KEXP Brings Free Summer Concert Series Back to Seattle

concerts at the mural

In my youth, Seattle was a pretty great place for community events.  Bumbershoot use to have great musical acts and only cost about $7, although I would sneak in every year anyway.  This year, Bumbershoot is $50 a day and has terrible headliners like Katy Perry, The Black Eyed Peas, and Sheryl Crowe.  The only thing that I even care about missing is Os Mutantes.  Why should it cost more now than it did in a year like 2001, when the lineup included WEEN, Built To Spill, Mos Def, David Cross, Daniel Johnston, Critters Buggin, Dj Logic, Sex Mob, Cat Power, King Sunny Ade, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Taj Mahal, and Sam Bush?  The answer is because corporate elements have slipped in and raped everything out here.  Even the free events like the Rhythm Festival and Folk Life have had their community gatherings tweaked by the man.  Perhaps the one thing that I miss the most out here has been Pain in The Grass, a free weekly, summer concert series that used to be held at Seattle Center‘s Mural Amphitheatre.  Fortunately for us, two local radio stations are doing their part to bring it back.  One of them is resurrecting tradition to do it right, while the other is grasping on to the Pain in the Grass name, in an attempt to use nostalgia to fuck you in the ass.

The Mural Amphitheater isn’t much of a venue at all, but that actually adds to its benefit.  It consists of an open lawn that leads to a stage with a mosaic-like mural wall backdrop.  Every week a, generally local, band like Mudhoney or Modest Mouse would play their throughout the 90‘s.  It was always all ages and, since there is no fencing around the perimeter, it only meant FREE SHOW.  My friend KB recently attended the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago, hooked up with the members of Blitzen Trapper and, temporarily, traveled with them to some follow up tour dates.  He sent me a hopeful text informing me that the band would be performing at “Pain in the Grass” this year, but that isn’t “exactly” 100% true.

Back in 2007, local hard rock station, KISW, sent out a press release, which included the statement, “KISW brings Seattle’s legendary concert series Pain in the Grass 2007 to Cheney Stadium“.  Cheney Stadium?!  That place is just a shitty field in Tacoma.  Worse than that, it actually cost money: $40 in advance, $50 day of show, and $100 for VIP seats.  The acts?  Candlebox, Godsmack, and Buckcherry.  Yep, fucking terrible.  Being that it was only one day, I don’t see how they could even use the term “series” at all.  The press release included further statements like, “KISW brings back the Pacific Northwest summer tradition” and “proud to bring back this summer tradition“.  Getting fucked has definitely become a Northwest tradition, but it doesn’t need to be brought back.  They’re trying to pull this shit again this year in the same location.  This time, the one day event will feature bands like Mudvayne and Saliva, but who gives a fuck?  I’m over hyping their bullshit little festival.  What about bringing back the NW tradition of not getting fucked over?

Listener supported, KEXP, has decided to responded by hooking it up the right way.  The Blitzen Trapper show will kick off a weekly event of free concerts at The Mural, this Friday, July 31st.  However, since they do not own the Pain in the Grass name, the shows are being labeled simply as “Concerts at the Mural“.  One specific week will even involve a BBQ along with a set by Dinosaur Jr.  I’m not a hardcore fan of KEXP, like many, but I do like the station more than most.  After this announcement, however, they definitely go up a few more notches in my book.  Every show is FREE and All Ages.  Thank you KEXP.  As for KISW, go fuck yourselves.  Your station is wack anyway.

Here’s a rundown of the entire “Concerts At The Mural” lineup that has been posted:

blitzen trapper

Friday 7/31, 5-8pm

Blitzen Trapper

Throw Me the Statue

dyme def

Friday 8/7, 5-8pm

Dyme Def

Fresh Espresso


Saturday 8/8, 7th Annual KEXP BBQ! 2-9pm

Dinosaur Jr

Viva Voce

Cymbals Eat Guitars


Born Anchors

Champagne Champagne

All Ages


{Food and beverages will be available for purchase.}

the dodos

Friday 8/14, 5-8pm

The Dodos

Army Navy

fruit bats

Friday 8/21, 5-8pm

Fruit Bats

Johnny and the Moon


Dead C

Located in Seattle, Dead C is the founder/editor, as well as the principal writer and photographer, of Monster Fresh. Creating the site in 2007, he did so with a specific dream in mind. Unfortunately, being a muscle relaxer-fueled fever dream, it's hard to recall all of the details. "I remember that my mom was there, but it wasn't actually her in the dream, it was actually 70s heart throb, Jan Michael Vincent. And everything took place here, in this room... but it wasn't actually here... it was different. The colors were washed out and, for some reason, there was a raccoon kicking it with us and it was wearing a holographic monocle."

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - Flickr - YouTube