To say I’m thankful for Seattle’s musical legacy would never completely describe how I feel about the fountain of creativity that has washed over this region!
I’m not just thankful for all the music that put Seattle on the map; I’m thankful for all the musicians and influences that led up to the grunge eruption – and the voices from the stage that have defined the relationship between band and fan. The talent in the area was long standing – an epic thread of creativity and musical prowess heard in artists like The Sonics, Hendrix, Heart, Queensryche, Metal Church, Heir Apparent, Ten Minute Warning, Malfunkshun, The U-Men, Green River, Soundgarden, and Mother Love Bone. The energy, songwriting, and in-your-face stage shows of those bands proved to be worthy of the research done by musicians who came along after 1989. They took that classic music and used the influences to create even more new and exciting music.
And by 1991, their efforts paved the way to a Perfect Musical Storm which formed over Seattle!
On August 27th, Pearl Jam’s album TEN was released and took immediate hold of the music scene. Those of us who loved and enjoyed Mother Love Bone before them soon heard much of the audio nuance we already enjoyed. It was emotional. It was groove-a-licious. It advocated for real-life activism and care for others. I think I cried several times with it turned up to 11 in my Toyota 4×4. It was like nothing we had ever heard but yet, thanks to all the music and influence that came before it, TEN felt familiar and warm.
Knowing this, it’s easy to understand why the popularity of the music and the band took off so quickly.
Washed In Black – A Tribute to Pearl Jam fully intended to celebrate the 30th anniversary of TEN’s release in August 2021. But as we all know, COVID invited itself to our party. Stupid COVID. It pushed back more shows and events than I can recall now. Thankfully, the band regrouped and reserved the Federal Way Performing Arts & Event Center on 20 May 2022, to have the anniversary show with a few friends.
Along on their musical journey was Martin T. Reed of the MTR Project, who opened with a casual acoustic set prior to the show. Following Marty was fan favorite Wyatt Olney and the Wreckage playing a high-energy set of original rock. Wyatt and the gang did a fantastic job of getting the near-capacity crowd riled up!
Next in line was OUTSHINED (Tribute to Soundgarden & Temple Of The Dog)! Keven James Hoffman brought the vocals of Chris Cornell alive for the fans.
Soundgarden music has become an integral part of our music scene, and the tribute that Outshined pays to them really brings out the crowd. One thing that occurred to me during the show was how timeless their music sounds; to my ears, songs like Jesus Christ Pose simply don’t sound thirty years old! Certainly a mark of great songwriting.
Towards the end of the set, Keven brought out Steve McKeever of Washed In Black to sing a duet for Hunger Strike.
The final entry for the night was of course Washed In Black, bringing their spot-on tribute to the music of Pearl Jam!
The classic set list was perfect for the night. The venue is seated, and the first three or four rows were empty as fans went closer to commune directly with their favorite songs. This was the first time I’d seen Nick Mardon play since he joined the band, and this guy is a first-class shredder! It was really a treat to see Dan Nunn on stage after major surgery last year, and I’m so happy for his recovery!
About the venue: The Federal Way Performing Arts & Event Center offered many perfect features for shows like these, including a bar, ample space for merch tables, a ginormous stage, and three levels of seating that included a balcony. And the sound was phenomenal! I spent the entire concert – in audience and backstage – without earplugs. That’s right….without. The sound was so well balanced throughout the venue that I had absolutely no need for them! No ear ringing afterwards, or dull sound response the next day. This was definitely a first for me in a long time, since I’ve worn ear plugs religiously to concerts now for nine years. Federal Way has a gem in this venue, and I would recommend it highly to any of my musician friends for this type of show!
The fans truly loved the event. The excited was very clear, and their dedication to the sounds and musicians of this era brought them out of their seats. As it has been with many shows Post-COVID, the event also served as a reunion for many of us who had grown accustomed to seeing each other most any weekend up and down the Puget Sound. I was able to reconnect with many who I haven’t seen in person for two or more years; and that made the event feel all that more special.
But this music has a way of doing that!
We are so blessed by the Perfect Musical Storm that happened thirty years ago, and the album TEN that opened so many of us to music that mattered. I’d like to thank Martin Reed, Wyatt Olney And The Wreckage, Outshined, and Washed In Black for bringing us together for such a fantastic event, and proving to us that Seattle’s deep musical roots are forever etched in our sound – and that now the Perfect Musical Storm has gone on to become influential on the sounds of our new century. TEN lives on as a work to celebrate forever.
See you at the stage!
Edited by Miss Manners