Le Beat: February 2015

Hey Bellingham! Raleigh Davis here again for that special time of the month, Le Beat! This month is absolutely packed with more awesome shows and events than you can shake a stick at. Let’s dive right in and explore all the happenings.


I Will Fight With Lions are going to begin working on a release at the end of the month. The instrumental post-rockers will begin recording a five-song EP with Paul Turpin at Champion St. Sound. The band has been working on the collection of songs for over a year and are hoping to produce something that fits into the vein of greats like Explosions in The Sky and Godspeed! You Black Emperor. The band says to be on the lookout for news of potential guest stars on the album as well. It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of instrumental bands and I for one am looking forward to hearing the emotional rock roller-coaster that the dudes will undoubtedly provide.

Folk rock fans, we have new music incoming! The Sky Colony will be releasing their debut album In A Dream on Feb. 7. The self-proclaimed players of “dream folk” recorded their album at a Catholic church turned studio on a 24-track analog reel to reel tape machine by Nicholas Wilbur at Unknown Studio in Anacortes. You can pick up a copy of the album and see the band play in the flesh at their CD release show at The Green Frog on the 7th with openers Wren. With promises of harps, choirs and harmonies galore it sounds like it’s shaping up to be an ambitious album that should be on your list of albums to check out!



A moment of silence may be necessary because some truly sad announcements have been made and it seems that we may be be losing some great and talented Bellingham bands. The Gypsters recently announced on facebook that after three years of playing together they’ve decided to hang up their coats and call it quits. Even though it’s a major bummer there does seem to be a bit of a silver lining… its members will still be active in the music scene. You can catch bassist Colleen in Panda Panda Panda who have been tearing up the stage at shows around town. As for Ian, Joel and Paddy, you will be able to catch them at a venue near you soon with their newly formed project Actionesse. Goodbye, Gypsters. Your toe-tapping brand of gypsy rock insanity will be sorely missed!

As if that wasn’t too much for the heart to bear word is that Noise Toys are riding off into the sunset as well. The band’s bassist Joseph Vacca will not be continuing on with the noise boys and since the band prides themselves on their collaborative musical chemistry they have decided it’s best not to continue under the Noise Toys banner. They will not be leaving without saying goodbye though. The band will be playing their final show Feb. 7 at house show proprietors Loudhouse with bands Lakefight and Fruit Juice. The band is also going to release a final collection of recorded music tentatively titled Common Ground (release date TBA). This one stings quite a bit and there is going to be a big Noise Toys’ sized hole in scene, but keep your eyes peeled because I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve seen of their creative musical minds.


Speaking of Noise Toys news, have you checked out their Bellingham Soundcheck from last month? The guys totally shred their practice space band lair with 15 minutes of pure rock n’ roll bliss. Do yourself a favor and watch it… then watch it again. For February we are going to have the talented guys in New Lungs shaking their booties in the newly feng shui’d and mood lit Fairhaven Recording Studio. Keep your ears to the ground because that little gem should be dropping soon.

It wouldn’t be a new month in Bellingham without something awesome happening at Make.Shift. The all-ages space recently announced their first annual Bellingham Music Gear Swap on Feb. 22. This looks to be an awesome time to mingle with and get to know fellow Bellingham musicians and swap for some awesome gear in the process. There will be swapping tables, people to have endless gear talks with, fun-time beverages, gear testing station and a raffle with items donated from various businesses. One person’s pedal that never sees the light of day may be another person’s treasure and you could swap for the gear of your dreams! I think this is an unbelievably great idea and hope this event takes off.

The Idiom Theater recently announced a slew of new late night productions. The offerings include an Idiom improv lab (Feb. 14), a Jazz Jam and Poetry Slam (Feb. 27), a Bellingham Talent Show and raffle (Feb. 28), and “A neo-futurist variety show on speed” entitled Animals Don’t Pose For Pictures (Feb. 20-21). All tickets are $5 in advance and $7 at the door, surf your way to the Idiom’s website for more details.



The City Hall gang will be playing a free all-ages show at WWU’s Underground Coffee House on Feb. 11. The band will be sharing the stage with Seattle’s talented laid back folk-rock powerhouse Silver Torches. Come grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy some grade-A tunes.

N7E and The Shakedown have done it again! They’ve carefully curated another night of impeccable punk-rock talent. On Thursday, Feb. 19 Reagan Youth, 13 Scars, The Basque Rats, and Alcojuana will share the Shakedown stage for what is almost assuredly going to be a beer-soaked night of good times and rowdy music. Tickets are $12, music starts at 9:30 p.m. and the event is 21+.

Wild Rabbit (formerly Br’er Rabbit) are making their awaited return to The Green Frog Saturday, Feb. 21. You’ll have not one but two chances to see the Rabbits stomp out their signature tunes with an all-ages performance at 5 p.m. with The Blackberry Bushes Stringband and another for the late-night crowd starting at 9 p.m. Wild Rabbit are enlisting the help of Renegade Stringband who will be opening up the show. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door.

February means Valentines Day is right around the corner and I think we all know what that means… The annual Valentines Day Cover Show at Make.Shift. The event is in its fifth year now and is going stronger than ever! The shindig started out as a pop punk cover show but over the years it has mutated into basically covering whatever your favorite band was in high school. Come watch your favorite local musicians playing music that they would probably be ashamed of now if the nostalgia didn’t feel so damn good. The show is taking place over two nights on Feb. 13-14 and music will be blasting off at 7 p.m. each evening.

Later in the month, Make.Shift is hosting one of the heaviest/shreddiest shows of the month to support a good cause in the form of a fundraiser for the Bellingham Food Bank. The Feb. 27 bill is stacked with some awesome local talent featuring Croak, Rookie Town, Dad Jazz, and Minor Plains (featuring yours truly). As always the show is all-ages, bring $5-10 and some food to donate at the door. Doors open at 8pm with music starting around 8:15. What can be better than riffing for a cause?!



A memorial concert and celebration of the life of Raymond J. Downey will be held on Saturday, Feb. 7, 4 p.m. at the Broadway Hall, 1300 Broadway. He was a consummate musician, a dedicated music teacher, and an award-winning composer. Ray played professionally in back up orchestras for famous performers and as well as in numerous local groups, such as Eddie and the Atlantics, The Saltwater Octet, and Saxquatch Saxophone Quartet. Ray was principal clarinetist with the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra from 1989 to 2011. For 32 years, Ray taught numerous children and adults in his music studio. Musicians that learned and performed with Ray are encouraged to attend and play a tribute piece in his honor.


As always there are a plethora of happenings so start flipping through your trusty copy of What’s Up!, get educated and go out and support our wonderful scene. See you next month for What’s Up!’s 17th birthday/200th issue.

–Raleigh Davis