Generally speaking, owning your own music venue sounds like the world’s best day (or night, as the case may be) job. In reality, it comes with its fair share of headaches. Some of these are of the every-business variety—i.e. dealing with schedules, payroll, taxes and the like—while others—wrangling bands, sound equipment and the not-so-occasional unruly drunk—are unique to the business of providing live music to the masses.
However, owning a music venue does offer up some pretty massive perks. Chief among them: being able to throw yourself a righteous birthday show with your favorite bands and inviting the music-loving public to your party.
Such is the case at the Shakedown on Sat., Dec. 8, when bar owner Hollie Huthman will celebrate her big day of birth with me, you… and Helms Alee, Kowloon Walled City, the Narrows, and Cower.
Of course, Helms Alee—the band helmed by Ben Verellen and held down by Hozoji Matheson-Margullis on drums and bass player Dana James—is a known, and beloved, quantity around these parts. And for good reason. The band is responsible for the manufacture and dissemination of some of the smartest and most listenable metal around.
Joining them will be Kowloon Walled City, who will make their way north for a pair of birthday shows, the first taking place Fri., Dec. 7 in Portland to celebrate erstwhile local Carly Henry’s big day, before making their way to Bellingham and the Shakedown the next night for Huthman’s hard-rockin’ party. Aside from apparently being the official birthday band for Bellingham ladies who love metal, Kowloon Walled City is also makers of music that is difficult to describe except with the use of words like “wow” and “whoa” and variants thereof. At least, that’s how they’ve been described to me by nearly everyone I know who has seen them.
Rounding out the bill in a big way is the Narrows, one of Bellingham’s longest-running and most-loved bands. And opening what is sure to be one heavy show is Cower, who were a Bellingham band before we lost them to Portland, like we have so many others.
But before this birthday quartet takes the stage, the Shakedown will welcome Wovenhand on Fri., Dec. 7, a Denver band fronted by David Eugene Edwards—he formerly of 16 Horsepower—a man for whom things like genre boundaries and their related musical rules and conventions do not exist. Edwards has long had a powerful influence on many bands that would attempt to follow in his footsteps—indeed, it is possible to draw a bright line connecting his music to that of show opener Baltic Cousins and that band’s frontman, Bradley Lockhart.
So, whether you show up for the birthday celebration (and you should, lest I not be able to make good on my promise of putting Huthman through Bellingham’s biggest spanking machine) or the night before for—or any night, really—the Shakedown will prove it’s always down to party.
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