Sad as it is, we've all heard someone describe a band they like by saying something like, "Oh dude, they're hella sweet; they sound just like the Beatles!" It's a silly thing to say. Just like no basketball player out of college should be billed as the next Michael Jordan and no young politician as the next John F. Kennedy, no band should be subjected to comparisons with the most popular band of all time.

The Beatles thing, though, was just one of a lot of essentially positive things I've been hearing recently about Seattle group the Raggedy Anns—four young men who deliver straightforward, unadulterated, old-timey rock and roll at shows all over town. Last Wednesday night, opening for Japanther at the Vera Project, the band delivered on their hype in a big way, electrifying a sleepy crowd despite their early timeslot.

It's clear that the Raggedy Anns take much of their inspiration from the past. Singer Thomas Beecham's nasally vocal twang jumped between "Cotton Eyed Joe" speed blues yelp à la Slim Harpo and heartfelt pop croon. His backing band changed shapes, too, switching between hard-hitting Kinks-inspired rockers, surf jams, saloon-style swing, and even a little bit of country. Every song sounds like a different band is onstage, but one constant is the band's high level of talent. Dueling guitars interlock with jaw-dropping intricacy, drums pound theatrically, the bass never drags, and when Beecham and the band step to the mics and harmonize, it recalls everything you love about listening to your parents' dusty old records.

While it all makes for a band your dad would love, the Raggedy Anns put on a damn fine show that should please fans of old-time radio revival bands like the Moondoggies or the Dutchess and the Duke.


Fri Sept 26: Schoolboy Gutbusters, Shotty, Shed, Monkey Theory at The Old Fire House, 8 pm, free.

Fri Sept 26: A Place to Bury Strangers, Sian Alice Group, Mono in VCF at El Corazón, 8 pm, $10 adv/$12 DOS.

Support The Stranger

Sat Sept 27: School of Rock Presents: The Beatles at Vera Project, 7:30 pm, $11 adv/$13 DOS ($1 off w/club card).

Sat Sept 27: Monster Monster, Mirror the Ghost, If I Were a Gladiator, Ithea at KTUB, 7:30 pm, $6.