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Pure Halcyon celebrating new single, EP

Bellingham-based band has become a mainstay of the rock scene

Pure Halcyon has a new single coming Thursday
Pure Halcyon has a new single coming Thursday
By Jesse Stanton CDN Contributor

Over the years, the term “rock music” has come to encompass such a bewildering array of styles and subgenres that the term rarely makes a lot of sense on its own. 

Every once in a while, though, a band like Pure Halcyon comes along to make rock music that doesn’t need any prefixes. Formed in 2020, when most of its members were attending Shoreline Community College, they moved up here and quickly became mainstays of the Bellingham scene. 

Their first EP, “Short Story Long,” came out in 2021. Now they’re gearing up for some major moves. They’ve got a new single, “Give Me Forever,” coming Thursday, Nov. 23, an EP called “Nothing Set in Stone” coming Friday, Dec. 1, and a Wild Buffalo show on Thursday, Dec. 14 (with The Problem and No Mars) to celebrate it all.

There was a period not so long ago where it felt like hip, young rock groups were shying away from overtly “classic rock” influences. This is not a problem for Pure Halcyon. 

Lead singer Robbie St. Jean prowls the stage with big moves and lots of audience interaction and lead guitarist Max Widjaja rips through epic solos. Guitarist Sam Kristofferson, bassist Callan Nus and drummer Keegan Cass all have the chops to move among different styles and grooves. 

photo  Pure Halcyon plays a show at Western Washington University’s Red Square. (Photo courtesy of Desiree Erdmann)  

In terms of influences, Paramore is one of the few that all five agree on, which makes sense not just because of the vocal similarities between St. Jean and Hayley Williams, but because that’s another example of a group that started out in a pop-punk/alternative rock type of scene but quickly transcended the limitations of that approach. They also mention everything from AC/DC to Willow Smith to the Wiggles as influences (although I think they were joking about the Wiggles). 

One other thing this group has going for it is that its members are hard workers who are not afraid to admit they are out to connect with as many fans as possible. They have made a habit of spending the day together every Sunday, working on new songs, learning covers, making T-shirts — whatever they think will help the band progress.

In order to present their music in a properly celebratory light, they recently hosted the sold-out “Fall Ball” at the Blue Room, and are planning another fancy dress event for the spring. The new EP consists of songs they’ve written and road-tested over the last year, which they recorded at Binary Studios with Bob Ridgley. 

When I asked them what they think is special about their band, Kristofferson summed it up elegantly. 


“We want to write the best music, and play the best shows,” Kristofferson said.

More specifically, he mentioned their focus on crowd interaction. If you come to one of their shows, expect them to work their hardest to get the crowd involved and participating. 

One final thing I would say about this group: If you spend time discussing music online, you’re probably aware there are a lot of people out there with a curmudgeonly attitude toward new music. A lot of classic rock fans, in particular, seem to be convinced the “kids” of today don’t have the same chops or soul as their old favorites. 

If you’re stuck in that particular rut, I would highly recommend a Pure Halcyon show as a way out of it. You just might find the younger generation rock a lot harder than you think!

Music news

Bellinghome School of Music has some neat opportunities for musicians to get out and play. They’ve got a bluegrass slow jam happening, a “jam band” class, plus classes for younger musicians where they get to form bands. 

KMRE is once again looking for a host for their local music radio show. Pace Rubadeau has been doing a great job but is moving on. As I said the last time this opportunity came up, I don’t know who the right person is for this, but there’s a pretty good chance it’s someone who reads this column. 


JESSE’S PICKS

Indigo De Souza
7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, Viking Union
Indigo De Souza is a singer-songwriter from North Carolina whose emotionally intense music has found a legion of devoted fans over the course of three albums. She’ll be at WWU’s Viking Union on Tuesday, Nov. 28 for AS Productions’ big concert of the semester, with openers Babehoven. 

photo  Indigo De Souza is playing at Western Washington University’s Viking Union building on Tuesday, Nov. 28 as AS Productions’ big concert of the semester. (Photo courtesy of Angella Choe)  

John Van Deusen
7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1, Brodniak Hall, Anacortes
John Van Deusen was a major figure in the local indie rock scene for a long time with his band, The Lonely Forest. Last year he released a beautiful album of seasonal hymns called “In the Bleak Midwinter.” On Friday, Dec. 1 at Brodniak Hall, he’ll be performing songs from that album joined by the Passenger String Quartet. I have a pretty low tolerance for Christmas music but the way he approaches it really works, and I suspect this concert will be absolutely delightful. 

Bellingham Girls Rock Camp fundraiser show
7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, Make.Shift
Bellingham Girls Rock Camp is putting together an instrument library. Campers and others will be able to borrow instruments and music gear to help them start bands. This has the potential to be a pretty fantastic resource. To celebrate and raise funds, they are hosting an event at Make.Shift on Saturday, Dec. 2, featuring Slowfall, Where’s The Exit? and Lemonbear. 


LIVE MUSIC LISTINGS

Tuesday, Nov. 21

  • Aslan: 8 p.m., Jazz Night
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Jam:30 (open jam night)
  • Culture Cafe: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • Menace: 7 p.m.,  Invitational Blues Jam
  • Ramble Tamble: 9 p.m., Elevator Club ft. fantompower (hip-hop)
  • Ranch Room: 9 p.m., Michael Dayvid
    Wednesday, Nov. 22
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Open Mic
  • Rockfish: 6 p.m., Fidalgo Swing (jazz)
  • Shakedown: 8 p.m., Energy Pyramid, Only Tree, Vance Latta
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Badd Dogg Blues Society

Friday, Nov. 24

  • Beach at Birch Bay: 6 p.m., Dan Hewitt
  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., Thomas Harris Quartet (jazz)
  • Blue Room: 7 p.m., The Walrus (Beatles tribute)
  • Fireside: 7 p.m., Naughty Blokes Trio 
  • Lincoln Theatre: 7:30 p.m., Creedence Revelation (CCR tribute)
  • Skagit Cellars: 6 p.m., Spider Cult
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., Whitewing (blues/soul)
  • Thirsty Badger: 8 p.m., Charlie Partin
  • Vault: 7 p.m. The Song Wranglers (acoustic Americana)
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Queen Mother (Queen tribute)

Saturday, Nov. 25

  • Beach at Birch Bay: 6 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Birdsview: 6 p.m., For What It’s Worth (classic folk/rock)
  • Brown Lantern: 9 p.m., Cascade Cody (country/folk)
  • Conway Muse: 8 p.m., Badd Dogg Blues Society
  • Eagle Haven: 6 p.m., Savannah Woods
  • Graham’s: 8 p.m., ELK
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Walker Van Wingerden (singer-songwriter)
  • Larrabee Lager Co.: 6:30 p.m., Odd Mood Jam Band
  • Rockfish: 7:30 p.m., Mark Dufresene Band with guest Joe Cook and Jeff Nicely (blues)
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Atomic Aurora, Odachi, Maldisdeun (metal)
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., Rose and Joel (acoustic covers)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., East Coast Dave (folk/blues)
  • Thirsty Badger: 8 p.m., The Problem (jazz)
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Cytrus, Smooth Kiwi, Honey Weather

Sunday, Nov. 26

  • FireHouse: 4 p.m., Ben Thomas Tango Quartet
  • Kulshan: 5 p.m., Lotus Blossoming (jazz)
  • Main Street: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., Ron Bailey & The Tangents

Monday, Nov. 27

  • FireHouse: 3:30 p.m., J.P. Falcon Grady
  • Kulshan: 6 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Menace: 6 p.m., Open Mic, Featured Artist Peter Ali

Tuesday, Nov. 28

  • Aslan: 8 p.m., Jazz Night
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Jam:30 (open jam night)
  • Culture Cafe: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • Menace: 7 p.m., Invitational Blues Jam
  • Shakedown: 8 p.m., Rosegarden Funeral Party, Trigger Discipline, Gallowmaker, Fog Bodies (rock)
  • Ramble Tamble: 9 p.m., Elevator Club ft. Heist (hip-hop)
  • WWU Viking Union: 8 p.m., Indigo De Souza

Wednesday, Nov. 29

  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Open Mic
  • Rockfish: 6 p.m., Pension King and the Dependents (classic rock)
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Katie & Kevin (bluegrass/folk)
  • Underground Coffeehouse: 7 p.m., Bellflower
  • Wild Buffalo: 8 p.m., Dean Johnson, Duff Thompson, Steph Green

Thursday, Nov. 30

  • Admiralty Lounge: 7 p.m., David Donohue (folk)
  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., High Peak Trio (jazz/funk)
  • Brown Lantern: 8:30 p.m., Open Mic
  • Farmstrong: 6 p.m., Narrow Tarot
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Doug Allen & Son
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Bluegrass Jam
  • Rockfish: 7 p.m., Chris Eger and the Fat James Band (blues/rock)
  • Thirsty Badger: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • That’s What I Like: 6 p.m., J.P Falcon and Friends (folk/rock)
  • Wild Buffalo: 8 p.m., Mirin Doja, Korra the Kid, Shadowvariable, Frubbles (electronic)

Friday, Dec. 1

  • Aslan: 8 p.m., BJ Block Trio (jazz/funk)
  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., Thomas Harris Quartet (jazz)
  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Moon Mother, Lazy Acres, Feral Moon (rock)
  • Birdsview: 6 p.m., Uncle Doug
  • Brodniak Hall: 7 p.m., John Van Deusen and the Passenger String Quartet (Christmas music)
  • Eagle Haven: 7 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • FireHouse: 7 p.m., Jami Templeton Quartet (jazz)
  • Fireside: 7 p.m., Ron Hardt
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Simon Llewelyn Evans (folk)
  • Main Street: 8 p.m., Blind Fate (classic rock)
  • Ritual Records: 6 p.m., Drayton, Mad King (rock)
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Biff Got Killed, Torch, Bennycamps and the Bastards (rock)
  • Skagit Cellars: 6 p.m., Spider Cult (Gypsy jazz/Americana)
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., Odd Mood Jam Band
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., High Mountain String Band
  • Vault: 7 p.m., The Unknowns
  • Wink Wink: 7 p.m., CHRVNS, Ebony Harris 

Saturday, Dec. 2

  • Birdsview: 6 p.m., Wayne Hayton
  • Buxton’s: 6 p.m., Ebb, Slack & Flood, Savage Blues Band
  • Conway Muse: 8 p.m., Deal (Grateful Dead tribute)
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Merriweather (old-time/folk)
  • Make.Shift: 8 p.m., Slowfall, Where’s the Exit, Lemonbear (rock)
  • Rockfish: 7:30 p.m., Billy Appleton Band
  • Shakedown: 9 p.m., Tuesday’s Refuge, Shotty, Old Town Scouts (rock)
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., The Penny Stinkers
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., J.P. Falcon Grady
  • That’s What I Like: 6 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Wild Buffalo: 8:30 p.m., Shlump (electronic)

Sunday, Dec. 3

  • Blue Room: 8 p.m., Machine Animal, Vibacious
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Guitars and Gratitude
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Lucas Warford (cabaret folk)
  • Kulshan: 5 p.m., Cardova
  • Main Street: 6 p.m., Open Mic
  • Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., Randy Weeks & The Silent Treatment
  • Paws for a Beer: 2 p.m., Michael Dayvid

Before heading out to listen to live music, check with individual venues to make sure the event is still taking place as scheduled. 

The Beat Goes On is published online Tuesdays and in print Fridays. Email: jsbhammusic@gmail.com or Twitter: @JSBhamMusic.

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