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Matson on Music

Music news, concert reviews, analysis and opinion by music writer Andrew Matson.

December 29, 2012 at 11:52 AM

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Were you there? 'The Rolling Stones' and Shabazz/THEESat

Not to be "that guy," but if you didn't attend the recent "The Rolling Stones" or Shabazz Palaces/THEESatisfaction concerts, you missed magic. They both started great and finished better. A few words and photos:

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Justin Deary playing Mick Taylor/Ronnie Wood; photos by me
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"The Rolling Stones" exploded the museum aspect of classic rock 'n' roll at the Tractor Tavern's holiday concert Friday, Dec. 22, and made old music feel vital again. The local punk-pedigreed cover band was uncommonly tight and loud and committed to playing the characters of the actual Stones, and the bar was decked out with lighted snowflakes, packed with boozy patrons who maybe didn't know the difference. The best song was "Tumbling Dice" early in the set. But the grandest moment came at the end, when a ton of sweaty people danced on stage, which felt illegal in a good way, and waved goodbye like at the end of SNL. Everyone left when it started to get scary-crowded — except electric guitarist Justin Deary and his dangly earring, who let the screaming audience play his instrument with a candy cane.

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Ishmael Butler hands the microphone to OCnotes

shabazz neptune.jpgAfter a fully-choreographed and musically interwoven set by local rap groups Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction Saturday at the Neptune — kicked off by a stunning new Shabazz song where Ishmael Butler rapped the words "embroidered in flames" — the best moment came at the end, when Butler gave props. He called Stasia Irons in THEESatisfaction a "master lyricist," high praise coming from Butler, then ceremoniously handed his microphone to local singer/rapper/producer OCnotes, for his cool duet with THEESatisfaction, "Icing." It was inspiring to see Butler acknowledge his musical family around town, not just because he put his ego on the side after an hour and half of rapping some of the best-chosen words hip-hop has ever heard — and not to leave out Shabazz's Tendai Maraire, whose mbira solo on "An Echo" was transporting, or THEESat's Catherine Harris-White and her low singing on "Deeper" — but because it hammered home the point that in pulling these Seattle artists together, Butler is giving the city a rich musical moment.

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