Amsterdam, Poorsport and Friends Like Enemies – Punk Bands Fire Up Seattle’s Central Tavern, By Holly Homan



Friday night, January 4, at the invitation of Seattle band Poorsport, I ventured down to Seattle’s Pioneer Square and set foot in a club I haven’t been to in at least 20 years, The Central Tavern. This used to be one of my main haunts back in the late eighties, but then they changed their format and I began frequenting other places booking bands more in line with my punk tastes. The place has changed very little. It’s still a dive (the kind of place rock and roll should be played in) with lots of great ambience.

I arrived around 9:30, right after Seattle band Amsterdam came on stage. Amsterdam is fronted by Megan Moreau, a woman with a brilliant, sensual voice who becomes one with the mic. She exudes loads of charisma and is backed by brilliant musicians who add a steady but edgy musical backdrop. Adding to the show this night was a temporary bass player (introduced simply as Ray) who also happened to be a Kurt Cobain look alike, but much prettier. Prettiness aside, Amsterdam is a great band. They’re playing the High Dive in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood on the 18th of this month. I highly recommend them.



The next band up was the one I came down for– Seattle’s own Poorsport. They’ve had a lineup change since I last saw them last summer. Singer Kevin left the band in August and has been replaced by Max. WOW! Max “chews up the scenery” like a pro. He knows how to engage and incite the audience, emoting non-stop with charisma and humor. At one point he leaped off the stage and briefly engaged a male audience member in a cheek-to-cheek dance, before leaping back onto the stage. It used to be Ben’s leaps and sprints around the stage were the main focus of their shows, but he was mostly stoic this night, perhaps letting Max have the spotlight while he’s still the “new guy.” Amazingly, Max’s voice sounds very similar to Kevin’s.

Friends Like Enemies

Friends Like Enemies

Poorsport have the potential to become something big. Their songs are melodic, quirky and very danceable. For fans of bands like New Found Glory or Blink 182, they are a must see.

The final band of the night was Friends Like Enemies, also from Seattle. These guys not only took the stage by storm, they shredded it with vengeance. Friends Like Enemies belts out songs with perfect three-part harmony and shredding guitars and bashing drums to round it all off. And they don’t let up. They assault the air with the ferociousness of a cornered dog. At times it would seem they’d start to play a slow song, but that lasted less than a minute before they speeded up like an out of control freight train. Friends Like Enemies are self-described as, Ian Graham – Bass / Forward Vocals / Political Firebrand, Tom King – Guitar 1 / Backward Vocals / Self Deprecating Fat Jokes, Kevin Hales – Drums / Sideways Vocals / Dick Jokes, and Ethan Erickson – Guitar 2 / Soaring Angelic Harmonies. Ethan was introduced as the cutest member of the band and I concur. Though singer Ian wasn’t too shabby. He looked kind of like Henry Rollins and sounded like he swallowed chunks of sandpaper, then gargled with nails before going on stage. Yet with this vocal style, he could croon with the best of the crooners. All the band members had great showmanship, joking with each other and with the audience and providing non-stop assaulting entertainment. When they left the stage, I was surprised it wasn’t smoking smoldering wreckage. They are a force to be reckoned with and all three bands proved that Seattle is still a hot bed of rock and roll talent just waiting to be tapped.

Holly Homan

3 comments to Amsterdam, Poorsport and Friends Like Enemies – Punk Bands Fire Up Seattle’s Central Tavern, By Holly Homan

  • chrisnickson2

    One of the best shows I remember from the Central must have been in '88 or '89, the usual triple bill, although I can't remember the opener now (much to my shame). Then there was Terry Lee Hale making some solo magic with his gloriously idiosyncratic songs that came from a place it was impossible to identify, a sort of Texas in the Northwest. And after him, topping out the night, the Fastbacks, one of the greatest bands ever to come out of Seattle, and one around for longer than any others, even at that point. Song after song, all full on, with Kurt Bloch's stunning little lead runs and soloes, every tune catchy pop-punk long before Green Day were a twinkle in their mom's garage. Somehow, it was one of those nights when the moon was in the right quarter, not a note was wrong, and magic (and Rolling Rock) filled the Central.

  • The nightlife and indy music covens are what I am looking for in our local community. We are missing something like these in our nightlife. We get one or two at best every month.

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