By Matt Crowley/The AS Review
This year, the Associated Students Productions Underground Coffeehouse will be putting on a series of free shows via the Underground Coffeehouse Concert Series. These live performances will be taking place Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the school year, usually starting at 8 p.m.
The concert series is coordinated by Nick Duncan and Lora Mednick, who also put on open mic nights at the Coffeehouse every Tuesday at 7 p.m. All shows are free.
“Our goal is to represent the student body with the music we bring to the Coffeehouse,” said Mednick.
Shows at the Coffeehouse are not just for students, either.
“It’s unique because community members can come too. We try to represent the surrounding communities as well as the school,” she said.
Duncan and Mednick usually contact the bands first, although sometimes bands will contact them. They also send out booking e-mails based on what is going on in the Bellingham music scene. Connections between bands play a large role as well.
“It’s all connected by friends and friends of friends,” said Mednick.
The Coffeehouse lists their upcoming shows in both The AS Review and What’s Up Magazine, a local music publication.
At 8 p.m. on Oct. 28, Jim Page will be coming to the Underground Coffeehouse. The show will be opened by Duncan. Page, who has been on the music scene for more than 20 years, was born and raised in California but has called Seattle home since 1983.
“He’s popular with the greater Bellingham community, specifically older members. We really wanted to bring in the older fans,” said Mednick.
Page’s music, mainly acoustic folk, is politically driven; many have compared him to the likes of Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie. While the trend of biting social commentary in music may have reached a peak in the ’60s and ’70s, Page keeps its spirit alive today with songs like “Columbus” to the more lighthearted satire of “Gays in the Military.” Page is also known for his ability to improvise lyrics on the spot, a talent he developed while singing on the streets in the ’70s.
Musically, Page ranges from simple, acoustic-driven tunes to layered, complex songs. In “You’re Naked Underneath Your Clothes,” for example, Page meshes a scratchy guitar rhythm and groaning bass line with a violin melody that ebbs and flows throughout the song.
Page has shared the stage with many high-profile artists, such as Bonnie Raitt, Emmylou Harris and Mickey Hart. Additionally, his songs have been covered by the likes of Christy Moore, the Doobie Brothers, Casey Neill and more.
Also coming to the Underground Coffeehouse next week is Skinny Whiskers, formally About Sprout, who will be performing at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30. Skinny Whiskers is spearheaded by Trevor Spencer, who has roots in the Bellingham area.
“They are semilocal and know the area, and we thought the energy level would fit well with the Halloween dance that is taking place later that night,” said Mednick.
Skinny Whiskers describes their music as pop, but its difficult to fit their music into any specific genre. Songs can go from a folksy solo number, such as “Here and Forever,” to reverb-laden songs like “OH-OH.” In “Golden Sunlight,” offbeat guitar-picking and tambourine open up to droning vocal harmonies and a driving drum beat that dominates the song.
Spencer is also a member of Addition, another local band that has gained popularity since forming in early 2008. Spencer runs his own record label as well, Avocado Family Records, under which Skinny Whiskers recently released their debut album, “your days are long,” which is available for free by either contacting the band or attending one of their shows.