A worthy weekend
Music, music everywhere
Wednesday, May 9, 2018
No matter for how many years and how many words I write about music and its related events in Bellingham and surrounding environs, I still get a thrill when I look across a week’s worth of shows and see worthy entertainment options nearly everywhere my eye lands. And so it is during the coming days.
Of course, much of the musical chatter centers on the Fri., May 11 Against Me! show at the Wild Buffalo. Since that show has been sold out for some time, I know where many of you will be come Friday night. And judging by the number of you in my Facebook newsfeed seeking tickets, some of you will need to formulate a backup plan in case your ask doesn’t yield the desired results. As is often the case, I just happen to have a few suggestions.
I would be remiss in not mentioning the other Very Big Show happening at the Wild Buffalo this weekend, which takes place Sat., May 12 and features brand-new band the Longshot. The band is a side project for Bille Joe Armstrong, Green Day frontman and genuine massive rock star. Accustomed to playing arenas, stadiums and the world’s largest stages, Armstrong wanted to town it down a bit for the Longshot’s first tour, playing smaller-capacity venues. Enter the Wild Buffalo’s Craig Jewell, who cast his customary spell and lured the band to Bellingham. Somehow, tickets remain available for this show (at press time, anyway), but they are growing increasingly scarce.
In a music venue across downtown, the Shakedown has put together its own run of worthy shows, but for them, the “weekend” begins Thursday and ends at last call on Sunday night. It all begins with San Francisco band the Family Crest, who will pay the venue a return visit on Thurs., May 10. The band, which refers to its music as “orchestral indie rock,” is comprised of seven core members, who you’ll see at the Shakedown, but when the time comes to record, they enlist the help of lots of people—to date, numbering in the hundreds—to help them bring their grand vision to life. As for what they sound like, if Mumford and Sons and Arcade Fire had seven babies, they would be the Family Crest.
Friday night brings with it one of Bellingham’s favorite excuses to get out of hand, the inimitable Bob Log III. In his trademark human-cannonball suit and the helmet-telephone-microphone device he sings through, he cuts a distinctive figure. His sound is delta blues with a decidedly punk sensibility—and his live shows are pure, distilled chaos. Entertaining chaos, though. Anything can—and frequently does—happen at a Bob Log show, and should you somehow find yourself shirtless and onstage, take comfort in knowing you’re far from the first. Opening the show is Sugar Sugar Sugar, who got the band back together for a What’s Up! 20th anniversary show and had such a good time they’ve decided to play a show here and there as the spirit moves them. And what better show to play than Bob Log in Bellingham?
After giving Sat., May 12 over to an Oh My Goth! ’80s dance party (costumes encouraged!), the Shakedown will host a party of a different kind to close out the weekend when Minneapolis rapper Prof comes to town Sunday night. Before writing this, pretty much all I knew about Prof was that he’s not afraid to get a little raw with his lyrics and he’s known for hard-partying, leave-it-all-onstage live shows. Then I read his official bio and now I think I’m in love. It introduces him as a person who has “walked his own private catwalk,” hints that he might have a party-boy image, informs us that he’s “newly sophisticated” and lets us know he’s now the artist “more accurately referred to as Pookie Baby”—and that’s just the first paragraph.
From there, we learn that Pookie Baby is equal parts “showman” and “shaman” who was sidelined due to unspecified injuries earned from his “wild live shows,” which led to his most introspective and intimate album to date, also called Pookie Baby. The release contains such tracks as “Send Nudes” and “I’ve Cooked Crack Before,” which, believe it or not, are, respectively, commentary on our digital age and a cynical statement about art. There’s also a remark in there about “this new Pookie Baby persona” being both “all cleaned up” and “teeming with unbridled sexuality,” which I think is Prof’s way of saying, “Get you a man that can do both.” It concludes with “Please remember to enjoy Pookie Baby responsibly,” and after reading the whole thing, I’m pretty sure I need a cigarette.
Of course, should none of those options entice, there’s always Rod Picott (May 12) or Mingish (May 13) at the Firefly Lounge. Or Dearheart at Make.Shift (May 11). Or Havilah at B-Town (May 12). Or Joseph Demaree and Jonathan McIntyre at Boscoe’s (May 10). I think you get the picture here.
South to Skagit
Before I become consumed by Halloween in Bellingham and all of the various and plentiful happenings that come with it, I must first turn my attention southward, to Skagit County.
Generally speaking, when I journey south across the county line during this time of the year, I am seeking a…
Bellingham Irish Festival
No one’s second fiddle
Maybe it’s because we too live in a place where we exist between green land and gray skies. Perhaps it’s because some of our favorite musicians came to us from the Emerald Isle. Maybe it’s because we have a touch of romance in our heart and a bit of melancholy in our soul.
Back to School
Of gown and town
I would like to say that when I moved to Bellingham all those years ago to attend Western Washington University, I immediately explored and immersed myself in the community.
But that would be a piece of revisionist history, or if you prefer, a big, fat lie.
I probably didn’t come down…