Le Beat: February 2016

Local notes on what’s happening with musicians, events and more. Have something to share? Send your info to editor@whatsup-magazine.com.



ello fine readers/fellow community members, this is Hayden Eller with your monthly segment of Le Beat.

Before we get into it, I would like to give a huge thank you to everyone that attended the Awards Show on the 23rd. Thank you to all of the performers, presenters, Brent and Becca, The Wild Buffalo, and everyone else who made the night as fantastic as it was. And of course, congratulations to all those who were nominated, and those who got a free golden beer! As Brent says, it is all of you creative and artistic individuals that allow this community to continue to inspire emerging artists!

Stay tuned for another great party on March 18th for What’s Up!’s 18th Birthday at The Shakedown, Part 1 of the big birthday weekend! What’s Part 2? The Shakedown’s 5th birthday on March 19th!


Let’s take a moment to give a warm send off to Bruce Shaw, an instrumental member of the Bellingham music scene, who will be moving soon to Collins, CO. He’ll be playing two final shows before leaving town, taking the stage at the Honey Moon on Feb. 2 with Paedar MacMahon, and Kulshan Brewery on Feb. 3 with Broken Bow Stringband. Good luck in Colorado, Bruce!

After last month’s stage-4 lung cancer announcement, it’s a pleasure to share that Bernie Worrell has raised over $12,000 via his indiegogo campaign ($2,000 above the initial goal) to fund the release of his newest works, Retrospectives. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Worrell, he is best known for his work with both Parliament-Funkadelic (of which he was a founding member) and the Talking Heads. If you haven’t done so, please visit his indiegogo website (found by googling Bernie Worrell, Indiegogo) and take advantage of the wonderful “perks” offered to those who donate. While there is celebration over Retrospectives being funded, the Worrell’s have set up a new and much more important fundraiser at YouCaring.com/SupportBernieWorrell to help with costs for Bernie’s cancer treatment. I’m not going to go into details regarding royalties from past work, but if your natural thought is “this is Bernie Worrell, he HAS to be loaded from all the work he’s done,” you’d be very much mistaken, unfortunately. So, the money from this fundraiser is vital for Bernie’s survival – absolutely vital. Bernie is one of the all-time geniuses to walk the planet, if you’ve ever enjoyed his music, please donate.

Local experimental pop band Breaking the Spell have officially undergone a name change, now performing under the name The Living Arrows. (*cue Pokemon evolution noises) They’re currently in the market for a drummer (who can also handle singing duties) to round out their lineup, so if that’s you shoot, them a message ASAP.

Additionally, The Sky Colony has recently parted ways with banjo extraordinaire Molly and have begun performing as a drum/bass/vocals four piece.

In tour news, The Yogoman Burning Band headed out on a two-month long tour, culminating with a performance on March 8 in New Orleans for the yearly Mardi Gras festival. The word around my Facebook inbox is The Co Founder and The City Hall will be heading out on a weeklong regional tour at the end of the month as well (the full details of which will be released soon). So get back inside, binge listen to the new Serial, and check that out.

Let’s all give a warm welcome to the scene’s newest member, Judson Bay Hillman! Brian and Megan Hillman welcomed the little fella into their family on Dec. 28 at 3:34 a.m. – so he’s obviously already down to stay out late for his Dad’s next performance with Spaceband. Congratulations to the whole Hillman crew, all of us at What’s Up! are sending love!

Welcome also to Cafe Bouzingo. Located downtown, Bouzingo is a private social club focused on music and entertainment. They play host to a Tuesday Open Stage and live music on the weekends. Musicians, artists, writers, poets, dancers, lovers, free-thinkers and doers head over and show your support!

Two local bands took to the road in January, each setting out on weeklong tours. After tearing up Make.Shift’s “Punk Rock Prom” back in November, Prom King set off through southern California, before heading back through Oregon, while The Co Founder and The City Hall traced their way from Portland to Spokane. The general public can be assured that all parties involved ate their vegetables and drank plenty of water throughout their individual tour experiences.

Ibex ventured into Champion St. Studio at the end of last month to start tracking their (as of now untitled) new album – I was informed that they play “instrumental psych/prog/jazz/etc”, and after a first listen their material is reminiscent of a slightly more straightforward (and less technical) Animals as Leaders. Their previous album, Medicine Sick, is available via Bandcamp.

After a long, busy year KVWV Community Radio is about to hit the FM airwaves with its “hyper-local focus and cutting edge syndicated Pacifica programming!” As of now, they have eight local shows on air via the online streaming station, with 90 percent of their content consisting of local music. Visit KVWV.org to donate, contribute, submit your music, or get involved!

The Irish & Folk Mondays have moved to The Honey Moon. Boundary Bay announced it was ending as the Mountain Room “is just not ready to be a weekly venue” due to a lack of infrastructure and too few options for attendees. Look for the weekly event to resume in the Summer months, when shows will be moved back out to the beer garden. So for now, head to The Honey Moon, and enjoy it there!


This month’s eyeballs/earballs (no discrimination meant towards those of us with only one of either) menu is downright gripping. No funny business here, let’s get into it.

The Make.Shift will play host to a Children’s Literacy Benefit on Saturday, Feb. 6, featuring performances by Fauna Shade, The Co Founder, Chehala (ex New Lungs), and Hello I’m Sorry. Admission is $6, and the proceeds will be donated to the Washington Reading Corps at Birchwood Elementary School. Fauna Shade will be playing the Sasquatch Music Festival this coming May, and Hello I’m Sorry was just announced as a semifinalist at this year’s Sound Off competition (hosted by the EMP in Seattle).

The following weekend you can catch the annual Valentines Day Cover Show, featuring performances by (among others) Nirvana, Blink-182, and the Pixies. Who knew Mark Hoppus, Dave Grohl, and Joey Santiago all lived in Bellingham.

The Underground will play host to Strumming for Tami, a benefit for Tami Davis, on Thursday, Feb. 11. Admission is a $5 suggested donation. Performances include a handful of talented local artists (Jasmine Greene, Sam Chue, Tom Sandblum, and members of Hot Damn Scandal) as well as a silent auction. The night’s proceeds will be donated to the Davis family to assist with medical costs after Tami’s recent brain aneurysm.

In the visual arts department, you can catch The Nature of Form and Color Moved with Sound, at the Hatch 2.0 Space (221 Prospect Street) on Friday, Feb. 5. Held from 7-9 p.m., the event will highlight the works of Sculptor Denise Snyder and painter Mary Jo Maute, with an art/music improve performance by Steve Jones, designed to bring viewers into the creative process. Open House (A Living Room Art Gallery) will host the works of Ashley Olason (Feb. 10-19) and Quinton Maldonado (Feb. 24 – March 4). I had the opportunity to check out some of Maldonado’s works at a gallery in the Viking Union at Western, and it’s pretty thought provoking/inspiring. Make sure to check out both of these talented young visual artists!

On the 5th (Friday) Rabbit Wilde and Warren G. Hardings take their insatiable barnstopping on stage at the Wild Buffalo, while A Collection of Cyclops Skulls, Downers Grove, House of Blue Leaves and Kosmo will be playing an all-ages show at the Karate Church.

The Shakedown will host SUMAC, Endon, Black Spirituals on the 18th (Thursday) and Willdabeast will take over Café Bouzingo on the 20th (Saturday), bringing the hair and the funk.


We have a few upcoming releases to look forward to this month.

Beloved locals Rabbit Wilde will release their new collection of songs (The Heartland) on the 19th, a month before their inclusion in this year’s SXSW Festival (Austin, TX). Congratulations to all four of you crazy Rabbits!

In other news, Miranda from Rabbit Wilde will be joining the Seattle Rock Orchestra and Whatcom Symphony Orchestra on Feb. 13 at the Mount Baker Theatre to sing some Motown. Last time she played with the SRO, it was a HUGE success. For more details, see mountbakertheatre.com/.

After the release of his new single “Clay” (featuring Marina Price) back in November, Manatee Commune’s new record is set to be released Feb. 26!

To the delight of many, Polecat has announced the release date for their new record, Into The Wind. The album will be out March 11, with a release party and show taking place at The Wild Buffalo that night. The band will then hit the road with the Yonder Mountain String Band. A full list of tour dates are available via the almighty Facebook.

In addition to local “producer, DJ, rapper, videographer, graphic designer, IPA drinker, terrible tattoo giver, burrito lover, and all around nice guy,” #Raccune will be releasing his new album (Verandah) on the 12th, with a release show taking place at The Shakedown that night. We’ve been promised that it is “the biggest and best album” he’s ever created, so make sure to mark your calendars.

Red//Giant recently finished tracking drums and guitar, so be on the lookout for their new group of songs (entitled G O D H E A D) in the coming weeks and months.

Local musician Jenni Potts is back in town and will be releasing new music in May. Potts’ most recent release, Nite Gown, was listed on Sharlese Metcalf’s (KEXP) top 25 of the year.

Staying on the topic of future releases, there have been rumblings that Rookery and Dryland are heading into the studio some time soon (both with a new album in the works). So draw the blinds, get into recluse-mode, and keep your eyes glued to Facebook.

Hidden deep within the internet-machine Ryan Torgeson released his new EP, called the Rainier EP. Tagged as ambient, bedroom, psychedelic-pop, the songs are reminiscent of an (even more) lo-fi Mac Demarco. The EP is well worth a download/listen – check it out on Bandcamp and support a young local kid with a ton of potential.

Cicatrix, the new solo project of Bellingham local Bram Briskorn, released their debut EP. The three songs included on I Heal were written and recorded by Briskorn (who performed all the instrumentation) himself. The EP is a bit rough at points, but overall it shows Briskorn’s potential as a songwriter and is a solid foundation for the project to continue moving forward.

After winning over the audience of this year’s Halloween Spooky Cover Show, Distance Runner released their debut EP Sweats. Unfortunately, 0 percent of the three included songs are “Deja Entendu” covers. But, they’d all be great inclusions on future mixtapes sent to Jude Law. About your semester abroad. Or that time you drank Soco Amaretto Lime’s.

Dog Mountain was hard at work this January, releasing a new live album (recordings of this year’s Make.Shift block party) called Dunkaroo! as well as filming one of this month’s Bellingham Soundcheck sessions (Guillotine Eyes graced the film for the second session). Word around the water cooler is that they’re going through a few lineup changes, but are looking to put out a new EP in 2016, possibly as early as March.

Crooked Neighbors has made a track from their upcoming album available via Bandcamp, entitled “New Year.” The track is available for $1, with all of the revenue used to fund the band’s upcoming release.

The Spider Ferns (Kelly and Alton Fleek) and The Dissonics both graced us with new releases. Soon Enough is available now via thespiderferns.com ($9.99) and Evolver is available via The Dissonics’ Bandcamp page ($9).

Soft Sleep has officially finished tracking for their debut LP at The Hall of Justice recording studio down in Seattle. The band has yet to announce when the new material will be released, but keep an eye on their Facebook page for any future news/updates.


This month’s recommendation is the electronic releases of Fairhaven student Michael Erickson, who goes by WMD. I have to admit this was stolen directly from Wes Gonzalez (New Lungs, Chehala), but WMD’s catalogue is pretty impressive, and slightly reminiscent of a jetlagged-Odesza.


There it is! You read the whole thing! Participation medals all around!

Birdperson lives.

–Hayden Eller