Le Beat: February 2014

Well hello there dear friends, how are you? I hope yer well. All is wonderful is What’s Up! land, I’m pretty much thinking about the Seahawks 24/7 at this point. We’re going to press just before the Super Bowl and the wait is brutal! GO HAWKS!

OK, enough about football. The big to do in What’s Up! land, obviously is the 2nd Annual What’s Up! 15th Birthday celebration (thanks to Sean Meyer for coining the name last year). As of press time, we’re looking at upwards of 65-70 bands playing throughout Bellingham on March 1,with all the bands playing for free. There will be bands playing throughout the day at places like Casa Que Pasa, Avalon, Everday Music just to name a few venues. We wanted to provide a day to celebrate the awesomeness of Bellingham music and we wanted to make it free so money wasn’t an issue – if you don’t have a dime in your pocket, you can still spend the day enjoying what this town has to offer.  The schedule would be too insane to write here, so check out the ad on XXXX and go see some great local music.

Three bands will be making their show debut on March 1, which makes the event that much cooler. Apartment Kids will be playing the Redlight in the evening while City Hall (featuring Luke from The Palisades, Jake from Vervex and Casey from Soccermom) and Crow Magnet (Chris Nunn’s new band) will be playing in the afternoon at Everyday Music. Seriously, how cool is that? Buy some records, listen some bands. P.E.R.F.E.C.T.

Before I go, I’d like to thank all the bands for playing for free. Seriously. This event couldn’t be done without you.

Some amazing releases coming out of Bellingham right now – a couple of ‘em are heads above the rest. As I noted last month, Apartment Kids release Soft Gamma Repeater is unbelievable, simply unbelievable. So much depth to the sound… On March 4, Wild Throne (formerly Dog Shredder) will be releasing Blood Maker, another unbelievable record. It’s only a three song EP (you can read the full review in this issue), but it’s been on constant play at my house… What do both of these records have in common, they SOUND fantastic. I’m not talking about the songwriting, I’m talking about how the music was recorded, mastered and mixed. Bands! This is really important! I know you’re poor, but if you can find a way to have an album recorded, mastered and mixed well, I mean REALLY well, DO IT! How you sound is so important – more than you realize.

And that’s my PSA for the month.

Comings and Goings

Make.Shift is legit now! They have a great occupancy for downstairs, well over 200 with a good fifty or so getting to hang out upstairs. This is going to be HUGE for the local scene… Years ago, I remember someone telling me that the real test of a music scene is if they have an all ages venue. If there’s an all ages venue, then it’s legit. We don’t only have an all ages venue, we have two now (Bellingham Alternative Library is doing some great shows as well). Well done Bellingham. Yer rocking.

I’m a little late to the party, but Checkmate Music closed at the end of the summer. You can still find the big doctor, The Guitar Doctor, now at Make.Shift.

Rookery aren’t slowing down with the birth of Ryan Greer’s little one. They’ve added Rich Canut on guitar (a couple of years back Rich moved to the Bay area as he’s the tour manager for Beats Antique, but recently decided to head back to the ‘Ham – this town is better for it) will be doing a little recording and possibly a mini tour.  Oh hell yeah!

Vervex is calling it quits, with their final show being January 22nd. Jake is going to continue playing solo as well as in City Hall, but the band Vervex as it is right now, will be no more! Luckily, the released a great three song EP as they are closing up shop, check it out in our review section.

Glenn Hergenhahn has returned as the artistic director at Idiom Theater. He founded Idiom in 2001 and will be taking over for Sol Olmstead who has stepped down and is moving to NY. Pretty amazing  the theater has been around coming up on 13 years.

Zach Zinn has joined up with Peter Hilleary and Chris Scherer in Navigator/Communicator. Ummm… that, my friends, is a super group. Actually, I’m gonna pull out the all caps. SUPER GROUP.

In bummer news, Yellingham is no more. Those involved have moved on to different projects and different cities, so it came to a natural end. Hopefully, someone will either grab the baton and run with it or work on a new project for the all ages scene. I’ve been around for a long time, it’s always great seeing projects start up when there’s a need. That’s one of my favorite things about this town.

The Fairhaven is back! Under new ownership, they’ll be doing local music again – giving Fairhaven a much needed place for music. I know the downtown has always been a focus, but “back in the day” when I moved to town, there was Speedy O’ Tubbs in Fairhaven and I saw some of my favorite shows down there (Vic Chesnutt with literally six other people). Jeremy Hunter (Medici) is booking the bands, so give him a shout if you want to play.

Recordings

A bunch of bands are either about to head into the studio, in the middle of recording their album or releasing the goods in the spring. Here’s a brief run down: Cat Bomb is heading into the studio, Douglas Stranger is just about done recording, David Dees (Eagle Teeth) is about done record a side project, Chunky Wonder (best.name.ever) will be releasing the goods in March, Gonzo is heading into the studio in early March, Ruby Parasols just released a new recording and DVD, Br’er Rabbit will be releasing their long player on March 14 (look for a feature on them in the next issue), Candysound will also be releasing their latest, Scumeating just released an amazing record (recorded by Tim Brown who also did the Bright Weapons record), and Moongrass just released a new one. There’s more, of course… but… I like the anticipation.

Girl Guts, who have been waiting and waiting to release their latest and greatest album (a double EP which, frankly, doesn’t make any sense to me), are releasing their first demo from 2011 on cassette. It’s raw but really damn good – you can see the foundation of who the band would be. I gotta say, I love this band and Andy Beer is one of my favorite dudes in the scene. Ran into him today at work. Dude just rules.

Shows

Vacationeer (three fourths of Cat From Hue) will be playing with Winnebago on February 19, which features the fourth member of Cat. WELLLLLLLL, looks like we’re gonna have a mini Cat from Hue reunion! SWEET! I really loved that band – I remember when won a battle of the bands on campus (and I was one of the judges). I was blown away by how into the music they were. Great band, will be a great night.

The Swillery (formerly Tubbs) is hosting a Valentine’s Day Carnival Extravaganza with the proceeds going to Happy Tails Happy Homes. They’ll have a truth or dare spinning wheel, kissing booth, a Polaroid photo booth and DJing all night. Now THAT is a hell of a way to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

OR, you could watch the pop punk cover night at Make.Shift (that’s a great f’ing tradition, huh?). They’ve made it a two nighter now, so you’ve got twice the fun. If only there was a Replacement’s cover band (next year, Holl, we’re doing it!).

Like our cover? WE DO! The artist, Karie Jane will have some of her work up at the Redlight beginning at February Art Walk on the 7th. She’ll have work up along with Brittany Beug, Jessica Bonin, Rebecca Ogden and Michelle Schutte! SUHWEET!

Woohoo!

Congrats go out to Chandra Johnson who worked on the Macklemore record The Heist which one a grammy. While she doesn’t get a piece of the trophy, it’s an amazing feat… funny thing is, think there’s more grammy’s in her future.

Since Facebook fan pages are now pretty much useless, we’re going to start an email list for pertinent info. You can contact me, brent@whatsup-magazine.com if you’d like to be on that list.

Well, guess that’s about it for this month. It’s been really weird writing this le beat knowing you all won’t read it till after the Super Bowl (which is pretty much all I’ve thought about for the last two weeks). Did we win? Did we lose? I DON’T YET! Let’s hope the Hawks come out with a win.