From Budd to Blake

A musical mashup

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The majority of time that I sit down to write, I am able to focus on one thing—one band or musician, one venue, one festival, etc.

But sometimes I just want to write about everything. And this happens to be one of those weeks. If the following events could be arranged according to a similar theme, I suppose it would be that they are hyperlocal. Each, whether it be a benefit, an album release or a wingnut idea brought to life, speaks to something uniquely Bellingham. If you’d like to celebrate the city, its music, its values, its sense of community and its vast and unknowable weirdness, these three shows are for you.

On Fri., Jan. 27, President Trump signed an executive order banning travelers from seven Muslin-majority countries. A day later, reports began emerging of people being detained at major airports. What followed next was a manmade miracle: Lawyers, many of them from the American Civil Liberties Union, thronged airports, plugged in their laptops and refused to leave until every detainee was released. And it worked. On Sat., Jan. 28, I joined the ACLU, along with thousands of other Americans. Boris Budd, on the other hand, probably emerged from the womb waving his ACLU membership card. He’s just one of the musicians participating in the “Bands of Justice” fundraiser happening Thurs., March 23 at the Wild Buffalo. However, instead of playing a set of his politically charged music, he’ll be playing the part of emcee, along with show organizer Heather Bates. Providing the musical entertainment will be a reunited-for-one-night-only Moonhat, as well as Momo Grace, the Katie Gray, and Morgan Paris Lanza. Suggested donation is $5, but no one would mind if you were feeling particularly generous, seeing as all proceeds will go toward the Seattle ACLU’s fight against the current travel ban.

You’re cordially invited back to the Wild Buffalo the following night, Fri., March 24, for a “cathartic evening” of “releasing your inner angst” with the boys of Acorn Project. Except that they won’t be playing just Acorn Project music. In a fit of either genius or madness, likely brought about by too much legal weed and too few musical boundaries, the band decided to intersperse their songs with those of Ween and Rage Against the Machine for two full sets of what they’ve dubbed “Rage the Ween.” On the one hand, the part of me that spent at least one or two years of my nearly 20s cruising around Everett in my 1983 Toyota Tercel with “Killing in the Name” blasting from my blown speakers is stoked. On the other hand, the part of me that hates Ween (I know, I know, feel free to run me out of town) is decidedly skeptical. However, both parts of me are pretty happy Acorn Project is playing its first hometown show in almost a year. Tickets are $10, and in the words of Acorn Project’s Facebook invite, “buy in advance bitchezzz.”

The next stop on our musical mystery tour takes us to Sat., March 25 and the Green Frog, where longtime local musical mainstay Robert Sarazin Blake will be having not one, but two parties celebrating the release of his latest album, Recitative. Blake spent two years working on Recitative, which he recorded in New York’s Hudson Valley in order to harness that area’s distinctive sound. In talking about how the double album came to be, Blake mentions walking into a bar and hearing a group of musicians play who had a sound that shook him to his core, how once he’d heard it, he couldn’t get it out of his mind, how he enlisted them to play with him, how from there, all of the pieces that went into making the album seemed to snap into place. Blake says something else about the release as well: That Recitative is the best work he’s ever done. I’ve been writing about Blake about as long as he’s been making music in Bellingham, and that’s a claim I’ve not heard him make until now. Even better, Recitative won’t see an official release until April 7, but Bellingham will get first crack at it. You’ll have your choice of shows—the first happens at 7pm, and the second at 9:30pm—and this is another instance in which buying your tickets early is an excellent idea. Throw in a copy of the album, while you’re at it.

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