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Traveling music festival celebrates punk, rock and metal by Black artists

Seattle bands join forces with Angelo Moore for Black and Loud Fest

King Youngblood will play at a scaled-down version of Seattle's Black and Loud Fest at the Blue Room on Friday, April 5. (Photo courtesy of Brittne Lunnisse)
By Jesse Stanton CDN Contributor

For anyone familiar with the history of American popular music, there’s nothing all that surprising about Black musicians cranking guitars up loud. From Chuck Berry to Jimi Hendrix to Bad Brains, it’s a long and proud lineage. Corporate pop culture being as siloed as it is, though, it’s rarer than it should be these days to see Black artists in the rock, punk and metal genres. 

A few years back, two Seattle area musicians — Cameron Lavi-Jones of the band King Youngblood and Anthony Briscoe of Down North — hatched an idea for a festival they call Black and Loud. Now in its third year in Seattle, they are beginning to experiment with a scaled-down traveling version. On Friday, April 5 they’re bringing a show to the Blue Room to give Bellingham a taste of what the festival is about. 

In addition to their own bands and local openers Actress, the mini-festival features a music scene legend: Angelo Moore, lead singer of the group Fishbone. He’ll be fronting his new project, Dr. Madd Vibe and the Missin’ Links, who are getting ready to release a new album.  Back in the ‘80s and ‘90s, Fishbone’s ferociously unpredictable blend of rock, funk, punk, ska and politically charged lyrics earned them a devoted following over the course of six major label albums. 

When I spoke recently with Lavi-Jones, Briscoe and Moore, the younger musicians emphasized how thrilled they were to be working with Moore. As Lavi-Jones put it, Moore “created the context and the space” for what they do, through his music and activism in previous decades. 

All three bands pull from a bewildering array of influences. As Moore put it, “Genre is baffling to me.” King Youngblood draw from hard rock and grunge, add pop and soul touches, and even have a cello player. They played Bellingham back in October at the Bellingham Exit festival, a connection that helped lead to this show happening at the Blue Room. 

Down North emphasize the soul sound a little more, with Briscoe out front dancing, sweating and even dropping to his knees to engage the audience as the band crank out hard-rocking but danceable jams behind him. Moore’s new project has plenty of big horn melodies to go with the wild guitar riffs, plus a powerful female singer to share the vocals.  All three groups are co-headlining the show, and the night just might end with one colossal jam.  

When Briscoe and Lavi-Jones first came up with the idea for the festival, they were backstage at a festival where they were the only Black artists on the bill. As they began recruiting musicians, they quickly discovered an untapped need for a community around the intersection of Black and loud.

As Briscoe put it, “musicians didn’t realize they needed this until they found it.”  Their hope is also to celebrate the lineage of Black rock musicians who came before them. They cite the underappreciated Seattle grunge pioneer Tina Bell as a perfect example of someone who could have gone on to bigger success if not for the way she went against music industry stereotypes.

From a fan’s point of view, though, the history and politics take a backseat once the music starts — at which point the show becomes a sweaty, riotous dance party. Expect all the performers to go all out to create an energetic, inclusive celebration. Or as Levi-Jones summed it up: “Everyone’s invited. You are supposed to be here.”


Anthony Briscoe of Down North was one of two musicians to conceptualize Black and Loud, now in its third year. (Photo courtesy of Brittne Lunnisse )

JESSE’S PICKS

Pamyua
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 3, Mount Baker Theatre, 104 N. Commercial St.

Pamyua are a group from Alaska that blends traditional Inuit tribal music with soul and blues influences. I try my best to use the word “unique” only when it’s truly called for, but I think this group deserves it. They’re at the Mount Baker Theatre on Wednesday, April 3.

Yogoman
7–9:15 p.m. Thursday, April 4, Zeeks Pizza, 2416 Meridian St.

Jordan Rain, aka Yogoman, has been a fixture of the local music scene for many years. Now relocated to Texas, he and his family still return annually to reconnect and perform their dance-friendly blend of reggae, ska, R&B, and rock ‘n’ roll. On Thursday, April 4, their family band, Yogoman and Bongo Jac ft. Big Buck, performs at Zeeks Pizza. 

Lipstitch with Cat Positive and The Hobby
Friday, April 5, Ritual Records, 115 E. Magnolia St.

I’ve had a chance to preview the new album by Lipstitch and it’s just wonderful, taking their melange of punk, pop and glam to a new level. They’re celebrating its release with a free all-ages show at Ritual Records on Friday, April 5, with Cat Positive and The Hobby also on the bill. 

Stones Throw Block Party
12–8 p.m. Saturday, April 6, Stones Throw, 1009 Larrabee Ave.

In one of the best signs of warm weather returning, Stones Throw’s free, family-friendly block parties are back. The one on Saturday, April 6 starts with S.O.L. at noon and The Band of Havilah at 2:30 p.m., before cutting loose with the jazzy funk instrumentals of Hopnotic at 5 p.m.


LIVE MUSIC CALENDAR

Friday, March 29

  • Amendment 21: 7 p.m., The Penny Stinkers
  • Aslan Depot: 7 p.m., Tea Seas Trio
  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., Thomas Harris Quartet (jazz)
  • The Blue Room: 9 p.m., Repeating Gossip, Mad King, The Floral Shirts, Cowboy Guts, Malaise
  • Conway Muse: 8 p.m., Russell Bartlett and Guests
  • Corner Taphouse: 7 p.m., Shady Groove
  • Fireside: 7 p.m., Anissa
  • Greene’s: 6 p.m., Delta Promenade (acoustic blues)
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Cross Pollination ft. Pete Ruble and Ivan Sandomire
  • Hotel Bellwether: 6 p.m., Marvin Johnson
  • Make.Shift: 8 p.m., Gallowmaker, Eves Black Heart, Ghostfetish, Pyrocene
  • Main Street: 8 p.m., Only Tree, guests
  • Ramble Tamble: 8 p.m., Sun King, Greg Kramer (avant-garde jazz jams)
  • The Shakedown: The High Seagrass, Never Come Down (bluegrass/Americana)
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., The D’vas
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Thirsty Badger: 7 p.m., Charlie Partin
  • Tokyo Monster: 5:30 p.m., Cheryl Hodge (jazz/blues)
  • The Vault: 7 p.m., Miles Harris and Friends
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., 03 Greedo, guests

Saturday, March 30

  • The Blue Room: 7 p.m., Pacific Twang (country)
  • Conway Muse: 8 p.m., Stacy Jones Band
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Pretty Little Feet
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Tarantula Hawk, Louis Ledford & Norah Mclaughlin, Sunny
  • Hotel Bellwether: 6 p.m., Adrian Clarke
  • Karate Church: 7:30 p.m., Culloden, Drayton, Mad King (rock)
  • Make.Shift: 8 p.m., Slowfall, Discolored, Jennifer What. 
  • Ramble Tamble: 8 p.m., The Pits, Matney Cook, Taylor Merlina (folk/pop)
  • Rockfish: 7:30 p.m., Ebb, Slack & Flood
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., Two Penny
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Cardova
  • Tokyo Monster: 5:30 p.m., Cheryl Hodge (jazz/blues) 
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Nite Wave (covering Prince’s “Purple Rain” album in its entirety)

Sunday, March 31

  • FireHouse Arts and Events Center: 4 p.m., Brian Cunningham Trio (jazz)
  • Kulshan: 5 p.m., Cascade Cody (country/folk)
  • Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., Ron Bailey & The Tangents
  • Ramble Tamble: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • Tokyo Monster: 4 p.m., Singers’ Sunday

Monday, April 1

  • FireHouse Arts and Events Center: 3:30 p.m., Diane Leigh

Tuesday, April 2

  • Aslan Depot: 8 p.m., Jazz Night
  • Menace: 7 p.m., Invitational Blues Jam
  • Ono Kitchen: 7 p.m., Open Mic ft. Luke Wilder
  • Tokyo Monster: 5:30 p.m., Marvin Johnson
  • Underground Coffeehouse: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Danny Brown, Alice Longyu Gao, Bruiser Wolf (hip-hop)

Wednesday, April 3

  • The Blue Room: 7 p.m., Message Received (jazz) 
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Open Mic
  • Mount Baker Theatre: 7:30 p.m., Pamyua
  • New Prospect Theater: 5:30 p.m., Open Mic
  • Sliced: 6 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Archtops Duo (blues/swing/jazz)
  • Tokyo Monster: 5:30 p.m., Marvin Johnson

Thursday, April 4

  • Admiralty: 7 p.m., David Donohue (folk)
  • Brown Lantern: 8:30 p.m., Open Mic
  • Farmstrong: 6 p.m., Joshua Red Uttech
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Stellar Sounds ft. Adam Greenberg
  • Lincoln Theatre: 7:30 p.m., Jake Shimabukuro (ukulele virtuoso)
  • Thirsty Badger: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • That’s What I Like: 6 p.m., JP Falcon and Friends (folk/rock)
  • Tokyo Monster: 5:30 p.m., Diane Leigh
  • Wild Buffalo: 8:30 p.m., REAPER, Rebel Scum, Squanch b2b Ruud, HiRyann
  • Zeeks Pizza: 7 p.m.,  Yogoman & Bongo Jac ft. Big Buck

Friday, April 5

  • Admiralty: 7 p.m., JP Falcon Grady
  • Aslan Depot: 7 p.m., BJ Block Trio (jazz/funk)
  • Bistro at Shuksan: 5 p.m., Thomas Harris Quartet (jazz)
  • The Blue Room: 8 p.m., King Youngblood, Dr. Madd Vibe and the Missin’ Links, Down North, Actress
  • Eagle Haven: 7 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • El Capitan’s: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • FireHouse Arts and Events Center: 7 p.m., Early Birds Baroque Ensemble 
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Doug Allen & Son (folk)
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Emily Freudenberger, Idaho Shining Stars, Harlow
  • Karate Church: 8 p.m., Beautiful Freaks, Mold Mom, Cat Valley
  • McIntyre Hall: 7:30 p.m., Oumou Sangare
  • Ritual Records: 6 p.m., LipStitch, Cat Positive, The Hobby (rock)
  • The Shakedown: 9 p.m., Torpedo, Torch, Done to Death (rock)
  • Skagit Casino: 8 p.m., Rumor 6
  • Skagit Cellars: 6 p.m., Eric Kosarot & Rosahlee (folk)
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., Jill Newman
  • Stones Throw: 6 p.m., High Mountain String Band (bluegrass)
  • Tokyo Monster: 5:30 p.m., Cheryl Hodge (jazz/blues)
  • The Vault: 7 p.m., Adrian Clarke
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Asher Roth, YT Suns, SYLKROAD, Martii McFly, KraymerGDot

Saturday, April 6

  • Birdsview Brewing: 6 p.m., Wes Jones
  • The Blue Room: 9 p.m., Magenta Wave, Acrylic Angel, Spanky & The Bears (rock)
  • Brown Lantern: 9 p.m., Cascade Cody and his Unpulled Bootstraps
  • Conway Muse: 8 p.m., James Howard Band 
  • Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Ireland Woods and Samuel Harris
  • Honey Moon: 8 p.m., David Donohue (folk)
  • Larrabee Lager: 7 p.m., Chuck Dingee
  • Old Edison: 8 p.m., The Hip (funk/R&B)
  • Rockfish: 7:30 p.m., Sheri Roberts Greimes and Jo Mamma (rock/blues/country)
  • Skagit Casino: 8 p.m., Rumor 6
  • Skylark’s: 8 p.m., The Three Radicals (classic rock)
  • Stones Throw: Block Party ft. Band of Havilah, 2:30 p.m., Hopnotic, 5 p.m.
  • Tokyo Monster: 5:30 p.m., Cheryl Hodge (jazz/blues) 
  • Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Ivy Lab, Jon1st, Ceilia, Keags (electronic)

Sunday, April 7

  • Admiralty Lounge: 7 p.m., Tim Mechling & Hannah Wyatt
  • The Blue Room: 3 p.m., Cape Flattery, Morgan McHugh (folk)
  • McIntyre Hall: 2 p.m., Northwinds Quintet (chamber music)
  • Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., Orville Johnson Band
  • Paws for A Beer: 2 p.m., Michael Dayvid
  • Ramble Tamble: 7 p.m., Open Mic
  • Tokyo Monster: 4 p.m., Singers’ Sunday
  • Wild Buffalo: 7 p.m., Ryan Montbleau, guests

Jesse Stanton's music column, The Beat Goes On, and his compilation list of live music events in Whatcom County appear weekly. Reach him at jsbhammusic@gmail.com; @JSBhamMusic. Check with individual venues to make sure events are still taking place as scheduled.

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