Sunshine, Selfies and the SUBPOP 25th Anniversary Jubilee in Seattle

SubPop, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

You know you’re old, when you find yourself in Georgetown, Seattle, about to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of a label whose creation you actually sorta remember as a kid. But here we are, July 13th, under the blazing sunshine of Seattle’s weird warehouse district, wandering in and out of Georgetown Records and Phantagraphics and running into a lot of the iconic label’s roster walking the streets. Held from noon til nine across three different stages, the SubPop Silver Jubilee allowed us to TARDIS back to the 90s, cart out our beards and old t-shirts, and rock the stroll.

And while several bands and people were missing from the festivities (Sebadoh – who were the label’s first number one on the CMJ charts – didn’t get an invite; Soundgarden pulled out last minute and Krist Novaselic was sadly absent), it was a grand and rather remarkable and fun fête. Herewith, the instasnaps and selfies. Follow along, won’t you?

All Metal Co, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

Georgetown is a strange little suburb south of Seattle proper, with warehouses, metal scrapyards, Machine House Brewery, and yet…cool saloons, bars and shops. I approved…in the only way I knew how.

Mudhoney, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

These were placed everywhere. We were missing a few members.

SubPop Shoppe, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

Merch merch everywhere! SubPop set up stalls and food trucks (impossibly overrun later in the day) to sell vinyl, shirts, posters, and had this pop-up shop making good dollas. And look who I ran into outside the shop….

Tad Doyle, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

…It’s Mr. Tad Doyle! TAD, to you. Tipping his hat for me. Lovely feller. Oh, the memories…

Mikala in King Tuff, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

OH-HEY LOOKEE I AM A RAD GUITAR AND WAND-WIELDING ROCK BAD! King Tuffy, yo! Then we go for a wander, and bump into Sub Pop VP Megan Jasper – last time I saw her was at the Afghan Whigs’ show at the Showbox last November. Dulli’s around here somewhere but first…wait….DUDE!…..

Mark Arm, Mudhoney, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

Kind of the king of today – it’s Mr. Mark Arm from Mudhoney! First time I saw Mudhoney? In 1992 in Copenhagen in an airplane hangar…with My Bloody Valentine. At something called GRUNGEFEST. Seriously, you don’t get any more 90s than that. Good to chat with Mark, who’s all smiles and chill and rock and roll.  THEN we run into Aaron Stauffer from Tacoma band Seaweed, and stop to chat with him about being sorta “over” touring.

And while we’re talking to him, guess who walks by?  It’s MR. J MASCIS! I quickly catch up with my favourite laconic shredder and his crew dude, my buddy O, who used to be in the band FLUF, and now plays in Octagrape (opening for Sebadoh on their upcoming West Coast tour). I give J a hug, because I like living on the edge.

Seems everyone is heading over into the general direction of the Elysian beer tent and stage to check out U-Men’s Tom Price (whom I find and chat with off by the chain fence) and to perhaps have a drink of this…

Nevermind, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

… which, in addition to Elysian’s fruity Superfuzz Blood Orange pale ale, stays totally on point for the day. And speaking of Nirvana…

Jack Endino, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

..it’s not like this guy worked on albums for Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney, L7, Screaming Trees, Hole, Supersuckers or anything. Oh yeah, he did. This is Jack Endino. He practically IS SubPop, animated. And here he is performing as “Jack Endino’s Earthworm.” Gnarly! And if that’s not enough, why don’t I watch Jack Endino and at the same time chat to this guy…

Steve Turner, Mudhoney, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

…another Mudhoneyian, Steve Turner. IS THIS NOT THE BEST DAY EVER? YES! But! No time, off to check out the last bits of…

Pissed Jeans, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

…Pissed Jeans, who’re climbing the stage structures and hanging off of them. PJ are intense and crunchy, which means, they’re a perfect set up for these young whippersnappers, who we’d run into earlier in the day and whom I’d leapt on.  It is…METZ.

Alex Edkins, Metz, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

This is the only time you’ll ever see METZ’ Alex Edkins (or bandmates Hayden Menzies or Chris Slorach) with a dry shirt. It’s because he’s busy doing awesome shit like this…

Alex Edkins, Metz, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

…rock and roll reclining! “You don’t lie,” wrote a music fan to me the other week.  ”Metz pummeled me hard in Chicago. Walkin’ funny for a few days.” And he’s right – METZ are solid punk rocktacularness and set the Georgetown moshers a’thrashin’. Watch this.

Hayden Menzies, Metz, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

Afterwards, METZ’s Hayden blew a young skater kid’s mind by inviting him back to get his board signed. I’m glad someone is helping to set the YOOF OF TODAY rollin’ down the right path.

Me & Bruce Pavitt, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

Meanwhile, backstage, I run into this guy. He’s half of why we’re here today and he’s pretty excited about his newb signees. “They just….[mimes head exploding out of his ears]” said SubPop co-founder Bruce Pavitt after METZ’s set.

J Mascis, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

After METZ, came the man they call J.

Dinosaur Sr. kicked off with “The Wagon” then managed to actually schralp loud on his acoustic. As if you’d expect him to do anything else. Not pictured afterwards: J playing with his son Rory. Rory, hopped up on root beer and bashing his dad in the leg with a balloon sword,  ran circles around J who just calmly hung around, holding a lunchbox and occasionally stuck his arm out to snag him. Kind of adorable. Even though Rory would not let me have any of his Fritos.

Greg Dulli, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

Over on the Pop stage, Afghan Whigs‘ Greg Dulli drew an obsessive crowd of drooling women me. Amazing to see the Twilight Singer and Whig croon in the dusky light, as I drank beer from a can in a paper bag. Mixing in Gutter Twins’ stuff as well as the Whigs’ “My Enemy”, Dulli also threw his cover of The Weeknd’s “Wicked Games”into “Love Crimes” and even did a new song called “These Sticks.” Gah. THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!

Greg Dulli, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

Like I’ve alluded to, Greg Dulli gives me the horn. Geddit? While we’d run into Dulli’s band wandering the streets earlier in the day, it was great to catch up with Greg some 19 years after I’d last hung out with him, after the set. Okay, there was a fence between us, but that was probably a good thing.

Built to Spill, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

And while I couldn’t get within a city block of the Mudhoney set (had to watch it from the back, ergo no pics), I DID get a prime vantage point for the incredible Built to Spill, and watched with Dan Peters from Mudhoney (me: “hey! I’ve stayed in the room with your picture on it at the Max Hotel!” Him: “Cool! I’ve never been inside it, just seen the door!”), J Mascis for a minute or two and this guy…

Mikala & Alex Edkins, Metz, pic by Mikala Taylor/backstagerider.com

…yeah, Alex Edkins of Metz is a major Built to Spill fan. Dancing, nodding, punching the air, Alex was suitably “refreshed” and gleefully grinning like a loon as we watched the headlining set side-stage. And so was I. Because it was a day when it was okay to really live in the past, and party alongside the future.

So thanks for the music and the memories, SubPop! \m/

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