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Reunited and it feels so good

Seaweed to rock Hell’s Kitchen twice before the new year

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When Tacoma’s Seaweed reunited and played this year’s Bumbershoot, it was exciting — don’t get me wrong. I’d been fiending for a Seaweed reunion for years. To find out they’d be taking the stage anywhere was good news.

But there was something f***ed about it too.

Seaweed is from Tacoma. They always have been. Seeing them return to the stage in Seattle was nice. But if Seaweed was really making a comeback, it couldn’t be considered legitimate until they played the 253.

This week, Seaweed is obliging. They’ll play two shows at Hell’s Kitchen — the first Friday night with Helms Alee, the Valley, and the Centre Cannot Hold; the second Saturday with Roy, To the Waves, and Kane Hodder. Waiting until the last minute to do it, Seaweed will be providing the two most exciting shows 2007 has offered. Bar none. Taking into consideration the gouging ticket prices at Bumbershoot and the distance between Tacoma and Seattle, many people missed Seaweed at Bumbershoot. Many others, like me, waited, knowing a Tacoma show was imminent. In fact, when I interviewed Seaweed guitarist Wade Neal in August for an article on the band’s Bumbershoot show, he assured me Seaweed would play Hell’s Kitchen in late fall or winter. If you read my column that week you already know this.

Well, here we are in winter, and look, there’s Seaweed – just like Neal promised.

I guess now it’s official. Seaweed is back.

“We’re really looking forward to these shows,” said Neal earlier this week.

“The anticipation is greater because it’s Tacoma. I thought Bumbershoot went well. People got turned away, so I guess that was cool,” Neal laughed. “But this is different.”

There are many reasons the two Seaweed shows at Hell’s Kitchen this week will be cooler than Bumbershoot. First off, it’ll be a hell of a lot cheaper. Tickets for Seaweed at the Kitchen are 15 bucks. You can’t park at Bumbershoot for 15 bucks. Second, with all due respect to the EMP Sky Church, Seaweed belongs on a stage like the Kitchen’s. There need to be some flames, some spilled beer, and maybe even some vomit on the floor. There needs to be less than a foot from Seaweed’s sneakers to the drunken hands of the masses. At Hell’s Kitchen, this will all be possible.

Perhaps the biggest reason the shows at Hell’s Kitchen will be better than Bumbershoot will be Seaweed’s set lists. While the band was limited by time constraints at the major festival in Seattle, at the Kitchen they’re free to do what they please. This being the case, Seaweed has different sets planned for Friday and Saturday, both full of songs previously buried and thought dead in the Seaweed live catalog. Look for songs like “New Tools” and “Clean Slate,” and heavy doses of Four and Weak.

“There are a lot of songs people have been asking us to play for a long time,” said Neal.

“We’re going to play some unusual stuff.”

If you find yourself at Hell’s Kitchen for either of Seaweed’s shows (which if you haven’t picked up on I HIGHLY! Recommend), not only will you get to enjoy some songs you probably never thought you’d hear live again, but, maybe just maybe, you’ll get a couple of new ones from the band, too. In August Neal confirmed the band was writing material for a new Seaweed record tentatively titled Small Engine Repair. As the book shuts on 2007, it appears we’re closer than ever to seeing the day when a new Seaweed record hits the shelves.

“I think we’re going to try to do some recording in February,” explained Neal.

“The writing is going well. Nothing has changed. We’re just the same way we were. We just play a little better. We’re basically loud.”

Tickets for Seaweed’s two shows at Hell’s Kitchen this week are 15 bucks, and I recommend you secure them now. My guess is some folks will get turned away at the Kitchen just like at Bumbershoot — especially considering the lineups for both days, on top of Seaweed, are packed with some of the South Sound’s most popular and talented bands.

“These are some of the best local bands around,” said Neal.

“We worked really closely with Flash to put something cool together.”

It seems to have worked. Whether you saw Seaweed at Bumbershoot or not, the band’s shows in Tacoma will be better — without question. While you may have had a good reason to skip their shows in Seattle, missing Seaweed’s return to Tacoma is inexcusable. 

[Hell’s Kitchen, with Helms Alee, The Valley and The Centre Cannot Hold, Friday, Dec. 21, 8 p.m., $15, 3829 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.759.6003]


[Hell’s Kitchen, with Roy, To The Waves and Kane Hodder, Saturday, Dec. 22, 8 p.m., $15, 3829 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.759.6003]

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