Rumor Has It
Say It Ain’t So:
Wednesday, January 8, 2020
I had a feeling this day was approaching, but in the interest of not borrowing trouble, I chose to ignore the signs and remain blissfully ignorant of encroaching reality.
Way to burst my bubble of denial, Polecat.
After 10 years, hundreds of shows, countless emails from me to Aaron Guest asking for high-resolution photos and one unforgettable Side-eye of Sauron, Polecat is officially calling it quits.
Normally bands who decide to no longer be bands don’t elicit much more from me than the wish that they will splinter into more bands that I will have the chance to enjoy, but Polecat is different, both to me and to the Bellingham audience that has embraced them with strong and sometimes frightening love almost since the very beginning.
Although I have always enjoyed their music, I would not say that I’m among the cadre of folks who consider themselves to be Polecat superfans. Instead they occupy a very particular place in my personal pantheon: They’re my platonic ideal of what a local band should be.
First of all, they’re just really damn good at what they do, no matter how their sound has evolved throughout the years. They came up during a different time, when really great local music was so plentiful bands barely had to practice in order to play regularly and draw crowds. Polecat wasn’t about that life, and when they took the stage, they knew their stuff, playing intricate bluegrass—that would later morph into a sound that leaned more heavily on rock, pop and folk—with ease and authority. And they were professional about it—in my many dealings with them, I found them to be unfailingly polite, accessible and helpful. When they asked me to help them get the word out, they did so with an abundance of good-natured humor and without ego or entitlement.
But most of all, I valued Polecat because they really went for it. They used their excellent live show to build a strong, steadfast local following pretty early on, and deftly managed a precarious balance of trying to use that as a springboard to greater things while never giving a sense that they felt themselves to be bigger than the place they came from.
Rest assured, a band like Polecat isn’t going gentle into that good night. Instead, they’ll play shows in four towns—Bend, Portland, Seattle, and Bellingham—that have served as their bases of support. For us, that means a pair of March 7 shows at the Cirque Lab, where they’ll finally get to live out their secret fantasy of running away to join the circus for a night. So far, Polecat guitarist Jeremy Elliott has RSVP’d to three of the shows and Aaron Guest to one, but presumably all members will be there. Get your tickets ASAP because this is a guaranteed sellout if ever I’ve seen one.