A birthday cake, a few friends and lot of rock & roll…
Earlier this month a loud and proud crowd of metalheads got together at Studio 7 to celebrate KISW DJ Steve Migs’ birthday. Now in its second year, the affectionately-called “Migsfest” not only brought together some of Seattle’s top local rock talent, but included one additional band from New York as well. Shows like this don’t come along very often. Based on the size and demeanor of the audience, it seemed like everyone there knew how special it was and wanted to make the most of it.
As Steve Migs is “a drummer who just happens to be a voice on the radio” (pointed out by Bruiser Brody’s vocalist Travis Bracht), it only made sense that he help kick off his own birthday party. With a unique and attention-grabbing Bruiser Brody audio prelude, the band took the stage to audience cheers. The band may be made up Seattle rock royalty but it’s obvious they’re really just a bunch a friends who stopped bull-shitting about jamming together and actually did it (comedically pointed out by Glenn Cannon). The lineup starts with Steve Migs (drums) who is joined by Travis Bracht (vocalist of Second Coming, Post Modern Herores, etc. fame), Glenn Cannon (guitarist and Windowpane front man), JT Philips (Klover Jane, Jamie Nova Sky, etc. guitarist) and Jeff Rouse (Duff McKagan’s Loaded, The Guessing Game bassist) who was replaced for this one show by fellow Guessing Game’s Keith Ash. Playing songs from their first, new and diversified self-titled EP, Bruiser Brody delivered a heartfelt performance to a crowd of friends and fans alike. If you like mainstream hard rock that occasionally steps into the acoustic space, then this is your band. Luckily, this doesn’t appear to be a project-band. Hopefully we’ll see this lineup for years to come.
During the break, Steve Migs shared a moment with fellow Migscast podcaster The Rev about his obsession with Cookie Puss ice cream cake (generously delivered by Migscast listeners Steve and Austin). As it’s a treat that you can’t buy in Seattle, it had to be flown in specially for this event. With this type of endorsement, you might want to check them out online.
The second band, Van Eps, should be considered a Seattle rock mainstay, plain and simple. Coming off a huge “Van Eps II” CD release party at The Crocodile, vocalist/guitarist Matt Strutynski, drummer Jake Jovanovich and brothers Brad Steenrod (lead guitar) and Bobby Steenrod (bass) turned the venue into a legitimate dance party with their signature “North meets South” style of rock and roll. The entire band exuded a highly contagiousness sort of fun, causing dancing and smiling to peak at this point of the night. As an uber cool surprise, the band invited Steve Migs onto the stage to play drums while Jake took over vocals, delivering an upbeat version of Tom Petty’s “You Wreck Me”. Van Eps is a humble band that shouldn’t be. If you haven’t caught them live yet, you really need to make it a priority.
The next band up was Wyatt Olney & The Wreckage who were celebrating the release of their new CD, “Welcome to Seattle”. (You can read my CD review here.) A four-piece band that sounds like an eight-piece, Wyatt Olney (vocals/guitar), Kyle Gibboney (lead guitar), Willie Nelson (bass) and Rob Brennan (drums) fist-bumped each other during their new record’s audio prelude before launching into the title track. Their 40-minute set included all new songs with one exception: “Devil” from their first CD “Dark Futures” which was highlighted by (you guessed it) Steve Migs on drums. It was a strong number to end their set as the jumping crowd was clearly sweaty and lit, closing out their set with an adrenaline shot.
The fourth band to hit the stage was The Last Internationale (TLI). Any confusion as to why they were on the bill was quickly alleviated by Steve Migs himself. He not only personally introduced them but also described them as his “absolute favorite band” and “why he loves music”. A power trio from Long Island, TLI is fronted by vocalist/bassist Delila Paz who delivered a haunting and sultry style of bluesy rock in the same vein as Deap Vally and The Black Belles. Guitarist Edgey Pires commanded more than his share of attention with his constant movement, kicking, hopping and head thrashing at the front of the stage. Drummer Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, Prophets of Rage) was heads down for the most part, supplying a consistent beat for the others to jam to. During the middle of their set, Delila took a moment to thank Steve, saying that she was glad to know him not only for being a believer of their music but also because “as you can see by everyone here tonight that you have such a big heart and you’re a great person”. This drew extended cheering from the crowd and served as a quick reminder as to the shared theme of the night.
After a short break, headliner Windowpane took the stage backed by what is probably the largest band logo backdrop ever produced in Seattle. Vox/guitarist Glenn Cannon, guitarist Tony Abreau, drummer Sean Morrison and recently acquired bassist Christon Casper wasted no time getting into it. Both the music and crowd were noticeably louder as the band pushed through their 18-song set. Several covers were included (“Let Me Put My Love Into You”, “Kashmir”, “Peace Sells”, “Mary Jane” and “Simple Kind of Love”) but the majority of their set was comprised of songs from their newly remastered CD “Windowpane”. When they reached (what they thought was) the end of the night, Glenn thanked the crowd for being part of such a special night and the crowd responded with an overtly assertive “Windowpane” chant that forced the band to keep the fun going for another 15 minutes. It was a nice testament to band and crowd alike, celebrating the power of music and the Seattle music scene in general.
The good news is that if you didn’t make it to the show yourself, you can still see it in its entirety (break free!) on TopLeft TV’s YouTube page. Their camera crew did a good job capturing the event from several angles and embedding an audio feed straight from the sound board. It’s almost as good as being there, truly. If you like what you see, consider becoming a Patreon sponsor for early and exclusive videos from Seattle’s top music talent. (For example, patrons got access to an interview with Steve Migs and Glenn Cannon the following week explaining how the band got together and that some jackhole actually stole Steve’s Cookie Puss birthday cake from the trailer during Migsfest.) So be cool and kick in a buck or two, you’ll be supporting a group dedicated to supporting local music. You can find out more about TopLeft TV on their website or Facebook page.
Check out more photos from the show at the Jared Ream Photography Facebook page HERE.