“We are still considering L******** C*** if we are denied our trademark again.” 7 Questions with Whitney Petty and Molly Sides of Thunderpussy.

When I started going to live concerts frequently in the area, the first non festival show I went to headlined by local performers was Night 1 of Thunderpussy’s 2016 New Year’s Eve Party at Neumos. I had heard part of their set at that year’s Capitol Hill Block Party and was very eager to see a full performance. That New Year’s Eve show not only kicked off my fandom of Thunderpussy, but also kicked off my fandom for local music. Since then I’ve attended 20 plus Thunderpussy shows, have attended their New Year’s Eve show each year for the past 4 years, and have become a proud member of their local fan group. I was very happy to get the chance to interview lead vocalist Molly Sides, and lead guitarist Whitney Petty. Here’s my short interview with members of the band Thunderpussy:

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1.) Let’s start with the name. I’ve been a fan of the band since Capitol Hill Block Party 2016. I heard you folks killing it at the main stage and once I heard the band name I was hooked. Where did the name Thunderpussy come from? Were there any failed or “possible” band names you guys had thought of before deciding on Thunderpussy?

Whitney: Well, we are still considering Lightning Cock if we are denied our trademark again. Also thinking of starting a side band called, “Feelie Dan,” for weddings and bar mitzvahs, that type of thing. I think the only one that ever came close to competing with Thunderpussy was, “Hottie Couteratti,” but Thunderpussy is just too good. It really stuck hard and fast when I first threw it out to Molly as a joke for the first time.

2.) Regarding the outfits, where does the band’s fashion sense come from? The outfits have always been fantastic. Is there a theme for each show or does one band member find an awesome outfit and the bandmates (kind of) coordinate accordingly?

Molly: That’s something I really enjoy doing. I come up with a theme, color scheme and draw up sketches to send to our costume designer, Pakio Galore. We meet often and talk fabrics, designs, alterations and then he goes wild. We spend a lot of time at JoAnn’s! On tour, I bring a bedazzling kit, because I love to source fabrics and outfits and then alter them on the road. Or I’ll being those treasures home and take them to Pakio where he can reuse the fabrics for something more elaborate. Tour is basically an excuse to go vintage shopping 😉

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3.) Having been a fan for a few years, I feel like every time I hear some Thunderpussy News, it’s always something impressive, be it the first time KEXP played your songs on air, Mike McCready mentioning the band during Pearl Jam’s Hall of Fame induction, the “Danger Diva” film, SXSW, etc. What do you feel has been the most “Oh my Gosh!” moment of this journey?

Whitney: Jeez there are so many. Most recently, I would say getting to meet Tanya Tucker at an event in Seattle. Holy shit. I have been a big fan since I was a little girl and she is a fucking legend. Before that it was going in the studio with Chad Smith. What an incredible person and one of the greatest drummers ever.

Something I like to do to create a through-line for all the folks I interview that I ask the prior interview subject to provide 3 blind questions for the next interviewee with no knowledge as to who I would interview next. These next 3 questions were provided by my last interview subject local drummer, Andy King. Andy asks:

4.) What’s your favorite tour food?
Whitney: Popcorn

5.) What seat do you like in the tour van the best?
Whitney: The way back

6.) Do you listen to music or do you like quiet on the drives?
Whitney: Music!!

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7.) For my final question, I’ve attended the Thunderpussy New Year’s Eve show for the past 4 years. The line up this year looks insane and I know it’s going to be another great time. If you were going to pitch the show to someone who had no idea who you or anyone on the line up were, what would you say, what should they expect, and what set this year’s show apart from other years?

Whitney: Well, speaking of costumes, I am especially excited for mine this year 😉

We are experimenting with color, lights, and fog a bit more. I’m very excited for what our lighting designer is working on!! Also, musically, we are playing a LOT of new stuff which is always very exciting for us. We consider these New Years shows to be the one time each year that we can really put together the stage show the way that we want it, all the elements that we can’t afford to take on the road (yet!), so it’s like an incubator for future ideas. We always try to push ourselves on NYE.

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I have to thank Whitney and Molly for taking the time to answer my questions. Check out Thunderpussy’s debut album Thunderpussy and their latest EP Milk It. For more Thunderpussy news follow them on social media and keep an eye out for future Thunderpussy events near you

Bringing in the New Year with Thunderpussy, BEAR AXE, Constant Lovers, and Trash Fire!

For the fourth year in a row, I attended the Thunderpussy New Year’s Eve Party at the Showbox.  The theme of the night was “The Glow of Neon Sax” and attendees were encouraged to wear their neon best for what was sure to be a memorable night.  The lineup was stacked with some of Seattle’s most entertaining performers headlined by the night’s hosts, Thunderpussy.  I’ve always loved these Thunderpussy New Year’s Eve shows.  They’re always high energy and a great way to welcome the New Year.  This year’s show was no exception.

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When I heard Trash Fire was going to open for Thunderpussy, I was excited.  This was my fifth time seeing them perform live.  Normally their sets are punctuated by some fun onstage antics like grabbing drinks and splashing the crowd with alcohol, using props like inflatable cats or a cash shooter, or the lead singer jumping into the audience to bring the show directly to crowd members.  This set had the feel of a classic Trash Fire performance, but a little more toned back.  There wasn’t much drink throwing, but there was still the audience engagement.  Highlights of the set saw the lead singer give the light up LED shoes directly off his feet to someone in the audience, the lead singer run to the bar during a song, order three shots and proceed to drink shots with the bass player and the lead guitarist, and in a particularly unique moment the lead singer laid down on stage his head going into the hands of nearby audience members, stand up quickly only to get some bracelets stuck in his hair, and rather than pull the bracelets out, he continued the performance with these elastic bracelets hanging from his hair.  As always they were fun and spontaneous.  If you get the opportunity, I recommend checking out Trash Fire.

Constant Lovers
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This was my first time seeing Constant Lovers perform and I was pleasantly surprised.  I would describe their set as a dynamic mix of rock and hard rock featuring a lead singer switching between vocals, percussion, and saxophone.  The lead singer’s ability to switch between instruments while also providing vocals was impressive.  If I didn’t see it live, it’s almost hard to believe how well he was able to pull this off.  Constant Lovers more than provided the necessary “Glow of Neon Sax” the night was themed after.

BEAR AXE
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If there was any Seattle band I would put money on breaking out of the Seattle music scene within the next year or two, it would be BEAR AXE.  I’ve seen BEAR AXE perform four times and all four times, I was left in awe of the performance led primarily by lead vocalist Shaina Shepherd.  Her ability to command the stage is one thing, but the power of her vocals will make anyone a fan.  The rest of the band are nothing to sleep on as well.  The lead guitarist’s ability to play off the driving beat of the bass player and drummer really add a very jazz inspired quality to what I would otherwise describe as a soul/ funk/ hard rock amalgamation.  Throughout their set BEAR AXE welcomed several local standouts including Terry Monstrosity and Kathy Moore To join their performance.  If you haven’t already, check out BEAR AXE.

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Personally I’ve seen Thunderpussy perform over twenty plus times.  This past New Year’s Eve show the band accomplished to create something that felt new and fresh.  When you go to a Thunderpussy show, there’s no question that you’re seeing a Thunderpussy show.  There’s going to be hard rock with an emphasis on great musicianship, strong vocals, innate sexiness, and of course high energy.  What made this performance stand out was what felt like a real emphasis on staging.  The use of lighting, and how their wardrobe can play off that lighting, really added another layer to their performance.  It’s because of this lighting and focus on staging, the audience was treated to a performance different from most other Thunderpussy shows.  In terms of the set list, I like that they incorporated a lot of new songs into the mix.  Hearing songs debut for the first time is one thing, but hearing some of their standards played in a sort of montage mid set as well as hearing the songs featured on their latest EP “Milk It” shows a band that’s willing to let their sound evolve.  The set closed with members of the opening bands and several special guests (including Eva Walker from the Black Tones) taking the stage to perform in one massive jam session beginning with a cover of “We Belong” and closing out with a cover of “Jump Into the Fire”.

Overall, I felt very happy bringing in the new year with Thunderpussy.  You would think seeing a band perform on New Year’s Eve four years in a row would get kind of stale, but really it’s become a pretty awesome tradition.  I always try to bring a friend who’s never been to a Thunderpussy show along with, and every time the freind is blown away looking to snag merch and trying to find out when the next show is.  I think that’s why I’ve been a Thunderpussy fan for so long.  They have a captivating quality that leaves the audience wanting to see them perform again.

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Thanks for the great time, Trash Fire, Constant Lovers, BEAR AXE, and of course, Thunderpussy!

 

CakeInTheRain206’s 15 Best Photos of 2019

This blog is an offshoot of my Instagram: Cakeintherain206.  I wanted to practice my writing skills alongside my photography skills.  Instagram is a great platform to practice both writing and photography skills, but long form writing should be done on a blog.  All the photos on my posts, except for some of the promo images provided by the artists were taken by me with my cell phone.  To check out more of my photos and videos, check out my Instagram: Cakeintherain206.  Here are 15 of my favorite shots from the year:

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Greta Van Fleet – 1/10/19 – The Paramount

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Amyl and The Sniffers – 3/18/19 – Barboza

20190608_233255Tacocat – 6/8/19 – The Showbox

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The Comet is Coming – 6/20/19 – Barboza

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Mitski – 7/20/19 – Capitol Hill Block Party 2019

20190719_215419Bear Axe – 7/20/19 – Capitol Hill Block Party 2019

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Fucked and Bound – 8/24/19 – Linda’s Fest 2019

20190830_190825Sol – 8/31/19 – Bumbershoot 2019

20190901_150628Kolars – 8/31/19 – Bumbershoot 2019

20191009_230043Starcrawler – 10/9/19 – The Crocodile

20191013_220945Banners – 10/13/19 – Chop Suey

20191017_223606Grizz – 10/17/19 – The Paramount

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Maiah Manser – 10/30/19 – Barboza

20191106_212544The Paranoyds – 11/6/19 – Barboza

IMG_20191122_200703_288Crushed PBR – 11/22/19 – Lost Lake Cafe

“My goal is to always learn more and to always improve. Drinking did not help that for me.” 7 Questions with Andy King

If you’ve spent time in the Seattle music scene, there’s a good chance you’ve seen drummer Andy King perform.  Andy is one of the Seattle music scenes most dynamic performers.  As of this writing, reviewing photos and videos I’ve taken at shows, I’ve personally seen him perform in 9 different bands ranging in styles from punk, alternative, and overall, rock.  On January 9th, Neumos will be hosting the 3rd Annual Andy King Drum Marathon, in which Andy will perform sets with 4 of his current bands.  The first Andy King Drum Marathon, he reportedly performed for 5 hours straight (with slight breaks to change out equipment).  For $8 (plus fees) you can see Andy attempt this event for a third consecutive year, and all proceeds for this event will benefit SMASH! which aims to provide affordable healthcare and dentalcare to local musicians.  I had the opportunity to speak to Andy.  Here’s my short interview with Seattle drummer, Andy King:

1.) Thanks for doing this Andy, now I’ve seen you perform with Dust Moth, Reader, Trash Fire, and a number of other bands in the area. I’ve always been curious, how many bands are you currently a member of and can you name them all?

Right now I play for Reader, Subways on the Sun, Trash Fire and jjjacob jjjames

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Trash Fire

2.) Ringo swings, Charlie Watts rocks, and John Bonham does his own thing. I’ve seen you perform primarily in rock bands but then there’s something like King Snake, which I feel like is its own thing. Kind of going off the last question, how would you describe your drum style?

My favorite drummers are Matt Cameron, Steve Gadd, William Goldsmith, Matt Chamberlain, Jimmy Chamberlain, Dave Grohl and Neil Peart and I feel like I absorbed ideas from all of them when I was young and play a good rock beat 🙂

3.) Congratulations on being 3 years sober! That’s a great accomplishment especially being in a profession where “non sobriety” is very prevalent. What advice do you have for folks who are also trying to pursue a sober lifestyle?

Thank You 🙂 getting sober is a very personal thing but if someone wants to quit and thinks they have a issue with a substance I would tell them don’t be afraid to ask for help, for me personally getting sober has helped me face problems I was numbing out and it has helped me grow into the person I really am and play at the level I should play at. Things have become more clear the cloudiness is gone. My goal is to always learn more and to always improve. Drinking did not help that for me.

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King Snake X Zoolab

These next 3 questions were provided by my last interview subject, The Brooke and The Bluff.  The Brooke and The Bluff ask:
4.) What is one thing you need on tour that you can’t live without?
Probably a good book to read most likely about aviation.

5.) What do you like to do with your downtime in a new city?
See if there are any aviation museums near by and check out the book stores 🙂

6.) If you could tour with any band or artist who would you go with on the road? Why?
It would be fun to open for the Foo Fighters 🙂 they seem like they would be fun and the shows would be rad 🙂

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Mirror Ferrari

7.) For my last question, I follow you on Instagram and you’re a big fan of planes and aviation. If someone was visiting the area and also had a similar love of planes and aviation, what are three essential things you recommend they should check out (events, museums, exhibits, etc.) and why?

If you like airplanes go to the Museum of Flight right by Boeing field, The Flying Heritage Combat Armor Museum in Everett or the Heritage Flight Foundation in Everett.

 

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I have to thank Andy King for taking the time to answer my questions.  You can catch Andy perform with all of his current bands listed above at the 3rd Annual Andy King Drum Marathon.  All proceeds will benefit SMASH!.  You can also catch Trash Fire open for Thunderpussy this New Years Eve at the Showbox (this line up is insane).

Tacocat Halloween 2019!

Aside from my 7am to 4pm Monday to Friday day job, last week was busy.  Monday, after work I went boxing, and then I attended Rhein Haus’ Super Meat Raffle Monday where in the span of a 2 hour period, they not only raffled off deli quality meat, but also raffled off high dollar gift cards.  I walked away with $90 in gift cards while a friend walked away with $170 in gift cards.  Tuesday was a family member’s birthday dinner.  Wednesday, after work I went to a pro wrestling screening at Rhein Haus, followed by Disney Villain Trivia at Optimism Brewery (4th Place), left with a friend for Drag Bingo at The Runaway, and closed out the night with a great concert at Barboza featuring Joza, Claire George, and Maiah Manser.

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Maiah Manser (above)/Claire George (below)

As much as I loved that show and would highly recommend all three performers, the highlight of my week was the Tacocat Halloween show on Thursday night.  Thursday was Halloween.  I was running on maybe four hours of sleep from the night before and decided I would go boxing after work.  After boxing I went to Starbucks and the café was rocking with a Halloween soundtrack.  The cashier after ringing up my coffee looked at me and said, “I got Cranberries on the brain.”  I looked at him confused, but it hit me after a few seconds, “Zombie” by the Cranberries was playing over the speakers.  I made my way to Neumos after finishing my coffee, and upon entering the room, I was immediately impressed by the stage set up.  The stage had sparkled cowboy boots with skeleton flamingos, a woman praying with heavy goth style makeup, a sparkly background with Tacocat and a spider on it, multiple cauldrons, tombstones, and an area in front of the stage barricaded off with a kiddie pool and tarp.

20191031_213951“Britney Spears Dance Break”

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Dog Sister took the stage a little after 8:30pm to open the show and provide entertaining vignettes between sets throughout the night.  Sporting several outfit changes, I found Dog Sister charming and her between set vignettes were fun if not a little manic.  The vignettes ranged from performing a spell/dumping leaves on the lead singer of Sundae Crush, to a “Britney Spears Dance Break”.  A more memorable vignette came near the end of the night when a mock Jeff Bezos was introduced, ushered into the kiddie pool where he was showered with garbage and eventually hit with a cream pie.  The cream pie hit so hard, the cream hit a number of the audience members directly behind him.  Dog Sister did a great job as the night’s MC and kept the fun going throughout the show.

Sundae Crush
The first opener of the night was Sundae Crush.  From a visual standpoint the band looked great.  The whole band was dressed in various costumes, my favorite being Britney Spears from “Oops I Did It Again” video.  Of the three acts, Sundae Crush was the act I was the least familiar with, but they definitely made a case to see them perform again.  The songs were fun.  Not to mention the lip creature who couldn’t navigate the stage and was essentially blind, why wouldn’t you want to check that band out again?

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Donormaal (above)/Sundae Crush (below)

Donormaal
I’ll be the first to admit, I was wrong about Donormaal.  I’ve seen Donormaal perform at least seven different times in the past three years.  She was normally the opening act for a headliner I was excited to see, and like I’ve done since the first show I attended, I make an effort to watch every performance on the card.  I always felt Donormaal was a mediocre performer and I didn’t understand why so many publications were giving her so much credit as the future of Northwest hip hop.  I saw her twice in 2019, and have to admit, I was wrong.  She killed it and I can totally see how she could be seen as the future of Northwest Hip Hop.  Donormaal announced she would be leaving Seattle soon, but as long as she performs as well as she did that night, then I know she is going to make splash wherever she ends up.

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After a brief Raven Hollywood moment, and the Dog Sister vignette featuring the mock Jeff Bezos, Tacocat took the stage.  As they do every year, their costumes were impressive.  It’s hard to pick a standout of the group but I would have to lean towards either Emily as a spirit/ghost, or Bree who was the Space Needle.  It’s one thing to look impressive, but they both seemed like they were having some difficulty performing in their outfits (Emily with the wig and contacts, Bree kept adjusting her hat and the base of the tower kept hitting decorations).  Despite those minor difficulties, if there was a list of currently active Seattle bands that consistently put on solid fun memorable shows, Tacocat has to rank in the top ten, if not top five.  The sold out crowd danced and sang along to all the songs presented from the opening cover of “Zombie” by the Cranberries, to the various hits from their latest album “This Mess is a Place”.  It’s hard to pick single songs that jumped out from this set because the crowd was engaged the entire performance.  The “Zombie” cover was special.  Seeing how hard Lelah would bang on those drums on “New World” was memorable.  During “Bridge to Hawaii” there was an inflatable surf board, crowd surfed around the audience.  Seeing how much the songs from the latest album blended so well with the regular canon was impressive.

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Tacocat

Overall, that night was a lot of fun and energizing.  I did my best to get to sleep but still only got maybe four hours in before I had to get up for work the next morning.  Friday was my rest day.  Other than going to my day job and the gym, I stayed in Friday night and caught up on my sleep.  I feel like I did Halloween week right, and in large part I have to thank Tacocat and the other performers I saw that night.  I may have only gotten eight hours of sleep in two nights, but to see that level of talent two nights in a row, it’s hard to say that it wasn’t worth it.

 

For Photos and Videos of this performance, check out my Instagram: Cakeintherain206

My Experience at Bumbershoot 49: The Bear Essential Bumbershoot

My favorite set at this year’s Bumbershoot was The Lumineers (above)

One week ago was Bumbershoot 49. The reviews are in.  For every even handed review, you have a review where the reviewer wants you to know Bumbershoot was expensive, different from their favorite Bumbershoot a decade or two ago, and they felt old in the young crowd. I always love reading those reviews. They read like a high school student who was required to go to a play for his art class. The person writes as if they were forced to go, coupled with a lot of padded paragraphs concerning the periphery of the event like history and critiques of transplants, and then like 2 or 3 paragraphs of their experience. They’re pretty funny.

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Jai Wolf at the main stage, Day 3

I attended Bumbershoot 49. I grew up in Seattle and this was my 8th consecutive Bumbershoot. I did what I try to do every year at Bumbershoot. I tried to have a great time. I went out and met people. If I ran into artists, I complimented them on their sets. I danced. I drank. I tried to hear new music objectively. I tried to put out a positive vibe and hoped I would get that energy back.

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ReignWolf, Day 3

Speaking from experience this year’s Bumbershoot felt “less”. There were at least 3 less stages. With less stages, there were less slots for performers, so there was less performances to check out. There was no “Flatstock”. There was no dance arts stage. There was no KEXP presence. There was no Sub Pop or other branded pop up shop. The ticket price remained as high as ever. The film selection at SIFF cinema was lacking. The SIFF programming was 2 documentaries about the space needle that took up a one hour block, followed by a 4 hour block of music videos. The whole festival on paper felt like a group got together, decided to throw a “Bumbershoot”, and the first thought at the pitch meeting was, “We don’t want to spend too much money but we also want to give people the “Bumbershoot experience”, what’re the bear essentials of Bumbershoot?”.

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Posters for Bumbershoot 2019 (left) and Bumbershoot 2012 (right). The reductions are pretty obvious.

As harsh as that critique may seem, that was all information that could have been gleaned from one review of the schedule, map, or lineup prior to the event. I usually purchase my tickets before they announce the lineup because I expect Bumbershoot to be Bumbershoot. It’s a local tradition. If you still bought tickets even after researching that information, then it’s on you for purchasing tickets for an obviously reduced event.  Despite all of this, the actual mood of the event was positive. It felt like more people had attended this year’s Bumbershoot, than last year’s Bumbershoot. Maybe the reduced experiences, caused more people to congregate at stages in heavier volumes, but it definitely felt like the crowds were heavier than they were in 2018. Folks were lined up for laser light shows at Pacific Science Center, half an hour before the show, only to fill the room to capacity. Every stage had pretty sizeable audience turnouts. I hate to bring this up, but the Jai Wolf crowd, broke the barrier on Saturday night and other than being emblematic of an enthusiastic crowd it’s also emblematic of a well attended set.

20190901_153945Longtime Bumbershoot fans getting things started on Day 1

Chatting with folks around the festival, everyone seemed to be excited. One of the first bands I saw on Day 1 were the School of Rock kids. Prior to their set, a group of long time Bumbershoot fans had congregated at the Fischer Green stage (where they would be most of the weekend), and had already begun dancing even before the band took the stage. One of the couples told me about how they were in their 70’s and had been to every Bumbershoot except for one. When asked who they were looking forward to seeing that weekend, the gentleman in the couple said, “The Dip and Rezz.” I went to see The Dip later that night. I stacked up as close as I could to the barricade. A younger fan and her dad stood next to me. I asked the younger fan if she was enjoying her day? She told me about how she was 12, this was her first Bumbershoot, and she was having a great time. I told her about how I was impressed that she would get this close to the stage to see The Dip. It’s stuff like that that makes me happy. It’s reminiscent of the family heavy crowd that attended Reignwolf on Day 2 (the following day). I didn’t think it would be appropriate to mosh at Reignwolf seeing how many children were with their parents in the audience. Those kids are going to go to their first days of school and be able to brag to the other kids how they went to a music festival and were front row for The Dip, or were on their dad’s shoulders for Reignwolf. It’s just so cool.

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Sol, Day 1

As great as it was to meet an experienced Bumbershoot couple and a first time fest fan, I think getting to interact with artists is one of the bigger appeals of Bumbershoot. Other than nodding up to Sol when I would run into him at random stages, or standing next to Nestra for a song or two as he yelled at Pink Sweat$ (who was wearing literal pink sweats in direct sunlight), “Isn’t it hot?!”, my favorite Bumbershoot 49 artist run in was during the Kolars set on Day 3. I had stacked up at the front of the stage. Yogashoot hadn’t wrapped yet, but Kolars had already took the stage and were ready to begin their set. A dad and his kids had posted up right next to me. I chatted with this couple on my other side, but I glanced over at this dad every now and again and mentioned how great this next band was and how we were all looking forward to this set. As Kolars began to perform, two songs in, the lead singer dedicated a song to that dad next to us, “This next song is for Mike.” It didn’t take me too long to realize, Oh wow, that’s Mike McCready from Pearl Jam. The dead giveaway was when he took out his Polaroid camera and began taking shots of the band. All I could think was I have his book “Of Potato Heads and Polaroids” at home, how cool is it that he still takes Polaroids at shows? haha. Realizing he was on family time, I didn’t ask him for a photo, I just thought it was a cool Bumbershoot moment. I got to watch Kolars next to Mike McCready.

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Kolars, Day 3

The performances I saw were fabulous. After seeing their sets at Bumbershoot, I immediately went out and downloaded albums from both Donna Missal and Bryce Vine. Their sets had me chanting as if I were at a pro wrestling show, “Please come back!”. Carly Rae Jepsen proved why her latest album “Dedicated” should be up their as one of the top releases of 2019. LP delivered a memorable set. The Lumineers’ performance on Day 2 made me put away my camera and just be there in the moment. Something about hearing the song “Cleopatra” and dancing and singing with the strangers around me, made me realize I want to just be “here” now.  Taking Back Sunday on Day 3 brought me back to high school. It was a special performance for a number of reasons, but the lead singer being unable to climb back on stage mid set and making the executive decision to just wander the crowd while singing, hugging and dancing with everyone was something myself and fans who were there won’t forget.

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Taking Back Sunday, Day 3

Finally, Rezz closing out the festival was just fun. I normally go to festivals alone and just meet up with freinds at sets we all mutually want to see. Rezz was a performer all my friends who attended Bumbershoot wanted to see. Being able to spend time dancing with them in that crowd felt special. At one point I disappeared for a bit, in order to eat a lobster sushi burrito.  I got closer to one side of the stage so I could dance and chow down.  Randomly a member of one of the bands (no joke, I think it was one of the DJs from Louis the Child) tried chatting with me about how he had eaten a lot of food at catering and how I, dancing while eating during Rezz, was “Living the best life”. All I could think of while dancing, eating, and chatting to this musician was, no one else is probably having a Bumbershoot experience like mine.

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Rezz, Day 3

On paper, this will probably go down as one of the most lackluster Bumbershoots, but for me and a lot of those who attended I can’t say it was a negative experience. I felt like I had a great time, met some awesome people, danced, heard some great artists, and made some great memories. Where it stacks against my prior Bumbershoot experiences, I can’t say it was one of the best, but no where near my worst. I feel like everyone I spoke to after the event have had similar opinions as well. It wasn’t a terrible Bumbershoot, but also was no where near noteworthy. If I were to give a straight no non sense opinion about Bumbershoot 49, it made me excited for next year.  =)

20190903_223727Carly Rae Jepsen, Day 2

See ya next year, Bumbershoot!  I hope Bumbershoot 50 is something special.

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(All photos were taken by me.  Check out my Instagram at: Cakeintherain206)

“We all turn to our communities in darker times and making art feels healing and more important than ever.”: 7 Questions with Moon Palace

Shadowcast

Recently, I was given the opportunity to preview the latest album “Shadowcast” from Seattle indie rock band, Moon Palace.  Twin sisters Cat and Carrie Biell alongside bandmates, Jude Miqueli, and Darcey Zoller create a psychedelia tinged, dusky, 41 minute kind of dream landscape that’s simply captivating. 

The album was like the progression of a day in that songs at the beginning of the album like “Bold” and “Gamma Ray” were energetic, but eventually the album faded into this meditative reflection, culminating in more subdued songs like “Embers” which felt like gathering around a fire at night. If there was any other way I would describe “Shadowcast”, it felt like the soundtrack to a long drive outside of the city.  Like I got in my car in the morning, watched my landscape change around me, and eventually, I’m night driving. I started kind of hyped for this drive, but eventually, it’s just me and my thoughts.  That’s what this album does, it provides a space to reflect.

“Shadowcast” by Moon Palace will be released on August 23rd.  In anticipation of the album’s release I was fortunate enough to be given the chance to ask the band a few questions.  Here’s my short interview with Moon Palace.

1.) What was the inspiration for “Shadowcast”? Was there a particular vibe you were trying to create?
Jude: We made it over the course of a year. Each week we would open ourselves up to what sounds were coming through. I think the record evolved with the changing seasons. For much of the year, Seattle is dark and partly cloudy so that may be why there is a bit of an ominous presence. Once summer hit we wanted to make brighter songs and that’s when “Gamma Ray” emerged. On practice days I’d listen to music on the way to work while riding the bus at 6 AM when it was dark out and text the group what I was listening to. They would text tracks back throughout the workday. Later that night we’d get together, talk about the sounds we wanted to make and get creative. “Shadowcast” was Talking Heads influenced, “Stop When It Hurts” was Sonic Youth, “On the Level” was The Cure, “Bold” was influenced by The Gossip. In the end, I don’t think the songs sound like any of those bands because we weren’t trying to replicate what they were doing even though they were heavy influences. With each song, I want to grow as a drummer so I try new styles or techniques and one way of learning those is by listening to other drummers.

I read an interview in City Arts Magazine, that one of the main things that drew members of the group to Seattle was how queer-friendly the city was. A quote in the article said that you like how Seattle is a “sanctuary city” and that the band was making “sanctuary music”. 
2. I like the idea of “sanctuary music”, but would you mind expanding on that? How would you define “sanctuary music”?
Jude: A sanctuary is a place of refuge or safety. It immediately brings up the idea of church which can be triggering for queers due to having been shamed by religion. But a bird sanctuary can also bring up ideas of a nature reserve and I think our band finds solace in nature. I came here in 2006 after researching where there was queer community on the internet. At that time Seattle had anti-discrimination laws protecting workers based on gender and sexual orientation and where I was from didn’t. I think sanctuary music can be anything that makes you feel safe in a space. Growing up as a teenager in the 90’s for me that was Bratmobile, Bikini Kill, Team Dresch, and Sleater-Kinney. Now when I listen to music at home I’m mostly playing jazz.

Carrie: Cat and I lived in more homogenous suburban area like 20 mins outside of Seattle. As out, queer teenagers, we would drive out to Seattle multiple times a week to be with the community we identified with and who supported us the most. Seattle did feel like a sanctuary in that way at the time. Nowadays it feels like making music in our band is a sanctuary from the current climate in America where hate crimes are on the rise and bigots feel more emboldened. We all turn to our communities in darker times and making art feels healing and more important than ever.

The music video for the song “Hunt and Gather” is amazing. Not only because the song is so good, but visually the video watches more like a high production short film with vibrant cuts and great use of light and shadow which really bring more attention to physical elements of the performers.
3. Was the concept for this video inspired by the song, or did you have this idea of what you wanted the visual to be like as this song was being created and then created a video to best reflect that visual?
Cat: The concept for the video was inspired by the song. An epic song deserved an epic video. The video reflects the process of creating peace with the wounded and unintegrated parts of ourselves. By integrating the ego, the wounded child, the wild one in all of us, we each move through our individual journey of reflection and transformation.

(These next 3 questions were provided by my last interview, the band “Tangerine”.)
4. What’s the last book you read?
Jude: Currently Reading Pleasure Activism by Adrienne Maree Brown
Carrie: Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou

5. What was the most stressed you have been on tour and why?
Jude: When I went on a summer tour with a band called Scarves we were in an overheating van driving down I5 while California was burning. None of us had any mechanic skills which is why it was stressful. After a long drive and a mediocre show, we slept on a concrete floor in some dude’s apartment. In the end, we made it down the coast and back, had fun at the beach, and played better shows so it ended up being a good time!

Carrie: I did a west coast tour with my solo project joined by my backing band. We had great shows throughout the tour, but our show in Eugene ended up being really strange. The venue didn’t provide a PA that night and there was very little sound equipment ready even though there were four bands on this bill. One of the local bands ended up running around piecing together a sound system, which I was grateful for. After the show, some of the band members from the other bands invited all of us to some big mansion to party at because somebody was house sitting there. We wanted to take them up on the offer at first because it was a free spot to crash for the night. I felt somewhat reluctant because I was the only woman on the whole lineup of musicians that night and I didn’t see many other women around. We were about to go to the mansion, but then it turned out to be a bunch of drunk dudes all wanting us to get in a hot tub with them. Luckily the guys in my band always looked out for me and we all ended up sort of sneaking away and getting a hotel room for the night instead. I’m grateful to be playing music with more women and genderqueer folks these days 🙂

6. What were some rejected band names you almost had?
Carrie:
Desert Hearts
Wild Embers
Twin Shadow (Already Taken)
Carpet Ride (Too punk rock LOL)

7.) As a final question, I read that each of you are from other parts of the country and have performed in other groups, do you have any advice for other transplants trying to enter the Seattle music scene?
Carrie: I always think it’s a good idea to attend lots of shows and get a feel for the kind of bands and venues that our out here. Try to make friends with other bands and musicians and build a network of supportive fellow musicians who either want to play with you or book shows together. Bookers at venues don’t do as much building of bills anymore so it helps to approach some of the venues with a complete lineup or at least one other band that will bring out people. There are so many musicians and bands here so it can feel daunting to try and get out here, but if you have a few other bands or artists in your corner it really helps.

I also think it’s a great idea to make a professional recording and press them in a professional way so you have a better chance of getting on radio stations like KEXP. KEXP is awesome at supporting local bands and their reach is far and wide. It can be hard to get on their airways since they get tons of submissions, but showing up to the station or mailing an actual professional hard copy of the songs with a radio one-sheet really helps the chances of getting airplay.

 

I have to thank Moon Palace for providing such great answers.  Check out “Shadowcast” available August 23rd, and catch Moon Palace at Clock-Out Lounge on Friday, September 20th.