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The Cannery celebrates successful first year

Thunderpussy at The Cannery (Photo by Christine Mitchell)

Thunderpussy at The Cannery (Photo by Christine Mitchell)

What better way to celebrate the one year anniversary of The Cannery in Everett than to bring in three powerhouse bands and let them go crazy? Proprietors Ryan Crowther and Stephen Graham aren’t just good at growing a new venue from a budding music scene, they’re party-planning geniuses, and last Saturday was one for the ages. Judging by the way things are going, it won’t be the last.

The brouhaha is growing; photographers were abound and local musicians were hobnobbing, many of them soon to be performing in next month’s Fisherman’s Village Music Festival, put on by the Everett Music Initiative (also run by Crowther and Graham). This lent a sense of kinetic, forward-moving energy to the night.

Born Of Ghosts hopped up on stage first. They have grown right alongside The Cannery (it’s also their practice space), and they have gotten damn good, their post-grunge sounding harder and more zipped-up than ever. Jesse Schmidt seemed to be spewing rage (that’s a good thing) with immense force. His usual mic-dragging was upped a notch when he pulled himself and the mic stand up onto the bass drum for a new vantage point. Meanwhile, drummer Jacob Schmidt demolished his drumset during their staple closing tune “Joyful Noise,” only to hastily right a couple of toms and continue to bash away.

The Mama Rags have a secret weapon, and his name is Ian Cunningham. The man is a powerhouse drummer, and his skills were showcased perfectly as the band barreled through a set of songs that had a throwback seventies jam band vibe. Cunningham heavily dominated the jams, although guitarist Colin Moen came in at a near photo-finish with some searing solos. The crowd was passing looks of amazement around the room like a lit-up telegraph (it was that good and loud), at times bringing to mind The Who on Live at Leeds. Yeah, THAT good! The deal was sealed with a cover of the old blues standard (also covered by Elvis and The Animals) “See See Rider,” played with a ton of swagger and noise. TJ Kelly and Peter Booker brought the glam to this jam tornado. The band simultaneously makes you want to build a time machine to take you back to arena rock of the seventies and thank the powers that be that The Mama Rags are here now, today.

Thunderpussy has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the course of the past year, having played their first show almost a year ago and already slated to play SASQUATCH next month. How does a band with a sassy name do it? By killing it onstage and packing venues in with a live show that is loud, tantalizingly entertaining, and music that blows minds. It also doesn’t hurt to have a theme song with a killer video (filmed at The Cannery, fancy that). Fans are itching for a Thunderpussy album, and hopefully their wishes will come true later this year. Until then, attending a show is a great way to get a fix, and this one was no exception. Whitney Petty’s growling, predatory guitar work along with Molly Sides’ robust, impressive voice propelled the band from song to song, with Leah Julius providing the thudding underpinnings and Lena Simon keeping the beat. Of course, the stage belonged to Sides’ dance moves verging on performance art; all eyes were on her as she mugged, screamed, contorted, and posed gracefully for the length of the set. Petty joined in from time to time, her rock and roll attitudes the perfect foil to Sides’ writhing. Their chemistry on stage puts them in the running for the sexiest couple in America.

Thunderpussy’s new song “Stuck” started things off right, with “Badlands” and the aforementioned “Thunderpussy” perfectly heavy with fuzz. A giant bottle of champagne was had by all and spat back and forth by band members, followed by a few hits on e-joints. Thunderpussy knows how to party. Excellent idea, EMI guys. Excellent.

Christine Mitchell has been poring over album liner notes pretty much since she acquired the skill of reading, and figured out the basic structure of rock songs at an early age. Whether it’s the needle popping into the first groove of the record, the beeps that signal the beginning (or end) of a cassette tape, or digital numbers ticking off the seconds from zero, music brings Christine happiness, ponderous thought, opportunities for almost scientific study, and sometimes a few tears. When she started attending live shows two decades ago, a whole new piece of the puzzle clicked in and she has been hooked ever since.
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