by Anthony Stassi & r & & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & E & lt;/span & n route to their gig last Saturday, Seattle-area rockers Thee Emergency got sucker-punched by the proverbial long arm of the law. With one sniff and a poke around the van, a routine traffic stop turned into a full-fledged DARE commercial. The end result was a [marijuana] possession charge and an unusually jonesin' crew showing up to the Spread, propositioning the crowd (there were no known takers). Fortunately for us, Thee Emergency aren't the type to fight the law, but neither did they let the law win. Despite the run in, they were on point.

The lineup, which also included Tokio Weigh Station, Yokohama Hooks, The Lashes and even some belly-dancers, coalesced perfectly; a fitting yet dynamic blend of locals and quasi-local frequenters. Usually four-act gigs are exhausting, leaving people too pooped for the headliners. This particular show, though, was packed from start to finish. All night, the bar was full and the dancefloor was full-er.

While every band surpassed my expectations, none matched Thee Emergency's spirited showmanship. Diva mic-wielder, Dita Fox was all over the place, inciting riotous crowd participation and dancing. She commandeered the attention of everyone in the bar with her soulful howling and dancing. When the instrumentation took over, though, all attention shifted to guitarist, Sonic Smith. Unleashing devilish licks and Townsend-esque acrobatics, Smith captivated the eyes and ears of the bar. He even found time to vent his bitterness towards the highway patrol, "He could have just thrown it in it the bushes and sent us on our way, but now Thee Emergency has a possession record!"

Describing their collective sound without words like "garage" or "Detroit" is nearly impossible. It's raw, loud and fervent, and,while some might be inclined to write them off as "classic rock," their sound is somewhat paradoxical. There's something inescapably familiar yet undeniably innovative about them. That's the best part. Half of you wants to believe you've heard it all before, and half of you wants to believe that his is the "next big sound." They've been doing incredibly well in the Seattle area, and are starting to create a comparable following in other cities like Spokane.

Equal credit for the turnout is due to the Spread though. They came through big time amid another venue debacle. The same show, same lineup was originally scheduled to perform at the Empyrean, which recently went tits-up. When it did, the Spread was more than willing to host.

True, the venue situation is on the fritz, but as long as existing venue owners continue to be flexible and patient, then Spokane can foster more shows like this one.

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