Matt Crowley/The AS Review
What goes better with sunny Northwest weather than sunny Northwest pop? This week the Underground Coffeehouse Concert Series will bring Northwest acts Plant Party, Dave Wheeler, The Sweet Dominiques and Kristi Nelson as the series coordinators prepare to wrap up for the year.
On Wednesday, May 19, local band Plant Party will play the Coffeehouse. Singer-songwriter Dave Wheeler will open.
Plant Party is the folk-rock project of last year’s Underground Coffeehouse Assistant Coordinator Adam Bates. Bates graduated last year. He currently plays in Plant Party as well as Chico and the Headband, a project he shares with fellow Bellingham resident Rob Stauffer of The Love Lights.
“We’ve had last year’s head coordinator, Alex, play here before, and Adam is still very much involved in the local scene so we wanted to have him play,” Coffeehouse Assistant Coordinator Lora Mednick said. “I know they’ve been doing their thing for a while. … I’m excited for them to come because we love having music from Bellingham.”
Mednick added that for their last quarter, she and Underground Coffeehouse Coordinator Nick Duncan wanted to bring as many local bands into the venue as possible.
“We wanted this quarter to stress local involvement,” she said.
At 8 p.m. on Friday, May 21, Seattle up-and-comers The Sweet Dominiques will headline a show opened by Bellingham-based artist Kristi Nelson.
The Sweet Dominiques began in early 2007 but haven’t always held the sweet-as-sugar indie pop sound they do today. The duo of Joe Sneva and Tony Gonzalez has been down several musical roads on their journey, but once they found a winner, they didn’t look back. While characteristics of their past have certainly bled into their songs, especially evident in the twangy alt-country stylings of “Appaloosa” and “Sandra Pray For Me,” Sneva and Gonzalez have created an accessible and inviting sound.
Part of what makes The Sweet Dominiques’ sound so appealing is the obvious care taken not only in their musical composition, but in their production. The heart and soul of Sneva and Gonzalez’s music comes not from the instruments they use or the way they use them, but in the grueling studio work that follows every recording session. Every turn of the knob or push of a fader is evident in their recordings, from the reverb-soaked “Stephanie #2” to the dense soundscape of “The Same Fears.”
The duo is currently working on releasing an EP while touring around the Pacific Northwest.
Opening for them will be local musician Kristi Nelson. Originally from Southern California, Nelson began playing piano as a child and has harbored a love for music her entire life. The flexibility shown in her recordings is impressive, especially for a young artist.
The flexibility is certainly palpable in “Mr. Right,” a sultry, bass-driven song that showcases not only Nelson’s creativity but vocal range as well. The song is constantly adapting, jumping back and forth between tempos and instruments, allowing Nelson to lead the song in multiple directions.
Nelson is currently working on her second full-length album and will be playing a handful of local venues, including Boundary Bay and Chuckanut Brewery, during the rest of May. She can also be seen playing with Timmy Sunshine and The Conductors, who plan to take their folk outfit across the West Coast this summer.
Stay tuned for the final two weeks of Underground Coffeehouse shows, including Seattle sentimental rockers Tomten, as well as the last edition of my Go Underground!
As always, the shows are free and open to the public.