Tonight in Seattle: Nneka, Love Me Some Townes Van Zandt, Laff HolePosted by Chris Green
Our Seattle preview for tonight offers a choice between soulful hip-hop at the Crocodile, a Texas troubador tribute at the Tractor, and lots of laughs at Chop Suey.
NNeka with Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew @ The Crocodile | 3/7 | Doors 8pm | $13 Advance (Get Tickets) | 21+
Singer Nneka‘s music blends soul, hip-hop, reggae and R&B with touches of the music of her native Nigeria. Many of her songs deal with the politics of Africa and elsewhere, with the lyrics delivered using her rapping skills and powerful soul-singer’s voice. She has often been compared to Lauryn Hill. Recording in Germany since 2003, her first two albums were well-received in Europe, with the song “Heartbeat” charting in both Germany and the UK. She first toured the US in 2010, including an appearance on David Letterman and some festival appearances. She has previously played in Seattle as a headliner and on tour with Damian Marley and Nas. Opening for this show are Bajah and the Dry Eye Crew, who come from Sierra Leone and play a combination of dancehall reggae and rap.
On the March 7th birthday of legendary Texas cult singer/songwriter Townes Van Zandt, Ballard’s Tractor Tavern and STG Presents are joining forces with a bevy of local musicians for their 2nd annual Love Me Some Townes Van Zandt tribute and celebration.
Before his death in 1997 (of complications from decades of substance abuse on a scale that would make Keith Richards blush), Townes’ music was known mainly by a relatively small base of dedicated fans and via recordings of his songs done by others (Willy Nelson‘s cover of “Pancho and Lefty” was a #1 country hit). However, recent years have seen a resurgence of interest in his music due to the release of the widely-praised documentary Be Here To Love Me, the use of Townes’ songs in a variety of films and TV programs (including his version of the Rolling Stone‘s “Dead Flowers” used in The Big Lebowski), and re-releases of his older material. Countless artists have covered his songs, and there have been a number of tribute albums including Poet: A Tribute to Townes Van Zandt, and Steve Earle‘s Townes.
Townes Van Zandt’s lonesome world-weary voice combined with his storytelling talent and skilled wordplay produced a plethora of memorable songs. As a writer of contemplative songs, Townes’ ability to evoke heart-rendering sadness is balanced by small moments of hope, acceptance and good humor. We at SSG recommend the double album Live at the Old Quarter as the best introduction to his music. This 1973 recording features many of his classic songs being performed the way they were meant to be heard – in a smoky bar in Texas with only simple guitar picking as accompaniment.
Providing interpretations of his songs at the Tractor this evening are a large number of performers who have graced many a Seattle stage. Some musicians who played at last year’s event are returning, including Portland’s rootsy songwriter Kasey Anderson and singer Star Anna (joined by her guitarist from Star Anna and the Laughing Dogs, Justin Davis) along with new additions including Kevin Murphy from the Moondoggies and Lindsay Fuller. With all of these artists playing in various combinations as well as other unannounced guests, this looks to be a memorable evening. Note that this is a seated show, so an early arrival is recommended.
Preview by Gabriel Arguelles
Ron Funches, Portland comedian extraordinaire, has a had a busy year. The mellowed-out comedian has opened for the likes of Eugene Mirman, Jen Kirkman and Nick Thune in Seattle, he’s appeared on Conan, Portlandia, and Kumail Nanjiani’s popular The Indoor Kids podcast and performed a whole slew of dates on the west coast. In addition to being in Seattle this Wednesday night, he’ll perform in Bellingham on Tuesday, a show also put together by the good people at Laff Hole.
At least a couple SSG Music staffers watched Ron Funches blow the roof off Chop Suey last year in early February, and we can attest to the quality of his show. Funches has a low-key delivery with slow pacing and surprising results. Most people associate ‘low-key’ with Todd Barry, but Funches delivery is entirely different– friendlier and more inviting. In fact, inviting audience members onstage, leading them, and trusting their instinct is something he’s been known to do.