If one were to choose a single word to describe Allen Stone‘s 5-night home series of shows entitled Evolution of An Artist, the word would have to be love. What was consistent night after night over the course of the last week was that Allen loves what he does, the people he does it with and his fans he does it for.
Several SMI staff members had a rare and unique opportunity to follow Stone and his crew on this special journey as Allen and his vaunted band took fans back into the venues where Stone cut his teeth. Throughout the week Stone played some of the top club venues like The Triple Door, Nectar Lounge, The Crocodile, Neumos and then closed the week out with a triumphant return to the historic Paramount Theater in the heart of the Emerald City.
Throughout the week, Stone interacted with hundreds of his fans, friends and well wishers. Always addressing each person by their first name and giving each individual he came in contact with a sincere and warm hug – making them feel like they were the most important person to him in that moment – because in reality and in that moment, they truly were.
Allen Stone’s life mirrors his stage performance. He is an artist in perpetual motion, moving from town to town, sharing his message to all that have an ear to listen and a heart to feel…but this past week, it was just a bit more special given that he was doing what he does at multiple venues in his hometown in one week, and at the end of every night, Stone and every one in his brilliant group of top notch cats left it all out on stage – real musicians, playing hand-crafted music, with real instruments and without out a Macbook in site.
An ambitious undertaking…
“SMI Allen Stone Week” was a different kind of undertaking for us. We at Seattle Music Insider have never covered an artist as extensively as we have covered Stone the last few years and specifically this week. No less than seven SMI staff were on hand throughout the week to cover all of the various shows. We attended the shows, attended most of the VIP events and had all access during his performance to get the best photos. We tweeted, Facebooked and Instagrammed photos around the clock. We were up until the early morning editing photos so that we could get them out to the fans.
Stone is an artist whose music and style we embrace with open arms but the main reason we have dedicated the amount of time and effort is because of the man himself. Not only is he a great artist, but he is someone that stands for something bigger than entertainment, bigger than music and bigger than himself. He stands for love. It is the simple and most important component in his repertoire. His performances and music is a conduit to deliver a bigger and powerful message. Don’t take our word for it. Listen to the lyrics of “Unaware” or many of the pre-released tracks on his forth coming Capitol Records release, Radius.
Stone is one of those special artists who works hard, respects his band and the people around him. Moreover, he respects his fans, himself and his music. He understands the power of music to make a difference in one’s life just like those classic Stevie Wonder records like Songs in the Key of Life which Stone claims made a positive difference in his life and provided him musical inspiration.
Below are recaps from all of the Allen Stone: Evolution of an Artist performances with separate write-ups and photos from several SMI contributors. We hope that you enjoy what you read and see and hopefully get a taste of what you may have missed and/or a memento and refresher or what you saw and heard.
If you missed Allen this time around, he will be back in the Northwest to perform at Chinook Fest taking place in Snoqualmie, Washington, July 10 -12. Tickets are now available.
We will feature a special backstage interview will Allen later this week on SMI Radio.
For past SMI coverage of Allen Stone go here
Allen Stone: Evolution of an Artist Recaps:
Night 1 (4/13/15): The Triple Door (Streamed live via Melodic Caring Project)
When drawing a circle you must have a starting point, a beginning and an end, so on this night it seemed fitting that Allen Stone had come full circle to where it all began back in 2008.
Stone entered The Triple Door stage alone and sat in a chair with only an acoustic guitar.
“This is how it all began,” said Stone. “But with a lot less people! Tonight is about who I am . . . where I come from . . . where I’ve been . . . and how I got here.” The Evolution of an Artist known as Allen Stone was about to begin.
To Read the rest of the article, go here
Night 2 (4/14/15): Nectar Lounge
by Greg Roth
At the Triple Door Stone kicked off the Allen Stone: Evolution of an Artist series with the sophisticated stylings of his catalogue in the elegant, dinner theater concert setting of the Triple Door. Night two of the series at Fremont’s Nectar Lounge was not about ellegance, it was about getting down, dirty, sweaty and funky and that is exactly what Stone and the tightest band east of E-Street did in “The Center of The Universe.”
Stone and company reached out grabbed the audience lovingly in the palm of his hands and did not let go all night long. Stone and his band have the uncanny ability to adjust the way they play to the room. The Nectar Lounge has the reputation for being the perfect setting for a party and that is exactly what Stone and company did to the delight of the sold out house.
Some of the nights’ many highlights were an impassioned performances of “Million” performed with artist and Radius producer, Magnus Tingsek and the highly infectious and energetic “Freedom.”
The very dapper Macklemore and his collaboration partner, Ryan Lewis came out to lend their support to their friend and catch his performance. (Stone lent his vocals to the track “Neon Cathedral” from the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis blockbuster and Grammy winning record, The Heist.)
Manatee Commune opened the show with an eclectic blend of electronic pop and rock.
Night 3 (4/16/15): The Crocodile
Almost two years ago to the day, Allen Stone stepped into the Crocodile for “Prom Night with Allen Stone.” Stone headlined that particular show to announce the Bumbershoot 2013 lineup. (Stone headlined on the Fisher Green Stage). Stone returned to one of his old stompin’ grounds for a rambunctious and energetic set featuring a similar set list from the previous night but not necessarily in the same order.
Stone and his killer band, picked up right where they left off the night before. Stone and company were tight, funky and in the pocket and made what was already a hot venue steamin’.
Head Coach Pete Carroll from the 2014 World Champion Seattle Seahawks stood unassuming off to the side, clearly enjoying the show. Stone would later show his love for the home team by donning a vintage Seattle Seahawks jacket a couple nights later at The Paramount.
Opening for Stone was Andrew Vait’s (formerly of Eternal Fair) latest project, Sisters. Vait along with his partner, Seattle Rock Orchestra’s Emily Westman are both highly accomplished artists and displayed amazing chops throughout their 45 minute set, often toggling back and forth between their respective instruments (Drums, Lead Vocals and Keyboards). Their sound, which could be described as a cross between 70’s and 80’s synth-pop and vintage rock was tasty, yet deceptively complex.
Night 4 (4/17/15): Neumos
There was only one place to be on Capitol Hill Friday night – and that was obviously Neumos for the fourth night of Allen Stone’s #EOAA series. On this particular night, fellow local Kris Orlowski opened the show. It was kind of a perfect little coincidence, seeing that the first time this writer saw Orlowski, he was performing with Stone, and that was four years ago.
Orlowski set the tone with his uplifting folk pop, playing through songs off his last record Believer, as well as some brand new tunes. Orlowski was essentially priming the audience for a non-stop dance party once Stone hit the stage, which is exactly what happened.
Stepping up with a handful of roses, Stone did not start slow – kicking off his hour plus set with “Contact High,” and he kept going all night. Swedish Songwriter Magnus Tingsek joined Stone on stage for a rousing duet of “Voodoo,” which was by far one of the most memorable moments of the night and offered some of the silliest facial expressions from Stone. (There are definitely photos to prove how Stone mugs for the camera. It’s undeniable.)
Knowing that this was the fourth night of the event, it’s amazing to see how on top of his game Stone was, and how great his voice sounded. But at that point, hometown love was probably feeding him all the adrenaline he needed to bring the house down. And that’s exactly what he did.
Night 5 (4/18/15): The Paramount Theatre
Seattle exuded a palpable energy sweeping through the city all week long for one reason. That reason is the Evolution of an Artist, aka, Allen Stone.
Concluding his 5 show run at the iconic Paramount Theater, Allen Stone took over that stage like a tornado, sweeping up everyone and everything within its radius. Fittingly enough, Stone’s new record, Radius (the first under Capitol Records), was kicked off among a sea of adoring fans that have been there since the very beginning.
Who else can capture an audience with baggy overalls, a classic Seattle flannel and vintage Seahawks jacket?
The band was tight and on fire. Horn players dipped and danced their hearts out on an elevated platform while the stage was constantly a buzz with movement and change. Stone’s shuffle move across the stage cemented his presence as he commanded every single person’s attention. If that wasn’t enough, Stone even jumped right down to their level to create a barrier for an all out dance off.
“Would you be so kind as to get nasty with me tonight?” He asks as he crouches down to make sure everyone is on his level. “Bite your lip and make me feel something y’all!”
The band also broke into halves, amping up the crowd to win their respective sides. Powerhouse background singer and former “The Voice” contestant, Jessica Childress went so far as to hilariously rip out her fictitious heart, and take a bite out of it while taunting her bandmates.
Stone and company opened the show with new track, “Freezer Burn” and took the crowd from old to new and back again complete with some twerking action from the man in the overalls.
Throughout the show came talented guests from the Andrew Joslyn & Passenger String Quartet for “Circle” to give the song an emotional drive that grounded the piece into something special, to Brooklyn-based drum line, BYOS, that marched out and tore the place up! Not to mention a lovely cameo by Radius co-writer and buddy, the quirky and talented Magnus Tingsek. He and Stone share an undeniable musical chemistry that showed us why the two decided to work together.
An obvious crowd favorite was when Allen Stone covered Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” Featuring Jessica Childress, Allen took this song to new heights adding a sexy R&B swing to make it fully his own.
With a show that had been a non-stop haze of energy, funk, and fun, there’s no way that just one encore would do. Stone went from the classic, “Get Down on It,” to “Nothing to Prove,” “Quit Callin’ Me” and ended the night with the wildly popular “Satisfaction.” It was at this time that a cape appeared on one of the horn players while the other starting running in circles around the stage while the music kept fueling the seemingly never ending energy of these artists.
The Allen Stone show is not a performance, but an experience and a movement you can’t help but get sucked into. A collective celebration of life, love, and live music that you never knew you were missing until that moment.
It can be said with full confidence that Stone is a legend in the making. Along with the thousands of Seattle-lites that witnessed how far he’s come, we will continue to proudly claim this amazing artist as our own as he continues to take the world by storm.
We want to give special thanks to Xander Deccio from The Vinyl Junkie for helping start getting the ball going on getting our coverage set up and SMI Partner and Chief Photographer Jason Tang for helping coordinate things with Allen Stone’s people and our staff in getting accommodations.
We especially would like to thank Allen’s tour manager and sound person, Eric Loux for providing us access and positive experience while we covered Allen throughout last week. In addition, we want to thank Kayte Olsufka from STG Presents for accommodating us with access passes and tickets and being a wonderful host. We want to thank Brittany Lameau from Red Light Management for helping coordinate our press and photo passes and accommodating us and last but not least Allen’s Manager, Bruce Flohr from Red Light Management for encouraging us to get photos and video content and go viral even though we weren’t sure if it was okay or not! We know that Allen is in good hands with Bruce and that he will take Allen and his band to new unrealized heights. Last night, The Paramount, next Chinook Fest in July and after that, we see a Key Arena show in Allen’s future!