Shining debut of rock supergroup Walking Papers rivals the sun
Walking Papers, a Seattle rock supergroup composed of Barrett Martin and Jeff Angell, was joined Friday night by Duff McKagan of Guns N'Roses fame and Pearl Jam's Mike McCready for its official debut Friday at Slim's Last Chance, in Georgetown. Rock critic Charles R. Cross was there. In this review he says the band's brightness rivaled the sun's and, unlike so many supergroups, it may have a bright future, too.
Special to The Seattle Times
Walking PapersWalking Papers performs at Linda's Fest, 6-10 p.m. Saturday at Linda's Tavern, 6707 E. Pine St., Seattle; free (206-325-1220 or www.lindastavern.com)..
Concert Review |
It was already 95 degrees on Slim's Last Chance outdoor stage Friday before the official debut of Walking Papers began, but soon there was enough Seattle grunge-era star power on stage to rival the sun.
It began when Duff McKagan (Guns 'N Roses) grabbed the mike.
"This band is really Barrett Martin and Jeff Angell's group," he explained. "I shouldn't be the first person up here talking."
And though McKagan may not be an official member, he's played every Walking Papers gig so far, including its unofficial debut at the Capitol Hill Block Party last month and another show Friday at the Crocodile.
The core of the band is drummer Martin (Screaming Trees), and guitarist Jeff Angell (Missionary Position). Both are extraordinary musicians who have often been in the background, but maybe not for long.
The band has just released an excellent self-titled debut album that will most certainly raise its profile. From the opening number, "Already Dead," Angell displayed why many think he is one of the most underrated guitar players — and songwriters — in town.
Drummer Martin is also a key, playing with both power and subtle backbeats that often had world music tinges. He and McKagan were an ideal rhythm section, and their interplay on "Red Envelope" was a highlight.
Yet the real fireworks started when Pearl Jam's Mike McCready joined mid-set.
McCready spent a good part of the night playing not toward the audience, but back at Martin. To watch these two legends smile at each other was to witness one of the unspoken keys to the Seattle music scene: egoless respect of skilled players.
The set closed with a searing cover of Iggy Pop's "Search and Destroy," but things got even better with the encore. McCready and Martin are the two surviving members of Mad Season, and when Jeff Rouse came onstage to sing that band's well-known song, "River of Deceit," the crowd joined in.
Supergroups usually fail because of oversized egos. You saw none of that onstage at Slim's. Walking Papers' future may be even brighter than Friday's beaming sun.