It's a good thing Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood is known for its funky diversity, for I had a public moment last Tuesday night. As my friend Kitty and I walked to Quinn's to get a pre-show dinner and meet up with mutual pal Mike, across the street at Neumos through an opened side door BLASTED Ty Segall's soundcheck. I couldn't help myself. I started leaping up and down and singing along like a damn grinning maniac.

"AHH!!!" I exclaimed to Kitty and anyone else who was nearby, "That's 'You're The Doctor!' That's my favorite song off of 'Twins!' AHH!! YAY!! WHEEE!"

Kitty smiled indulgently at me, and I eventually contained myself long enough go inside Quinn's to eat a a very delicious burger. But then back we went to Neumos, for another varied and great night of bitchen rock n' roll. I brought my cameras and sturdy earplugs, so that I may keep hearing music later.

(poster photo by Christopher Garland)

Holy mother of gawd, do locals Sandrider make a git-down-on-yer-belly-and-crawl-in-the-DIRT noise! Which, of course, I loved. The trio does the metal/hard rock genre real, real proud, with tons of energy and a unique sound -- something like a growling, gritty, saber-toothed tiger that roars and tears into your chest and head and ears and brain. The guys also looked like they were have a complete blast onstage. If you like your music with heft, check 'em out!

(As usual, click on the photos to enlarge, and click on the Flickr set links to see more!)

(Sandrider Neumos 12/11/12 Flickr set)

Next up, another local trio, Night Beats, who have really rather perfectly channeled that brief moment in time (which I will place at somewhere in late-'65/early-'66) when the three-chord guitar sneer of classic garage rock met up and made pals with the literary sneer of Electric Bob Dylan and then high-fived psychedelic "Blue Boy" from the infamous "Dragnet" episode. That's a high compliment from me, "high" not actually being a pun in this case. But lest you worry, Night Beats aren't precious retroists with Cuban heels and paisley shirts -- they bring their own slightly-glam edge, thoughtful song construction, and even a stage dive. They've got a new self-titled album out on Trouble In Mind Records, and you should buy it.

(Night Beats Neumos 12/11/12 Flickr set)

Man, have I been so lucky or what?? This year, I got to see Ty Segall perform three times in Seattle, twice playing in the one-off garage cover band the Togas at Bruise Cruise, and yet another time backing the equally-talented Mikal Cronin, who handles bass and backing vocals in Segall's band. It's been my real pleasure to see the young band just get better and better over these twelve months. This is a spectacular time for new music, says I, in large part because of the incredible output of people like Segall and Cronin, Thee Oh Sees, White Fence, Sic Alps, the Intelligence, the Fresh & Onlys, Jacuzzi Boys, Turbo Fruits, the Mallard, and more. Mark my words (go ahead, write 'em down and seal them in a time capsule, do it!): there is always good new music to be found in any era, but this, my friends, is a Golden Age. Oh, yes, it is. Get it while it's going, because you never know when a Starland Vocal Band Era will return to slime us all into sonic oblivion. Again.

Something else I really admire about Ty and Mikal and bassist Charlie and drummer Emily Rose, is that even when they are bone-tired, which they were at Neumos, they still completely commit to rocking the mighty hell out of their songs and making us out in the crowd happy. One overzealous crowd member was bum-rushed by security out the same side door whence the soundcheck blast came from earlier, but other than that, the show was without incident, and awesome.

A subtle but powerful thing I have noticed in Segall's shows with his band this year is this: the band members, rather than facing outwards to the crowd and parallel to the edge of the stage, tend to perform facing toward each other. It is in no way off-putting -- the show is always super-energetic and Segall always kindly addresses the crowd several times during a set. But I think it says something about how they communicate as musicians and as friends, and how they are succeeding in making what is an incredibly taxing schedule of live performances plus very prolific writing and recording work for them so well. I think these four people make each other better musicians and that they know it, and appreciate it.

(Ty Segall Neumos 12/11/12 Flickr set)

As usual, after such a fun show, I am filled with post-show electricity, sweaty and satisfied, chatting away happily to fellow fans standing outside the club in the midnight drizzle. Here's to 2013, and more more more more more of these nights to come.

(Thank you Ty, Mikal, Charlie, Emily Rose, Night Beats, Sandrider, Eli and everyone at Neumos, the wonderful Michelle Cable, Kitty, Mike, Kris, Julia, Jacob, Christopher, and you for reading this.)