Warm Up In the Buff

Don’t be a weather wimp

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Like many of you, I have been in deep hibernation ever since the weather drove me indoors some months ago and kept me there with its endless days of rain, rain and more rain.

But we can’t stay ensconced in our respective domiciles forever. After spending a couple of months honing my skills as a potential future Jeopardy contestant, I’m feeling boredom set in and it’s bringing its buddy restlessness with it.

Happily, the Wild Buffalo remains here for us, like an entertainment oasis in our waterlogged landscape, offering a variety of shows in the coming days sure to draw even the biggest weather wimps (read: me) out of the house and into the bar.

The Subdued Stringband Jamboree comes but once a year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate what came before and look forward to what will come next with a 6pm Thurs., Feb. 22 concert that comes midway between last year’s and this year’s festivals. Dubbed a “Jamboree Winter Warmer,” festival founder Robt Sarazin Blake (he recently abbreviated himself. Just go with it) has enlisted the Mammals to pull us from the doldrums of our waning winter with their highly original and boundary-breaking folk music. If you’re on the fence, you should probably know that the Mammals went on hiatus in 2008, and didn’t reemerge until last year. You should also know that the lineup will be rounded out by the Elopements, Chipps, and Blake himself—this is his party, after all.

When I heard the Crystal Method would be coming to the Wild Buffalo for a Fri., Feb. 23 show with Boombox Kid and JEK, I revisited the era during the late ’90s when the Grammy-nominated, big-beat electronica duo of Ken Jordan and Scott Kirkland ruled the charts. In doing so, I finally really listened to the lyrics of “(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do” for the first time and do not know how I never realized what the song is about despite what it’s about being the literal title of the song. I wasn’t as smart during the 1990s as I am now. I also spent a glorious three minutes and 39 seconds re-watching the “Name of the Game” video, which stars a guy with a giant nose for a face who does the following things: 1. Break dance like he’s auditioning for a lead role in Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo. 2. Rip rad BMX tricks. 3. Skip hand in hand through the woods with a beautiful girl. I highly recommend checking it out if you have time to spare. These days, the duo is down to Scott Kirkland, who is keeping alive the dreams of the Crystal Method and nose-faced dudes everywhere.

The Wild Buffalo is familiar territory for the Polyrhythmics, who will play a Sat., Feb. 24 show at the venue. The Seattle band has been finding its way to Bellingham on the regular for most of its lifetime. The eight-piece ensemble, with its blend of funk, Afrobeat, soul and psychedelic rock is right in the pocket of this town’s known musical interests and its no wonder they’ve made the Buffalo their Bellingham home.

Another band that seems to make its way to the Buffalo’s stage whenever they tour—possibly owing to owner Craig Jewell’s known proclivity for them—is Ha Ha Tonka, who will pay us a return visit on Sun., Feb. 25. However, they have to travel a little farther than 90 miles up the I-5 corridor to get here. They hail from Missouri, and like most everyone else not from their neck of the woods, I first became aware of them via Anthony Bourdain, who filmed an episode of No Reservations in the Ozarks that featured the Southern rock-influenced band. Now more than a decade and seven albums in, Ha Ha Tonka’s latest release, Heart-Shaped Mountain, sees them transitioning from songs about social issues and the state of the world, to a more personal, love-centered focus. But whatever the subject matter, they still promise a rousing, foot-stomping good time.

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