Polecat (CD release)-May 11 at The Majestic
Not seen in Bellingham since a rowdy show on St. Patrick’s Day at the Green Frog, Polecat was due for a hometown appearance. To celebrate the release of their new album, Fathoms, the band decided to take it up a notch. I arrived at the Majestic Ballroom on Forest St. around 7:30 p.m. and found an already bustling scene outside the building with live acoustic music provided by violin and accordion duo, Bright New Futures, which mixed well with the talented live juggling by the Bellingham Circus Guild. Near the ticket table and under the huge Polecat banner there was an all-ages group happily blowing bubbles and decorating the entrance with sidewalk chalk.
After purchasing my customized ‘Polecat Fathoms CD Release 2013’ wristband for only $5, I headed into the Majestic. Immediately the merch table on the side of the room caught my attention. The display featured all three Polecat CD’s, beer koozies, stickers, signed posters, and t-shirts at discounted release party prices. Towards the back of the room there was what seemed to be the equivalent of a small county fair. I took advantage of the free face-painting provided by Fancy Face, tried my hand at the bean bag toss where I won a Polecat koozie, and had a Polaroid photo taken at the instant photo station.
In the beer garden that I found on the other side of the room, I bought a delicious Polecat Punch made with Mt. Baker Distillery Moonshine. From there I took a moment to admire the nautical decorations that tied into the album theme and also to note that there must be close to 500 people in the room.
A few minutes later, it was announced the McLaughlin Irish Dancers were beginning. They were greeted with a big round of applause and the dancers performed a lively fifteen minute set in the middle of the ballroom. It was wonderful to see a wide range of ages all enjoying the dancing and the atmosphere together. Shortly after it was time for Polecat to take over.
The band took the stage to a hoot-hollerin’ group of now 600 people. After announcing their first set would be the tracks off of the new CD, Polecat played a genre-bending, danceable 12-song meldley that showcased everything that Polecat has become known and loved for; americana, celtic, reggae, rock, country, bluegrass, and some new flavors as well.
Everyone in the audience was energetic and focused on the music, and all ages were dancing and stomping along to the tunes. Polecat made a point to thank many people including Todd Templeton and Russ Fish who provided the excellent sound and lighting for the event.
They took a well deserved set-break during which everyone headed to the merch table to purchase a copy of the CD. I stepped outside and was happily surprised to see Kurly’s Kart serving up delicious curly fries on the lawn.
Shortly after, the band emerged from the green room with various percussion instruments and being led by ex-pat trumpeter, Jonathan Gipaya. They wound their way around the dance floor and up onto the stage where they launched into their second set that brought the house down. The party continued until midnight.
Over the last three years that the band has been together, Polecat has established themselves as a family-friendly party band with the musical chops to keep every listener intrigued. Besides providing great music and a fun environment, this event catered to everyone’s needs. It brought together a wide range of show-goers by fuzing the early ‘after dinner’ music crowd and the late bar crowd, as well as allowing families, under 21’s, and the party people to enjoy the night harmoniously. All in all, this was an incredibly fun, very well attended, and well organized night that Polecat should be proud of.