The Beat Goes On

Hot Damn Scandal is unpredictable, unstoppable

Longtime ensemble brings the party with them
December 13, 2022 at 5:00 a.m.
Hot Damn Scandal, formed by bandleader Pete Irving as a sort of busking collective, has established itself as one of Bellingham’s most popular bands. Hear its distinctive blend of blues, vintage jazz, folk and Americana at a show Saturday, Dec. 17 at the Wild Buffalo.
Hot Damn Scandal, formed by bandleader Pete Irving as a sort of busking collective, has established itself as one of Bellingham’s most popular bands. Hear its distinctive blend of blues, vintage jazz, folk and Americana at a show Saturday, Dec. 17 at the Wild Buffalo. (Photo courtesy of Marc L'Esperance)

By JESSE STANTON
CDN Contributor

Hot Damn Scandal have been around in different iterations for almost 15 years. Originally formed by bandleader Pete Irving as a sort of busking collective, the band has gone through a bunch of lineups, recorded three albums, toured extensively and established itself as one of Bellingham’s most creative and popular bands.

Their sound is a distinctive and unpredictable blend of blues, vintage jazz, folk and Americana, tied together by Irving’s gritty vocals and cynical, absurdist lyrics. They’re playing a big show Saturday, Dec. 17 at the Wild Buffalo, and celebrating the release of their recent album, “Live from the Apocalypse.”

The current lineup of the band includes a rotating crew of drummers, bassist Mickey Stylin, Kris Staples-Weyrauch playing electric guitar, Jane Covert-Bowlds on sax, trombonist Jimmy Austin, and Ani Banani on musical saw and vocals. Irving sings most of the lead vocals and plays resonator guitar. Banani and Irving also have a duo called The Best Intentions, and Banani leads her own group, Bang Bang and the Bad Medicine, who will be opening the show on Saturday.

If you’ve ever been to the Sh’Bang! festival at the Lookout Arts Quarry, you might recognize that group as the house band for the Saturday night burlesque shows. This weekend's gig will also feature burlesque performances scattered throughout the evening, with performers including Dame SinCyr from Portland, as well as local talents Patricia Charms, Cybele, Kalamity, and Emerald Fire.

Hot Damn Scandal have headlined the Subdued Stringband Jamboree several times, so if you’re someone who looks forward to that event every year, this album might be a way to help fill the gap. They were going through a bunch of live recordings trying to find something to put out when they realized the entire set they performed as the band’s contribution to the all-online 2020 edition of the Jamboree had been strong enough to stand on its own as a live release.

At the time it was recorded, they were, like many musicians, struggling with the shutdown of live music. Even though the audience for the album was just the technical crew for the broadcast and some members of the other bands, that was enough to get them fired up for a memorable, high-energy show. Irving and Banani do all the band’s graphics with cut paper and created a great cover for the album in that style. They’re also hoping to have some cool new shirts ready in time for the show.

Looking forward, the band has another big collaborative performance planned for the Bellingham Circus Guild in March. After that, they are heading out on a tour and hoping to get a new studio album recorded to document a bunch of new songs and a steadily evolving sound.

Live music listings

Tuesday, Dec. 13

Aslan: 8 p.m., Jazz Night
Boundary: 6 p.m., Paul Klein on piano
Culture Cafe: 7 p.m., Open Mic
Greene’s Corner: 6:30 p.m., Old Time Fiddle Jam

Wednesday, Dec. 14

Boundary: 6 p.m., Aaron Guest on piano
FireHouse: 7 p.m., Ann Reynolds (jazz)
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Open Mic
Rockfish: 6 p.m., Dr. Sweets and Ireland Woods (folk/rock)
Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Rob Hutchings (folk)

Thursday, Dec. 15

Blue Room: 6 p.m., Open Mic/Jam
Brown Lantern: 8:30 p.m., Open Mic
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., INI (folk grunge)
Shakedown: 9 p.m., Vacuum, Inpathos, Oath ov Hatred (metal)
Thirsty Badger: 7 p.m., Open Mic
That’s What I Like: 6 p.m., J.P. Falcon and Friends (folk/rock)
Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Yung Bae, Pacifix, OG Neeks (funk/electronic)

Friday, Dec. 16

Beach at Birch Bay: 6 p.m., Dan Hewitt
Beach Store Cafe: 5:30 p.m., Free Harmony (classic folk/rock)
Birdsview: 6 p.m., Wayne Hayton
Blue Room: 7 p.m., Tropic Theater, Moose Almighty, Sunflower (rock)
Brown Lantern: 9 p.m., Three for Silver (bizarro folk)
FireHouse: 6 p.m., The Atlantics (classic rock)
Fireside: 7 p.m., Wicked Timing (acoustic covers)
Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Lindsay Street (Celtic)
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Fritz and the Freeloaders (classic rock/pop)
Main Street: 8:30 p.m., Jimbuktu (classic rock)
Shakedown: 9 p.m., Ashes of Existence, Ossuary Wraith, Wet Temple (metal)
Skagit Cellars: 8 p.m., Conrad Gruener (country)
Skylark’s: 8 p.m., WhiteWing (blues/soul)
Vault: 7 p.m., Double Trouble
Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Nite Wave (’80s covers)

Saturday, Dec. 17

Beach at Birch Bay: 4 p.m., Chris Eger Band (blues/rock)
Birdsview: 6 p.m., Jeremy Abbott
Blue Room: 8 p.m., Aardvarticus Zeus, Sweetwood, Where’s the Exit (rock)
Buxton’s: 6 p.m., Savanna Woods, The Enthusiasts, The Combo, Sun//Aram, many others
Conway Muse: 8 p.m., Moon Daddy (Santana tribute)
Fireside: 4 p.m., Singers’ Saturday
Gateway1890: 7 p.m., Odd Mood Jam Band
Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Deep River Blues
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Louis Ledford (holiday folk)
Main Street: 8 p.m., Little Big Band (classic/Southern rock)
Make.Shift: 8 p.m., Glitchlette, Pizza Wizard, Niko Haley
Menace: 5 p.m., BeatRoots, 6:30 p.m., Michael Dayvid
Rockfish: 7:30 p.m., Sheri Roberts Greimes (rock/blues/country)
Old Edison: 8:30 p.m., The Atlantics (classic rock)
Shakedown: 9 p.m., Heiress, Blighted Eye, Vanishment (metal)
Skylark’s: 8 p.m., Phil Paige (singer-songwriter)
Wild Buffalo: 8 p.m., Hot Damn Scandal, Bang Bang and the Bad Medicine

Sunday, Dec. 18

FireHouse: 6 p.m., SeaMuse (international folk)
Kulshan: 5 p.m., Katie and Kevin (folk)
Lincoln Theatre: 3 p.m., Magical Strings (Celtic holiday)
Main Street: 6 p.m., Open Mic
Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., The Bow Diddlers

Monday, Dec. 19

FireHouse: 3:30 p.m., Lorraine Earle (classical piano)
Foundation Lounge: 7:30 p.m., Open Mic
Kulshan: 6 p.m., Three for Silver
Wild Buffalo: 8 p.m., Creed Bratton (music and comedy). Update: This show has been postponed until March  

Tuesday, Dec. 20

Aslan: 8 p.m., Jazz Night
Boundary: 6 p.m., Paul Klein on piano
Culture Cafe: 7 p.m., Open Mic
Greene’s Corner: 6:30 p.m., Open Mic
Ranch Room: 8 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. 

Jesse Stanton's music column, The Beat Goes On, runs Wednesdays. Email: jsbhammusic@gmail.com or Twitter: @JSBhamMusic.

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