Music

What’s Up! Awards

Bring on the golden beer cans

Saturday, January 26, 2013

I do not like to miss the What’s Up! Awards.

Case in point: Last year, I had to have an unexpected bit of minor ankle surgery two days before the longstanding Bellingham music magazine’s awards show, and even though I wasn’t yet cleared to bathe and had to be helped to the bathroom when nature called, I still somehow thought attending the show to be a possibility.

It wasn’t. It wasn’t even within spitting distance of being a possibility. And yet, somehow I still thought it was, which speaks a little to the strength of my own denial (read: idiocy), but much more to the powerful lure of the What’s Up! Awards.

For nearly 15 years, What’s Up! magazine has given its readers a monthly dose of what’s happening, musically speaking, in Bellingham, and for the past 12 of those 15 years, publisher Brent Cole (along with a little help from his friends) has thrown the annual party/music scene lovefest known as the What’s Up! Awards.

While the awards show itself takes place on just one night in just one place this year—Sat., Jan. 26 at the Wild Buffalo—it all actually starts much earlier, with the unleashing of the awards ballot. Unlike other awards ceremonies, the winners of the sought-after golden beer cans that embody the awards themselves are chosen by the magazine’s readers via an online ballot, rather than by a committee of What’s Up! powers that be. So, while Cole has long claimed (and rightly so) that What’s Up! is not a democracy, he suspends that policy when it comes to the awards, and the democratic process rules the day.

This means that when the winners are announced in such categories as “Best Booty Shakin’ Music,” “Best Smash Your Head on the Punk Rock,” “Best Axes of Folk,” “Best Video Killed the Radio Star,” and others, those stepping onto the Wild Buffalo’s stage to give their acceptance speeches will be winners chosen by the magazine’s readership, many of whom will be in the audience, cheering them on.

This makes for an atmosphere in which people set aside the issues that are a normal part of existence in such a tiny-but-mighty music community for one night in order to simply appreciate each other, the bounty of music we enjoy in Bellingham, and, of course, Cole and What’s Up! magazine itself. And, when attendees wake up the next morning, their hangovers are just as likely to be from all the love in the room as they are from the libations they imbibed.

But winners and golden beer cans do not an awards show make. The night wouldn’t be complete without a whole slew of live music—and if you want to catch a varied bill of local bands, the awards show is the place for you. The night of music will kick off fairly early for this town—at 9pm, if all goes according to schedule—with a set by the Shadies. They’ll be followed by Learning Team, the Ames, Palisades, and Black Beast Revival, before My Dad Bruce rounds out the night with their brand of homegrown hip-hop. DJ Postal and IG88 will provide the between-sets soundtrack, while the lovely ladies of the Dirty Bird Cabaret will dance their asses off in their inimitable way, and the equally inimitable Poops will be on hand to play host (and if history is any judge, he’ll probably end up as whipping boy—either literally or figuratively—for the Dirty Birds by night’s end).

As for me, I’m going to spend the days preceding the What’s Up! Awards avoiding any and all hazards and dangerous situations. In fact, I’m thinking of fashioning myself a head-to-toe suit made of bubble wrap to encase myself in, in order to ensure I actually make it to this year’s ceremony, uninjured and in one piece. So, if you see me wandering the streets of downtown during the coming week looking like a science experiment, chalk it up to my commitment to What’s Up! and to Cole. And please don’t pop me.

ICU
More Music...
Ski to Sea
I’ll see you at the party

Surprising though it may be considering my current lack of sportiness, I spent the first half of my life as an athlete of sorts. I started playing soccer when I was in kindergarten, and for several years before I hung up my cleats, I played year-round, on indoor and outdoor teams. For much…

more »
Rockin’ for the RE Store
A community-improvement project

People visit the RE Store looking for all kinds of things.

Within the 20,000-foot space in the Fountain District, any number of useful items can be found. Need cabinetry for a kitchen makeover? They’ve got it. Tons of it. Looking to replace a door or some windows? They can help you out…

more »
The Midtown Men
The sounds of the ’60s

Let’s face it: Cover bands or tribute bands or whatever you’d like to call them, are a dime a dozen. Some of them are great—and therefore exceedingly entertaining. Some of them are terrible—also entertaining, just in a different way. But they’re all parts of the same musical…

more »
Events
Today
Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

BC Morgan Horse Show

9:00am| Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

What-A-Sho!

7:00pm|Bellingham High School

Julius Caesar

7:30pm|Miller Hall

Twelfth Night

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Cornwall Park

Seconds Sale

10:00am|Good Earth Pottery

Seaweed Beach Ramble

10:00am|Living Earth Herbs

Book Trailers

12:30pm|Ferndale Library

Valley writers

1:00pm|South Whatcom Library

Sin & Gin Tours

4:00pm|Whatcom County Tourism

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Ski to Sea Block Party

5:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

School of Rock

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

WWU Orchestra

7:30pm|Performing Arts Center Concert Hall

Genre Legends

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Northwood Steak and Crab
Tomorrow
Ski to Sea Book Sale

10:00am|Bellingham Public Library

BC Morgan Horse Show

9:00am| Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Twelfth Night

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

Julius Caesar

7:30pm|Miller Hall

Sin & Gin Tours

4:00pm|Whatcom County Tourism

School of Rock

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Genre Legends

8:00pm|Upfront Theatre

Pancake Breakfast

8:00am|American Legion Hall

Anacortes Farmers Market

9:00am|Depot Arts Center

Mount Vernon Farmers Market

9:00am|Riverfront Plaza

Lummi Island Artists Studio Tour

10:00am|Lummi Island

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Sumas Writers Group

10:00am|Sumas Library

Bellingham Farmers Market

10:00am|Depot Market Square

Low Tide Picnic

11:30am|Marine Park

Stones Throw Block Party

12:00pm|Stones Throw Brewery

Blossomtime Parade

12:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Project Connection

1:00pm|East Whatcom Regional Resource Center

We Are WWU

6:00pm|Boundary Bay Brewery

Salsa Night

9:30pm|Cafe Rumba

Northwood Steak and Crab Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1
Sunday
BC Morgan Horse Show

9:00am| Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Twelfth Night

7:30pm|Philip Tarro Theatre

School of Rock

7:00pm|BAAY Theatre

Boating Center Open

10:00am|Community Boating Center

Back to the basics

7:00am

Ski to Sea Race

7:00am|Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay

Rabbit Ride

8:00am|Fairhaven Bicycle

Fairhaven Festival

12:00pm|Historic Fairhaven

Images of Resilience Farewell

12:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?

1:00pm|Lincoln Theatre

Audubon at the Museum

2:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

Art of Jazz

4:00pm|Majestic

see our complete calendar »

Bellingham Farmer’s Market Trove Lester and Hyldahl Northwood Steak and Crab Village Books Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1