MigsFest II – a sold out “RockFest” for Seattle fans

It’s no surprise that MigsFest was another huge “Rockfest”. Studio Seven in Seattle hosted the event for the second time to a packed house. Even before the show started, you could see the line at the door bend around a corner for eager Seattle rockers to gain their entrance. This year the event had multiple celebrations (on top of KISW 99.9FM’s Steve Migs’ birthday); new band Bruiser Brody made their debut performance as well as the release of their first EP; Wyatt Olney and the Wreckage released their second album, “Welcome to Seattle”, and Windowpane had their re-mastered CD release of their self-titled album “Windowpane”, with remastering done by Ted Jensen.

Travis Bracht of Bruiser Brody // Photo by Kurt Clark
Travis Bracht of Bruiser Brody // Photo by Kurt Clark

Bruiser Brodyhas been gaining popularity over the past couple of months, due to the band members themselves. This “supergroup” is made up of some truly incredible musicianship and a strong front man. The band members are Glenn Cannon of Windowpane (guitar & backing vocals), Steve Migs (drums), Jeff Rouse (bass) of The Guessing Game and Duff McKagan’s Loaded, JT Phillips (guitar) of Klover Jane (and more)  and Travis Bracht (lead vocals and guitar) formerly of Second Coming and Post Modern Heroes. Bracht’s persona onstage is  quite commanding. The band performed as if they’ve played together for years. One of the songs I really enjoyed from the night was “Trouble Is”. It’s my belief this band will do well with the line up that’s in place now. No doubt that they will have packed venues moving forward. See the bottom of this article for my brief Q&A with Steve Migs on Bruiser Brody and more. Quick note; Keith Ash of the Guessing Game filled in for Jeff Rouse for this event.

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Matt and Brad of Van Eps // Photo by Kurt Clark
Matt and Brad of Van Eps // Photo by Kurt Clark

Next up wasVan Eps.This was actually my second time seeing this band play. The first time was at The Layne Staley Tribute at the Moore in August. Matt Strutynski (lead vocals, guitar), Jake Jovanovich (drums, backing vocals), Bobby Steenrod (bass) and Brad Steenrod (lead guitar) make up the band. They performed most tunes off their second album “Van Eps, Vol. 2. I especially like “Blood” and “Zombie”. I have to say I really like everything about this band. The sound, the lyrics and the vocals. I was able to record one song on video, but when I inquired about it, Matt told me that it didn’t have a name yet. I’m sure that will happen soon. Van Eps also played a tribute to the recently departed Tom Petty with their version of “You Wreck Me”. Steve Migs took Jake’s spot on drums, and Jake joined Matt in lead vocals. The packed venue loved it!

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Wyatt Olney & the Wreckagewas on next and opened their set up with “Welcome to Seattle”. I noticed how many of the people in the audience already knew the lyrics to this song; that alone was something to witness.  The video I captured of this song, had way too many arms from the audience; therefore, here’s the “official” music video.

The entire set was to introduce us to their new album. The next single I’d recommend would be “Lights Out”. This band has a very large following, the reason I’ve come to believe is they represent true “anthem rock”. They sing for a reason and get the audience involved in singing with them. I also noticed a big difference between this new album and their last one “Dark Futures”, and Wyatt told me this himself; he played an electric guitar in this new release, versus an acoustic on the last. The sound is more powerful this time around and why I consider WOATW, anthem rock. Wyatt Olney & the Wreckage are Wyatt Olney (lead vocals, guitar), Kyle Gibboney (lead guitar), Rob Brennan (drums) and Willie Nelson (bass).

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I asked Wyatt to give us some feedback on MigsFest II, and this is what he shared with me: “MigsFest was a stellar event to be a part of again this year, and it was such an honor to release our album to a sold out crowd in our favorite Seattle club, Studio Seven. Thank you to all the fans and the Wreckage-family who came to celebrate with us. Windowpane and Van Eps put on a hell of a show, once again proving why they are such a respected driving force in the Seattle music scene. Bruiser Brody had an incredible first show of their career, which I hope to see last for many years to come. They are easily my new favorite Seattle band. Such passion and fire. They will go far. It was a night that I hardly remember, but I’ll never forget! Stay away from Tequila, kids”!

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The Last Internationale is a band out of New York City and it just so happens to be SteveMigs’ favorite band. They performed after Wyatt Olney and the Wreckage. Edgey Pires and Delila Paz have such a connection to each other on stage, it’s hard to miss. Their sound is a cross between sexy jazz and alternative rock. Paz’s vocals are seductive-like, while Pires’ guitar antics are eye candy to the ladies. Brad Wilk (Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave) is TLI’s drummer. It was hard to see him, as he was engaged pulling out all the stops for this very special show.

They are a band I’d love to seeagain. Top Left TV streamed their performance and we’ve provided the YouTube link to their set.

To close out the night Windowpane took to the stage last. This is one of Seattle’s most loved bands. At this event they re-issued their self-titled album that they had remastered. This includes new artwork and photos (I need to get a copy).. The set they had at Migsfest was well over an hour long and the audience did not want the night to end. It’s very clear why Glenn Cannon (lead vocals, guitar), Tony Abreu (guitar), Sean Morrison (drums, backing vocals) and Christon Casper (bass) have one of the largest fan bases in Seattle; good honest rock! They connect with the audience with their lyrics and the music written for it.

Windowpane // Photo by Kurt Clark
Windowpane // Photo by Kurt Clark

Windowpane’s full set by Top Left TV.

The night was a huge “adrenaline” rush from so much excitement in seeing so many bands you love in one show. The one thing that has been said, time and time again, that’s worth repeating, is the “brotherly love” you see with the bands. They all support each other and respect one another. The fans notice this and appreciate it.

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After the show I had a chance to do a brief Q&A with Steve Migs, on MigsFest and on Bruiser Brody:

NS: Since I’ve gotten to know you thru the radio station (BJ and Migs KISW 99.9FM), I have to assume you were the one who came up with the name for Bruiser Brody; can you confirm this? And what made you pick Bruiser Brody out of all the other wrestlers out there?

SM: Yes….It was my idea to name the band Bruiser Brody. The reason behind it is that he was one of the first guys that made me fall in love with pro wrestling. I love how he was a take-no-crap type of guy, and I especially connected with his nickname, “The Intelligent Monster”. My hope and vision for this band was for it to be a smart, loud and powerful style of music….and I  couldn’t be happier with the outcome.

The Real Bruiser Brody
The Real Bruiser Brody – Legendary Wrestler

NS: Whose idea was it to start the band and how did you know who you wanted to be apart of this “Supergroup”?

SM: The idea behind this band was something that Glenn Cannon and I have been talking about for quite some time. When Glenn joined the MigsCast (podcast), that’s when we really started to amp up the conversations. We’ve always enjoyed jamming with each other, and I thought it would be a blast to do some sort of side project. So when it came time to put the band together, I had an idea of some people I thought would be a perfect fit. Thankfully for me both of those guys said yes to playing in the band………JT Phillips and Jeff Rouse. The original plan was for Glenn to sing in the band, and when the time came for us to get together and record, Glenn proposed that we ask Travis Bracht to join the band. Glenn was having similar conversations with Travis like he was with me, and that they wanted to do some kind of project together. Travis literally joined the band, just a couple of hours before our very first practice. I wouldn’t be able to put into words what he brought to this group…..his energy, talent, and passion made for the final piece of the puzzle.

NS: Can you tell me how it feels to have your own bands EP out now?

SM: It’s very surreal. To put it in perspective, we weren’t even really a band about two month ago; all of this happened extremely fast. However, thanks to it happening so fast, I truly believe that added so much to the overall vibe and sound to the record. We didn’t have time to overthink it. We went into the studio with a great attitude, and had an incredible time recording together. I absolutely feel that you could hear how much fun we are having while listening to this record. I’ve never been more proud of a recording that I’ve been part of.

NS: What’s it been like for Seattle to welcome you with open arms? (Migs is originally from New York)

SM: I really don’t know how to answer that. I’ve been here since 1997. I’ve played in bands since I moved out here, so the Seattle music scene has been something I’ve been a part of for over 20 years. Granted, the last 8 or so years I haven’t been doing much musically, but I’ve always been a huge supporter of the scene and have many friends that I have known over the years that are still playing. Jeff Rouse is a great example of that, as him and I were in bands that were playing many shows together over the years; and we also talked about how fun it would be to jam sometime, thankfully we have finally found that time!

NS: What are your overall thoughts on this years MigsFest?

SM: Saturday was incredible. Having that many people show up to see us play is a memory I’ll never forget. Having my friends and family in attendance made my night. Many of them have never seen me play the drums before, so that is something that will always stick with me. Everything about Saturday night was great….all of the bands sounded awesome, and the crowd gave every band so much love from the beginning of the night to the very end. All of the credit goes to Glenn. I can’t thank him enough for all of the work that he put into making MigsFest such a fun night for everybody that attended.

For those of you who do not listen to KISW 99.9FM, you may not know that this radio station does a lot for the Seattle rock music scene. They do more than their part by playing local music in support of the bands. They also invite them to come on the air and play several times throughout the year. Having a radio station that support the bands is something that makes me very proud to be a lifelong resident, among several other reasons. I’ve actually been listening to the station since 1981.

NeHi Stripes would like to thank Tracy Moody of Studio Seven for allowing us to cover the show. I’d also like to thank our own photographer Kurt Clarkfor his hard work and providing excellent photos (and our YouTube videos) for this article and for the bands.