bands that had blown me away. The music culture in the Northwest is so diverse that the term “Seattle scene” is both grating and useless -- but there is always something exciting going on every night. My favorite moment was not seeing Vampire Weekend at the Capitol Hill Block Party (although VW did make one of my favorite records of the year) but all of those Tuesday and Wednesday nights at the High Dive or Chop Suey or the Sunset -- they made the following long Wednesday and Thursday mornings at work worth it.
When looking back at the year and the upcoming show calendar it was impossible to miss that the economics are showing that it is becoming harder and harder for bands to tour and not take a financial bath in the process while many excellent Northwest bands have split up or will play their final show in early 2009, like The Young Sportsmen, Ms. Led and The Cops. While I believe I’ve been supportive of the aforementioned bands, I do want to enjoy the excellent music coming out of my home town. I missed the final Young Sportsmen show a few months ago because I was so ill I had to call in sick from my day job on a day I was telecommuting. I’m not concerned with finding the next new new “it” band but I did find it more satisfying to find out about a great local band I knew nothing about then it was to go home thinking “yeah, all of that buzz on the internet is justified.” Moreover, what is the point of being part of a scene if you’re not going to help foster its growth?
One that note, here are a few things I recommend for rocking in the free world the first week in 2009:
TacocaT at the Vera Project, Sunday, January 4
I have yet to see TacocaT (a band whose name and capitalization make it palendromic) but have been impressed with what I’ve heard from their MySpace page. They make post-riot grrrl rock with pop instincts, splitting the difference between Bikini Kill and Bratmobile right down the middle but fifteen years later. If you want another endorsement, the super-trendy Vivian Girls from Brooklyn said at their recent Nectar show that TacocaT was the “best band in the world”.
Chris Caballero’s birthday celebration at El Corazon, Sunday, January 4
Apparently there is more than one Chris celebrating his 30th birthday this month with a show (mine is January 20 at Chop Suey) but this one sounds like a lot of fun. I don’t know Mr. Caballero but it looks like he’s got a hell of a birthday party planned. Members of presumably his favorite local bands are playing covers of songs by some of his other favorite bands. For example, members of Kane Hodder and Fall of Troy are Botch, Sunday Night Blackout is Thin Lizzy and Furious Styles is showing up as Suicidal Tendencies. The cover is just $5 and it looks like it’ll be worth it coming in tired to work on the first Monday morning of 2009.
Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden and Hey Marseilles at the Tractor Tavern on Thursday, January 8
At last week’s TIG Holiday Spectacular, Hey Marseilles were fantastic and epic with their tight, carefully constructed orchestral pop. That alone is worth making it to this show but I would also be remiss if I failed to mention Kate Tucker and the Sons of Sweden. Sometime in 2007 I had gotten a copy of their excellent debut record to write a review of and I just couldn’t find the time to finish it. The record is full of well-written, personal pop rock songs by a songwriter with a powerful voice. I saw the Tucker and her band at Bumbershoot last year and her songs translate even better live.
Until next week...
Three Imaginary Girls
(Three Imaginary Girls is a Seattle-based website that showcases the great music of the Northwest and beyond to music lovers worldwide. We post a Seattle live show calendar to help you fill your day-planner with loads of great shows, as well as record reviews, live show reviews, and an imagi-blog to entertain you throughout the day.)