A while back, late last year probably, I stumbled across Garage-A-Trios playing a two nights in Seattle at Nectar Lounge. By the time I found out Friday and Saturday was sold out so they added a third performance on Sunday night. I immediately started contemplating a trip to see them.
Garage-A-Trio is three members. Charlie Hunter, Stanton More and Skerik. I remember seeing and hearing about them back in the early 2000’s. The last time I saw them perform was at Bonnaroo in 2003 or 2004, it was time to see them again. With only a few days of thought I planned out a rough schedule for the weekend and decided to travel that weekend to Seattle.
When I told Jeremy about it he was in so he came up for a long weekend. He arrived Friday night and left Monday. Sunday was the show in Seattle and we hung out on Monday as well. We got a pretty late start to Seattle but honestly we where not in any sort of hurry to get there. The weather ended up being bad all weekend and we got caught in blizzard conditions driving north on I5. It was crazy getting to Seattle that afternoon.
We checked into the hotel and started looking for dinner. It was Super Bowl Sunday and we managed to find a good place for food and caught the last half of the most boring Super Bowl ever. Duke’s Seafood and Chowder was a little difficult to find but well worth the effort because the food was really good. We loaded up on some pre-show food and finished out the Super Bowl. It really was a crappy game and I was glad we where in Seattle for a concert and not a Super Bowl event.
The Nectar Lounge wasn’t far from the hotel so it didn’t take us long to get there and find parking on the street. An interesting venue to say the least. It has a couple huge garage doors that get opened during nice weather. The stage is actually on the side of the venue right in the middle. This makes the audience area narrow but super wide. Part of the floor area spills into the outdoor seating which is cool. There is also a balcony. We tried to make it there but couldn’t. As we tried to get up top I panic and just had to get out of there. Memories of Robert Walter’s 20th Congress flashed through my head and I just had to go.
As for the performance it was a really good show. I just saw Charlie a few months prior for his most recent incarnation of the Charlie Hunter Trio. For me this was a throw back to seeing them at Bonnaroo in 2003 or 2004. Lots of good energy and a good mixture of songs. Some really good jams and interplay between everyone. Skerik was the front man all night playing MC. For much of the second set they had a guest trumpeter which was cool. There was no opening act but they did play two sets which was nice.
The show was Sunday night but we where in no rush getting home so spent Monday in Seattle before heading back to Portland. The next morning we woke to the city blanketed in snow. It was a pretty amazing sight to see to be honest. I have seen snow before but it doesn’t snow like this in the northwest. It turned into a major snow event over the next few days, setting records. Let me tell you it was interesting navigating the city streets in my car that morning.
We left the hotel and followed directions to downtown. The first thing it said was turn right, which I did, and then start up this long hill. Well that I couldn’t make and eventually had to turn around. This was an indication of how the rest of the day would go.
First thing we did was hit one of the first Starbucks located on Pike Street. We warmed our hands and body with some coffee before heading back out. We then walked across the street to Pike Place Market and walked around for a bit. Jeremy is a huge fan of comics so when we found Golden Age Collectables by dump luck it was a good day. This place is incredible and I recommend any fan of comics, even just a little, check this place out. Lots of cool stuff here.
We hit the road home by mid-afternoon. It is 3 hour drive and I personally didn’t want to get home to late. I had work the next day and Jeremy was flying back to Texas. Driving to Seattle we hit a major snow storm and leaving Seattle we hit another. It wasn’t as bad as getting there but still pretty dangerous. At times it was near white out condition and tracks in the snow you had to follow. God help you if you wanted to change lanes.
The time was all to short having Jeremy in town. As always it was a great time with an amazing side trip to Seattle to see Garage-A-Trios. It brings back memories of road trips to see shows in our younger days. The nice thing now is we can afford to have better accommodations. We can fly to where we want to go and stay in hotels, not our car. Next is is Montreal to see the Grand Prix du Canada. Really excited for that.
I regularly get emails from bands with their concert schedules and will often plan trips around these tour schedules. Things started to align when I got emails from The New Mastersounds and LCD Soundsystem. The New Mastersounds where planning on hitting the pacific northwest with a show in Portland and another in Seattle. LCD Soundsystem got back together after a few years of being on hesitates and did a pretty long tour over summer and fall of 2017. For a while I have been trying to see them but my last best shot was them coming to DC after I was gone. Then I saw a show in Denver on a Saturday that wasn’t yet sold out. I compared that date to the New Mastersounds schedule and said fuck it, I’m going on vacation.
LCD Soundsystem was playing in Denver on a Saturday which is a totally doable show from Portland. A quick and cheap flight over for the weekend and back home for work on Monday. I then thought I could see the New Mastersounds mid week in Portland, travel to Seattle to see them on Friday and catch LCD on Saturday. Because I was afraid LCD would sell out I got that ticket first and then the New Mastersounds. It was at this point when I realized New Mastersounds was playing Thursday in Seattle, not Friday. Oh well that just meant an extra day off and a full day in Seattle.
My trip started coming together and this was going to be a doozy, even for me so follow along. Thursday I decided to the take Amtrak from Vancouver to Seattle. Unfortunately my train was a little late but once we got going things where great. I took an Uber to the station so I didn’t even have to worry about getting there. I splurged for a first class seat since I was only going one way. I had a nice leather seat with plenty of room. So much I could cross my legs. There was even a power outlet and decent wi-fi access as a bonus. It was a little over 3 hours to get to Seattle. Unless time is of the essence I would rather take the train to Seattle then fly. Just a better experience all around.
Thursday I didn’t have much of a plan besides seeing the show. I was hungry so started making my way towards downtown to find some food. It was pretty late in the afternoon so the city was quite. I found Blueacre Seafood. Good stuff but I thought overpriced for what I got. Good selection of beer and seafood. I found severalkick ass stationary stores and even a spot to grab a cupcake. Cupcakes Royale not nearly as good as Cupcakes Actually. Sometimes I miss the things from home. I found myself down by the water and stopped by Pike’s Place Market.
That evening I wanted something good to eat near the Neptune Theatre and found Big Time Brewing Co. for some local craft beer and food. I had a craving for tacos that night and ordered some pretty good ones. They where simple and filling and the perfect thing to fill my belly before rocking out to another night of The New Mastersounds. The beer was pretty good as well. I had the Coal Creek Porter and Skosh, both above average beers for me.
The band kicked ass again that night. Even though I just saw them two nights before in Portland it was another great show by the band. The crowd was energetic and the theater is rather spectacular. A converted single screen movie theater the place looks really good with all the art deco and classic turn of the century theater styling. Less then a thousand people can be seated in the place. No dance floor, all seat. Really nice place I would certainly see another show here.
Friday was a full day in the city so I was excited to get started. I got a decent start to the day with breakfast at the hotel before heading downtown to the Seattle Art Museum. This place was amazing. A truly great museum with all sorts of stuff in their collection. New, old, lots of western, sculptures and plenty of open spaces to get lost looking at art on the wall or in front of you. After walking around the museum I worked up an appetite and found Shawn O’Donnell’s which was pretty good. It was late afternoon and the place was dead. I was just happy they where still serving food as several other places I found where closed.
With no real plan I just kept walking around the city and getting further and further into south Seattle, a new place to explorer for me. Its mostly a warehouse district that appears to be going through a transition at the moment. Seapine Brewing Co. was an awesome find out here in the hinter lands. A huge traditional brewing operation in my opinion. Lots of tables and high tops in the front with the bar covering the brewing operations in the back of the warehouse. The Hefeweizen and Mosaic Pale both received above average ratings. A great selection and I would definitely come back here to try their other offerings. No food but I can live with that. After a great day in Seattle it was time to make the long walk back to the hotel for a good nights rest. Saturday was going to be a rather busy day for me.
I had a late morning flight from SEA to DEN which would get me to Denver with plenty of time to check into the hotel, bum around for a bit and then head to the show in Broomfield. That was the only problem was the show was in Broomfield and it ended up being a nightmare getting to and from on public transit. Everyone is trying to be green and it just overloaded the system that night around the venue. I eventually gave up taking the bus and got an Uber instead. Coming back I almost didn’t make it onto the bus. Another thing that ticked me off was my room wasn’t ready in time. I got to the hotel and dropped by stuff off but I had to come back later to actually check in.
Denver has no lack of breweries but because of time constraints I ended up going back to Wynkoop Brewing Co. I knew they had food and good beer from one of my other visits to Denver. They didn’t disappoint then and not this time either. I had some wonderfully filling food and good beer to get me ready for the LCD show. They was some weird DJ that opened and he sucked. My ticket was in the general admission seating at the back of the venue. The place didn’t sell out and while the floor was sell out it was pretty empty all night. I felt disconnected from the show I was so far way from the stage, honestly it was kind weird sitting there watching the show. The ticket was already expensive but I should have upgraded for a closer view.
Two hours after they took the state I was out the door trying to make it back to downtown. There where so many people and so few buses. I almost didn’t make it and really didn’t want to pay $60 for an Uber if I didn’t have to. Eventually I got back to the hotel after a long day and crashed. My adventure wasn’t over just yet, I still had to get home. I had a late afternoon flight combined with a late check out which was perfect. I got some breakfast and then wrote letters while watching Sunday Morning. Next I headed to Commons Park for one last cigar before my flight.
In the end I used cars, bus, train, plain, metro, light rail and walked a ridiculous amount of miles. Even for me this was one for the books. That night when I got home I didn’t do anything but grab some food and go to bed. Monday was going to come early and I wasn’t prepared. I forgot to take my mandatory vacation after my vacation.
The New Mastersounds
Thursday, November 9th 2017
Neptune Theatre – Seattle, WA
Kung Fu opened
Set 1 starts at 10:21pm
Set over at 11:47pm house lights
Encore at 11:48pm
House lights at 11:59pm
Saturday, November 11th 2017
1STBANK Center – Denver, CO
Set 1 starts at 9:16pm
1. Oh Baby
2. Daft Punk is Playing at My House
3. I Can Chang
4. Call the Police
5. Get Innocuous!
6. You Wanted a Hit >
9. Someone Great
10. Change Yr Mind
11. Tonight >
12. Home >
13. I Want Your Love
14. New York, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down
Set over at 10:41pm
Literally a piss break.
Set 2 starts at 10:47pm
1. Yr City’s a Sucker
2. Dance Yourself Clean
3. All My Friends
House lights at 11:11pm