The Sonics at Easy Street Records

  Record Store Day, for most music enthusiasts, is viewed as a Black Friday for music lovers.  With that territory comes anticipation, long lines, crowded aisles and the aloof demeanor that “Everyday is Record Store Day”.  2015 Record Store Day for West Seattle’s Easy Street Records would be one that will be forever embedded as an iconic moment in Seattle’s rich history of music.  Sure, this may seem like a bold and knee jerk assessment to some critics in the industry, but when you factor in that Northwest Music legends, The Sonics, just released their first proper full length album in nearly 50 years, “This Is The Sonics”,  and are currently embarking on their first ever (believe it or not) U.S. tour, the window of opportunity for Easy Street Records President, Matt Vaughan wasn’t very big.  Once Matt pitched the idea to the Sonics, there was not a second guess of them accepting the offer to perform Record Store Day at Easy Street Records during their short 3 days off from tour.  KEXP radio who will be relocating to a new facility were the beneficiaries of this event as the charity of ticket sales went to their relocation funds.  I did not take long for the 250 tickets to sell out as the buzz of who may be sitting in with the Sonics was being speculated.  When the doors closed for the Sonics to set up and soundcheck, the musical guests were roaming the now empty aisles of Easy Street records as if they were kids who missed out on a ticket but were able to catch a glimpse of the Sonics soundcheck to say “I was there”.  In a sense it was a reunion for many of these guests who’s paths haven’t crossed since their own heyday in the ’90’s.  As Chris Ballew recently stated “When we used to get interviewed  about our influence on Seattle music, I would tell them that they need to go backward and listen to The Sonics, The Wailers and the Kingsmen.”

  Once the doors opened to let in the anticipant sell out crowd, Owner Matt Vaughan’s introduction was reminiscent of the Dead Boys introduction at CBGB’s.  Raw, Loud, and with the point driven.  The case was made.  With KEXP in full recording mode, the Sonics hit the stage and started full force with “Cinderella” and didn’t stop.  With the large roll up doors to Easy Street rattling, it was just a matter of time before the eager crowd who missed out on tickets would have it lifted up so the party would spill onto California avenue for all to be included.  As the Sonics were kicking it off, the guest musicians eagerly would look over  manager Bryan Swirskys shoulder to see when they got to sit in with the band.  The excitement for them couldn’t be hidden as they would compare their songs with one another once they found out.  The Sonics brought it to the stage like no other, and didn’t let up to accommodate the guests musicians.  All of who got their work out in maintaining the Sonics raw energy.  

  Record Store Day 2015 was one of those rare special treats.  Of course “Everyday is Record Store Day”, (rightfully so), but this one provided a Boom like no other.  Special thanks go out to Matt Vaughan of Easy Street records and KEXP for capturing this monumental event.

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Eddie Vedder and the Sonics rehearsing “Leaving Here”
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Sonics guitarist Larry Parypa and Eddie Vedder meeting for the first time.
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Sonics manager Bryan Swirsky and Eddie Vedder go over set list.
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Guest musician and grandson of Sonics Saxist Rob Lind, Jason Kertson.
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All in the Family..The Parypas
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Eddie Vedder and Chris Ballew take it all in.
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Eagerly awaiting the show is photographer great Jim Bennett.
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Easy Street Records own Matt Vaughan kicks off the introduction to the crowd.
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This is the Sonics…Kicking it off with “Cinderella”
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Screaming Trees Van Conner sits in for “He’s Waiting”
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Van and the Sonics
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Chris Ballew performing “You Got Your Head on Backwards”
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Eddie Vedder performs “Leaving Here”
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While ex Mudhoney/Melvins bassist Matt Lukin provided the entertainment, Jason Kerston (grandson of Sonics Saxist, Rob Lind) wow’ed the crowd with his soloing on Louie Louie.
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Mike McCready brings the doors up with Emily Nokes
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HEY KID…NO CROWD SURFING……..oh wait, that’s Chris Ballew
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Sonic original Andy Parypa and Soundgarden’s Ben Sheppard.
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Oh what a band this would make…(L-R) Chris Ballew, Jeff Gilbert, Matt Lukin, and Eddie Vedder
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Eddie Vedder and Sonics drummer, Dusty Watson
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Dusty Watson and Mike McCready