2015 Fisherman’s Village Music Festival
Location: Everett, Washington
Dates: May 15-17, 2015
Some may say that the unofficial start of summer is Memorial Day weekend. I beg to differ on that. I think it started last weekend (May 15 – 17) with the Fisherman’s Village Music Festival in Downtown Everett, Washington.
With an eclectic mix of music from homegrown musicians and bands from the Pacific Northwest, the Everett Music Initiative has been working for several years on building a music scene in Everett. This year’s festival featured some fantastic bands that provided an excellent opportunity to hear some new music and meet some fantastic folks.
My weekend started off with Seattle’s Mama Rags performing at The Cannery. Looking like rockers from the glam 1970’s, this band knows how to rock! I’ve now seen them a couple times, and every time out I become more and more impressed. I then walked over to Tony V’s Garage (the former Jimmy Z’s back in the day) to listen to a band I hadn’t seen before, Loser Boyfriend. This three piece from Portland was tight, energetic and fun. Then it was back to The Cannery for Hot! Donna from Lake Stevens. These locals have been playing together since 2009 and put in a wild and powerful set. It was also great to see that they have a nice following which packed the venue. Up next was Tango Alpha Tango from Portland. This band has become a favorite for me to catch. Lead singer and guitarist Nathan Trueb is, simply put, one hell of a guitar player. The guy can play! Rounded out with fellow band mates Mirabai Carter-Trueb on bass guitar, Joey Harmon on drums and Daniel Jones on keyboards/guitar, Tango Alpha Tango takes you on a wild rock and roll ride. Currently the band has been debuting some new material for an upcoming album that sounds fantastic.
The real nice thing about this festival is that it’s a place where new talent can be discovered; bands just starting out having an opportunity to put their music out into the world. This was the case for the first two bands I went to see on Saturday. Crystal Deserts and Crater Lakes, respectively both from Everett, kicked off the day kickin’ out some solid sounds. Never hearing either band before, you never know what to expect, but if these two bands keep doing what they’re doing, both are going to develop quite the following. I was then off to the main stage at the Historic Everett Theatre. Upon entering the venue, the singing of Maiah Manser was front and center. She has a stage presence that demands attention. Her vocals are airy and spacious, kind of like Julee Cruise (from David Lynch’s Twin Peaks), a floating sound that fills the room. The band up next was Ravenna Woods. Now it had been some time since I had seen them, way back when the Everett Music Initiative was getting off the ground, hosting shows at The Anchor Tavern. With a different lineup since that first time, this band performed an awesome set of driven and upbeat tunes. Next up was Cataldo, a band I had heard about but had never seen before. Lead by Eric Anderson, this band played a solid set of original tunes that brought in more and more folks into the Historic Everett Theatre. But now it was time to move onto the next venue…
At The Cannery, the legions of Rocktographers from the region gathered to take in Prom Queen. This trio performs classic surf twang that gets you hot and bothered, filling the venue to capacity. In a bright pink dress and electric guitar, front woman Celene Queeno Ramadan exudes sexiness before a single note is played. And with the first tune, Prom Queen thrilled the crowd with their cool style and playfulness. Having not seen them before, but hearing a lot of buzz about this band, Prom Queen was certainly one of the highlights of the festival thus far.
To close out my Saturday evening I headed back to the Historic Everett Theatre to catch SISTERS and Deep Sea Diver. SISTERS are a duo that performs some of the best power pop by multi-instrumentalists Andrew Vait and Emily Westman. Last year, SISTERS debuted at the Fisherman’s Village Music Festival and its been a steady climb ever since. So much so that after this year’s Fisherman, they will be performing at the Sasquatch Festival at the Gorge. Both these musicians have so much talent and hearing them play is just so enjoyable. Deep Sea Diver is also another band that is generating a lot of interest with a solid sound since 2007. I first caught Deep Sea Diver a few years ago at the Treefort Music Fest in Boise and instantly loved them. Fronted by Jessica Dobson on guitar and vocals, this band rocks with the best of them. What a way to end an evening and day two of this fun and entertaining festival.
My day three was going to be confined to the Historic Everett Theatre as I found that most everyone booked to play the venue were going to be better and better as the day went on and I didn’t want to miss any of it. Starting off was MTS. + Tunnels whose jam band sensibilities were perfect for the day. Folks were dancing right from the start and it didn’t stop. Next up was Spokane’s Cathedral Pearls who floating atmospheric sounds filled the room, a very good band whose music I’ll look forward to hearing more of.
The next band was Everett’s own Preacher’s Wife, a band that is gaining some attention with their acoustic folk tinged rock. Each time I see them, their music is growing and becoming more refined. This is one of those bands that are about to break out and worth catching. After a brief dinner break, I came back into the theatre to my “surprise” musician of the festival, Brent Coles. Alone on the stage with just his guitar in hand, singing to a lite crowd, Mr. Coles reached deep into the soul, singing gut wrenching songs that carried you on a journey. I would best describe his vocal style as that of a southern troubadour from the backwoods. I really enjoyed his performance and can’t wait to hear more from him in the future.
The rest of the evening was just beginning. The sister vocal group JOSEPH hit the stage with their remarkable harmonies. Performing for the second year in a row, Joseph has mastered their sound and is about break through on the national scene. The next two bands were well-seasoned bands that showcased their 80’s pop sensibilities. Indie synth band Barcelona played in the style reminiscent to the Pet Shop Boys with guitar, drums and synth. From Portland, the Wild Ones hit the stage with an indie pop sound that was very melodic and entertaining.
To close out the festival was the one and only Jason Webley. A singer, songwriter and troubadour, Jason Webley is a unique performer. This gentleman has traveled the world with his guitar and accordion, singing songs that take you on an adventure. With his reformed band, Jason interacted with the audience, asking for participation throughout. There were moments of sheer joy as everyone danced and yelled for more. Simply put, there really isn’t anything like a Jason Webley performance.
The one thing that stood out over the course of the weekend was the broad mix of music by some of the finest emerging artists, musicians and bands in the Northwest. It is so exciting to see that we have such a vibrant music scene to draw from. Well-done Everett Music Initiative and I can’t wait for the 2016 Fisherman’s Village Music Festival next year.
Check out more great concert photos at Peter Dervin’s Website HERE