Pin It
Favorite

The Hunting of Man 

by LUKE BAUMGARTEN & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & "R & lt;/span & aise your hands if you go to Whitworth," says Karli Fairbanks from Empyrean's front stage. In the main audience section, almost every hand raises, somewhat reluctantly. In the rest of the room -- a standing-room-mostly crowd that stretched, quite literally, from the windows to the wall -- about 40 percent of hands go up. That was at about 8 pm last Saturday.





We'd rolled up a half an hour earlier and been greeted from the street by this mass of bodies. The main door stood ajar, held open by the leg of some dude who was watching Olive Green, a sweet-sounding, diminutive redhead wearing a spazzy-colored J-Pop sweatshirt. The guy wasn't trying to air the joint out, he just couldn't get any farther inside the place and still see.





It took that entire half-hour to find a suitable place to stand -- we ended up weaseling our way behind the bar, posting up near the exotic teas and trying our best to stay clear of the on-duty shot-slingers -- settling in just as Fairbanks was surveying the crowd's show of hands. "I definitely don't think Empyrean's ever had this many people from Whitworth before," she mused.





Neither has any other downtown venue. Except maybe Caterina Winery.





The last time Dane Ueland played.





Ueland -- a Whitworthian and and buzz-magnet with only one show downtown under his belt -- was the main attraction here as well. The sight of this audience, though, had the more ambitious musicians in attendance (and the one onstage, it seems) looking the way pack animals regard distant prey. "So ... to get Whitworth kids out," whispered pianist and songwriter Kaylee Cole, "you have to put on a free show with other Whitworth kids playing." In a songwriter scene where two or three venues host the majority of shows, this gaggle of hip, moderately attentive strangers was fresh meat.





There's the sense in Spokane that, despite being some of the most musically engaged fans in the area, Whitworth students never leave the grounds of their University. Ueland himself told me he rarely makes it south of Francis Avenue -- no car -- much less downtown. Vi Nguyen, the campus activities coordinator responsible for maintaining and expanding the legacy of pop concerts at Whitworth that Thomas Ruble built, said about the same. Chelsea Sweetin, a junior who works at the Saranac Art Projects and thus spends about two days a week in the core, said she had tickets to last week's David Bazan show, but didn't go. "It just depends sometimes on whether I've seen someone before." She'd seen Bazan last year, at Whitworth's Huxley Union Building (the HUB). "-- and also who's going," interjected Kelly McCrillis, another junior and former Inlander intern. "It's more about being around friends than just seeing music," he said.





There's also the inverse to consider, that -- despite the HUB becoming one of Spokane's great, if sporadic, small venues -- local artists don't really get up to the Presbyterian university to play. Nguyen wants to change that. Thomas Ruble concentrated his time and his budget -- a magical $40,000 purse supplied by the associated students, with no return on investment expected -- on hosting a few touring bands. Nguyen did the same her first semester. In her second, she wants to fill out her dates, fitting more small showcases with local singers into the HUB's coffee shop space.





I made this known to every pair of hungry eyes I bumped into at Empyrean that night. There were glints of excitement, but nothing more. People were out to see Ueland, to see if he lived up to the hype. (He seemed to.) The night was about art, not business. When I got to the office on Monday, though, business was on. Blinking on my computer screen as I sat down was a Google Talk instant message. It was Kaylee Cole. She wanted to know if I had Vi Nguyen's number.
  • Pin It

Latest in Comment

  • Class Act
  • Class Act

    Seeing through money differences can build relationships focused on fairness
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Transparent Motives
  • Transparent Motives

    One candidate's an open book; the other is shrouded in secrecy. Guess which one isn't transparent enough
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • Don's Ultimate Con
  • Don's Ultimate Con

    Trail Mix: Trump's birther problems and Johnson's polls
    • Sep 22, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Wed | Thu | Fri | Sat | Sun | Mon
Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science

Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Jan. 6

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Murrow's Nightmare

    Debate moderators need to be much more than an onstage prop to make our democracy work
    • Sep 15, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

election 2016


trail mix


Briefs


green zone


marijuana


Readers also liked…

  • To Kill the Black Snake
  • To Kill the Black Snake

    Historic all-tribes protest at Standing Rock is meant to stop the destruction of the earth for all
    • Sep 8, 2016
  • Grading the Session
  • Grading the Session

    The Idaho Legislature made some wise decisions in Boise, but they still get a "C" for "crazy"
    • Apr 22, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation