I Was There: All Hail The TINA BELL & BAM BAM Seattle All-Star Tribute Review!


Photo By: Chris Nelson

VENUE: The Central Saloon 

CURATOR: Om Johari 

SINGERS: 

Om Johari (Hell’s Belles, Re-Ignition)

Eva Walker  (the Black Tones) 

Shaina Shepherd (BEARAXE) 

Dejha  (The Union Gospel) 

D’mitra (Ex’s with Benefits) 

BAND: 

Drums: Matt Cameron (Bam Bam, Skin, Soundgarden, Temple of the Dog, Pearl Jam)

Guitar: Stone Gossard: (Green River, Mother Love Bone, Temple of the Dog, Pearl Jam)

Guitar: Kendall Jones: (Fishbone) 

Guitar: Ayron Jones: (Ayron Jones Band)

Bass: Jenelle Roccaforte: (Montral Latin Blues) 

DJ: C-Note 

BAM BAM (Band Members In Attendance): 

Scott Ledgerwood (Bassist/Vocalist)

Matt Cameron (Drums) 

Tom Hendrickson (Bam Bam’s 2nd drummer)


Photo By: Samantha Hollins

July 9, 2021 I went from my home in Delaware through the most majestic portal that was timeless, yet nostalgic. As I entered the Central Saloon in Seattle, WA with my assistant Chris Nelson, it was lit with star dust that flickered over an enchanting mural of the late great Tina Bell. It felt like we were standing amidst a sacred space, right next to her illuminated throne. 

The allure of DJ C-Note’s set gave us an invigorating soundscape to catch a vibe, while we patiently awaited it to enter the stage & wreck havoc. This was the venue’s first show after 15 months. The golden tickets were sold out as quickly as they went on sale for $150 a pop. If you were there you knew you were about to witness something magical. You could literally feel the energy ready to bounce off the walls. The echo of indigenous rhythms cleared the way for a iconic night! A fierce Bad Brains tribute band called Re-ignition led by the amazing Om Joharirecharged our energy. Much respect to Om for putting her whole foot in the groundwork of this tribute!


Photo By: Samantha Hollins

The room was amplified with the potent voices of Eva Walker (The Black Tones), Shaina ShepherdDejha, D’mitra Smith (Ex’s With Benefits), Om Johari (Re-Ignition & Hell’s Belles). They channeled the mighty mojo that embodied the true essence of Tina Bell’s melodic spell. To have a whole new generation of melanated Seattle women paying homage to their hometown Shero, was more than entertainment. It was a history lesson that had the spotlight on our attention. From “Ground Zero” to  “Free Fall From Space” we took flight upon vocal dynamite spitting; classic fire.

The all-star band featuring Matt Cameron (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, & Bam Bam), Kendall Rey Jones (Fishbone), Jenelle Roccaforte (Montreal Latin Blues), Ayron Jones and Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) created an atmosphere very akin to Bam Bam’s musical ascent. They played in tones that honored them wholeheartedly. It was so surreal to hear all those dirty hypnotic chord structures and vocal sirens, that are usually associated with bands like Nirvana, find it’s way back home to Bam Bam. When I spoke with Scott Ledgerwood (Bam Bam bassist/vocals) after the show the magnitude of emotion amidst his conversation was overflowing with gratitude. Him confirming this venue was totally aligned with the archives of Grunge. This was truly a special time for his musical contributions to be honored. He has been preserving Bam Bam and uplifting the memory of Tina Bell endlessly. 


Photo By: Chris Nelson

The most captivating scene of the evening was when Tina Bell and Tommy Martin’s son, T.J. Martin (award winning filmmaker), ascended on stage reciting the sweetest stories about his parents. He dug up his roots through his mama’s childhood leading up to her meeting his dad. While we were all living in our Bam Bam moment, those songs were the lineage of his childhood. What a profound statement he made when he said that his parents gave birth to two children: him and Bam Bam. They ultimately raised a new sub-genre that the  world is still adores. 

For some it was like a family reunion, For others it was a pathway of memories. For those of us who never had a chance to experience Bam Bam live, we were holding tight to every sound-wave that played over and under us. It brought us as close as we could possibly get to their contiguous music that inevitably transformed what became Grunge. I got so caught up in the music that I was not ready to let go. Experiencing original Bam Bam drummer Matt Cameron as the heartbeat of the tribute was a  symbolic gratification that melted our faces. Seeing MattScott “Buttucks” Ledgerwood and Tom Hendrickson under the same roof was as real as the doors they broke down in the music industry (that started in 1983-1990). By the end of this historic concert Tina Bell and Bam Bam became even more legendary in my eyes. By the look of all of the phenomenal performers, the future of the Seattle sound has been elevated by the descents of Rock-n-Roll past and they are reinventing it to another level. May we continue to pass it on and celebrate the culture that Tina Bell and Bam Bam ignited amidst the foundation of Grunge. If Nirvana and Pearl Jam are inducted in the Rock Hall Of Fame and the Foo Fighters are being inducted, you already know what should happen next! Give them their mutha Punkin’ flowers! 


Photo By: Samantha Hollins

R.I.P. Tina Bell and Tommy Martin

For more information on Tina Bell and Bam Bam go to:

https://buttocksproductions.com/

Check out my Culture Rock Griot with Bam Bam drummer/vocalist Scotty “Buttucks” Ledgerwood (published on Tina Bell’s birthday February 5, 2021) here:

https://theculturerockgriot.wordpress.com/2021/02/05/pioneer-report-scotty-buttocks-ledgerwood-of-bam-bam-sets-the-crown-straight-on-grunge-queen-tina-bell/?fbclid=IwAR3Xt04SoXikPU1tMQGr4T882XRCvDR-R1CF8wKQUcht8oEghqn4LW0spHw


Photo By: Samantha Hollins

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