Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rock & Roll Circus 5: 'Fifths of Fury'

The sign says it all. (All Cat Rose photos)
By Cat and Andy

As Vaporland plowed through its psychedelic-rock-filled and brew-fueled tunes on Saturday evening, an enthusiastic man tugged Andy by the shirt and said, "This is what Seattle rock and roll is all about!"

Featuring former Sub Poppers Ron Nine (guitar/vocals) and Kevin Whitworth (guitar) from Love Battery, Kurt Danielson (bass/vocals) from Tad and Garrett Shavlik (drums) from the Fluid, Vaporland -- along with Katie Scarberry (vocals) -- gave the crowd a blast from the past with its feet firmly entrenched in the present-day rock scene that proudly waves a Rock & Roll Circus flag at Darrell's Tavern in Shoreline.

Vaporland in action.

Fluid drumbeats.

 Danielson's throbbing bass kept the Vaporland trail blazing on this night, which also featured sets from Fan Fiction (roots rock), Megasapien (power pop), Dirty Sidewalks (shoe gaze) and Stag (almighty rock with heaps of pop), which unleashed its fifth Circus, titled "Fifths of Fury."

Stag: Steve Mack throwback, plus Ben London
Mr. Tambourine Man draws a laugh.

The Something Hard in There staff fired off a few questions to Stag's guitarist Ben London, who is the mastermind -- or ringleader -- of the Circuses (four at Darrell's and one at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas).

* How did the idea come about?
It was the perfect storm of a few things. I moved up to Shoreline in 2004 and while I like it, it was quite a change from living in Capitol Hill/Central District for 15+ years. Let’s just say there is not an abundance of bars and restaurants up there that I wanted to hang out in. Last year a friend turned me onto Darrell’s shortly after Dan Dykman bought it.. I fell in love with it the minute I walked in. It reminded me of a bunch of great Midwest bars I frequented or played on tour over the years.

I’ve always been really involved in the music community (I chair the Seattle Music Commission) and I decided that if I’m going to live in Shoreline, I need to support music up there, as well. You remember when people thought Ballard was a million miles away? Well…I do, and I know how that distance has eroded over time. I think the same thing is going to happen up north. The more places there are like Darrell’s, the more people might want to live up there.

So you take that, you mix in that Stag had just formed and the fact that I seldom want to watch more than a half hour of even my most favorite bands play, and boom…Stag’s Rock & Roll Circus was born!

Lian Light leads Megasapien.

* How do you feel they've gone?
I think they’ve gone awesome. My goal was to create a hybrid of a show and a party and I think we’ve accomplished that. The fact that we have five bands playing short sets, sharing a backline for quick a change over, and having a DJ spin cool records in between sets gives the shows the feel of a special occasion. The bands love it. Who doesn’t love playing to a full room? The energy is contagious.

Dirty Sidewalks.

 * What’s the atmosphere like? Darrell's ... a perfect spot -- what is it about that place that works?

Darrell’s is part of the magic. The room holds about 150 people, so we usually sell the place out. The stage is low and pretty small, so you’re pretty connected to the crowd. The room sounds great. Next time you’re in there check out the walls behind the bar. That’s carpet, not wallpaper. It really makes a difference. Dan is awesome. He takes good care of the bands.

With that being said, we took the show down to SXSW in March and I could see doing it in other places every now and then for a change of pace. The fun part is we can make it up as we go along.


Fan Fiction kicks it off at Circus No. 5.

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