Edited by C. Cavins
For a year, music fans walked around in a fog – listening to music on ear buds, videos and live streams. Live music, within sweat-flinging distance of the band, was a restricted dream for many. As the planet waged war against an invisible invader, the air was just a bit quieter.
Dan Nunn, Steve McKeever, and Kevin Hammond continued to practice and remain as active as possible. Along the way there were some personnel changes too: Vance Proszek came on board as “Stone,” and Randy Becker joined to play “McCready.” The Cruisers gig would be their launch to the stage and introduction to the world.
I followed the band from Seattle to Idaho, and documented the show that night. The show was dedicated to 30 Years Of Pearl Jam – music that has stirred generations to love, feel, act, and think. Cruisers is a unique experience and a perfect place to reenter the live stages; situated on what used to be US Highway 10, the bar has “drive through doors” that allow arriving motorcycles to literally roll through the building before park. While I was there, no fewer than three riding groups took the opportunity to run past the bar on their bikes!
Set up and sound check happened in the late afternoon.
As the sun dropped and the outside temperature cooled, Bret Allen and The Northern Rebels took the stage to start the show with a high-energy set of rock soaked in blues, western hooks, and volume beyond 11! Clearly they were local fan favorites, and the temperatures inside the bar only went higher as their music got people excited for what they were experiencing.
Washed In Black took the stage for 300 people – already pumped up and ready to rock!
Steve McKeever’s voice is stronger than ever, and he paid homage to Eddie Vedder through voice and energy – taking a moment to climb a rafter near the end of the set! Dan Nunn bounced around the stage while laying down the bottom end with his bass. As he has done in previous shows, he opted for his special stand-up bass to grace some of the music. With Kevin Hammond on the kit, WIB’s drums have the top commander; mastering the complex patterns, feelings and vocals that make up Pearl Jam’s music is like second nature to him. Kevin’s goodwill and dedication to the songs really brought the right depth to it all.
But the night caught fire when the new guys hit the stage!
Randy Becker brought out his best game to introduce himself to the crowd – performing with precision and power.
Vance Proszek was clearly having fun, because he smiled through the entire show! He moved around the stage to double up with Randy and provided all the quality Stone sound they needed. Between him and Randy, it was clear that the guitar work for WIB was in the right hands!
By the end we were ALL spent. Covid and lower activity levels took a toll on some of us. Capturing this band in its habitat is something I hadn’t done for a while. And this was a new venue for me. But through the repositioning and the sweat, the band’s energy level kept me going with the music we’ve all come to love in so many ways. They brought it. Big time. And there was no doubt in the crowd that the show was a huge winner.
Make sure to visit Washed In Black’s social media to find out where they play. Now that you can emerge from your home and experience life with people once again, you won’t regret it!