West Sound Bands

Hafacat - Bremerton, WAWest Puget Sound Underground
By Hotbands Editor - Pat Ferris

This weekend, I ended up staying in my (current) hometown region of Kitsap County to see some of the LOCAL, local talent! 

I started in Bremerton, catching about 30 minutes of a Country band led by Alan Alto.  In my travels, I've seen a lot of great guitarists, but Alan is one of the best of the best that I've seen.  He's got the chops that every pro admires and every amateur aspires to reach.  I caught them on break when we arrived, but because of my schedule had to leave shortly thereafter.  I was able to sit in with him on bass for a quick tune, said my good-byes and was on to the next venue.

The Old Town Pub in Silverdale, Washington had three locally well known bands all playing the same evening, which is why I decided to hang in town.   There definitely appears to be an over-abundance of musicians...really GOOD musicians on the Kitsap Peninsula.  On a per-capita basis, I think there may even be more musicians in this area than anyplace else I've been.

We arrived part way into the first band's set.  The name of the band is Hafacat, a female-led four piece with a male drummer and dual female vocals to give that "Indigo Girls" sound with  a crunching edge of hard-alternative rock.  I thought their playing was good, but their harmonizing vocals stood out as the defining sound of their band.  They have had great reception from the Seattle side of the water and placed 2nd when they played in a battle of the bands for Seattle's alternative rock radio station The End  last December.

After Hafacat finished their set, they were followed by a band called Polliwog. John (last name with held to protect the guilty), Polliwog's guitarist/songwriter is also a 3rd grade teacher and his lyrics are  cynical, intelligent and funny.  Kind of a cross between rapcore and alternative punk, Polliwog had a TON of energy and were a real treat to see live.  If their future shows are like last nite's performance, I'd recommend to catch them.

The third band of the evening was Jesus Fish, a five-piece post-punk band with wild stage antics and a lot of energy.  A conglomerate of some of the area's best original musicians, Jesus Fish has been around in different incarnations for several years.  Left-handed bassist Scooter Haslip, also with Seattle's band Saltine who plays a right-handed bass upside down and backwards was telling me that Jesus Fish is one of his favorite bands to play with because the musicianship is so good. 

I ended up staying for about half of their show so I could boogie up to Bainbridge Island (about 30 minutes away) to catch the last set of one of the most popular bands in Seattle called Swamp Mama Johnson, but had difficulty finding the gig and by the time I reached it, it was already over!! :-(    So, I'll put a link to their show I caught and reviewed last October.  Maybe if I had more hours in a nite, I'd be able to catch ALL the bands in this area that I want to review!

Sunday, the 23rd

The next night,  which is actually tonite...I'm just returning home from an exciting show at the radio station where I've recently become a talk-show host for a music program.  Tonight, Stacy Emerson from the Tacoma Reporter co-hosted the show, and we started with the featured artist on our home page, Stuart Smith calling in from Los Angeles, California.  His recent release entitled "Heaven and Earth" was the center of the conversation.  He also brought on the line Howard Leese, former multi-instrumentalist with Heart, now working with Stuart on his last album and current project.

Port Townsend's band The Delta Rays shared the second hour, playing a chronology of their four CD's and yaking up a storm!  These guys are solid musicians and totally a gas to hang with!   I was laughing the whole time they were in the studio!  Their music is probably most closely related to R&B with bass, guitar, keys and drums.

Lucy Lunchmouth - Seattle, WALucy Lunchmouth from Seattle was our third band for the radio show  Their first CD entitled ex fortuna (latin for out of luck) was an alternative/pop sound with a lead female vocalist, upright bass, guitar and drums.  Lucy Lunchmouth lead singer, Victoriah Arsenian,  a stunning, tall, and built brunette with strong vocals shares the bill with songwriter and guitarist Todd Carter Koeppen, drummer Carl Martin and bassist "Smoke"...which begs the question...why do bassists have names like "Flea", "Sting" etc...???

Finally, we capped the evening off with a hard-alternative band from Aberdeen Washington (you know...Kurt Cobain's hometown) which goes by the name of JED. This band was different to say the least!   Band members were named Eric, Nate, Galen, Mike, Mike, and Mike and consisted of bass, guitar, drums, vocals and DJ.  Sometimes described as "Rap Core", Erik's vocals were suprisingly understandable, and the band as a whole had a crunchy, groovin, alternative thing happening.

All in all, it was a long but event filled weekend staying in my hometown!  I'm looking forward to getting back on the road so I can get some rest!!