Saturday, January 13, 2018

G3 Kicks Off In Seattle! 1/11/18 Gig Review!


Joe Satriani
John Petrucci
Phil Collen

Moore Theater
Seattle, WA


The old saying is that time flies. When you're my age, it really does. I last saw Phil Collen (of Def Leppard fame) in 1983! I saw Joe Satriani on the G3 tour but it was in 2003 - fifteen years ago! John Petrucci (Dream Theater) I've definitely known about but have never witnessed live.

The 2018 version of G3 kicked off in Seattle, WA on Thursday night at the Moore Theater. A packed house of musician types, older musician types, and folks that just love to hear guitar, we got an amazing set of guitarists to enjoy this year.

Phil Collen started the evening at 7pm. Sporting his signature Jackson guitar model and Blackstar amps, Phil played a set of rock instrumentals and blues based songs complete with guest vocals. He kept things "solo" as it were - no Def Leppard covers Thursday night. Phil did the right thing by being himself and playing guitar his way, in his style. Mr. Collen went over extremely well with the Seattle crowd.

Up next - John Petrucci had an intro tape play as a video of images played in the background. John came out and his trio blasted into a set that had me mesmerized. Starting with the theme from the Wonder Woman film and then, "Jaws Of Life", John wailed away on his signature Music Man model guitar.  As I mentioned before, I've always known about John and his work with Dream Theater but I had never seen him or the band live. Watching him effortlessly play some insane guitar licks, I was just blown away by his playing. Looking like he belongs in the northwest with a long beard and decked out in all black, John went from dark and progressive, to uplifting and melodic, with everything in between. An incredible set from John - who is a G3 veteran by the way.

Lastly, the one and only Joe Satriani came out to massive applause. Having started the G3 concept in 1996, the amount of years that have passed really didn't make a difference. Joe and his band ripped into new and old songs. With his new album, "What Happens Next" having just come out on Friday the 12th, Joe aired a few tunes from it as well as old favorites - mainly pulling from, "Surfing With the Alien" (four tunes).

Much like Phil and John before him, Joe played effortlessly and with great joy. The ever present Ibanez signature models being rotated throughout the set.  He's always been a songwriting guitarist in my book. His melodies are basically vocal lines over song structures. You don't have to love guitar shredding to love Joe's music. You could not tell this was the first night of the tour as Joe played like he'd been on tour for months.

As customary, at the end of the show all three shredders came out to jam three tunes. "Highway Star", "Superstition", and "I'm Going Down" were the three this tour. Everyone in the Moore Theater stood on their feet and went nuts as each guitarist took turns soloing during all three songs.

At the end of the evening, I personally felt great - having just witnessed three amazing musicians doing what they do best. As I mentioned before, Seattle was the kick off so when the G3 tour hits your town, do not pass it up. It is a fantastic time!


Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks: Melissa for the credentials - I really appreciate it!




Friday, January 5, 2018

KILLIAN MAHAFFEY Gig Review - 1/5/18!

Killian Mahaffey

(in support of Fates Warning)

Studio Seven

Seattle, WA



The first gig of 2018 for Eclectic Arts was local guitarist and songwriter Killian Mahaffey. Killian was direct support for progressive metal veterans Fates Warning at Studio Seven.

Hailing from Ireland but now residing in the U.S., Killian played a tight 30-minute set of guitar instrumentals. Sporting a green Gibson Les Paul Studio, Killian played six songs with backing tracks.

Neo classical with rock and blues notes, Killian brought up fellow guitarist Alika Madis and they let loose on the Gary Moore classic, "The Loner", from Gary's "Wild Frontier" album. Starting things off with a back and forth shred duel, both guitarists played through, "The Loner" basically note for note. I'd like to see these guys jam more together!

Having seen Killian twice now I can say he's got the chops for sure. He has more than one project in the works right now so 2018 looks to be a level rising year for Killian.

The next time he's playing, check him out for sure!


Mark Sugiyama

Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks: Killian Mahaffey for the credentials - I really appreciate it!

2017 Thoughts


Well, it's been quite the year, hasn't it? We are already four days into 2018 and so far, so good *knock on wood*.

I started off 2017 with a death in the family. I ended it with a funeral of a family friend on 12/29/17. There were other personal losses during the year but there were also some amazing positives, too.

I will never forget how Eclectic Arts started and what it has become. An incredible amount of work goes into doing all of this but it is my passion. I am forever grateful that any publicist, manager, band member, etc, gives me the time of day. It's all rather surreal when I think about it.

Of course certain events are always going to stand out in my mind from 2017. I in no way want to discount the other artists that I covered. Again, I am grateful for every opportunity I've been afforded.

But as a random end of the year list - here goes:

*Olivia Newton John. Just typing that is beyond humbling to me. I grew up with her music and films. To be able to meet her and talk with her briefly after her performance in February was definitely a highlight.

*Diamanda Galas. Wow - here I am ten months later after her show at The Neptune and I still can't quite fully comprehend her performance that night. It's like I've been musically scarred for life in the best possible way.

*Charlotte and Delain. Five years. Five shows. Four interviews. This one was finally in person and lasted nearly 30 minutes. Amazing band. Amazing woman. Delain fan for life.

*Maggie Koerner. This petite gal from the south that has this HUGE voice! Interviewing Maggie and then listening to her perform - such a talent. I hope I get another chance to see her up here some day.

*Thunderpussy. I finally got to meet Ruby (drummer) at the Elysian Search Party event in July. She ended up meeting most of my immediate family, too, including my mom. She is now adopted into our family from that day forward. I also attended the show in West Seattle this summer. It's nice to be remembered - as Whitney knew my name. Molly smiles at me like she recognizes me (probably due to my big bulbous head). And that band on stage is just rock and roll goodness. The New Year's Eve gig was just over the top incredible!

*Black Metal. There were several black metal shows that came to town that helped reinforce why I love this genre of music so much. Mayhem, Marduk, Archgoat, UADA, Inquisition, Belphegor, and others practiced their blackened arts in Seattle this year. Hails!

*Ace Frehley. KISS was the band that started me on this journey. Being able to photograph Ace from the pit was just as surreal as can be. It didn't really hit me until after the show that I just shot Ace fucking Frehley.

*Karin Konoval. I've watched all three of the recent Planet of The Apes films. To be able to interview this wonderful actress who played "Maurice" in all three of the films was a delight. I really hope to expand this part of Eclectic Arts in 2018 (film related coverage).

*AL1CE. A warm smile comes to my face when I think about my time with this incredible band of musicians and people. The way they treated me one would think I was a long time fan/friend of the band. I was as new to them as they were to me. Not any more. ☺

Their shows in September really spun my energy in a different direction that impacted my life in more ways than one.

Other shows such as MUNA, Katie Kuffel, Tobias The Owl, Letters From The Fire, gosh it just goes on and on.

The non-music events such as the three beer festivals I covered (rediscovering my love of craft beer). Attending Luche Libre Volcanica and doing my interview with La Avispa was great fun. Sitting down and finally interviewing Reis from The Box and Burger Eatery was a long time in the making. So glad that finally happened!

I know if I look at my list of events from 2017 I'll be like, "Oh how could I have forgotten that?!" But, for now, let's just say for Eclectic Arts 2017 was a very productive year.

For 2018 expect my continued push into covering and bringing anything I consider artistic and interesting to Eclectic Arts. I already have two interviews lined up and shows as well for January and beyond.

I thank you for your support over the years. It is much appreciated!

Happy New Year!

Mark D. Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Ringing In The New Year with THUNDERPUSSY! Gig Review 12/31/17!


Industrial Revelation


Showbox at The Market
Seattle, WA


Ever since the announcement that Thunderpussy had signed with a major record label, the buzz that was already around them intensified that much more. The soiree' on New Year's Eve at the Showbox was, in some eyes, going to be their send off show - the next level for the band show. It actually wasn't. Surprised? Read on.

My impression from 12/31/17 was that we were witnessing the band already at the start of that next level. If you were there, you already know what I mean. From the moment they took the stage. Excuse me, from the moment the dancers took the stage, the audience knew they were in for something fantastic and special. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

The show started off with the Los Angeles duo Kolars. Having never seen the band before I, like many in attendance, was immediately drawn into their sound and the tap dancing/drumming performed on stage. Playing a mix of glam, indie, and rockabilly, with elements of pop melody, Kolars were the perfect start to the evening. They went over very well with the crowd, myself included. Their 30-minute set seemed almost too short. They will be back at the Tractor Tavern on March 25th. Check them out and see what all the fuss is about.

After a brief changeover, Industrial Revelation took the stage. A jazz quartet that fuses elements from a few other genres into their sound, the band showed they could flat out play. There was absolutely no question about that. All four gentlemen were just going off on their respective instruments during their 45-minute set. No vocals - they kept the party atmosphere going for most of the fans.

Finally, it was time for the Fire and Ice New Year's Eve soiree' to begin!

A lineup of dancers walked onto the darkened stage. With ice white bob wigs and sparkly silver dresses, they formed a chorus line and got the anticipation up. As the intro of AC/DC's, "Thunderstruck" blasted over the PA, the crowd grew restless.

Ruby, Leah, Whitney, and Molly - all dressed in ice white - got into position on the stage. Molly said a few words into the mic and then Whitney launched into the opening riff (on her black Flying V) of their namesake tune, "Thunderpussy". The dancers had scattered to their positions - one on each side of the catwalk into the audience. So, each barricade had around four dancers on each side (one was right in front of me). If you've ever looked at the inside of the photo pit barricade walls, there are places for the photographers to sit to get shots and to be out of the view of the crowd. The dancers were on each of these "steps" if you will. There were also dancers on the stage. I know dancers ended up in the back during a song as well. Dancers everywhere!

The crowd of course went fucking nuts! I can't remember the last time a band in a club hit the first song with such a strong artistic and musical presentation. I was floored! From the dancers, to the band, to the costumes, to the production team (photographers and videographers), you could tell a shit ton of planning went into this event. And for all those in attendance, we were the very lucky recipients!

"Speed Queen" was up next and the dancers took different spots around the Showbox to enhance the tune (the music video was released in November). The catwalk out into the audience was a very nice touch - something I have not seen at any of the club shows I've covered thus far.

The band eventually stripped off the ice white outfits to reveal their fire red outfits underneath. Again, planning folks. This is what happens when you plan out your creative endeavors before shows. More bands need to think this way. Great stuff!

We got to hear many of the tunes that the faithful have heard over the last year or three (in some cases). Confetti, PBR, and champagne helped ring in the New Year!

Special guests? Of course! Mike McCready of Pearl Jam (and Shadow for you old schoolers out there) fame - who is already known to the fans as a mega supporter of Thunderpussy, came out to jam with the band. Cover tunes? Of course, too! The evening ended with all the bands on stage jamming their hearts out as well. By the end of the show, the crowd was buzzed, drunk and/or exhausted. An absolutely amazing time was had by all!

This event was so well thought out yet was also spontaneous enough to create an energy that really showed why Seattle loves Thunderpussy! I don't know how you can ever see this band perform and not leave with a big ass smile on your face!

The question now becomes will the rest of the world share this love of the band? I would say yes! Why? The things I personally love about the band are universal. Rock and roll. Good times. Dance/movement expression (courtesy of Molly's background). Musicianship (especially the drums - sorry, I had to say it. I HAD TO. Love me some Ruby on the kit!). The down and dirty sexy vibe the band has - strutting their stuff if you will. All of these traits can win them new fans, easily. I overheard more than one group of people Sunday night saying things like, "so and so had never seen the band but they were fucking stoked on them now".

The band has shows coming up that will lead them to SXSW in the New Year to showcase their music to the masses. Once the album comes out, that's when the new rollercoaster will begin. Hopefully management can get the band in front of some appropriate bands to grow their fan base into a new legion of Thunderpussy lovers.

And back here in Seattle, we, the fans, will be waiting to welcome our triumphant Pussiez home!

Happy New Year!

Mark Sugiyama
Eclectic Arts

Special Thanks: Chris for the credentials - I really appreciate it! What an amazing event!

Special Thanks: Thunderpussy for putting Seattle back on the musical map! I am never disappointed at one of your shows. Ever. This one will be hard to beat. But, knowing the band, I'm sure you'll find a way. Cheers!