Record Store Day: Ben Van Wildenhaus, The Shadies, Waterbear, Girl Guts: April 20th at Avalon Music

Each year music lovers celebrate their local independent record stores on a magnificent holiday known as Record Store Day. Communities show appreciation for their surviving music stores, who in return show their appreciation for their customers with special offers and events. This year record store day fell on the same day as 4/20 and Earth Day celebrations. This made for a perfect opportunity for everyone to come together down town for live music happening outside of Avalon Music (just one of the events occurring in Bellingham). People who went downtown for whatever reason made a detour to hear some music from Ben VonWildenhaus, The Shadies, Waterbear, and Girl Guts.

The first act of the afternoon was a solo performance by Ben VonWildenhaus. His psychedelic experimental music sparked curiosity of passersby who were ended up staying a while to check it out. VonWildenhaus made creative use of his looping pedals and reverb laden microphone to create atmospheric drone music. We were all taken by surprise when a saxophone player appeared seemingly out of nowhere and added a new dimension to the performance. It was good to see the ex-pat VonWildenhaus back in town, if even for the day.

Complete with an upright bass and a rocking chair, The Shadies are a delight for anyone with a remote interest in blue grass, in contrast to Ben VonWildenhaus, who was a pleasant experience for audience members with an interest in another kind of grass. A fellow spectator commented, “They seem really authentic. It’s refreshing.”

Following The Shadies was Waterbear (formerly known as Chris Nunn and The Movie), whose Americana style fit perfectly into the afternoon.  It was definitely nice to hear some new talent and see a couple names on the bill that I didn’t recognize.  Though I love running into familiar faces at shows, I appreciated seeing so many new faces on Saturday and enjoying music in a different atmosphere.

As the afternoon’s festivities came to an end, Girl Guts brought their unique and energetic music to the streets of Bellingham. The addition of their punk rock style to the day made Avalon’s Record Store Day a mini showcase of the variety of music that happens in Bellingham.

Despite a little rain, the live music at Avalon got the people of Bellingham excited for the season of outdoor music while celebrating Record Store Day.