ZR Review: The Sonics at Capitol Theater
Written in early January of 2011 and published in the extremely limited “Zorch Zine: Issue Three” (only 1,000 printed)
The Sonics, The Dirty Birds and November Witch @ Capitol Theater
I kept bragging about my tickets to this show for weeks. I didn’t care who they were, I had to tell them. “I’M GOING TO SEE THE SONICS!” Some people were stoked, but most said something like “The basketball team?” Guess it doesn’t help to be in Seattle…
I knew it was going to be THEE show of a lifetime. And I was right.
An hour drive south to Washington’s state capitol of Olympia was surprisingly short. Not much (that I know of) happens down here outside of politics, so I rarely make the trek. The 86 year old Capitol Theater is primarily used for plays and film, but occasionally puts on concerts. An all ages area was on the main floor (with seats) and a 21+ balcony was up top with a miniature bar serving champagne and cider. The venue could accommodate around 750 patrons, but it was hard to tell with the mix of theater seating and standing. The crowd ranged from 16 year old kids to people in their 70’s, which was refreshing and also a great sign of the headliner’s legacy.
The first band was a group of young guys called The November Witch. They were a mixed sound of garage, grunge, punk rock, whatever, and their potty-mouth was not welcomed by some of the older audience members. Not many people were too impressed, but they were combating the initial socialization of a gig and all the latecomers.
After the kids climbed off stage to their girlfriends and parents, the next band grabbed the crowd as if they were kings of rock and roll. Blindsiding most everyone there, The Dirty Birds absolutely destroyed the place with a timelessly loud and honkin’ set. I’ve never heard such ageless, dynamic, true American rock from any other opening act at any show. These guys have GOT IT.
The front of the stage was getting more and more packed as most seated folk soon lost their visibility. A lady from a radio station came up for an introduction and we all heard the opening ***twingggg*** twang*** of “Cinderella.” The place bounced into life as people from all generations were grabbed by the primal pounding sound of The Sonics. Despite a likely lack of biological teeth, these guys delivered a spot-on set that wasn’t held back by their age. New guy Freddie Dennis powered through some the vocals, encapturing the young and feral attitude that put The Sonics on the map. While he seemed a bit off character from the rest of his bandmates, his sound glued him in right and proper. A midnight countdown in mid-set and a few encores later, the legends called it a night.
The house lights came on and I stood there, staring off in disbelief. Not only had I seen one of THEE most influential bands in punk rock, but they also played a freakishly tight set! It’s sad to say, but too many hall-of-famers ride their legacy without putting effort into their performances. I was half expecting to be disappointed, but they play for keeps! It was REAL! And it was RIGHT!
-NOTE- This review was written by Jacob, host/producer of the live weekly radio show Zorch Radio. Check out more of our reviews, subscribe to the podcast, or check out the Archive Page. Follow us on Twitter. Like us on Facebook. Contact us here.