The woman sitting opposite me crosses herself each time the bus picks up more people. I don’t remember “Thou shalt not ride on buses”. Maybe it was in the small print. I’m heading downtown for breakfast somewhere on the port; soak up some ambiance and finish some lyrics so I can try out a new-ish song at tonights gig.
Seattle starts grey then brightens then goes back to grey. A fishmonger at the market tells me that at one point this year it didn’t rain for nearly three months and people got edgy and nervous. We prefer an established routine even when that routine is far from ideal.
The people at my show this evening look decidedly chilled out and not at all perturbed by the rain or the lack of it. They listen to a first set by the ironically named “Monster boob”, sing along to some of my songs and tune right into the improvised drones of “Beyond Captain Orca” who make me feel like the spirit of The Grateful dead is alive and well in Seattle in 2019. Beyond Captain Orca’s guitarist is none other than the legendary producer of Nirvana’s “Bleach” album. Whispers go round the room until everyone knows. The ghost of grunge looms larger than I thought, casting its shadow over the whole rock scene and preventing everyone from moving on. After the show, a guy at the bar tells me that:
“Nirvana were bigger than the Beatles man!”
And round here they undoubtedly were…
After the last band, the crowd melts away, the jukebox comes back on and the place now seems an unlikely venue for the music it’s hosted over the last 3 hours. The few people at the bar are locals who’ve clocked off late shifts and didn’t even catch the music. They’ve come here to drink, not for entertainment.
I walk back from the gig down the seemingly endless Aurora North Avenue, taking photos of the neon signs advertising auto repair workshops, massage parlours and even a Freemasons lodge. Portland tomorrow; a short trip down the coast and the real start of the west coast road trip…
French version published daily on the ROCK MADE IN FRANCE website: