fastbacks

Seeing Filthy Friends (and feeling damn good about it)

I caught the West Coast tour kick-off for Filthy Friends (and Eyelids) last night at Neumo’s. The show hit all the right marks for the age and style of fan that I assuredly have become. Both bands delivered accomplished sets. Recognizable icons filled the stage. The crowd grooved but no one got hurt. And we all got back on the road elsewhere at a very agreeable time. As my wife just commented when I gave her my morning coffee recap, “sounds like the perfect Dad rock evening.” Yes, indeed.

Filthy Friends (left to right) - Kurt Block, Scott McCaughey, Corin Tucker, Linda Pitmon, Peter Buck

Filthy Friends (left to right) - Kurt Block, Scott McCaughey, Corin Tucker, Linda Pitmon, Peter Buck

Before you take that as snark, dear reader, allow me to add a few deets. Filthy Friends are a true supergroup made up of Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney, and various side projects), Peter Buck (R.E.M., ditto), Kurt Bloch (Fastbacks…), Linda Pitmon (Zu Zu’s Petals…) and Scott McCaughey (The Young Fresh Fellows…). They live in Seattle, Portland, and NYC. They concentrated on their new album (“Emerald Valley”) released last week. Add up the amount of performing years experience on the stage and the tally would reach well into a second century. In other words, they’ve each forgotten more about rock ‘n roll than any of us will ever know firsthand. They do their jobs and look like they’re having fun up there.

Tucker and McCaughey

Tucker and McCaughey

Admittedly, I was there to see Scott McCaughey first and foremost. He’s one of the often uncredited icons of the exponential growth in Seattle’s music scene through the mid-’90s. By the time I’d rolled into town back in ‘93, The Young Fresh Fellows had already earned an honorary emeritus professorial position locally. Do yourself a favor if you’re not acquainted with them and give a listen to “The Fabulous Sounds of the Pacific Northwest” (1984) on Spotify. While you’re at it, check out Fastbacks “Very, Very Powerful Motor” (1990)…but I digress. The point being that I always loved McCaughey’s unpretentious swagger on stage. Which made the news that he’d suffered a stroke back in 2017 all the more jarring. The good news is that he’s doing great. He now looks like Christopher Lloyd as Doc Brown in the “Back to the Future” movies. And while the interplay between the players may not be as natural as a group who’ve been together for years in the van and on the stage, they made me just plain feel good about being out to see a show at my favorite club on a Thursday night. Even when a group of well-soused, much younger club goers weaseled their way in front of me prior to the encore…including one oversized dood who appeared to be as over-wide as he was over-tall and over-served…I couldn’t help but laugh at myself for even getting a slight bit annoyed at the pluck on them. It is rock ‘n roll, after all. Long may it live. Especially if it gets me out, inspired, and then home not long after 11pm on a weeknight.