In its official capacity, Memorial Day is the day upon which we honor Americans who have died in the various wars this country has seen fit to wage. As holidays go, they don’t get much more important or respectable than that.
But over the years, Memorial Day has come to mark another occasion—that being the unofficial start to the summer. As such, the activities to commemorate this other Memorial Day tend to be less somber and more celebratory in nature.
Around here, celebration nearly always comes with a soundtrack, and the long Memorial Weekend is steeped in sounds of all varieties at any number of venues. Per usual, what follows is far from comprehensive (see Clubs and Music listings for more entertainment options), but if it’s a lost weekend you’re looking for, this will certainly get you started.
The 8th Leg of Ski to Sea: Dear Ski to Sea organizers, I fear the reason you changed the name of this event to the “8th Leg of Ski to Sea” is because I made so many bad jokes about the apocalyptic nature of this happening’s previous moniker, “It All Ends in Fairhaven.” If so, I’m sorry, as “It All Ends in Fairhaven” remains a name that tickles my funny bone in just the right way. No matter what it’s called, this day-long, family-friendly, free Fairhaven party—which takes place Sun., May 27—is the destination of choice for scads upon scads of natives and visitors alike. From the thrill of watching racers cross the finish line to being able to take in bands such as Voyager and Tony & the Tigers on two stages in the heart of Fairhaven (not to mention the numerous craft booths and food vendors that will be on hand, as well as the event’s ever-popular beer garden), your search for a good time need go no further than the Southside.
Where: The heart of Fairhaven More info: http://www.fairhaven.com
Boundary Bay Brewery: Several years ago, downtown used to be home to a confab known simply as the Block Party. Built upon the notion that shutting down a main thoroughfare in the name of righteous revelry was a good way to get people to come party downtown (it was), the run of such celebrations culminated (if my dicey memory serves) in a Block Party featuring the Doobie Brothers that caused the town to be plastered with posters trying to talk us into “Takin’ It to the Streets.” These days, Boundary Bay—Bellingham’s uncontested holiday headquarters—uses their vast entertainment expertise to helm the Block Party, which takes place Fri., May 25, features music by the Atlantics and kicks off the brewpub’s weekend of festivities. Also on the roster is a performance by the Bellingham Firefighters Pipes and Drums Band (May 26), and the True Spokes (the band formerly known as Flowmotion) are sure to pack the beer garden on Sun., May 27.
Where: 1107 Railroad Ave. More info: http://www.bbaybrewery.com
The Shakedown: The Shakedown’s also getting a little long-weekend action, with a lineup of events you won’t soon see at the bar again. It all starts Fri., May 25 with what is shaping up to be a series of shows all organized under the name Drop the Needle. The premise is this: local musicians get together to cover presumably one of their favorite albums by one of their favorite bands (this time around it’s NOFX’s Punk in Drublic and Green Day’s Dookie), with proceeds from the show going to a local nonprofit (in this case, DVSAS). After that, Nicki Bluhm and the Gramblers—they of many-times-YouTubed “Van Sessions” series—will play for your pleasure on Sat., May 26. Sunday, May 27, heralds the return of what is easily one of my favorite events around these parts, the Band Lottery. Can’t wait.
Where: 1212 N. State St. More info: http://www.shakedownbellingham.com
The Underground: As just about everyone knows at this point, for the past month or so, the Underground has been home to Last Band Standing, a competition featuring local bands who face off in musical combat. The audience determines each week’s winner, and the finalists compete for a raft of deluxe prizes. The field is narrowing and the competition is growing ever fiercer. Show up Thurs., May 24, cast a vote and help your favorite band reach the finals. Also on the schedule this holiday weekend is a Sun., May 27 visit from Hell’s Belles. These ladies have spent the past decade cranking out set after set of AC/DC covers so impeccable they must be witnessed to be believed.
Where: 211 E. Chestnut St. More info: 738-3701
Wild Buffalo: Never ones to be outdone by, well, anyone, the party planners at the Wild Buffalo want to make for you a memorable Memorial Weekend—and, not only that, but they’d also like to take the celebration well into Tuesday. This is an idea whose time has clearly come. Friday, May 25 sees the return of the Free Friday Funk Jam. After that, Hot Bodies in Motion and the Vonvettas will pay a visit Sat., May 26 before the Buff takes a much-needed day of rest on Sunday. And, just when you think the weekend is really, truly, all-the-way over and are settling back into your weekly routine, Deer Tick will show up Tues., May 29 to prove the notion of a “holiday weekend” is indeed an elastic thing.
Where: 208 W. Holly St. More info: http://www.wildbuffalo.net
In some parts of the nation—in fact, across pretty much all of the United States—the weekend culminating in the last Monday in May is known as “Memorial weekend” or “Memorial… more »
I live near enough to Western Washington University that I can exit my front door, meander a block or two down the street and view the institution of higher learning… more »
At a mere five feet and four inches, Ronnie James Dio was the definition of tiny but mighty. Arguably one of the most influential forces in heavy metal music, Dio’s… more »
One of the consequences of my particular job is that occasionally—more than occasionally, if I’m being totally honest—I have a hard time deciding what to write about.
One could… more »
Let’s face it: finding things to do in a small town when you’re a college kid who either isn’t old enough or doesn’t want to hit the bars can be… more »
Six years ago, when the music industry was in freefall due to the digital revolution, a group of independent record store owners got together to discuss not just the problems… more »