Le Beat: June 2017

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

Well, hello there ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the June issue of le beat. Summer is finally here, at least on the day I write this, as it’s early and already damn warm. I hope you all are making the most of it. I’m working over the weekend… for the 20th time Memorial Day. Which is nuts.

Not much happening in the What’s Up! world, other than producing papers and forgetting to drop off shirts at Unknown and The Comics Place (owned by Django Bohren #15monthsofdjango #famous), so I’ll get right to what’s happening with the music scene.



Jeff Kastelic, Stewart Hodge and Maclean Sather have joined metal forces for Lifeless Form, making their debut at The Shakedown last month. Jeff is also an amazing artist working with animal bones and was featured as part of their set. I wasn’t there, but saw pics and it was incredibly creepy and dark looking – just perfect. Look for a demo out soon.

John Van Deusen (ex-Lonely Forest, now solo) is in an Anacortes punk rock band called Buffet. There are so many parts of that sentence that I like… especially because the music rules.

Crooked Neighbors are back in the fold, which means Miguel Ortiz will stop crying himself to sleep. Seriously, I love Miguel and the band, glad he’s going to be on stage again. Town is better when Miguel is performing.

Lahar Zone Refugees, which includes Mandy Cramer, Dylan Hermansen, Ben Watson, Josh Veach and Brent Storms spent much of the winter in the studio with Mike Cloud up in Glacier (a perfect place to make music). Look for the album at the end of June/July on Spotify and, hopefully, other online avenues. I love this band name and love that the album was made during one of the most epic winters in Glacier… with some very cool musicians. Expect this to be damn good.



Kuinka (formerly Br’ier Rabbit, Rabbit Wild, Wild Rabbit), who are still local thanks to Jillian Walker staying in the area, are releasing a new EP titled Staying Up Late at the beginning of the month, then heading down the West Coast the first part of June. They were also part of NPR’s Tiny Desk Tour in May, which is cool!

Chrispy Stift, a long-time local, is out with a new album. If you’re old school, you’ll know some of the names who helped him out, including Gino Scarpino (holy wowza I’m glad I got to mention him in le beat), Christopher Woitach (my old guitar teacher), Dylan Reick and many others. You can pick it up at your local record store, at shows or on CD Baby/iTunes, etc. Give it a listen!

Babe Waves will be celebrating the release of a new EP on June 10 at The Alternative Library. Not much else to say, really – it’s awesome, they’re awesome, you should go.

Hello, I’m Sorry (featured in this month’s mag) is releasing a new album on June 30 with the release showing being held at Mosh Eisley. This is a criminally under appreciated band (even though they won the What’s Up! Best Pop award this year), hopefully this gets more and more folks knowing about them.

Finnegan Hopper has released a new album, which is available on bandcamp. Apparently, I mentioned Finn in these very pages 10 years ago before a set at the Jamboree – glad I get to talk about him again. He’s a great songwriter and I hope to see his name in these pages a lot more over the next year or two.

It wouldn’t be le beat without mentioning The Co Founder (#alsofamous), who recently spent hours and hours and hours demoing their new album. No word on when it’ll be released, but it’s in the works, as is another The Co Founder tour. I’ve said it for years, touring makes the band and Hayden, Jake and Luke’s musical growth is a perfect example. Stoked for the new goods.



Tyson Ballew’s Tummy Fest is back this month at the end of June at Make.Shift. Bands range from locals Girl Teeth and No Guts to Seattle’s Cumulus and Dead Bars. Tons of great music on June 30 and July 1 at Make.Shift – two days, two stages, 20 bands, all ages.

Speaking of Make.Shift,, their radio station, KZAX (94.9 fm) is hosting their grand opening on June 3 at 6 p.m.! Bands include Cat Valley, Sir Coyler and His Asthmatic Band, Mhostly Ghostly, Step Dads, Nodalus and SouthLvnder (plus lots of other fun stuff). Go check out what’s happening down there and support local!

Paedar MacMahon and his husband Bradley Leckron will be heading to Ireland in July, performing The Legacy of Percy French for the locals. His last tour through the homeland was a huge success, I’m excited these two get to head back again!

Greene’s Corner on James Street is doing an Open Mic of sorts. Details are still being worked out, but check in with owner Lance Bailey for more details.

Summer’s End will be announcing their line up (or have announced it, depending on when you read the paper). The event is being moved from Larabee to Maritime Heritage Park in town and now includes some help from the city. Last year’s line up was pretty amazing, so watch for an even bigger event this year (hopefully, Cosmos will play again!)

Farmstrong Brewery in Mt. Vernon is hosting comedy nights the third Sunday of each month. They’ve been getting good crowds and, more importantly, talented local comedians, so check it out if you are in the neighborhood.



If you want a good laugh, check out Bellingham Music Meme on Facebook. Brutal, just brutal.

Saw a little video of Manatee Commune’s set at Sasquatch… He might live in town, but Grant’s music resides in the world. Holy hell he’s amazing.

The LEGENDARY Scot Casey will be moving at the beginning of August and I’m not happy about that (aka, not stoked). Scot’s one of those characters in town who makes things better by being here. I wish him all the best and safe travels; he will be very much missed!

KMRE has a cool show on Thursday nights at 10 called Off-The-Beat with Mike Gianunzio. Mike is looking to include local bands and their stories, so if you’d like to connect with him, shoot the station a message.

Good Deed Seats did an article on the top 50 college music scenes in the US and Bellingham was on the list. Was a nice little write up by someone who seemed to get the town. Thanks to Kelly for sending it.

That’s about it for this month. Hugs and kisses.




Last month, Bellingham musician Josh Spiegel passed away suddenly. Josh performed with The Austerman File and Snug Harbor, and you may have seen him busking while wearing a Darth Vader outfit playing the Star Wars score on the accordian.

Through Matt Ambrose, The Austerman File wanted to pay tribute to their bandmate and friend: “Josh Spiegel was one of those people that you remember from the first meeting – a bright and shining light in this world. His energy and joy was striking and infectious, and his love of music was infused into everything he did. Josh could make anything with black and white keys sing with his voice–piano, synth, Hammond organ, melodica, Rhodes, and his first love, the accordian. He knew so much about so many kinds of music, and music theory, that those of us lucky enough to get to collaborate with him in the musical plane had our horizons broadened and are all better musicians because of him. Even with so much technical knowledge, Josh had an uncanny ability to distill the melodies from the ether….the simplest things that are usually the most difficult for most musicians were second nature to him. His presence in the musical community of Bellingham was impactful, and his absence will be just as tangible…. he will be missed.”

RIP, Josh. Our thoughts, prayers, wishes and love go out to his friends and family.