w/Ready, Steady, How
Thurs July 11.
I usually review random opening bands in this column, but when rumors spread that Eddie Vedder would be fronting a Who cover band at Chop Suey, I decided the random element can wait.
Vedder's Who act brought out the likes of Soundgarden's Kim Thayil, Pearl Jam's Stone Gossard, and a Vedder stalker, who, rumor has it, was kicked out before the show even started. The stalker missed out, though, because the double bill of Who cover bands felt more like a really fun, drunken house party than some propped-up celebrity showcase. First up were Ready, Steady, How, a trio featuring Rusty Willoughby (Flop, the Fastbacks, Pure Joy), Kurt Bloch (the Fastbacks, Once for Kicks, the Young Fresh Fellows), and Mike Musburger (the Posies, the Fastbacks). RSH whipped through classics like "The Kids Are Alright," "Ivor the Engine Driver," "Circles," and a quirky cover of "Batman." Mid-set, Bloch called time out for the butler to arrive, and the servant turned out to be Vedder himself, offering the boys a couple of shots before hiding out until it was his turn onstage.
Next the Quick Ones took the stage (Vedder plus C-Average's Brad Balsley on drums and John Merithew on guitar, and bassist Tim Brown--in a John Entwistle pageboy hairdo and mustache--from Dirty Birds). Standing before an Entwistle tribute poster, the Quick Ones covered gems like "A Quick One, While He's Away," "My Generation," "Young Man Blues," and "Sparks." Little by little, RSH and the Quick Ones merged, starting with Bloch singing on "See Me, Feel Me" through the encores that ended with an excellent rendition of "Summertime Blues" and "Shakin' All Over."
Throughout the night, both bands were in top playful form, with Vedder swinging the mic, giving his impassioned vocal best, and mumbling Entwistle stories between songs. Technically, some of the covers were sloppier than others--but overall, the night wasn't about hearing the Who note for note, it was about watching a bunch of Seattle icons totally let loose and throw a party in the name of some worthy rock 'n' roll legends.