Le Beat: May 2013

April has felt like one of those long, hazy hangovers. The kind that I’m not very familiar with, because drinking typically leaves me with the feeling that a sewer rodent crawled inside my stomach and proceeded to die. Drinking is a more rare occasion for me for this reason; and subsequently spares me of the hangovers that follow. This month hasn’t felt like that which I’m used to, more so one of those slow rolling, greasy breakfast from the Little Cheerful and a nap in the sun kind of hangover. The one you spend reflecting on how many awesome people you inappropriately greeted in a volume that much too loud, and the band that made you, dare I say, “dance like no one’s watching.” You have to know what I’m talking about. Otherwise I’ll have to quit on account of that terrible hyperbole.

This month followed a raucous March madness, with the What’s Up! 15th Anniversary, too many local releases to count, hectic tour schedules, and announcements galore. Successful events around town did not wane, but many chose different venues off the beaten path, such as Yellingham’s living rooms, BEAF’s art spaces, and Worthy Fest’s Deming fields. Bands have slowed their roll a bit and we’re settling into a more comfortable, subdued pace for now as we gear up for the summer ahead. So make yourself a cup of earl grey, turn on Pan Pan’s new cover of the Downton Abbey theme song, and catch up on your local music le beat (feel free to read with a British accent, as I wrote it with one).


Make.Shift had a routine check from the fire department this month and as many of you may already know, they are taking a temporary hiatus from live shows. Calm down, friends, don’t chain yourself to the building in protest just yet. The shows have all been moved thanks to flexible bands and a town full of helpful venues. They tell us the fire marshal and crew have been lovely and are working with the Make.Shift crew to get the venue space up to fire code for the next round of all-ages shenanigans. For now the artists are still in their spaces and the Alternative Library is still open! Follow their Facebook page to find out where the shows will be re-located and for how you can help out in the coming weeks.

Next time you stop by the Alternative Library, make sure you check out a new music magazine in town, Signed. The release of the magazine coincided with this year’s Yellingham and released their first issue featuring Mudhoney, Fugazi/Minor Threat, Black Flag, and Converge, with a mission (as noted on their Facebook page) of “spreading crucial music news and knowledge to the masses, while simultaneously crapping on the spine of mainstream media.”

David Ney has been in Bellingham for 11 years, and with a heartfelt announcement he alerted Bellingham of his pending departure to New York in August. His break up speech was perfect and left a 20-something like me ready for a little more Bellingham. David will remain with us for the summer, so take this opportunity to buy the once “Mr. Bellingham” a drink. The strongest protest thus far seems to be the “Neybys” (babies with a David Ney face) that are posted in restrooms around town.

Hot Damn Scandal is doing a kick off show for their kickstarter on May 11 at Boundary Bay. Head down there, it’ll be a good time.

Be on the lookout for ways to support the group working on opening a new Commercial Street Theatre Project, a newly proposed 200-seat theatre. More information can be found at cstproject.org.


I feel like I can’t get enough invitations to weddings. The food, terrible dance moves, awkward family dynamics, not to mention the heightened state of all these elements the less involved in the wedding you are. On May 23, 7 p.m. at Broadway Hall we’re all invited to attend the nuptials of Jabez Richard and Ciera Richins. This is no average wedding. The couple has chosen their favorite local bands; Keaton Collective, Astronauts in Air Balloons, and a reunion of Savage Henry just for the occasion. They have invited us all, and let’s go. When else are we all going to be invited to the same wedding?

For all you industry workers and musicians (that’s all the jobs, right?) Tubbs recently announced that every Tuesday night 10 p.m. to close they will offer a whopping 50 percent off drinks for anyone in the food-beverage service industry or an active member of a band. I’m curious what the measure of an active band will be.

Enjoying music is one thing. Enjoying music and having it be for a good cause is entirely another. On May 11 the Mt. Baker Theatre will host a non-profit tribute to Ronnie James Dio for NW Youth Services. O’Donnell’s flea market will host a local festival for the Blue Ocean Foundation on May 18 featuring many local acts including the Vonvettas, Pawnbroker, Br’er Rabbit, Minor Plains, The Austerman File and many more.


I get a warm fuzzy feeling seeing Bellingham bands on big festival line-ups. Capitol Hill Block Party on July 27-29 not only has a killer line-up this year with Flaming Lips as a headliner it also shows a little Bellingham love with Learning Team and Dog Shredder. Both these acts are putting their best foot forward with new music and getting some longing glances from our big city counter-part.

Summer Meltdown is in its 13th year and their first round of announcements of the festival lineup gave some indication that this year’s booking is on point. The festival will be August 8-11 at Whitehorse Mountain Amphitheatre in Darrington, WA, boasting the best of the Northwest and a grassroots festival that doesn’t scream “sponsored by Pepsi.” The next round of announcements come out May 17, but fans are given more than enough in the time being with Australian Xavier Rudd, “Jamtronica” Lotus, March Fourth Marching Band, Cave Singers, True Spokes, and already too many more to list.

As per usual, the Subdued Stringband Jamboree is happening the same weekend at the Deming Logging show grounds. I’ve been told that the Cole family will be foregoing the family camping section this year so they can be right in the mix. Apparently last year the kids didn’t like leaving all the tunes!

The 9th Annual Urban Music Festival will be held on May 31 and June 1 at the Wild Buffalo and will feature the likes of Acorn Project, Polecat, Snug Harbor and Profit Massive (among others). As always, there will also be an awesome alley show, this time at 5 p.m.!


Have you ever wanted to be in a music video? Federation X is turning 15 this upcoming May and they are doing so with multiple video shoots on both Saturday, May 11 and Sunday, May 12 seeking amateur acting skills, men dressed in black wielding instruments, good wizards, bad wizards, instruments, and most importantly your help to make it happen. Check out Fed X’s Facebook page.

I feel a bit behind the curve for not having already mentioned Gothingham in Le Beat. The video is the most recent release by Electric Shadow Films. The debut of the series is shot on the familiar streets of Bellingham, and is thus far, hilarious. I don’t want to spoil any of this for you, so please go to their youtube channel and follow the adventures of Spiderman and Batman both taking on Bellingham…in a Prius.

Documentarian Bill Badgley (also of Federation X fame) will be teaching a class through WEI Summer Production Courses, called Documentary Film and Television Production 101. A two week program (eight hours a day, four days a week), Bill will cover all the bases from topic proposal and casting to scoring and outputting from broadcast. For more information, contact Suzanna Blais at admin@weiedu.org or call (360) 739-1428.


Biagio and the Argonauts released their much-anticipated record, titled Nothing Here You Wouldn’t Want and although I haven’t heard the album (I don’t make it into a record store nearly enough), I’m going to assume that assertion is nothing but true. It features the talents of Anna Arvan, Rabia Magnussen, Kat Bula, and was engineered by Paul Turpin.

When My Dad Bruce isn’t taking their pants off for What’s Up!, they are working on their fresh squeezed releases with Jesus Chris Willis. Someone on their Facebook page commented that upon hearing the new cuts, they “can’t wait to wobble their hips to it.” I can’t think of a better descriptor than that type of anticipation.

Odd Ones Out, a group of Bellingham’s younger rockers, spent their spring break at Binary in Seattle and are set to release soon as they begin work on an upcoming music video.

There were a lot of fantastic albums up for review this month. Take a chance to check out all the new releases reviewed including VR Trainers, I Love You Avalanche, Black Beast Revival, Learning Team, The Ames, and more!


In recent What’s Up news, co-owners of this fine publication, Brent Cole and Becca Schwarz Cole received the Mayor’s Arts Award for the magazine. I’m lucky to call them Mr. & Mrs. Boss.

Also to have on your radar, What’s Up! has a FREE local showcase coming up at The Shakedown on May 25. Featuring The Ames and Juniper Stills, this mixed bill will tempt those genre-curious folks out there on either side of the tracks. Be on the lookout for more What’s Up! local showcases to come.

Sincere apologies in the world of screwing up names in last month’s issue. Juniper Stills (the once Wyatt Parks & the Mute Choir) was given quite the creative misnomer, Juniper Soils, so if you’ve always wanted that band name it’s still up for grabs. Additionally, the Boowoops were incorrectly named in their CD review. Sorry to the groups, and please check out both the bands. Last but not least, we misspelled Jess Flegel’s name in 11 Questions. Brent feels especially bad for this one because, “Jess rules.” So, Jess, please accept our deepest apologies.

Get to work on your summer plans kids, and keep me in the know at megan@whatsup-magazine.com.

–Megan Housekeeper