2018 felt contentious. It’s like the narrative of the whole year was culture clash. News outlets pushing for unification in the face of some cause that would shift daily if not hourly. Everything from the presidency, to local issues like the possible closure of the Showbox, it felt like everyone had to take a side this year, and there was no gray area. You were either one or the other. It was draining.
With an eye to tomorrow, I think everyone was ready to leave 2018 behind them. Put that negativity, that black and white attitude, and any other energy drains in the past, and look towards 2019 with hope and positivity. Where most would probably want to ease into 2019, I wanted to jump into the year with one of my favorite bands. A band that wouldn’t simply close the door on 2018, but slam it shut. A band that didn’t want it’s audience to just chill, but instead wanted us to rock. I got to watch Thunderpussy.
I’ve seen Thunderpussy perform live at least 10 times since 2016. This was my third year in a row bringing in the New Year with Thunderpussy. I’m a Thunderpussy fan.
The Black Tones
The first act of the night were The Black Tones. Seattle Met magazine named the trio one of the “Next Wave” of artists to keep an eye on in the area. Having seen them perform before, I was interested what they had in store. To say they left a memorable mark on the audience with this special “stripped down” set, would be an understatement. “Stripped down” in that upon taking the stage, Cedric (the drummer) looked over to his sister Eva (guitar, vocals), and immediately began to strip to his underwear. Seeing this, Eva said out loud, “So we’re really doing this.” and she and the bass player began to strip as well. The Black Tones were now in their underwear playing several of their bluesy grunge songs live on stage. Being in their underwear, became a running gag for the remainder of the night. For example, the lead singer of Bear Axe joined them on stage at one point and exclaimed “I didn’t get the memo about dressing down for this performance.” (haha)
A great (if not slightly awkward) moment was when Eva welcomed their mother and sister to the stage to assist in the remaining few songs. Once her mother and sister had taken the stage and they performed one song, Eva first apologized to her mother, and then took off her bra revealing pasties, while her mother jokingly covered her eyes. (haha) The set was fun and memorable. Seattle Met magazine was correct in naming them a “Next Wave” artist/group.
This was my first time seeing Portland favorites Red Fang, and I was impressed. I had seen videos of their prior sets, and honestly I was itching to get into a good mosh pit. Right from the beginning, Red Fang delivered head banging tunes that had people dancing. I looked over my shoulder and there was a small pocket of people shoving. I looked at a friend that came with to the show and gestured that we should get in there. As we jumped in, the mosh pit started to form. At first there was maybe 5 people and slowly it ballooned, until there was a fairly large cluster of people slam dancing in the middle of the crowd. Everyone was fairly respectful (the ones who were trying to be respectful, outnumbered the folks who weren’t). If someone went down, they were helped back up. If someone was getting overly aggressive with another, they were split up. It was just a good pit. Red Fang did great motivating people to action as well, with their high energy songs. They’re a band I wouldn’t mind seeing again.
I’ve seen a Thunderpussy perform several times so much so I could kind of predict the song order, or with the first few chords tell what song was coming next. This set was different. This performance felt new and fresh. It felt like the band was so much more seasoned than previous performances. The songs sounded different. Like there was just a little more intricate flourishes, or different aspects of the songs were accentuated and it made the songs shine in new ways. In particular, I liked the renditions of “Badlands” and “Velvet Noose”. I felt like Shreddy Petty in particular did some different stuff to make those two songs stand out.
It’s hard to call out who shined more during this performance as it felt like each member’s skills really advanced in this show. It’s crazy, really. I liked watching this band because each member was already so proficient. Seeing Ruby go wild on those drums, Leah grooving on that bass, Shreddy Petty destroying on that guitar, and Molly making singing while dancing look easy, the idea that they are only getting better is almost mind blowing. Not only getting better but during this set they even showed prowess playing each other’s instruments when, right before midnight, each member swapped instruments. Molly helming the keyboard, Petty sitting in on drums, Leah strumming the guitar, and Ruby playing bass. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. They’re just that talented.
Overall, I was happy to bring in the year with Thunderpussy. It felt like the Thunderpussy I saw perform was a band ready to grow beyond Seattle, but still carry that Seattle attitude. The performance solidified my fandom, and also made me look forward to seeing what they might have in store for us next time.
My New Years was great. I was there live as The Black Tones performed a memorable “stripped down” set, I got to get out some controlled aggression with Red Fang, and I got to see one of my favorite bands, Thunderpussy, perform a great set.
I don’t know how else to describe the experience other than, we slammed the door on 2018, properly welcomed 2019, and it was a night I was more than happy to talk about at the office. (haha) Happy New Year!