What's Dis?

by Mike Corrigan

A stellar lineup of local talent for one low, low price -- that's what Disfest is all about. Count 'em up: eight young and hungry local bands and one provocative outlander (yep, nine in all) conspire to shake the mid-winter crud from our bleary noggins, all for a price that's so low, it hardly even qualifies as gas money. Friday night is the time. Sol & eacute; is the place. And just five bucks is all you need to sample true "Diversity in Sound," a sonic night to remember featuring representatives of the Spokane scene's alternative, emo, grunge, punk and hardcore factions (specifically, the talents of Flyreal, Ambeo, Glorymoor, Death Kills Time, Scatterbox, More For Me, Rebecca's Tragedy and Hijacked Royalty).

Meanwhile, headliners Sig 9 will be descending upon us from their home base of Salt Lake City, with face paint running and a growling, grinding, heavier-than-thou sound to smack you silly. It's all-ages fun on the cheap.

Disfest was created by Bryan Morgan of local hardcore band Ambeo. Seizing upon an opportunity to showcase the incredible variety of young talent that has erupted on the local all-ages front recently, Morgan jumped into the promotion game with the desire to pull together a multi-band show with wide appeal that everyone could afford.

"The idea," he says, "came from this festival Mead [where he attends high school] did back in 2000, called Localpalooza. The school used to allow bands to play during a 10-minute break between classes in an area where most of the school congregates."

Mead discontinued having electrified bands play (opting for an acoustic-only format), prompting Morgan and his friends to toss around the idea of throwing a large local show at a venue off-campus.

"Everyone I talked to sounded really interested. I knew Derek Almond, so Sol & eacute; was our first venue choice. Then it just kind of progressed from there. I decided to bring in some larger local acts and bands we knew from neighboring cities [Scatterbox from Coeur d'Alene and More for Me from Cheney]."

Morgan is the bassist in Ambeo, a five-piece also including Justin Baldwin (guitar), Eric Haskell (drums), Greg Daily (vox) and Geoff Schlosser (electronics). The current lineup has been together since the beginning of November.

"Our focus is on creating a fusion of hardcore, melodic breakdowns and grooves," explains Morgan. "Our electronics also add a great deal of harmony and ambience."

Assuming you're not intimately familiar with the rest of the bands in the lineup, here's a brief dossier on a few of them.

Scatterbox has been out there on the local scene with their hard and fast attack for nearly three years now. The current lineup consists of Jared Brown (recently replacing the exiting Dan Stamper) on guitar, Scott Rozell on drums and brothers Ryan and Tom White on bass and vocals, respectively. The band hails from the Coeur d'Alene but spends so much time on the west side of State Line that folks here can't help but erroneously peg them as locals. (They don't really mind that much.) In addition to the band's frequent appearances on local stages, Scatterbox has made its presence felt in area CD bins with the album Run Faster, Jump Higher. A new full-length is also in the works. Scatterbox will be taking a performance breather during February while Brown goes on tour (as guitarist) with Inland Northwest punk stalwarts Moral Crux.

Glorymoor was spawned from the wreckage of expired local outfit Victim of Circumstance. The Mead High School band formed three months ago with brothers Aaron and Tim Friesen on lead guitar and bass, Andy Bradford on rhythm guitar, Kenny Absalonson on drums and Steve Schlangen on lead locals. Their aggressive yet melodic hard-rock style is inspired by Chevelle, Finch and the Christian-oriented metal of Living Sacrifice.

Sig 9 (also performing at Real Soda on Saturday night) are four guys from the salt flats of Utah with a collective goal: to bring you into their world, a world where primal instincts and modern-day frustrations are channeled constructively through music. That music is cathartic in nature, a healthy alternative, the members declare, to the more destructive forms of release (opiates, violence) that currently plague society. Singer Dave Yeo and bassist Scott Krelo form the nexus of Sig 9 and dispensed with several guitarists before landing a kindred spirit in Erik Taylor. Drummer Jami Sharp keeps everything in synch. The band tours incessantly, a tactic that eventually landed them here in the 'Kan. Welcome them as they shred.

Jazz at the Falls -- This weekend, Spokane's oft-neglected community of live jazz aficionados will have an opportunity to experience a taste of world-class entertainment. Where, you ask? Why, at the annual SFCC Jazz Festival, naturally, beginning Friday night with featured guest artists the Clayton Brothers Quintet and continuing on Saturday with the Dave Weckl Band.

Friday's program kicks off with key members of the evening's headlining act teaming up with the SFCC Jazz Ensemble for some serious, mutual (and presumably fun) hands-on edification. Then, with bass ace John Clayton taking the lead, the Clayton Brothers Quartet (with Jeff Clayton on alto sax, Jeff Hamilton on drums, Gilbert Castellano on trumpet and Tamir Hendelman on piano) will launch into their set. Bandleader John Clayton is a three-time Grammy-nominated bassist/composer/conductor whose talents are in near-constant demand from such notables in the industry as Diana Krall, who, early in her career, selected both Clayton and Hamilton to help secure and define her ensemble sound.

For the last 15 years, the festival's Saturday night's headliner, Dave Weckl, has represented the vanguard of modern jazz and fusion drumming. He spent seven of those years in the early '90s nailing down the rhythm behind Chick Corea's Elektric and Akoustic Bands (with whom he recorded eight albums). Additionally, he has recorded and toured with artists that span the jazz-pop-rock continuum including David Sanborn, Paquito D'Rivera, Diana Ross, George Benson -- even Madonna. This talent for genre-switching is reflected in Weckl's own compositions and solo recordings, which have, over time, explored rhythms and textures (R & amp;B, rock, pop) well outside jazz's traditionally accepted boundaries.

The new millennium finds Weckl working to further establish his own band (with himself on drums, Steve Weigart on keyboards, Tom Kennedy on bass and Bob Franceschini on sax) as a unique voice on the national jazz scene. The fruition of their collective efforts is the fusion-tempered Perpetual Motion, the Dave Weckl Band's new recording on Stretch Records, which highlights the band's stage-seasoned interplay and improvisational spontaneity.