October 05, 07 -- Seattle, Washington Setlist
Party @ moms >
stop breaking down
ain't life grand>
who do u belong to
b of d
E: expiration day, climb to safety
I was on the fence about going to this show, but ended up being pleasantly suprised. WSP with Jimmy Herring is a whole new and improved ball of wax.
After closing the shop, my friend Dan picked me up and we ended up a good 10 block walk to the theater. It's located right off the I-5 in downtown, which can be a tough park on any Friday night, show or not. There was a huge clusterfuck of people clogging the sidewalks in front of the Paramount, and it was clear that the circus was back in town. It's been nice going to the local jamband shows up here and seeing that while not blatantly visible, an underground network of heady peeps still exists in the PNW. After seeing this silent community emerge from the woodwork at Ratdog, .moe, DSO and Umphrey's shows up here, it's a little puzzling why Phil Lesh keeps scratching Seattle off his tour itinerary. I have no doubt that Phil could draw a full house at the Paramount and would enjoy the scene as well. What's that saying about leading a horse to water?
We quickly scored $20 seats from some grateful sellers. The show seemed sold out inside, but there was a glut of extras outside, and I'm guessing $10 and free tickets were flying by showtime. Since the face value was $35, I was cool with $20. We got in line and were treated to one of the more competent street drumming performances I'd seen in a long time. Young fella was feeling it and seemed to be filling up his donation hat. A couple of late teen kids decked out in hippie garb were twirling away. The psych energy was palpable.
This was my first time in the Paramount, and it lived up to it's reputation as the grandest of Seattle's old theaters. Truly excellent terra-cotta masonry and brick lattice work trimming the building, a glitzy vintage neon marquee (the "T" in Paramount was dimmed--made me think about Minglewood for a sec), a large carpeted lobby with a 2nd floor balcony, no seats on the main floor and assigned seats in the balcony. One element lacking was competent bar service, the lines creeped, and I spent almost half the first set in line waiting to get served. Another minus was that smokers were not allowed out and back in and there was no indoor smoking area, so my smoking friends had to sneak cigs like they were firing up a fatty.
I finally went into the show for the back half of the first set, and hung out in the 3rd row of the balcony just above Dave Schools. The sound and lights were all top-notch. Jimmy just shreds with this band. It was mostly amorpholous jamming, but when these guys find a groove they work it to death. At one point I grabbed the Spreadhead next to me and told him to stand still for a moment and you could feel the balcony wobbling up and down. During the 2nd set I was able to actually see this affect from the floor and made a note to myself not to stand under the balcony. Hope it never happens, but I hope they do a structural analysis of that balcony before it comes tumbling down during some high energy show. On a positive note, no one jumped out of the balcony, although there were plenty of folks who seemed loaded to the gills on the fluff, Molly or just good old booze. With their Georgia roots, WSP has a pronounced Southern flavor to their fanbase, and along with it, a lot of drinkers.
Musically, I'm not too familiar with their catalog, but the covers ("Stop Breaking Down" and "Walk On Gilded Splinters") were furiously sick! The first encore, "Expiration Day", was also a cover of a tune by fellow Athens native Vic Chesnutt. It was a sweet slow tune with a "Brokedown Palace" feel to it. Then they hammered it home with the show closing "Climb To Safety" which got everyone dancing hard to end it.
We busted out a side door right onto the mini-Shakedown Street, with food vendors, t-shirts, pipes, but alas, no beer! Dan had gotten kicked down some fluff at intermission and I guess his ESP powers kicked in, for he found the one guy in the lot with the secret cooler stash of iced down microbrews, and he kicked them to us at a dollar a piece no less! We just had to promise not to tell anyone where they were coming from. This caused much consternation with some young ladies who were convinced we were holding out on them. Anyhow, Black Butte Porter in hand, a little GD at MSG from '91 w/Branford blasting out of someone's panel van and it was just like old times. The scene petered out after an hour or so, and it was off for late night grub at 5 Points and off to the Land Of Nod.
It was so good, I'm thinking about going back tonight for Round 2, although the final night of the Built To Spill/Camper Van Beethoven 3 night run at the Showbox is a serious competitor for my entertainment dollar. I'm tempted to get 10 cases of micros and clean up vending on the mini-Shakedown tonight, but I've been working all day in Record land and that ain't gonna happen. But I bet I get that $10 ticket tonight.
WSP is as much the "it" band on the jamband scene as I've seen recently. By continuing to tour, they've maintained a multi-age group fan base and seem to be hitting their stride.
That was the first time I'd been in the Paramount with the seats taken out on the main floor. Perfect venue to see WSP and Phil (hint, hint). Great show.
I didn't know that they normally have seats on the floor at the Paramount. I was glad I was able to catch one set each on the balcony and the floor. I'm hoping I can get down to the floor for the Ween show.
Turns out I was lucky to see night 1. After work Saturday, I decided to lounge in my apartment and watch the end of the LSU/Florida game then headed to the Paramount around 9. There were no tickets to be had anywhere. After considering going to see the Built To Spill/CVB show at the Showbox or Toots & The Maytals at Neumo's, I decided to save some dollars and energy and headed back to my U-District 'hood where I took in a pretty decent free set by a local band called Queen Jane at the legendary bohemian dive bar the Blue Moon. Looking forward to seeing WSP up here again, perhaps outdoors next summer.
Mmmmmmm, Black Butte Porter....
Great review, Java_Dave! Thanks for taking the time to write that!