Upon arrival at the B-Side, I was welcomed by a burgeoning crowd that was already feeling the groovy tunes in the house. The many paintings and sporadic graffiti provided a cooled-out atmosphere that enhanced my entire musical and cultural experience. This ambience was further explored and enjoyed by the 20 or so people boogying on the cramped dance floor. To my astonishment, I even witnessed two senior citizens cutting a rug.
The two bands providing the inspiration for all of this madness were Beecraft from Seattle (via Spokane) and Ashbury Park from Portland (about whom, I will have more on later). The overwhelming theme of Beecraft was psychedelia. These self-described rock-jazz-blues-folk-explosionists demonstrated tremendous musicianship but were at times just a bit too far out. I would liken them to a Doors/Grateful Dead love child, ill-conceived on a bad trip. Still, the crowd dug it.
Beverages flowed freely as patrons sipped and swilled various concoctions. An obviously inebriated couple danced about, momentarily lost their bearings but managed to stay on their feet after a brief interlude with a stack of PA speakers. A friendly buzz exuded from the club and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Service at the bar was fast and friendly. I even got a free drink -- at least I was under the impression it was free (if not, it was stolen). If this is the face of business at the B-Side, business is definitely good.
I was thoroughly impressed by Ashbury Park. This trio performed decidedly upbeat tunes reminiscent of '60s folk groups laced with soulful rock 'n' roll. I caught up with band members Adam (vocals) and John (drums). They were incredibly accommodating and entertaining. Adam described their sound as "countrified, bluegrass-flavored, harmony-singin', song-writin', booty-shakin' rock 'n' roll." That's exactly what I would have called it. John said, "We've been called a rock-bluegrass super-group by The Stranger." It would suffice to say that these guys have an infectious enthusiasm for what they do. I would recommend checking them out when they return to Spokane for a show at Mootsy's on Feb. 21.
I ended the evening with a quick 12:30 am jaunt to the Spokane International Airport (why do they put the "International" in there anyway?).
I gathered a friend from the concourse, and we proceeded to Shari's where a smashing cup of hot chocolate awaited. The outing was deemed a success. I met some interesting people (check out www.thebendies.com), and didn't get a ticket this time out.
Watch our music section every week as Clint Burgess and other Inlander scenesters check out the local nightlife in "On the Scene."
Publication date: 02/13/03