It's safe to say that the Fourth of July festivities at Coeur d'Alene beach have become more of a MTV Spring Break-type event. Judging from the apparel, or lack of it, next year's might be totally nude. But if it's hot out, what can you do?
The atmosphere was festive, with people everywhere. Kids playing in the water, ballers hoopin' it up on the courts and live music in the band shell. Most of the day featured middle-of-the-road cover bands designed to get people into the swing and not much else. It's tough to get into bands like that if you're not 40+. As I waited for something to happen, I rolled around the waterfront and took in some scenery. On my jaunt, I ran into some kids banging on overturned five-gallon buckets -- not just banging, but rocking out on these things. They were getting after it Drum Line-style. The teens tipped, tapped, conked and bonked mad rhythms as onlookers stopped and watched with intrigue.
I had to ask what they were doing, but I couldn't get a word in edgewise. At one point, a random skater walked up and asked the guys to play on his skateboard. Without skipping a beat, the young beat masters obliged. I finally found someone to tell me what was up. That somebody was Mary Jane Bennett. She informed me that the boys, Robbie and Davey French, were part of a youth performance group called Levity. The group includes jugglers, drummers and some actors. "It's a pretty avant-garde art form," said Bennett. "It's not what you used to see on Ed Sullivan." The group was out on the Fourth to raise money for an annual trip to Reno for a week of workshops and performances. The group will also be performing in North Idaho later on during the summer.
I was pretty spent after enduring the beach for most of the day but decided to give the last band to perform a chance. I didn't know anything about them other than their name: Rushlow. These fashion-savvy contemporary rockers cranked up the crowd with fine-tuned songs and an engaging stage performance. As I listened, I discovered the band was actually an up-and-coming country act that was in town compliments of Cat Country 94. As much as I'm not in to country music, this band really had its act together. Fronted by former Little Texas vocalist Tim Rushlow, this group of hip young country boys lit up the stage and had the crowd eating out of their hands. They even invited anybody who could get down there to go to Jamaica with them. After their impressive set, the band signed numerous autographs on real press photos (not cheap Xeroxes) that they provided.
Oh, yeah, the fireworks were stunning, as usual. Too bad they didn't last anywhere near as long as the two hours it took me afterwards to drive from North Idaho College to I-90.