March 31, 2006
Volume 34
Issue 13
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Wednesday, Jun 19, 2019



Where It's At
Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar slide to Town Hall; James Blunt and The Strokes perform sold out concerts at the Paramount Theatre; Taylor Eigsti releases new CD and Chris Botti jams at Jazz Alley; Matt Costa gets busy at The Crocodile Café
by Albert Rodriguez, Lorelei Quenzer and Lee Arthurs SGN A&E Writers

Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar featuring George Kahumoku, Cyril Pahinui and Dennis Kamakahi

Friday, March 31 - 7:30 p.m.

Town Hall - Tickets through, $22

You probably already know - since I've been pounding it into your consciousness for the past two years - that Seattle has a number of live venues that feature Hawaiian music. You might also know that the Grammys now have a Hawaiian category, and that instrumental compilations of acoustic guitar music in a style known as "slack key" have won both years.

What you probably didn't know, unless you've been to the Maui Ritz-Carlton on a recent Wednesday night, is that the latest Grammy-winner, Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Volume 1, is actually a live album. Its twelve tracks were compiled from weekly performances held at the Kapalua, Maui resort. I can't think of a better (or cheaper) way to transport myself to the islands.

Hey, your alternative is to hop on a jet to Maui. But you might want to wait until the current Masters' tour is over, or you'll miss renowned performers George Kahumoku, Cyril Pahinui and Dennis Kamakahi. World music radio station KBCS (91.3 FM), which also hosts the "Hawaii Radio Connection" from noon until 2:00 pm every Saturday, is sponsoring the concert. If you're a fan of guitarists like Will Ackerman or the duo Acoustic Alchemy then you shouldn't miss this showcase of acoustic virtuosity. And I'm sure there'll be a lei - or two - for sale at Town Hall. - L. Quenzer

Pre-concert CD recommendation: The Grammy-winning Masters of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar Volume 1, featuring "Hi'ilawe," "Moani Ke'ala" and "Mauna Kea Mosquito."

James Blunt w/ opening acts

Monday, April 3 - 7:30 pm

Paramount Theatre - Sold out

When you got it, you got it. And James Blunt's got it. The young Londoner, a former military serviceman who once guarded the Queen of England, is the hottest thing at the moment. His first commercial release Back to Bedlam is currently #2 on Billboard's top albums chart, which includes the #1 single "You're Beautiful" and the follow-up hit "Goodbye My Lover". Blunt performed both songs on Oprah recently, one of several high-profile appearances he's made in the past few months. I think he's the first shoo-in for a Best New Artist nomination when December's Grammy nominations are announced, and you can quote me on that.

There's a combination of elements at work for James Blunt. He's a credible songwriter, choosing the upside and downside of relationships as the basis for his material, something everyone can relate to. He's a solid guitarist and pianist. He's charming, funny and has a mischievously sexy smile. And he sure looked fit in the music video for "You're Beautiful", stripping off his shirt before taking a plunge in the water. Sir Elton John asked Blunt to join him on tour and personally invited him to his wedding. In fact, the rising Brit sang at the Gay icon's ceremony. In February, Blunt gave Seattle Gay News an exclusive interview for our Valentine's issue. You can read the interview on our website Click on the February 3 issue link.

Monday night's concert at the Paramount Theatre is totally sold out. Tickets were snatched up in an hour. No shit. But if karma owes you, this would be a good time to ask for payback because we're giving away two pairs of tickets to Blunt's show at Manray Video Bar the night before. See this week's "The Music Lounge" column for details. At the Paramount, expect Blunt to perform every song, or close to every song, from Back to Bedlam (SGN's Top Twenty-Five Albums/CDs, 2005), including the moving ballad "High" (SGN's Top Ten Singles/Tracks, 2005). Opening for Blunt is new singer-songwriter Sierra Swan and a band called The Boy Least Likely To. If you're going to the concert, stop for pre or post cocktails at Gay bars along the Pike-Pine corridor, like The Eagle, Manray or R Place. - A. Rodriguez

Pre-concert CD recommendation: Back to Bedlam featuring "High", "You're Beautiful", "So Long Jimmy" and "Out of Mind".

The Strokes w/ opening act

Tuesday, April 4 - 8:00 pm

Paramount Theatre - Sold out

I still find it fascinating that The Strokes had Gay sex scenes in their music video for "Juice Box". It's such a brave thing to do in a straight-dominated industry. Showing two Lesbians making out on a rooftop is one thing. Showing two guys groping each other inside a bathroom stall is a completely different thing. This from a major rock band, mind you. The Strokes are rock n' roll's biggest attention grabbers of this millennium. They've posed for every big music magazine in the country, not to mention overseas publications too, and have been a critics darling since 2001's Is This It? came out. Overwhelming buzz, however, is not always a good thing. The New York-based group has drawn as much criticism as they have adoration. But, each of their albums has sold extremely well and their concerts sell out in minutes. So, it really doesn't matter what those assholes say. The Strokes are still in business.

The five-piece unit is fronted by Julian Casablancas, who got hitched last year and has supposedly curbed his wild, party boy image. Yawn. Fab Morretti is the drummer, and he's Drew Barrymore's sex toy. Rumor has it they once screwed in a women's restroom during an opera or musical of some sort. That's hot. Nick Valensi is the guitarist, a typical rock star type with gorgeous hair and a body that could melt ice on the spot. Nikolai Fraiture plays bass, and aside from having a fucking cool name I don't know much about him. Albert Hammond Jr. is the other guitarist, and he basically performs a whole show with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.

Tuesday night's show at the Paramount Theatre is, as expected, sold out. I'm really happy The Strokes chose to play this venue instead of ego-tripping to Key Arena or the Tacoma Dome. Minus their intimate promotional outing at The Crocodile Café in January, the band has appeared at the Paramount in their two previous visits to Seattle. On Tuesday night, expect to hear songs from all three albums by The Strokes, including "Juice Box", "Heart in a Cage", "Razorblade", "12:51", "Reptilia", "The Modern Age", "Someday", "Last Nite" and "Soma". I'm crossing my fingers for "Trying Your Luck", which I've only been privileged to listen to once in concert. At press time, an opening act hadn't been announced. Pre-funk at the Gay bars if you've got tickets to the show. The main floor should be open with the seats down. - A. Rodriguez

Pre-concert CD recommendation: Is This It? Featuring "Trying Your Luck", "Last Nite", "Someday" and "Alone, Together".

Taylor Eigsti Quartet featuring Julian Lage

Tuesday, April 4 - 7:30 pm

Dimitriou's Jazz Alley - For

reservations call (206) 441-9729 / $18.50

What is up with all of these boy-band-pretty jazz frontmen? First Peter Cincotti and Jamie Cullum came to town tinkling their ivories; now there's 21-year-old Taylor Eigsti, who looks more like a college quarterback than a worldly musician with 13 years of professional experience. Isn't it enough that he's ridiculously talented? Does he have to be so damned cute, too?

With his California surfer good looks, Eigsti may be a new face to you but he's been pounding the keyboards since he was four. He's built up an impressive résumé, opening for David Benoit, Diana Krall, Al Jarreau and Natalie Cole, and appearing on stage with Dave Brubeck, Diane Schurr and Ernestine Anderson, to drop a few names.

Eigsti is touring in support of his new album, Lucky to Be Me, on the Concord Jazz label, and he's got the promotions patter down. "The music on this new album is about trying to create a continuous flow, while expressing many varied emotions," he's been quoted as saying. "All the tracks are very different, but I feel a cohesive sound runs through the entire CD."

"Cohesive" doesn't begin to describe his sound, which is fresh and exciting. I caught a little bit of Eigsti's set when he bopped into Queen Anne's Mirabeau Room earlier this year, and I can confirm that he's the real deal. Touring with him are 17-year-old guitar sensation Julian Lage, who collaborated with Eigsti on his newest album, and regular trio members John Shifflet (bass) and Jason Lewis (drums). If you were among those who packed the Paramount for Brubeck and Ramsey Lewis earlier this month, give Jazz Alley a call. You won't be disappointed. - L. Quenzer

Pre-concert CD recommendation: Lucky to Be Me, featuring "Giant Steps," "Love for Sale" and "Argument;" Jazz Alley hosts the CD release performance.

Chris Botti

Wednesday-Sunday, April 5 -9 - Two

sets nightly (Saturday shows sold

out!) Dimitriou's Jazz Alley -

For reservations call (206) 441-9729


I professed my love for trumpeter Chris Botti earlier this year when he performed to a capacity crowd at the Moore. He hasn't called me - yet - but he has returned the sentiment. Sort of. He's back in town for five nights, this time at Jazz Alley, and I can't wait to see him in this, uh, intimate setting.

Botti wowed the Moore audience in January with his mellow tone and soothing sound. (No, that was not me with the lewd sign.) I find that "smooth jazz" is a sloppy misnomer for his music. The term conjures up images of weird electronic instruments, repetitive arrangements of pop songs and ice-cold martinis. Those aren't bad things, especially the booze. But believe me, there's not a harmonium in sight when Botti and his band take to the stage.

Botti's still riding the coattails of his awesome hit releases of standards (When I Fall In Love. 2004) and duets (To Love Again, 2005). Personally, I can hardly wait for this year's release: a "Live" album that will feature duets with Sting and Paula Cole, and also includes a lovely rendition of Cinema Paradiso. His touring band includes Billy Kilson (drums), Jon Ossman (bass), Marc Whitfield (guitar), Billy Childs (piano) and Andy Ezrin (piano).

If you just can't get enough of Botti's golden locks, he appears on Ramsey Lewis's new PBS show "Legends of Jazz" along with Clark Terry and Roy Hargrove. The episode is called "The Golden Horns," and it plays on KCTS's interminable pledge drive all weekend. Botti's performances at Jazz Alley are sponsored by self-proclaimed "smooth" jazz station KWJZ (98.9 FM) and the Pacific Jazz Institute. Many of his sets have already sold out - including both Saturday night shows and the early shows Friday and Sunday - so you'd better hurry if you want to sit and gawk. But leave that sign at home, 'kay? - L. Quenzer

Pre-concert CD recommendation: To Love Again: The Duets, featuring "What's New," "Good Morning Heartache" featuring Jill Scott, and "Lover Man" featuring Gladys Knight.

Matt Costa w/ The 88

Thursday, April 5 - 8:00 pm

The Crocodile Cafe -

Tix through or

The Croc box office / $10

Have you ever just stumbled across a new artist and checked them out simply based on their name or their looks without having a clue as to what they might sound like? This is exactly what happened to me when planning my coverage for the month of April. While looking through the long list of shows at various clubs here in Seattle - and believe me, there are plenty - I ran across Matt Costa who will be playing an all ages show at The Crocodile Cafe Thursday with The 88 and The Fleet Foxes. If you're unfamiliar with him (as I was) and you're a fan of Jack Johnson, John Mayer and the like, you'll want to check this show out. After listening to his debut Songs We Sing, which was just released this week, I can almost guarantee he'll be someone to watch this year.

Costa, a professional skateboarder-turned musician after breaking his leg, incorporates folk, country, psychedelia and pop into a sound reminiscent of Van Morrison and Donovan. Songs like "Cold December", "These Arms" and "Ballad of Miss Kate" are instantly memorable - the latter could've fit perfectly on a rocked-out version of the soundtrack for Oh Brother! Where Art Thou? This 23-year-old beautiful, brown-eyed boy certainly seems to have been influenced by a lot of early 60's Americana, such as the Carter Family and Mississippi John Hurt. He writes as though he's experienced more life than most people I know twice his age. Honest and strangely familiar, his debut is a very enjoyable experience itself.

L.A.'s The 88 is another band finding itself immersed in the sounds of the 60's. Comprised of vocalist Keith Slettedahl, pianist Adam Merrin, Brandon Jay on guitar, bassist Carlos Torres and Anthony Zimmitti on drums, The 88 recently released their second album Over and Over which is chock full of infectious three-and-a-half-minute pop songs doused in beautiful harmonies and soaring hooks. It's the kind of music that makes you want to jump in your car with the top down and hit the beach - and with the overabundance of rain we've had, this show might just do the trick to snap you out of your winter-blues and into a sun-soaked headspace. - L. Arthurs

Pre-concert CD recommendations: Songs We Sing featuring "Cold December", "Ballad of Miss Kate", "Songs We Sing" and "Oh Dear", and Over and Over featuring "Hide Another Mistake", "Nobody Cares" and "Battle Scar".

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