So. Damn. Loud.
Luck, the heavy punk band with roots tied to The Melvins and Jimi Hendrix, headbanged their way through a furiously paced, closing setlist on Friday night at The Loading Dock — 202 E. Wishkah St., in Aberdeen. The Montesano-based trio was the loudest of the three acts, which included the softer, acoustic rock duo Patience and James and then heavy blues band Black Shepherd.
And it looked like quite the exciting experience for Luck’s new bassist, Seth DC. The short-haired, lanky, expressive bassist who quickly maneuvered around stage left as he played his bass with abandon, wowed the audience members and his fellow bandmates.
“This is our first show with our new member Seth,” Kevin Stenbeck, Luck’s guitarist and singer, said into the microphone. “Seth’s awesome.”
While DC captured the audience’s visual attention, Stenbeck provided the heavy, electric guitar riffs that such a band needs. His vocals rang throughout The Loading Dock.
The band’s most active audience members were the children, who made their own mosh pit of sorts. Only they weren’t moshing. They were running around and enjoying themselves. It was more of a kid’s pit. And then there was Esmerie, Justin Kautzman’s 10-year-old niece who took hundreds of photos and videos of the bands throughout the night. Equipped with a cellphone, she moved about in front of the stage as if it were a paid rock photography gig.
Alex Dillard, who pounded the drums with sheer force for Luck, talked later about the show and the venue.
“I thought it was great, I’ve always loved playing here, it’s just been awesome,” Dillard said. “They have continuously just made improvements to this place. It just gets better every time we play here. I’m really happy with Larry (Cowles) and Justin (Kautzman) and Mike (Johnson) and all the other people who are involved with this, have just been doing an outstanding job. I’m just really glad that people of all ages are here because that’s one thing this community has been lacking for a while, in my opinion, an all-ages venue. It’s good that someone’s stepping up and doing something about it.”
Ben James Landis and JoAnna Patience Landis — the husband and wife duo who make up Patience and James — played covers of popular songs. Before they started James called the act “the mellow part of the evening.”
The duo covered Bryan Adams’ “(Everything I do) I Do It for You,” Kid Rock’s ballad “Picture,” Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” before closing with U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.”
James was right about their cover of the U2 classic.
“I thought we nailed U2 tonight,” James said. “It was a good ender. It’s hard to pick a half-hour’s worth of songs.”
And then Black Shepherd came on. Kautzman, the guitarist and singer-songwriter for the band, down-stroked riffs and ripped guitar solos that matched Steve Markham’s triple-duty of bass slapping, trumpet playing and backup singing.
Black Shepherd’s cover of AC/DC’s “TNT,” was a highlight. Markham took over the singing and Johnson banged on the drums with crushing intensity.
The most accurate description of Johnson’s playing throughout Black Shepherd’s set was that he looked demonic and played maniacal. Johnson liked that description.
“That’s how I play, like somebody owes me money and I’m beating it out of them,” Johnson said. “I thought we did really well tonight. The new interludes Justin made were interesting.”
Johnson said the band, which played a mix of originals and covers, just does what it does — it plays. Johnson, who also plays guitar, loves to play the drums and is glad he bashes the cymbals for Black Shepherd.
“Drums are so primal,” Johnson said. “You don’t have to think of notes or what key you’re in. When you play guitar, you have so many things to think about.”
Jim Blake, who was watching from the crowd of at least 50 people, spoke highly of Johnson’s performance.
“He was very good,” Blake said. “He could have been playing at Madison Square Garden. He’s Grays Harbor’s John Bonham. And Keith Moon, you can hear that in his drumming.”
Bonham played behind the kit for Led Zeppelin. Moon played for The Who.
Blake and the rest of the crowd seemed to have a great time watching Black Shepherd play. Blake also goes by the stage-name “Mr. Gasoline,” a solo act in which he plays guitar, sings and songwrites.
“Black Shepherd has a real late ‘60s, early ‘70s vibe, like Steppenwolf and ZZ Top” Blake said. “They would have been rock stars in any other decade with their blues and bass thundering rock.”
Stenbeck spoke briefly about the venue.
“It’s great to have a place where we can play, express ourselves and fight the power,” Stenbeck said, while his bandmates vocalized how they wanted to “stick it to the man.” “This is awesome. We will always play here as long as it is here. It’s great.”
And then there was DC, who captivated the audience with moves that were reminiscent to the always physically active Robert Trujillo. DC, also a guitar teacher to children and adults in town, spoke about the all-ages dynamic at the venue. He said he thinks it’s cool.
“It’s a really great place to bring all ages, whether it’s a young kid coming to see their first show,” DC said. “We saw some teens out there today who were really excited to see us. I think it’s so fun to be that young and seeing a rock show. It’s great to be on the other end of that and bringing that joy to Aberdeen. I know I have students and other people who have been excited to have The Loading Dock.”
DC’s bandmates noted Guitar Galactica’s addition to Aberdeen and how the addition of more of a music scene is really positive for the city. Then DC spoke about playing with his bandmates.
“I love playing with these guys,” DC said. “Our friendship goes way back actually. We used to play together in the Olympia scene in the 2010s. So they called me up when they needed me to fill in for bass duty. So I learned a bunch of their songs last month and here we are. And I had a lot of fun playing as you can tell. It was fun to bounce around and they write pretty exciting songs, so it comes out of me, the excitement, and I try to bring it to all of you. And I love these guys. They’re my pals. It’s good to play with people who are your friends and who bring the best out of you.”
Friday night’s show was a positive development for The Loading Dock. The first show there was Nov. 18, 2022.
“Luck and Black Shepherd, both, put out good shows every time. Like every time,” said Cowles. “And I got to do sound tonight, which I don’t always get to do and so that was fun. Luck was a little challenging because they came out just banging. They are loud, but I love ‘em.”
Cowles then shared his really positive opinion of Luck’s performance, especially DC.
“I liked that guy. His stage presence, you saw it,” Cowles said. “He was bouncing around. You could see he was having so much fun and that translates. We had a packed house and they stayed all night.”
The packed house is what it’s all about. It’s about having a place for people to “rock out” and still have time to hang out afterwards, Cowles said. Or, with an ending of 9 p.m., or so, if they need to head home early, they can.
Natalie Peterson described The Loading Dock as “a really hot joint to go to with good music.”
“This is an awesome spot for local artists to be heard, listened to and express themselves,” Peterson said. “It is also awesome for the public to recognize the art and culture of music and the community.”
Peterson couldn’t pick a favorite act because they were all her favorite. She was quite impressed.
“This was my first night here and I will definitely be back,” Peterson said.