Our trip to Seattle and San Francisco resulted in a bunch of new CD’s, a good show and a confirmation of one of my beliefs. We started out in Seattle staying at Hotel Max, a trendy boutique hotel in downtown Seattle. Highly recommended for any of you headed that way as not only is it convenient to downtown but also to the Seattle Center area. Just make sure you ask for a room with a big bathroom because even those are small. After a little shopping on Saturday we headed out early Sunday morning to the Experience Music Project at Seattle Center. The EMP is a “museum” of rock and roll focusing on Seattle bands but also covering the whole rock era. One exhibit has continuously running films on Jimi Hendrix and I have to say I learned quite a few things about him. I haven’t been the biggest Hendrix fan but have a new found appreciation for him after watching several of the films. I had no idea he had been in the Army before becoming a rock legend. Unbelievable the amount of music he created in his far too short life.
They had an awesome exhibit going on of rock photography curated by Graham Nash, a veritable who’s who of rock and roll and it was fun to look at the exhibit and realize the great music that has been made in the last 50 years. Then it was off to the area of the museum where you can play nearly every instrument. This is where one of my core beliefs was confirmed. I HAVE NO MUSICAL ABILITY. I am sticking with playing my Ipod. I tried them all – guitar, drums, keyboards. None, Zero, nada, not even a clue. You’d think I could at least get one of them. Jo instantly picks up on the drums and is ready to play with Mick and Keith the next time the Stones tour. Oh well, at least I can find good music because I sure can’t play it.
After the EMP we walked over to Easy Street Records in the Queen Anne district. This is my favorite record store in the world not named Waterloo. A few years ago we stayed around the corner and every day I came to the store and had one of the associates pick out something to buy. It’s where I found out about Brandi Carlile and Josh Ritter on that trip and on subsequent trips about Star Anna and Shane Tutmarc (he actually sold me his CD). They are very similar to Waterloo in having musicians who are trying to make it working there and lots of in-store appearances by bands. I have bought recorded in stores from Brandi and Pearl Jam that are excellent. Definitely on the "must do" list when I am in Seattle. I picked up a few new CD’s with the highlight being The Cave Singers. They would definitely fit in the Americana segment of the music world and I like it a lot. They had just been in Austin for SXSW but I had never heard of them. They are on the follow-up list now and I look forward to seeing them the next time they come around.
Sunday night’s target was a show at the Crocodile Café by Jackie Greene. The Crocodile is a classic rock and roll place. Stage, cement floor and a few tables and chairs. A pretty big crowd was on hand for a Sunday night and I soon found out that at least on this night the crowd was hear to drink first and hear music second. One of my pet peeves is people who have to talk during or over the music – if you want to gab there is a Starbucks across the street! We have a similar problem in Austin but this crowd was far worse. We moved twice to try and get away from the shrieking girl and then the two drunk 50 year olds with their 20 year old girlfriends (as Jo said “Yuck”) and still it was hard to focus on the music. I have not seen that many trashed 50 year old women in quite some time – maybe the constant rain just gets to them but they could barely stand up and on a Sunday night! Besides that Jackie put on a great show. He played several songs from "American Myth" I knew including a nice version of "Farewell, So Long, Goodbye" and finished with a great version of B.B.’s “The Thrill is Gone”. His first set was an hour and he was coming back for a second set but it was 11 PM and our thrill was gone so we walked back to the hotel. A great music day in Seattle with a museum, a record store and a live show- can’t get much better than that.
Next - On to the Bay Area and America's #1 record store.