Venue Address (Get Directions)Columbia City Theater
Date and Time
Friday, September 19th, 2014 at 8:00pm
Silent City Productions and Columbia City Theater
The Bad Things - "After the Inferno" CD Release Party
with The Gloria Darlings and The Mongrel Jews
at Columbia City Theater
4916 Rainier Ave. South
Doors at 8pm. Music at 9pm.
$10 advanced/$12 day-of-show
From the Ashes: The Outsider Cabaret of Seattle's The Bad Things Bursts Back to Life After the Inferno
Seattle. The whole world knows the bands that word conjures. But they only tell one small fragment of the city's musical story. Hidden by the noise of electric guitars and the sweet scents of gentrification, a strong, vital underground scene still flourishes. A junkyard cabaret inhabited by the underdogs and freaks, caught in the sudden glare of burlesques and little jewel box clubs. A place filled with the joyous outcasts, of celebration and commiseration. And that's where The Bad Things live. It's the space they illuminate on their new album, "After the Inferno" (released September 16, 2014 on Silent City Records).
"There's definitely a history of outsiders in Washington State," explains the band's singer and accordionist, Jimmy 'The Pickpocket' Berg. "For over a century, people with radical minds have been coming up here. Seattle had America's only general strike, back in 1919, Woody Guthrie was here writing songs in the '30s, and there's a still this tradition of people who speak out, who aren't happy in the mainstream."
And The Bad Things are happy to continue that tradition. Formed in 2002, they began in the best Seattle way, busking in the city's historic Pike Place Market and letting their sound, a mix of Balkan fire and desert heat, all generously steeped in weirdness of twisted imaginations, slowly take shape. As a six-piece band (instrumentation includes accordion, banjo, guitar, upright bass, trumpet, keys, drums, and mandolin) they performed in the dives and cabarets dotted around town, recording three CDs, culminating in 2008's "It'll All Be Over Soon."
"We'd intended to make this album long before this," Berg recalls. "But in 2012, our practice space burned down. It had been our home for a decade, a lot our equipment was there, our P.A., everything. We had to start over. And just when we were recovering, two good friends of ours were killed in a shooting in town, so all our energies went to their memorials. It's taken us a long time to recover and get back to business."
"Death of the Inferno," the album's title song, is one inhabited by the ghosts of those who've gone. The band had originally recorded it years before on their debut 2004 release, but this new version, performed too often lately at memorials and funerals, has taken on an entirely new, deeper resonance, not only filled with the past, but hope for the future.
"It's now so tied to those difficult times," Berg agrees. "We brought in a lot of people we know people who are part of our musical family to sing on it. We wanted everyone there to add the arms-locked, sing-and-drink-a-long feel that the live version has."
Sorrow is a part of living, but so is joy, and there's plenty of that on the album, too, from the bumpy Southwestern ballad of "Young Emily Rose" to the mandolin-driven "Bonnie To My Clyde" or the Balkan romp of "Grifter's Life." It's a celebration of outsiders, punk rock propelled by a tumult of accordions and banjos.
And The Bad Things' junkyard is a place with ample space for everything, from the tequila desert of "Jalisco Serenade" to the "Green Grass" that covers so much of Washington.
"It's a document," Berg says. "The band's gone through plenty of musical and emotional changes in the last few years. We've ventured into new musical styles, and all our lives have changed we've lost loved ones, some of us have had to quit drinking, I've become a parent. So "After the Inferno" is aptly titled. It's a rebirth for us. We're going into a future that's not easily pigeonholed, and we prefer it that way."
Out in Washington State, lurking in the underground, The Bad Things have found their place in the world. Out of the junkyards, After the Inferno, they've been reborn.
The Gloria Darlings
The Gloria Darlings, Pandi and Milly, are a Seattle-based female folk-grass duo. An innovative string band, they sing bright, vibrant, vocal harmonies to outstanding instrumentation. These young ladies are multi-instrumentalists with a strong focus on fiddle and guitar. Often called sirens, their catchy original tunes weave through the crowd. Definitely a band to watch; the tour de force harmony and energy gets every crowd smiling, singing along and toe tapping.
Their deep well of repertoire is full of original tunes, traditionals, and folksy renditions of popular songs. The GDs style is strongly rooted in bluegrass tradition and early country. The Gloria Darlings appear frequently at folk and bluegrass festivals and venues across the country. A unique little act with a big crowd-pleasing sound!
The Mongrel Jews
The Mongrel Jews are a Seattle street folk band that has been gracing the city’s stages, street corners and living rooms since 2010. Mixing the down-home Americana of Old Crow Medicine Show with the raucous energy of the Violent Femmes, the acoustic trio puts on a a theatrical performance full of caterwauling shout-alongs and dancing ballads.
The band was founded by washboard player Sarah Shay, who brought aboard her banjo-touting brother Aaron, and the wailing harmonica of Annie Hughes. They have shared stages with such acts as Mark Growden, Renee de la Prade, God’s Favorite Beefcake, and a burlesque dancer in a banana costume.