Last Saturday night, the 21st, was the “Dirtnap Showcase” held at The Highline in Seattle on Captial Hill. Dirtnap is a record label that started in Seattle and is now based in Portland. To celebrate their 14th anniversary, they held two concerts each featuring ten bands, one in Portland on Friday and the other in Seattle. All ten bands are on the Dirtnap label.
First, the venue. This was my first time at The Highline. It’s a fair size room, with a 500 capacity (and it was a sell out) with a professional stage/sound set up. It’s on the second floor, which is a bit odd and with a sell out crowd the floor movement was a bit unnerving when the moshing took place. However, the building construction held up well as there was no collapse and the show went on without a hitch.
Other than lack of ventilation, my only real complaint with the venue is lack of parking. It’s pretty much all street parking with an overpriced parking garage close by that closes at midnight and the show was scheduled to go until after 1:00 AM. I did finally find a reasonable parking lot some 3 blocks south, but hey, at least I found a spot.
With ten bands, there was a schedule with the first band starting at 7:00 and the last one ending at 1:00 AM with 10 minutes between bands for change over. The show did start at 7:00 and only ran 15 minutes long by the end. One helpful thing was all the bands used the same drum kit and amps, which really cut down set up time and it kept the crowd engaged.
First up was “Big Eyes”….
…..a three piece from Seattle . They played to a small opening crowd and did a 20 minute set.
Second up, also from Seattle was “The Girls” .
I had actually thought that this five piece had dis-banded, apparently not I’m a fan of their 80’s new wave sound. As hot as it was, the lead singer was probably the coolest one in the crowd. They too did a 20 minute set.
Next up, from Portland, was “Guantanamo Baywatch”
A three piece doing a 25 minute surfer stuff set and the drummer was blamed for breaking the snare stand.
Next was “Mean Jeans”.
These guys, another three piece from Portland, were a huge crowd favorite, including mine, packing the floor from first song to the last of their 25 minute set. They were the main band that I went to see and I’d love a chance to see them do a headlining show. They have a “Ramones-ness” flavor to their sound.
Fifth was “Low Culture”.
This four piece hails from Las Cruces NM. The guitarist on the right is also the guitarist for band number “10”. They were the first of the 30 minute set which is what the rest of the bands played for the remainder of the evening.
Sixth was “Mind Spiders”
This is a four piece hailing from Fort Worth, TX. The lead vocalist and the drummer are also in band number “10” while the bassists (playing a Rickenbacker….sweet) is also in band number “9”.
Next was “Sonic Avenues”
This four piece from across the border, Montreal, flat killed it at the show by packing out the floor from start to finish with their pumping pop punk style plus they featured two Rickenbackers (yeah).
Eighth up was “White Wires”
This three piece from Ottawa was another one of the main bands that I wanted to see but for me they were a bit of a disappointment. They sounded good but compared to the other bands they were a bit mellow but they did start their set with one of my favorites. Also, the guitar player from the previous band was now playing bass (a Rickenbacker) for White Wires.
Getting close to the end with band number nine “Bad Sports”.
This three piece hails from the lone star state with the bassists also playing bass for band number “6” Mind Spiders.
Last up “Marked Men”
This four piece is also from Texas and features the guitarist from Low Culture and the drummer and vocalist/guitarist from Mind Spiders. They too were a huge crowd favorite packing the floor from beginning to end.
It was a great show, six hours of music amongst ten bands, now that’s entertainment. I really hope that this kind of show case idea takes off and that more shows of this caliper will evolve in the very near future.
Until the next show…..oh and all the “liking” of Rickenbacker, it’s what I play a black and white 4001.