Music

Find Your Way To The Firefly

From Hambone to Hot Damn Scandal

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Much like the glorious weather of Memorial Day weekend has tricked some of us into thinking summer has arrived (yes, I’m referring to myself), the holiday’s plentiful entertainment options probably has some of us (me, again) believing that wondrous time of year when every likely outdoor locale is overtaken by free or cheap live music is upon us.

In reality, summer and its al fresco sounds are still some weeks away, and it has become typical for Bellingham’s music scene to have a bit of a lull between now and then.

Evidently, no one divulged that info to the folks at the Firefly Lounge. The State Street bar is continuing the grand tradition of the Green Frog, the venue that came before it, by not only booking shows every day, but also scheduling multiple shows on some of those days. In doing so, they’ve managed to cover a broad swath of the entertainment landscape, meaning a person can have a whole range of varied and disparate experiences all within the four walls of the Firefly. Read on to get a sense of which I speak.

Many years ago, Peadar Macmahon played a show in which he very tenderly sang a lovely song called “These Are My Mountains” and made me cry in public—and I still haven’t forgiven him for it. Another unforgivable act he is committing is moving back to “his mountains”—which, as his name suggests, is Ireland—in a few months. Before he departs, he intends to play a bunch of shows, and odds are even to slightly better he’ll make me cry again at one of them. The first show of his farewell tour happens at 7pm Wed., May 30 at the Firefly. It’ll be followed at 9:30pm by newfangled hip-hop throwback night Gin & Juice—and I can think of no weirder counterpart to Peadar’s Irish songs than a healthy dose of G-funk.

That one-two punch could be a tough act to follow, but something tells me Hambone Wilson will be unfazed when he plays the Firefly—a room with which he is only too familiar—on Thurs. May 31. Wilson made his way to this area by way of Virginia and West Virginia and he brought his formidable guitar skills and penchant to play the blues with him. With Bellingham already home to a Leather Pants and a Poops, a guy who goes by Hambone was bound to fit right in.

Friday is another dual-show day, but in this case the events sync up quite nicely. The 7pm slot belongs to singer/songwriter Autumn Everland, who, when she’s not playing music, is a model, vegan educator, animal rights activist, photographer and personal trainer. I became tired just typing all of that. I tried to picture what her average day is like and now my imagination needs a nap. Everland will cede the stage to Jasmine Greene who will take over at 9pm with her band and a very special guest, her sister Shasta Bree Simmons. Catching the singing siblings harmonizing together is a rare treat that shouldn’t be missed.

Hot Damn Scandal says that it “finds its songs under park benches and in forgotten alleyways” and while songs are not typically what I come upon in either of those places, maybe they traffic in different alleys and benches than I do. They’re also fond of referring to their music as “tipsy American gypsy blues,” which is an accurate assessment of the band’s lively sound. Like so many bands and musicians who have or will find their way to the Firefly, Hot Damn Scandal’s Sat., June 2 show there is hardly their first in that space.

Sunday, June 3 brings with it another loyalist to the State Street locale, Skerik, the eclectic Seattle saxophonist who is one of the many musicians Bellingham has adopted as its own. If you’re either unfamiliar or haven’t browsed Skerik’s bona fides for a minute, it might interest you to know the accomplished musician has played with Les Claypool, grunge-era supergroup Mad Season, Roger Waters, Charlie Hunter, Matt Chamberlain, and more. He’s a founding member of Critters Buggin, Garage a Trois, Tuatara, and Skerik’s Syncopated Taint Septet. He’s forged a career out of refusing to confine himself to traditional musical boundaries, and that fluidity is reflected in his live performances.

So far, we’ve had Irish music, hip-hop, blues, singer/songwriters, the aforementioned “tipsy American gypsy blues,” and whatever Skerik is—why not throw some flamenco and old-school soul music into the mix? The former will be called “Feria,” and will feature dancer Savannah Fuentes, guitarist Pedro Cortes, and singer/percussionist Jose Moreno for a night of Spanish flamenco, the latter will come courtesy of Jordan Rain, aka DJ Yogoman, as part of his weekly Soul Night and both will happen on Tues., June 5. The flamenco party will begin at 7:30pm, and Rain will lug just some of his impressive collection of vintage vinyl to the Firefly, where he’ll start spinning records at 9pm. He won’t stop until everyone in the room is worn out from dancing or bartenders signal last call—whichever comes first.

Where: The Firefly Lounge, 1015 N. State St. Cost: Varies. Info: http://www.thefireflylounge.com

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