Take the Prince Out of the Beast

by RACHEL SIEMENS & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & B & lt;/span & eauty and the Beast is a familiar tale. Disney's version, one of the animation studio's darker works, features two protagonists: Belle, the "princess" with the pretty yellow dress and the least amount of pretension compared to the other Disney princesses, and the Beast -- elegant and well-mannered but wild.

Recall, if you will, the scene where Beast stares at the enchanted rose that bears his curse. As its wilting petals float to the ground, a tear rolls down his terrible, princely face. It's a scene that tugs 9-year-old heartstrings as much today as it did 17 years ago. Blue Bird -- the project of Spokanite Patrick Everman -- captures that refined-yet-bestial contrast in musical form. Characterized by abstract lyrics, visceral instrumentalism and a sense of self-importance that rivals both politicians and religious demagogues, Blue Bird is a smoky, fuzzy, lo-fi tribute to experimentation. It's the kind of thing that might be comparable to Swan Lake -- if you squinted through iron-and-wine-colored glasses. Everman's banjo is tinny, providing tense dissonance in what would otherwise be lilting songs. He also includes violin, mandolin, harmonica, wind organ and percussion. The guitar is soft and melodic; the vocals, like sleepy daydreams. With all that instrumentation being thrown around, you'd think there would be a small legion of musicians backing Everman up. But he works on "record[ing] things that are performable still when it's just me, like playing a kick drum while playing an organ."

Everman has only been recording material since last November. Though his career's young, the fervor that he pours into his music isn't something to be trifled with. Neither is his ambition. He has the almost superhuman goal of writing and recording a song a week, and has three side projects as a result -- Aum Shinrikyo; The Field and the Knower, which includes Andrew Bisenius; and the Pony Club, which includes fellow musician and lady friend Shannen Ortale.

Lyrically, Blue Bird has solidly harnessed a sense of abstract symbolism. His songs provoke vivid imagery -- a storybook in a song -- while still retaining their ambiguity. "We All Die Alone" samples the surreal ("I split my head on the ground / Crimson marbles kept rolling around"), as does "Yellow Stars" ("I took two steps forward and one step behind / Silver spoons all rust in my mind / Turn out the lights we'll glow in the dark / all my friends wear yellow stars").

So while Disney's Beast eventually turns into another one of those blonde-haired, blue-eyed royals in riding breeches, Blue Bird's Patrick Everman keeps the beast alive, waiting for that rose finally to fade out.

Blue Bird with Ambassador Nate, Daft and guests on Saturday, May 3, at 4 pm at the Blvd. $10; $8, pre-sale. Call 455-7826. Also with Cassowaries and the Casual Lust on Saturday, May 17, at 3 pm at Empyrean. Call 838-9819.

Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection @ Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture

Tuesdays-Sundays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Continues through Feb. 13
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