Patio Music

Where sounds can be found

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Since we seem to be going backward in terms of Gov. Inslee’s Safe Start phased reopening plan—wear your damn masks and stay six feet away from each other, people!—and COVID-19 continues to be a wily beast, the reopening of music venues is getting further and further out on the horizon.

As I have mentioned a time or 10, this is troubling, not just for venues themselves, but also for every business, most of them small, that rely on venues for customers and revenue. Insert my heartfelt plea for government assistance here.

However, this story is not about the possible catastrophe facing our music venues, and the likelihood of that catastrophe transitioning from possibility to reality with each passing day. Instead it is about how life, at least in terms of local live music, somehow finds a way.

I know this to be the case because with my perch above Boulevard Park—these days also known as my home, my home office, my home gym and the place from which I plan world domination—and the sheer amount of time I spend there, I hear impromptu concerts by musicians in the park quite frequently. Sometimes this is in the form of one person sharing their time and talents—like, say, the saxophone guy who has my heart or the karaoke guy who does not—and sometimes full bands show up, rock out and break out.

And music is showing up other places as well, not just in a clandestine, ad hoc fashion, but like how it used to, where places that host live music book bands, put them on a calendar and then we show up, masked and ready to be entertained.

For instance, a couple of weeks ago, I made mention that Fairhaven restaurant Skylark’s Hidden Cafe had maximized its patio seating and was offering live music to entice the masses hungry for both food and the sounds of summer. The concerts happen starting at 6pm Saturdays, and while they don’t seem to have a calendar of upcoming events posted anywhere—likely owing to the fly-by-the-seat nature of things right now—they’ve hosted the likes of Wicked Timing, Havilah, and others.

When I wrote that brief bit about music returning to Skylark’s, my friend Alan Finston, one of the owners of the Vault Wine Bar and Bistro, was quick to message me to let me know that they’re also doing their part to keep Blaine entertained with bands on their outdoor deck space at 7pm every Friday (weather permitting, of course). On the docket during the remainder of July are JP Falcon and Michael Longenecker (July 10), Chuck Dingee (July 17), Adrian Clark (July 24), and Trio Sueno (July 31).

Finston’s neighbors (as the crow flies) at Birch Bay’s the Beach are also making the most of their outdoor space, with music happening a few times a week. Head north and spend the rest of July with the Jimmy Wright Band (July 8 and 22), Wicked Timing (July 10, 24 and 29), Little Big Band (July 11), Badd Dog Blues Society (July 15), Lost at Last (July 17 and 31), Fantasy Band (July 18), and the Takers (July 25).

Like so many music lovers, I spend a fair amount of time fretting about what will become of not only our venues, but also the touring industry as a whole, from bands to surly sound people to tiny rock bars to large stages to festivals and beyond. But I no longer worry about a life without live music. One of the many lessons COVID-19 has taught me is that as long as musicians exist, they will see to it that we have music.

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