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Elkfest 2011 

Crickets of Cascadia take the stage this weekend. Plus, shows from Strength, Shim, Old Bear Mountain and more.

click to enlarge Crickets of Cascadia performing at Zola in May. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Crickets of Cascadia performing at Zola in May.

Sometimes, there’s a point when music stops being fun — for the performers, for the audience, sometimes both. But the four men who make up local band Crickets of Cascadia are aware of the dangers that lurk in indie music.

“There are so many indie rock bands out there that are … I dunno, too serious,” says Andy Millward, who plays keys, guitar and synthesizer in the band.

“Like they take it so serious as an art form that they think if anyone is willing to dance for it, it’s not going to be taken seriously,” adds drummer Sean Burgett.

Crickets of Cascadia boast strong musical chops. They write songs with multi-part vocal harmonies and solid instrumen- tation that fits each player’s talents. And Millward’s electronics make everything danceable. And that’s what seems to make it honest. The four members of the band can’t help but move on-stage, and that seems to infect their audiences, too.

“[Our] true emotion plays off really well with people who are in the crowd, and they’ll be like ‘These guys are having fun, I’m not worried about looking dumb in front of my friends, I’m going to go dance,’” says lead singer and guitarist Mark Tarbutton. While the Crickets of Cascadia have

honed in on a dance vibe, they don’t solely focus on it. It’s just one element in a sound comprised of borrowed little bits from other genres: folky vocal harmonies, driving rock beats and indie rock sincerity.

That all sounds like a strange mashup, but the Crickets make it work. (Tiffany Harms)

The Crickets of Cascadia perform at Elkfest on Sat, June 4 at 2 pm


If you’re going to Elkfest, you’re going to want to make sure you catch some of these other touring bands that are hitting the Browne’s Addition stage. Here are our picks for the ones you won’t want to miss.

Strength

Portland’s Strength melds smooth ’80s electro with disco to make something that’s cocky and lewd but never takes itself seriously or tries too hard. The band is arguably as musically talented as (if not more than) their more famous contemporaries (Ghostland Observatory). They know the music they make and the music they’re making fun of, and they’re gunning to be Spokane’s favorite band. Strength plays on Saturday at 8:30pm

Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside

You know you’re listening to the work of a great record collector when the moment the music kicks in, you feel like you just dropped the needle on a 78. Sallie Ford’s got some major talent — her voice has the excited tone of Billie Holiday, and her backing band faithfully recreates all of the qualities of big beat music (including the fun that it can be), making them slightly more modern while still keeping a conservative ear. Be sure to check out our review of her new record, Dirty Radio, in this week’s music section. Sallie Ford plays on Sunday at 8:30 pm.

SHIM

Seattle’s SHIM walks the tightrope between mid-’90s stoner rock and something more classic. Their debut record sounds like a collision of Queens of the Stone Age, Toadies, AC/DC and even early Zeppelin. That all makes for a sleazy-sounding stoner-rock groove, with the kind of cocky attitude you’d expect from people who’ve been making this kind of music for decades. Thing is, SHIM has definitely not been doing this for decades. That’s part of what makes them so enjoyable to watch. Shim plays on Friday at 9 pm.

Old Bear Mountain

The bluegrass-twinged folk music of Old Bear Mountain has a few tricks up its sleeve, as their effortlesssounding backyard bluegrass almost disguises shining pop hooks. This isn’t grandpa’s old bluegrass band. The members are surprisingly young, adding an innocent and exploratory quality to the music. Old Bear Mountain plays Sunday at 2 pm.

Elkfest • Fri, June 3, from 4:30-9 pm; Sat, June 4, from 12:30-8:30 pm; Sun, June 5 from 2-8:30 pm •The Elk Public House • 1931 W. Pacific Ave. • Free • All-ages

FRI, JUNE 3

4:30 pm The Camaros

6 pm Folk Inception

7:30 pm Blood Hot Beat

9 pm Shim

SAT, JUNE 4

12:30 pm Mon Cheri

2 pm Crickets of Cascadia

3:30 pm The Sassmatrons

5 pm The Flying Spiders

6:30 pm Real Life Rockaz

7:45 pm DJ Stone Tobey

8:30 pm Strength

SUN, JUNE 5

2 pm Old Bear Mountain

3:30 pm La Cha Cha

5 pm Whiskey Dick Mountain

7 pm Bully (members of Dirty Sweet)

8:30 pm Sallie Ford and The Sound Outside


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