While some local clubs are chomping at the bit to fill their rooms with live music (and paying fans), we’re not quite there yet in Washington state, per the gov’s orders. So unless you’re heading out to Orcas Island, where Doe Bay Resort plans to host low-key performances for guests in lieu of its annual music festival, the now-ubiquitous livestream is still the best way to get your concert fix. At least for now.
Three months into the shutdown and along comes the grandaddy of ’em all: the All In WA COVID-19 relief concert uniting Washington music royalty — including Pearl Jam, Brandi Carlile and Macklemore — for a worthy cause. Backed by a coalition of nonprofits, business leaders, philanthropists and public officials, the pretaped virtual concert aims to raise $65 million to help communities disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus. The 75-minute special debuts 7 p.m. Wednesday on KING 5 and KONG in Western Washington, and online through Amazon Music’s Twitch channel and at allinwa.org. After the initial broadcast, the show will be available on Amazon Prime for 30 days.
In case you needed more incentive to tune in (and kick in a few bucks, if you can) for an evening of performances from home state heroes like Dave Matthews, Sir Mix-A-Lot, The Head and the Heart, Ben Gibbard, Sleater-Kinney, Allen Stone and more, here are three things to watch for during what looks to be Washington’s (virtual) concert event of the summer.
Pearl Jam plays a newbie
Seattle wasn’t one of the cities on the hometown megaband’s planned itinerary during the initial legs of its first world tour since releasing its best album in 20 years this spring. But the postponement left stadium-sized holes in the hearts of fans across the globe. At least PJ faithful will be able to watch the boys (distantly) assembled for the first performance of one of their tracks off “Gigaton,” per the band’s website. Since frontman Eddie Vedder already turned in a candlelit solo version of organ tune “River Cross” for April’s Global Citizen’s One World: Together at Home special, we can cross that one off the list. For our money, we’d take a new wave-y romp through the album’s curveball lead single “Dance of the Clairvoyants” or the mechanically churning “Quick Escape,” though the F-bomb Trump diss probably disqualifies the latter.
Nary a writeup on local rock faves The Black Tones goes without mentioning Seattle’s original guitar god Jimi Hendrix. It’s understandable. While the sibling duo often moves into punkier terrain, singer/guitar shredder Eva Walker’s playing is clearly informed by Hendrix’s rocketing psych licks that use irresistible blues-rock structures as a launchpad. Spoiler alert: For All In WA, the garage-blues slayers are covering Hendrix’s electrifying take on Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” bridging two generations of Seattle rockers.
Travis Thompson’s surprise
It took everything Washington-bred director Jason Koenig had (and the diligence of his wife/producer, Jenny) — the creative leads on this concert — to not dish on the then-unannounced performance from Burien rapper Travis Thompson when speaking with a Seattle Times reporter a few weeks ago. If the Grammy-nominated filmmaker’s giddiness is any indication, you won’t want to miss Thompson’s segment. Given the Epic-signed artist‘s catalog of impressive music videos — which once helped him sell out a movie theater — we don’t doubt his ability to rise to the corona-times challenge.
Check back at seattletimes.com tonight, where we’ll be live-blogging the concert, and posting a review of it afterward.