Horace Pickett at the Comet Tavern

Ryan in the front and Nick in the back.

I always love performing with Horace Pickett.

I met them on a dark, slimy night in West Seattle at the Skylark. I wandered into the club for their weekly open mic and purchased a root beer (I do not possess enough money to buy beer, nor can my stomach or tongue handle the stuff). I signed up for the open mic and awaited my turn. There weren’t that many performers, nor was there much of an audience. I felt cold and scared. Then these three audacious weirdos climbed onto the stage carrying way too much gear. I remember thinking “who do these guys think they are carrying all that stuff in here? I bet they think they’re real hot stuff playing those cool looking instruments and wearing those ridiculous shirts. I’ll show them…” and so on. My expectations set, Horace Pickett (the three piece group) began to play their songs, and to my great surprise, they exceeded my expectations more than I ever could have expected! It was songwriting like I hadn’t heard in ages. The Kinks, Bob Dylan, David Bowie, They Might Be Giants, Scott Joplin, Beck, and the best showtunes came to mind. They blew my mind that night. Later, after they saw my set, we met, and found out we were from the same area of Michigan. We knew a bunch of the same people. We had been to the same shows. But we had never met. It was the kind of coincidence you read about in blog posts.

Later, we began to attend open mics together, and book shows together, because we thought each could make the other’s show a better one if we were playing on the same stage. Then we got a practice/recording space together. Now we were in the same room and I got to see them write and rehearse. Soon I was playing saxophone on a couple of their songs. It wasn’t long before I was playing on most of their songs. Then I went on tour for three months. When I got back, I moved in with Horace Pickett and now we’re doing all kinds of great music work at the house.

As I stood on the stage I reflected on all of this, as I often do. I asked myself the usual questions: “How did I get here? Who are these people? How is it possible for me to be on this stage, in this outfit, with this instrument in my hands, looking out at these people, with these people from my home town standing next to me playing their hearts out and letting me do my thing?” And the first part of this post is sort of the answer to that.

The show was amazing. Lots of people were there and they danced their hearts out. The band played its heart out. Almost no wrong notes. The other bands did equally well to the applause of a hundred screaming fans. Abraham opened the show and were amazing. They are one of my favorites. This was the second time I’d seen them, and the sound in the Comet was a little better for their sound (it was roomy and made everything sound intense). Ryan Purcell’s band put on a great show of country rock, and Gun Street Glory closed the night beautifully with their mysterious brand of haunting surf-noir.

It was a good night.


One response to “Horace Pickett at the Comet Tavern

  1. You’re the best, John!

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