7 didn’t just have its finger of the pulse of the local scene – it was a part of the pulse.
On the cover of the first issue of 7 , there was a caption that read: “Isamu Jordan swears a vibrant nightlife exists.”
I still think that’s true and I’m proud to be have been part of 7 ’s role in highlighting the people and places that help shape Spokane’s culture after dark. The local media plays a vital role in connecting its community. And the various national and regional industry awards 7 garnered in its short run are part of the measure of the success of the publication and website. But the real proof is in the dynamic happenings in the local landscape – the Big Easy/Rock Coffee debacle, the international rise of James Pants, foot fetishes – and the way 7 covered them.
Here’s a look back at some of 7 ’s finest moments.
Soundwave blog – I always tried to use the blog for supplementary reporting for things that wouldn’t fit in print. As 7 incorporated more multimedia, the blog followed suit. The stars lined up when I teamed with now-former Spokesman-Review photographer Rajah Bose to film a short video piece about Spokane’s notorious Tambourine Man. Words just don’t do the Tam Man justice.
This summer on the blog I captured an audio slide show from Sasquatch Music Festival, featuring an exclusive interview from inside the tour van of Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips.
And there is a classic video of Spokane Juggalos in action in a post from March (basketball head, anyone?)
What happens after 666? – When July 7, 2007 approached, our friends in marketing gave us a budget and asked us to come up with our wish list for a once-in-a-lifetime 7 7 7 party. We did it up old-school hip-hop style and had Riverfront Park rockin’ with a dream bill, Portland’s Lifesavas co-headlining with Seattle’s finest, Blue Scholars. Also, a handful of local bands graced the stage throughout the day alongside an extreme sports exhibition cornered off by beer gardens. The best part, the whole thing was free.
Pig Out in the Park – After the success of 7 7 7 and the buzz of bringing something totally different to Riverfront, 7 was given an entire stage of its own by the powers that be at Pig Out. It was an eclectic cast of hand picked local musicians covering everything to the Americana of Joel Smith to the hip-hop of Sintax, headlined by the ever eccentric No-Fi Soul Rebellion.
In August, 7 ’s stage returned to Pig Out, with an exclusively local bill highlighted by Spokane’s authentic 10-piece Salsa band, Son Dulce, and a special collaborative engagement with The Shook Twins, Dane Ueland and Kaylee Cole, all playing each other’s music.
Acoustic Explosion – In 2006, 7 keyed in on a phenomenon taking place in the local music scene. The usual penchant for punk was metal was giving sway to folk- and indie-acoustic music. 7 ’s inaugural Acoustic Explosion showcase featured seven outstanding local artist, and one national headliner over seven days at seven different venues. The Acoustic Festival gathered more than 20 performing musicians and record attendance numbers to Empyrean Coffee House.
The 2008 Acoustic Explosion showcase was told through a series of video interviews and intimate live performances shot on location in a remote barn (save for the always exceptional Kaylee Cole, who opted instead to film her entry in impromptu concert at the beloved Ella’s Supper Club).
The P.A. System – 7 ’s podcast partnership with Platform Booking was one of the best examples of 7 ’s involvement in the local music community. While Platform booked most of the shows, 7 recorded them and packaged with an interview in a downloadable mp3.
Launched in 2006, the weekly podcast was instrumental in shining the spotlight on Spokane’s underrated talent – Dave G., Danny Weber and The Dearly Departed, for instance – as well as bringing in a multitude of touring acts – such as Birdmonster, Kid Theodore, and Barcelona – and helping them build an audience here. After a total of 175 epsiodes, some of the greatest hits on the podcast include The Thermals, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche, P.M. Dawn, Motion City Soundtrack, Shiny Toy Guns, Del The Funkee Homosapien, Man Man, Built to Spill, Rocky Votolato, Musee Mecanique, Velella Velella, Point Juncture WA., and the final episode, Jason Webley’s Monsters of Accordion featuring Karli Fairbanks’ Power Und Beauty.
Mp3s and concert streams: In addition to nearly 200 episodes of the podcast, 7 ’s music site contains literally hundreds of mp3s and live concert streams. Pretty much every non-podcast show I ever attended where the band would let me record.
There are 745 songs available for download on 7 ’s mp3 page. On The Hangover, 7 ’s concert stream page, are live show recordings from 140 different artists.
A few months back we were contacted a newspaper peer on the other side of the country who was shocked that he could visit our site and listen to a Public Enemy concert or a recording from Ministry’s farewell tour.
From time to time I hear from old friends whose hearts are warmed when they find mp3s by the late Spokane piano phenomenon Dax Johnson.
The Sommys: So fed up with the watered down product that mops up at the Grammys (Kanye, I’m talking to you), I decided to start my own awards ceremony recognizing the outstanding talent existing in our own hometown. It’s become quite a party.
At the 2nd Annual Sommy Awards, Longnecks’ slinger Pete Johnson stormed the mike ODB style, upset that he was shafted for not winning the Sommy for both best guitarist and most underrated band, “which means, of course, our reign as the most underrated band in Spokane continues!” The Longnecks later posted in a MySpace blog.
More controversy ensued at the Sommys this year, as local celebrity judges were the target of scrutiny over categories that pitted Dane Ueland against Kaylee Cole and the online vote for the Readers Choice Sommy.
The surprise performance by Futurelics last winter is Sommy legend.
And you can’t front on the final line of the “2007 Sommys Rap Up”: “I was in it like Obama, now I’m Audi like ’07.”