Baltic Cousins, Livingston Seagull, Rhombus: March 23rd at The Shakedown

Standing in the low light of the Shakedown, watching three born-from-Bellingham-bands, it’s very easy to wonder if the music scene in this town will ever change. If you enjoy the local music circuit, you may have asked yourself that question before. Is Bellingham, as shows like this remind us, eternally nostalgic? After all, who hasn’t seen an “I’d rather be drinking at the 3B” sticker slapped on some bar wall.

The Baltic Cousins CD release show on March 23rd was no exception from this phenomenon. I can remember sneaking out to the Baltic Cousins show’s in high school, and forgetting to come home after, so stoked that a band was finally putting into words the incredible weight of my 17-year-old angst. Four years later, as I listen to the new album, it’s nearly impossible for me to remove myself from that high schooler stoked on punk. Perhaps that’s the pull of a band like the Cousins. Even though there seems to be a call to listeners in their lyrics to move on, change, understand they have evolved, (such as Bradley James Lockhardts lyric: I moved up, I moved on! You got stuck in a song”),the Cousins still bring us back to all the good times and growing pains of carving out lives in a town like this. Because, although you’ve seen them a thousand times before, and you may know exactly what to expect when walking into their show, you aren’t going for new tricks or something you haven’t seen before—you go for what you know, what you grew up with. The nostalgia of Bellingham is inevitable, or as my roommate has put it more times then not “…but you’ve already seen them…” In a town this size, it’s not simply that you are going to see a band you like, you are going to see a band you’ve known, for however long. A band that is part of your history, your town’s history and you are part of theirs. Even, ironically at a CD release show, it’s not always about being awed by what’s new, it’s about celebrating what’s good and always has been. As the crimson stage lights glow, listeners muck back and forth from cigarette break to dancing center stage and the band rips into one of their new tunes—Junk Beach part 2— it’s great to see the Baltic Cousins back on stage.

Livingston Seagull opened the show, bringing with it the glory days of The Bunker, a show-house the band mates used to run and destroy and create and live in back in 2010. As per usual their energy and sheer grime onstage was yet again inspiring to anyone who ever drank wine on a summer night and moshed in their living room.

Next came Rhombus with their sheer hot-as-hell woman-powered set. The joke of Bellingham Femme bands withered and died as the singer sprayed the crowd with beer can after beer can egging on the crowd to smash against each other, in total chaos, leaning out over them untouchable and magnetic. After the Rhombus set was the usual lull, as the regular attendees mulled about grabbing another drink and exchanging small talk with friends and co-workers, enjoying yet another night of great music and good friends, at a favorite Bellingham haunt.