Seattle Bloggers | My New Project

Where is Tim these days?! That’s a great question. I’ve been missing for a while, but there’s a good explanation. I’ve started a new project with my girlfriend called Seattle Bloggers. As anyone knows, it’s not easy to get a new idea off the ground. It takes a lot of hard work and effort. So, that’s were all my time has gone — not focused here on All Around Tim (I’m really sorry!).

Seattle BloggersThe Seattle Bloggers idea is pretty simple. My girlfriend Tove and I adventure around Seattle, the Puget Sound area and beyond, and then we document our journeys on SeattleBloggers.com. Our blog posts have included anything from the Museum of Flight in Seattle to the Palace Hotel in Port Townsend — and anything in between.

We write about food, events, attractions, recreation, getaways and much more. We’ve already found a lot of success in a short period of time. Our Seattle Bloggers post on Saltwater State Park was featured on the Washington State Parks ‘Adventure Awaits‘ website, and we’ve been invited by Red Mango to try smoothies and Gallaghers’ Where U Brew to make our own beer. Heck, we’ve even been paid to promote products. That’s not bad for an idea we launched less than two months ago.

We enjoyed being paid (who doesn’t?), but our real joy comes from connecting with our fans. There’s no greater compliment to us than someone saying, “You make me want to go out and adventure,” or, “Thanks to your post, I went to check out…” That always puts a huge smile on our faces. We love Seattle and we want everyone else to love it too. That’s exactly why we share anything and everything we do with you on Seattle Bloggers.

There are several ways to follow Seattle Bloggers. You can like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Google+, subscribe to our YouTube channel, and follow our boards on Pinterest. You can also bookmark our website and visit for al the latest. We invite comments on all of our posts. The more everyone shares, the more everyone can enjoy our incredible city.

Have you visited our Seattle Bloggers website? What do you think of it? I’d love your feedback — good, bad or otherwise. You can leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter and Facebook. I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Like I mentioned, All Around Tim has suffered because of Seattle Bloggers. I really appreciate your patience and support as we grow our idea. Don’t worry — All Around Tim is not going away. Things will just slow down a bit. Thanks for being the best fans on the planet!

Kyle Seager Game-Tying Grand Slam In Extra Innings

As a sportscaster, I’ve witnessed some really cool moments in my life. I was sitting courtside when Gonzaga’s Demetri Goodson hit a game-winning buzzer-beater against Western Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament. I was in the bleacher seats at old Yankee Stadium when Alex Rodriguez hit a walk-off grand slam against the Orioles. And now, I can add another memorable moment to the list — Kyle Seager hitting a historic game-tying grand slam in the 14th inning against the White Sox.

I was torn. Do I want to go to the game or not? I was thinking about it all morning. The Seattle Mariners were set to face the Chicago White Sox at Safeco Field at 12:40pm. If I don’t go — I can get a ton of stuff done on my day off. If I do go — I get to enjoy a beautiful day at the ballpark. When I write it out, the decision is obvious, but it was tough to pull the trigger one way or the other yesterday. After much deliberation, I decided to head toward the ballpark.

Kyle Seager Grand Slam

My view from behind the plate early in yesterday’s game

I originally sat behind the plate in the sunshine, and downed a couple of hot dogs and a beer. The sun turned to shade in my section, so I moved to a sunny spot in the outfield. There weren’t many people at Safeco Field yesterday, so seating was pretty wide open. The 9th inning came and went, and the Mariners and White Sox were still scoreless. Fans started flocking out of the stadium. They’d either seen enough, or they needed to get back to work/school. Either way, the place started to clear out.

The sun vanished from my section in the outfield, so I moved to Edgar’s Cantina. The mass exodus after the 9th inning left plenty of room in the first-come-first-served standing area, and it was one of the few places the sun was still shining on. The 10th inning came and went without any scoring, and then the 11th, 12th and 13th innings passed without much action. At this point, there were only a few thousand fans remaining at Safeco Field, but the best was yet to come.

In the top of the 14th inning, the White Sox rallied for five runs. That’s right — five runs. No one could even score through 13 innings, but Chicago managed to rally for five runs in the 14th alone. The Seattle faithful who sat through 13-and-a-half innings of baseball had seen enough. More than half the remaining crowd walked toward the exits. It left all of maybe  2,000 people in the seats (and that number might be generous). I could have left too, but 1) I never ever leave a game early and 2) I had a feeling we were going to see something special in the bottom half of the inning.

Nick Franklin flew out to start the 14th inning for Seattle, but then the Mariners rattled off three consecutive singles to load the bases. Endy Chavez added another single to bring in Seattle’s first run, making the game 5-1. The next batter was Jason Bay. There were honestly no more than eight people standing in Edgar’s Cantina at this point in the game. The guy standing to my left turned to me and said, “If Bay hits a grand slam, we’re celebrating.” He hadn’t said one word to me the whole time we were standing there, but I agreed to a huge celebration. Well, Bay struck out to give the Mariners two outs, leaving Kyle Seager as Seattle’s only hope.

After falling behind in the count 0-2, Seager took a ball on the third pitch. I remember staring at Seager in the box and thinking to myself, “Let’s see something special, Kyle.” Addison Reed fed Seager a low slider, and Seager reached down and drove the ball toward right centerfield. The guy next to me immediately started celebrating, but I wasn’t convinced it was gone. I saw the outfielders stop giving chase, and the ball landed about three rows back in the seats. The game was suddenly tied at 5. Click here to watch the game-tying grand slam.

I couldn’t believe what I just saw. I turned to the guy next to me and he leaped into my arms. It felt like everyone in the Edgar’s Cantina converged on the same place. I was giving fives to people I had never even seen before. There were two older women standing behind me. They were screaming and hugging, looking at me with disbelief in their eyes. I honestly don’t remember yelling, but once everything settled down I realized my throat was sore. My heart was thumping through my chest, and I’m pretty sure I kept saying “holy [cow]” over and over again. It was one of the most unbelievable turn of events I’ve ever seen in a baseball game, and it will likely stay that way forever.

According to Elias Sports, Seager’s slam was the first game-tying grand slam in extra innings in Major League Baseball history. No team had ever rallied from five or more runs down to tie a game in the 14th inning or later, but the Mariners achieved the feat yesterday. The odds of that moment happening exactly the way it did is probably comparable to the odds of winning the lottery. It was incredible, and it was only witnessed by a handful of people who stayed long enough to see it happen.

Kyle Seager Grand Slam

The crowd at Safeco Field in the 16th inning

Kendrys Morales eventually flew out to end the 14th inning, both teams went scoreless in the 15th, and then the White Sox plated a pair in the top of the 16th inning. This time around, the Mariners couldn’t answer. 5 hours and 42 minutes after the game started at Safeco Field (the longest home game in Seattle Mariners history), Jason Bay struck out to cap a 7-5 Mariners loss.

Did I want to see the Mariners win? Sure. Did I witness a piece of baseball history? Definitely. The guy who jumped into my arms after Kyle Seager’s grand slam — I’ll probably never see him again. In fact, I never even got his name. But, I’ll never forget him for the rest of my life. For a few moments yesterday, we shared one of those unique sports moments. We witnessed the unthinkable, and we absolutely lost our minds in the process. Where was I when Kyle Seager hit the game-tying grand slam in extra innings? I was standing in Edgar’s Cantina experiencing an unforgettable moment. Let’s put it this way — I’m thankful I decided to go to the game.

Were you one of the fortunate few who saw Kyle Seager’s grand slam in person? Did you watch it live on television? I’d love to hear where you were and what your reaction was like. You can leave a comment below or connect with me on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. Don’t forget to also check out All Around Tim for more great Seattle sports coverage!

 

Nickname For Seattle Seahawks Linebackers

There are nicknames all over the Seattle Seahawks roster. Running back Marshawn Lynch is known as “Beast Mode,” quarterback Russell Wilson is nicknamed “Dangeruss” Wilson (thanks to his @DangeRussWilson twitter handle), and the Seahawks secondary goes by the “Legion of Boom.”

The Seahawks linebackers don’t have a nickname, and they don’t want to be left out anymore. During my interview with K.J. Wright yesterday, he said the linebacking corps is now searching for a moniker.

Nickname Seahawks Linebackers

Seahawks linebackers Bruce Irvin and Mike Morgan run through drills at yesterday’s OTA

“We have to come up with our own nickname,” Wright told me. “We were talking about that. We have to get our own little creed going. So, we’re going to have something for the upcoming season.”

I asked K.J. if they’ve come up with any ideas yet, but he said it was going to be a surprise. That means either: 1) these guys put some serious thought into it, and they’ve come up with something awesome, or 2) they talked about getting a nickname, they tossed around a couple of ideas and now it’s sitting on the back burner. I’m honestly leaning more toward #2 myself.

To help find a nickname for the Seattle Seahawks linebackers, I took to Twitter after practice. I asked the “12th Man” (another nickname associated with this football team) if they had any suggestions for K.J. and the linebacking corps. To no surprise, the ideas started rolling in. Name after name popped up on my account. Here are a few of the nicknames I heard:

The “Sound Barrier,” the “Black and Blue Crew,” “The Sultans of Stuff,” the “The SeaWall,” “Pike Posse” or the “Century Club,” the “Department of Defense,” “Stop, Drop & Blitz,” the “Legion of Doom” and the “Legion of Vroom,” “The Hurt Lockers” or the “Shifty Assassins,” the “Backbreakers” and many, many more.

I shared a few of the nicknames for the Seahawks linebackers on my sportscast last night, and that brought even more names to the mix through email and Twitter. The outpouring of suggestions quickly made me realize the Seattle fans are determined to give the linebackers a nickname.

So, I’m extending the search…

I’d love to hear any suggestions that you have! You can simply leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. I’d love to hear your nickname for the Seahawks linebackers! If there’s a nickname you love that’s already been mentioned, let me know which one it is so I can add a tally next to it.

After I receive all of your suggestions, I’m taking the top nicknames directly back to K.J. Wright himself. I’ll do a follow-up story with him (depending on his availability) about what he thinks of your ideas. We’ll run that story on KOMO 4 News, but I’ll also share his thoughts right here on All Around Tim. Hopefully, by the September 8th opener against Carolina — we’ll have a nickname squared away for these guys!

Let’s hear your nicknames!

“Legion of Boom” | The Seattle Seahawks Secondary

The Seattle Seahawks had the sixth best pass defense in the NFL last year, allowing a little more than 200 yards per game. A big reason for that success was the Seahawks secondary — better known as the “Legion of Boom.”

Legion of Boom

Legion of Boom

Safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas, and cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Richard Sherman make up the “Legion of Boom,” and thanks to their rough and tough style, they’re considered one of the most intimidating defensive backfields in the NFL.

“It’s a mindset and the way guys play,” Sherman told me. “We play hard and try to bring some physicality to the game. The name kind of sticks with that, so it’s one and the same.”

Not only does the “Legion of Boom” set the tone with their big hits, they also make things happen with their big play ability. Browner, Chancellor, Sherman and Thomas combined for 275 tackles, 14 interceptions and 5 fumble recoveries last season. Thomas and Sherman also chipped in touchdowns for Seattle.

Here’s the good news for Seahawks fans: all four players are back in Seattle this season, and they could be around for years to come. At 28-years-old, Browner is the oldest of the bunch. The   average age of the “Legion of Boom” is just 25.5-years-old right now.

“We all want to bring that boom to the secondary,” Chancellor said to me. “We all want to be the first one to make a big play. We’re all very competitive and want to be difference makers back there. It’s instilled in our mentality, so it brings out the best in all of us.”

Cornerback Antoine Winfield is a 15-year NFL veteran, so he’s played with and against some of the best players in the league. He signed with the Seahawks over the offseason, so he’s only had two official practices with the team, but he’s already a “Legion of Boom” believer.

“I’ve played football for a long time, and they’re really talented across the board,” said Winfield. “The corners and both safeties — they’re by far the number one secondary in the league. The way they work, I see why they’re number one.”

Expectations are high for the Seattle Seahawks this season. In fact, they’re one of the early favorites to win Super Bowl XLVIII, and the “Legion of Boom” is a major reason for much of that hype. If the secondary can live up to its potential (which they have in the past), the Seahawks just might be playing in New Jersey on February 2, 2014.

What do you think of the “Legion of Boom?” Are they as good as advertised? I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on the world of sports, music and travel.

Legion of Boom

Legion of Boom at CenturyLink Field

Cold War Kids Rock The Neptune In Seattle

I was a fan of the Cold War Kids before their performance last night in Seattle, but I’m an even bigger fan after watching them play at the Neptune Theatre. It’s the first live show I’ve ever seen at that venue, and it was perfect spot for the first stop on the Cold War Kids’ West Coast tour.

The night started with a quick set by Superhumanoid. They weren’t on stage for more than a half hour. I tried to listen to a few of their songs before the concert, but there wasn’t much that captured my attention. I can’t say the band really lured me in with their live performance either. The instruments were so loud that it was tough to hear the lyrics, plus the group really needs to learn how to perform. There was too much standing around and not enough passion.

Cold War Kids Neptune Theatre

The Cold War Kids at the Neptune Theatre

The same can’t be said for the Cold War Kids. They rocked the Neptune for about an hour and twenty minutes. The group played ‘Miracle Mile,’ ‘Loner Phase,’ ‘Fear & Trembling,’ ‘Tuxedos‘ and others off their new Dear Miss Lonelyhearts album, but they also reached back to many of their early hits. The Cold War Kids rocked ‘Audience,’ ‘Louder Than Ever,’ ’Royal Blue‘ and several more off their Behave Yourself EP and Mine Is Yours album.

Aside from ‘Hang Me Out To Dry,’ I honestly neglected the Cold War Kids’ Robbers & Cowards album. That means there were a few tunes I’d never really heard before during the concert. And to tell you the truth, they were some of my favorite songs of the set. I’m now totally stuck on ‘Hospital Beds’ and ‘We Used To Vacation.’ I immediately came home, bought the entire album and started listening to it. I just couldn’t get enough of the Cold War Kids.

NOTE: The band’s performance of ‘We Used To Vacation’ at the Neptune was particularly impressive. I believe the song is about an alcoholic that promises his family that he’ll never drink again, but he clearly can’t live up to his word. The Cold War Kids really put on a “show” during the song. They’re pleasant when the alcoholic is clean, and their instruments are destructive when he’s not. It was dramatic and the true definition of a “performance.” I was really impressed.

The Cold War Kids definitely know how to jam. The band was all over the stage (almost colliding with each other a few times), and lead singer Nathan Willet doesn’t hold anything back. The group is clearly passionate about their music. That passion rubbed off on the crowd, who quickly got caught up in everything unfolding on stage. I didn’t see one person in the venue who wasn’t moving to the music.

I’ve really started to dig into the Cold War Kids within the last month or so. They started to grow on me more and more, and now they’re officially stuck. I’ll never be able to get rid of them, but I don’t want to. I can’t wait for another opportunity to see these guys in person. They’re frickin’ awesome.

Have you ever watched the Cold War Kids perform live? What did you think? I’d love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more from the world of music, food and sports!

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New Music Discovery | Cold War Kids

Photos | Lion Cubs At Woodland Park Zoo

I’m a guy. I like watching sports, drinking beer and watching more sports. With that manly stuff said, I can be a sucker for baby animals. I don’t need to pet every puppy I see, but I think there’s something really cool about lion cubs. That’s probably because I know how ferocious they’re going to be when they grow up (he says in an attempt to save his manhood). It’s very rare to get a look at these exotic beasts in person, so that’s why I jumped at the opportunity to see the new lion cubs at Woodland Park Zoo.

I won’t waste your time with all the details of my trip to the zoo, but I will share a few tidbits (just in case you’re interested). There are four lion cubs — two males and two females. They were born in November, but they were only introduced to their exhibit in early February. That means there’s still plenty of excitement surrounding the little guys. When you add that excitement to the limited number of hours you can see them (from 11am-2pm every day), the end result is a long line to see the lion cubs.

My friend Tove and I waited in the cold for 45 minutes to see the lion cubs. Once you’re in, you only get about five minutes to look at the cats. That probably doesn’t sound like a stellar experience, but it was all totally worth it to me. These are the first lion cubs born at Woodland Park Zoo in more than 20 years. That means I’d either have to go to Africa to see something similar (which isn’t happening anytime soon), or I’d have to wait until my 50′s for another chance to see lion cubs in Seattle. I figure now is a better time than ever.

I was able to snap some fun pictures of the lion cubs at Woodland Park Zoo. I usually just stomp around town snapping photos with my cell phone, but I actually brought my Nikon D60 with me this time. I’m really glad I did. The lion cubs were playing near the back of their exhibit, so my zoom lens came in handy. I honestly don’t think a cell phone camera or a regular digital camera would have done the experience justice. I think my camera did (or at least I hope you think so). Take a look at a few of my photos!

Seattle Lion Cubs

One of four lion cubs at Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle

Seattle Lion Cubs

The lion cubs take a quick break inside their exhibit

Seattle Lion Cubs

The lion cubs play near their mother

I have more photos of the lion cubs at Woodland Park Zoo, but I don’t want to be like the boring neighbor that invites you over to watch a slideshow of his family vacation. I really enjoyed taking the photos and I hope you enjoyed looking at them. Leave a comment below or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Please feel free to share my pictures with your friends on Pinterest as well. Don’t forget to also check out more from the world of sports, food and travel right now on http://allaroundtim.com!

I Never Knew Fans Could Be So Loud

It’s amazing how much noise human beings can make when they’re all screaming at the same time. I hear it all the time at sporting events, but there are certain times that screaming explodes to another level. It’s an eruption of sound that goes beyond typical cheering. If you’ve ever heard that massive eruption, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

There are two moments that really stick out in my mind. The first happened on October 7, 1995. The Seattle Mariners were playing the New York Yankees in Game 4 of the American League Division Series. The M’s were facing elimination, and New York jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the third inning. Seattle started to rally in the bottom half, and eventually sprinted out to a 6-5 lead in the sixth. It didn’t take long for the Yankees to even the tally. Randy Velarde scored on a wild pitch by Norm Charlton in the eighth to tie the game at 6. And then came the unforgettable moment…

Edgar Martinez Grand Slam 1995 ALDS

Edgar Martinez right before his grand slam in the 1995 ALDS

Edgar Martinez walked to the plate with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth. Ken Griffey, Jr. was on first, Joey Cora on second and Vince Coleman on third. On the sixth pitch of the at bat, with a 2-2 count, Martinez took John Wetteland over the wall for a grand slam. I remember watching the ball sail over the fence in centerfield. That’s when I heard the noise — that complete eruption of sound. The fans were going crazy. I never knew people could make that much noise. It literally sound like I was standing right next to the engine of an airplane as it was getting ready for takeoff. I honestly never thought I would hear that sound again in my life.

NOTE: The Mariners went on to beat the Yankees that night in Game 4, 11-8. I remember people filing out of the Kingdome chanting “Ed-Gar, Ed-Gar” over and over again. It didn’t stop until we got into our car (blocks away) to drive home. Seattle beat New York the next night in Game 5 thanks to ‘The Double‘, which made Edgar Martinez a legend in the Emerald City.

I did end up hearing that noise again. It wasn’t for a particular moment though, it was over and over during in the same game. The date was January 22, 2005. I was at Qwest Field in Seattle, covering the NFC Championship between the Seahawks and Carolina Panthers. The crowd was amazing that night. Whenever Carolina had the ball, I heard that crazy eruption of noise. I can’t even explain it — it really doesn’t sound like people, it just sounds like a train tearing down the tracks at 400mph. I’m sure it was loud in the stands, but it was overwhelming on the sideline. I was working for a television station in Yakima at the time, and the sports guy from our sister station in the Tri-Cities was on the sideline with me. We were standing side-by-side and we literally couldn’t hear each other talk when the crowd was rocking. It was truly amazing. Since the Seahawks jumped out to a 34-7 lead midway through the fourth quarter, the fans literally started to party in the stands (this video gives you a feel for what the crowd was like at the end of the game). No one left the stadium. Instead they were dancing, laughing, hugging and high-fiving. It was the craziest scene I’d ever seen at a sporting event, and it’s one I haven’t seen since.

Seahawks Fans | CenturyLink Field

The Packers and Seahawks play on Monday Night Football at CenturyLink Field

The crowds at CenturyLink Field (formerly Qwest Field) in Seattle are notorious for noise. They made so much noise during Marshawn Lynch’s amazing touchdown run during the 2010 Wild Card game against the New Orleans Saints, that it registered on the seismograph at the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network. That sound was possibly rivaled on December 23rd when the Seahawks played the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football. Red Bryant blocked a David Akers field goal early in the second quarter, and the ball was scooped up by Richard Sherman who scampered 90-yards for a Seattle touchdown. The TD gave the Seahawks a 21-0 lead over the 49ers, and many of the Seattle media members in attendance said the press box at CenturyLink Field was shaking because of the crowd noise. I’m guessing the crowd made that much noise after Golden Tate’s controversial game-winning touchdown catch on Monday Night Football against the Green Bay Packers. I was actually on the sideline for the game (literally feet away from the touchdown catch), but the moment was so crazy that the crowd noise didn’t even register to me at the time. I just remember turning around minutes later and watching people go nuts in the stands.

I love true human emotion at sporting events. I love watching people react during slow motion replays of game-winning field goals, or a wide shot of the crowd when a pitcher gets the last strike to cap a no-hitter (this video isn’t exactly what I had in mind, but it still fits what I’m talking about). I’ve even been caught in the moment plenty of times myself, and there’s honestly no better feeling in the world. It’s joy to the fullest. I really can’t wait to hear that eruption of noise again, because that means I’m witnessing something amazing that I’ll never forget.

Have you ever heard the noise I’m talking about — people cheering so loudly that it sounds like an airplane? I would love to hear your stories! You can leave them in the comment section below, or you can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on Seattle, sports and travel!

Seattle Bug Safari | The Creepy Side Of The City

I’m sure you know about Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo and the Seattle Aquarium, but have you heard of the Seattle Bug Safari? Instead of featuring elephants or a giant octopus like its counterparts, the Seattle Bug Safari boasts tarantulas, centipedes and several other creepy, crawly creatures.

Seattle Bug Safari | Tarantula

Mexican red-kneed tarantula

I actually ran into the Seattle Bug Safari (1503 Western Ave. #304) by accident over the weekend. My friend Tove and I were walking down some stairs from Pike Place Market to the waterfront, when Tove noticed a sign for the bug zoo. Without much hesitation, we decided to check it out.

I was surprised by how small the Seattle Bug Safari is. I’d compare to the size of someone’s living room. You can’t tell how small it is before you pay, because the zoo itself is hidden behind a closed door in the gift shop. It took Tove and me about 30 minutes to get through the Seattle Bug Safari, and the employee at the front desk says that’s average for most people.

The Seattle Bug Safari might be small, but it’s loaded with more than 50 species of insects. You’ll find spiders, beetles, scorpions, stick insects, ants and more. Every exhibit clearly explains what you’re looking at, where the creatures live around the world, and several other interesting facts about the bugs. The staff inside (just one guy who was feeding the bugs at the time we were there) seemed knowledgeable and was quick to answer any questions that we had.

Goliath bird-eating spider | Seattle Bug Safari

Goliath bird-eating spider

My favorite creature at the Seattle Bug Safari was easily the Goliath bird-eating spider. Part of the tarantula family, this beast can grow to be the size of a large dinner plate, according the guy working inside. The Goliath bird-eating spider at the Seattle Bug Safari is a young female, so she’s only beginning to grow (but she’s already huge). Despite its ferocious name, the Goliath bird-eating spider, a native to South America, doesn’t usually eat birds (although the Seattle Bug Safari staffer says they can in the wild).

I really enjoyed my visit to the Seattle Bug Safari, but I probably won’t be going back anytime soon. I think the price of admission ($8 for adults, $7 for seniors/military/college students and $6 for kids) is a little steep for such a small exhibit. At the same time, there’s plenty of educational value for children at the Seattle Bug Safari, so I don’t want to say it’s not worth stopping by.

Click here if you’d like to learn more about the Seattle Bug Safari (hours, contact information, etc.).

Have you ever been to the Seattle Bug Safari? What did you think of it? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or connect with me on Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on Seattle, music, food, travel and sports!

Seattle Bug Safari

Giant prickly stick insects

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 | Nine Bands, One Great Show

It’s not often you find The Killers, M83, Metric, Awolnation, Passion Pit, The Lumineers, Grouplove, Of Monsters and Men, and The Joy Formidable all on the same stage in one night, but it happened at Deck The Hall Ball 2012 in Seattle. I was one of the few people who was actually there from beginning to end, and it was worth every second of my time.

The Joy Formidable jump started Deck The Hall Ball 2012. KeyArena was pretty empty at the time, but that didn’t prevent them from straight rocking out. There are only three members of The Joy Formidable, but it sounds like there are more people on stage when they’re jamming. They play hard, especially lead singer Ritzy Bryan. She’s a little fireball, springing all over the stage like the Energizer Bunny. They only had time to play four songs, so The Joy Formidable left their mark by smashing their instruments at the end of their set (guitars were thrown and drums went crashing to the stage). One of the personalities from 107.7 The End (the station that puts on Deck The Hall Ball) came out afterwards and called it “the most ferocious start to Deck The Hall Ball ever.”

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 | Of Monsters and Men

Of Monsters and Men

Next on stage at Deck The Hall Ball 2012: Of Monsters and Men. This was one of the groups I was most interested in seeing. I bought their album months ago (before their songs were even on the radio), but I wasn’t sure how they’d sound live. I was really impressed by Of Monsters and Men. They have a very mellow tone on their album, but they weren’t afraid to jam out on stage. Of Monsters and Men kept the crowd involved as well. They split the audience for a sing along on ‘Mountain Sound‘ (half of KeyArena sang “Hold your horses now,” while the other sang “We sleep until the sun goes down,” etc.), and everyone in the crowd sang every word to ’Little Talks‘ without urging from the band. I really wish Of Monsters and Men had more time on stage at Deck The Hall Ball, but that’s the way these events go. I’ll just have to hunt them down again.

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 rolled from Of Monsters and Men right into Grouplove. They started their set with ‘Itchin’ On A Photograph‘, which got everyone amped up for them. The crowd gave Grouplove their largest ovation after ‘Tongue Tied‘ though. Grouplove also played the only cover at Deck The Hall Ball by rocking their own version of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’. Aside from Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi (the most recognizable members of Grouplove), drummer Ryan Rabin stole the show. He rocked out the entire set and then did some crowd surfing before he left the stage.

There was no group I was more excited to see at Deck The Hall Ball 2012 than The Lumineers. It was honestly a little hard to come down to their level at first, because everyone else had rocked so hard before them. The Lumineers were easily the most mellow band of the night. I definitely don’t mean that as an insult, because they put on a great show (and they were just as rad as I hoped they’d be). Leading up to their set, no song got a bigger burst from the crowd than ‘Ho Hey‘. The place erupted after The Lumineers played the first note. The Lumineers loved to engage the audience as well. They had a lot of fun with ‘Ho Hey’, but the best follow-the-leader was ‘Stubborn Love‘. The Lumineers even performed a new song (it’s so new that it doesn’t even have a name yet) at Deck The Hall Ball. I just happened to be recording when they played it, so take a listen:

Passion Pit took the stage at Deck The Hall Ball 2012 after The Lumineers. This was actually the second time I saw Passion Pit this year. I also watched them perform live at Bumbershoot in Seattle over the summer. I was pumped to see them again this time around, but I wound up a little disappointed. It’s not their fault though. Passion Pit had the KeyArena crowd moving the entire time. The biggest problem is that I was in the upper deck, so I wasn’t anywhere near the active audience (unlike Bumbershoot when I was in the middle of the fray). After Deck The Hall Ball came to an end, I remember raving about so many bands, but Passion Pit never came into the conversation. Don’t get me wrong, Passion Pit put on a great show but they just didn’t do anything extremely memorable. I’d still go see them again the next time they roll through town.

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 | Awolnation

Awolnation

Awolnation was one of the great unknowns for me at Deck The Hall Ball 2012. If you’ve listened to their album, you know they have a lot of range, and they really showed that off during their set as well. They were actually a little hard to grasp at first. One second Awolnation was headbanging, and then the next they were playing the more poppy ‘Kill Your Heroes‘. I think there were a lot of people who didn’t know what to think of them early on, but Awolnation won the crowd over with ‘All I Need‘. It’s a slower song, so frontman Aaron Bruno had everyone put their arms around the folks next to them as they played. Everyone swayed together to the music, and then Bruno encouraged the crowd to wave a lighter or cell phone (to make it “really cheesy” in his words). I think it was the most entertaining moment of the night. Bruno wasn’t done after that. He led the audience in the wave, and then crowd surfed while singing his final song. I think Awolnation put on arguably the best show of the night. I’d definitely pay to see them perform again.

Awolnation was a tough act to follow, and unfortunately it was up to Metric to keep the crowd going. They failed miserably though. I didn’t know anything about Metric (aside from the one song (‘Breathing Underwater‘) they played on the radio leading up to Deck The Hall Ball), and I don’t care to know more about them now. I can’t be the only one who feels that way. The audience seemed disinterested during their set. There was no movement in the crowd, no one was taking pictures or video of them (like they were for all the other groups), and several people actually walked out during their performance. It was relatively dead inside KeyArena for Metric. They just never captured the crowd. They were easily the biggest flop of the night.

Let’s talk about a group that did capture the audience — M83. These guys are unlike anyone else who played Deck The Hall Ball 2012. M83 is more electronic and instrumental than anything. They’re more about flashing lights and jamming out than signing many lyrics. Several people in the crowd even whipped out their glow sticks for their set. I have to admit that M83 doesn’t exactly tickle my earlobes, but they were very entertaining. They jammed and jammed and jammed for a full 50 minutes. I took this video of M83 performing ‘Midnight City‘, so you could get a feel for what their set was like:

Deck The Hall Ball 2012 | The Killers

The Killers

The Killers were the headliners for Deck The Hall Ball 2012. There’s a good reason they were the last to perform. The Killers put on an incredible show. They just seemed so much more seasoned at performing live than the rest of the acts at the event. They had a more dynamic setup than anyone else, including a 30+ foot video board hanging behind them and confetti that came shooting out during one of their songs. The stage just seemed bigger for them, and lead singer Brandon Flowers kills it (no pun intended). The Killers were the only group to get everyone in the crowd on their feet for their entire set. They were also the only band that had every person singing every word to every song. I honestly didn’t realize The Killers had so many hits until Deck The Hall Ball. They just kept coming one after another. It was an awesome atmosphere and a perfect way to wrap up the night.

The Joy Formidable took the stage at 3pm and The Killers walked off the stage at 11:30pm, so it was nearly nine hours of music at Deck The Hall Ball 2012. I was introduced to new bands, rocked out to some of my favorite songs and even waved my cell phone (in place of a lighter) at a concert for the first time in my life. It was easily worth every penny I paid for my tickets. I’m already bracing myself for Deck The Hall Ball 2013.

Were you in the crowd for Deck The Hall Ball 2012? Who was your favorite/least favorite band? I’d love to hear how the night went for you! Please leave a message below or connect with me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on music, sports and travel!

Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club In Seattle

I haven’t really researched much, but I can only imagine there are few places around the world where you can rent a kayak and then fill your belly on Mexican food and drinks all in one location. That’s exactly what you can do at Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club in Seattle, and that’s what makes the place so special. Some would even argue that Agua Verde has the best fish tacos in the city!

Agua Verde Seattle Sign

Agua Verde

My friend Tove and I checked out Agua Verde (located on Portage Bay between Lake Union and Lake Washington) during our Seattle staycation. My mom insisted that we try their fish tacos. Right when I got to Agua Verde, I realized I’d been there before. My mom took me there for a paddle and some food when I was a kid. I remembered the eats being pretty darn good, so it got my appetite all revved up.

Tove and I didn’t take part in the kayaking this time around, instead we just went for food (which is made fresh from scratch daily). We got there on the early side of happy hour (Monday-Thursday from 4pm-6pm), so we were seated immediately. We wanted a table outside, but we were told those were only for people taking part in happy hour (having drinks/eating chips and salsa). That was a little disappointing (because it was a beautiful summer day), but the rules are the rules.

Since the Agua Verde fish tacos came highly recommended, I honestly didn’t look at much of the menu. I asked our server which fish tacos he liked the best, and he quickly said the catfish (‘Bagre’ on the menu). I have a tough time making my own decisions, so I took his advice and ordered the catfish, while Tove went for the fried cod (‘Bacalao’ on the menu).

Agua Verde Fish Tacos

Catfish (Bagre) Tacos

The food was as good as advertised, but I can’t go as far as saying Agua Verde has the best fish tacos in Seattle (only because they’re the ONLY fish tacos I’ve had in Seattle so far). The tacos (there are two of them) are served with a side of rice, and black beans and cheese. Tove couldn’t finish both of her tacos so I was able to compare the fried cod and catfish. I think the catfish was better, but just because it packed a little spice.

I wish I would have known this when I was there, but Agua Verde makes its own home-made drinks (including margaritas) from scratch too. In fact, the Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club only serves local and sustainable food on their menu. The fruits and vegetables are all organic, the meat comes from farm-raised animals without growth hormones or antibiotics, and the seafood is caught or raised using eco-friendly techniques.

Again, Tove and I didn’t rent kayaks at Agua Verde, but my mom and I did years ago. I remember paddling to Gas Works Park on Lake Union. From some of the reviews I’ve read, it sounds like the prices are a little steep at the paddle club, but I honestly have no idea how much it should cost. The happy hour deal at Agua Verde sounds pretty sweet though. You can rent kayaks for three hours for the price of two hours, and since the boats need to back by 4pm to get the deal, you can then walk right into the cafe for the start of happy hour there (again, Monday-Thursday from 4pm-6pm).

Since I just moved back to Seattle, there are several new restaurants I’d like to try before I head back to Agua Verde. There’s no doubt I’ll be back again though. I’ll definitely go for a paddle, and then come back for some fish tacos next time. That sounds like an awesome summer afternoon to me!

Have you ever been to Agua Verde Cafe & Paddle Club? What did you think of their food? How about the kayaking? I’d love to hear from you. You can simply leave a message below or you can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Don’t forget to also check out http://allaroundtim.com for more on Seattle, sports, music and more!