The Sonics were in fine form, starting their assault on the ears of the rock world with a concert in Seattle at The Moore Theater. That show begins the tour for these guys, these legends. So many bands from the northwest and beyond owe their sound, or at least parts of it to these legends. To us, they’ve always been extremely underrated so it’s good to seem them getting their due. They’ve played the northwest before during the last eight years since re-forming but this was certainly the biggest and best.
Thursday’s show promised to deliver and did it ever. Part of the pre-show promo included the infamous line “with special guests” hype that sometimes isn’t what you hope for. There was a ton of speculation as to who would show up and take the stage with them and they didn’t disappoint as they brought out the visitors to jam. Chris Ballew of Presidents of the United States of America came out and wailed on “You’ve Got Your Head on Backwards”, while him and Sax player Rob Lind donned sunglasses and jammed on the classic song. During parts of the song Lind traded in his tenor saxophone for a harmonica and threw down some tasty mouth harp work.
Throughout the night keyboardist Gerry Roslie and bassist Freddie Dennis took turns on the lead vocals. Both were sharp and if you didn’t know the age of these guys, you’d have never guessed by the way they sang. Both had no problems hitting all the notes. Guitar badass Larry Parypa was on his game as well, dishing out the filthy, grungy licks he is known for. Parypa was of course one of the first in the rock world to implement usage of Drop D tuning for his guitars, as was documented by Dave Grohl in his Sonics Highways series.
The Intelligence opened the night with an energetic, garage punk set that stoked the fire and warmed up the crowd before turning over the stage to Mudhoney, a band that owes a lot of their sound to the veterans they were opening up for. Mudhoney rattled the rafters of the historic theater as they blasted out face-melting classics like “Touch Me I’m Sick” and “Sweet Young Thing Ain’t Sweet No More,” but the Mudhoney frontman wouldn’t be done for the night after the band’s set. He came back out to play with one of his favorite bands and the audience , who stood on their feet for the entire Sonics set loved it!
As Rob Lind started to introduce another special guest you could almost hear people squirming in their seats. As he began reading the accomplishments of the band the special guest was from it started to become clear. Rock hall inductee, 80 million albums sold worldwide….etc, etc. It could only be one of two people and on this night it would be none other than Krist Novoselic of Nirvana. He had a blast jamming with the guys as they played “Cinderella”.
The setlist for this historic night for The Sonics included 9 songs off the new album, ‘This is the Sonics’ as well many of their classics including “Strychnine” and “The Witch”. The new album is the first from the band in five decades.
On a night where the standing ovation lasted throughout their entire set , take note: This is The Sonics and they are back.