The Beat Goes On

Breakthrough at the Wild Buffalo

Hip-hop takes center stage during this regional roundup
April 11, 2023 at 5:30 a.m.
Neffy3600 will perform during a hip-hop showcase, Breakthrough, Thursday, April 13 at the Wild Buffalo. The event features talent from Bellingham and throughout the Puget Sound.
Neffy3600 will perform during a hip-hop showcase, Breakthrough, Thursday, April 13 at the Wild Buffalo. The event features talent from Bellingham and throughout the Puget Sound. (Photo courtesy of Emma Clark)

CDN Contributor

If you have any interest at all in our local hip-hop scene, you’re going to want to be at the Wild Buffalo Thursday, April 13. They’ve assembled a bill with seven up-and-coming artists from throughout Puget Sound for an event they’re calling Breakthrough.

One of my personal favorites of the bunch goes by Zomi the Homie. Her EP “Good Grief” was one of my favorite local releases of last year. It mixes five tracks of spoken word poetry with five original songs titled after the different stages of the grieving process. That all makes it sound pretty heavy, but her live show will still bring the party. She’ll also have Keags providing the beats, so don’t be surprised to hear some deep, wobbly bass. 

The bill has a lot of other talent, too. YT Suns, a duo from Kent that combines hip-hop with some big pop hooks, has amassed a pretty solid local following over the last few years. Devin Luna is a Bellingham-based producer and singer who makes experimental R&B tracks and sings over them in a smooth, distinctive baritone. His 2020 EP “Light Years/Dark Days” is highly recommended if you’re into that sort of thing.

The night wraps up with Blksknn from Seattle. He is a unique and unpredictable rapper who hops between a bunch of styles and should be a great capstone to the night. 

I don’t like to editorialize too much here, but I will point out I often hear musicians saying they wish our bigger venues would have more local-focused shows. I get that complaint, but in the long run, the venues will book whoever brings in a crowd. Checking out this show would be a great way to demonstrate your support for some locals and have a great time in the process. 

Another event coming up this month which some of you might want to get tickets for in advance is a John Prine tribute happening at The Shakedown on Sunday, April 30. A bunch of our finest folk artists will be playing short sets of the late, great, songwriter’s best stuff. Performers include Steven Ray Leslie, Salt Pine, Cape Flattery and more. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this one sells out. 

Although the Mount Baker Rhythm and Blues Festival isn’t happening this year, some of the fans and past performers are coming together to create a tribute event that will give that community a chance for one last big gathering. It’s happening Saturday, Aug. 5 on the property near the Beach at Birch Bay. Headliners will include Hamilton Loomis, The Chris Eger Band and the Bobby Patterson Band. 

Finally, a new open mic is starting up at the Shambala Bakery in Mount Vernon. The first one will happen at 7 p.m. Friday, April 14. The schedule from there is still undetermined.

Live music listings 

Tuesday, April 11

Archer: 7 p.m., The Piper’s Despair (Irish folk)
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
Menace: 7 p.m., Invitational Blues Jam
Wild Buffalo: 8:30 p.m., Dizzy Wright, Jarren Benton, Demrick, Reezy, guests (hip-hop)

Wednesday, April 12

Blue Room: 8 p.m., Warren Dunes, Traesti Darling, PS Webster
Boundary: 6 p.m., Aaron Guest on piano
FireHouse: 6:30 p.m., Greta Matassa Quintet (jazz)
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Open Mic
Rockfish: 6 p.m., Aloha Danny (folk)
Stones Throw: 6 p.m., Lisa Temcov Duo (country/rock)
Underground Coffeehouse: 7 p.m., Porky and the Menace, Smithers
Wild Buffalo: 8 p.m., Magic Giant, Mobley (rock)

Thursday, April 13

Blue Room: 6 p.m., Open Mic; 8 p.m., Jam:30 (open jam)
Brown Lantern: 8:30 p.m., Open Mic
Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Yankee Drivers (bluegrass)
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Evan Ingalls (singer-songwriter)
Skagit River Brewery: 6 p.m., Tenderpile’s Smile Aisle (jazz)
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., Blksknn, YT Suns, Jonny Sharp, Jay Knightly, Zomi the Homie, Devin Luna, Neffy3600 (hip-hop)
Zeeks: 7 p.m., Lynn Street Ramble (acoustic rock)

Friday, April 14

Aslan: 8 p.m., Cuttlefish
Beach at Birch Bay: 6 p.m., Jimmy Wright Band (blues/rock)
Bellwether: 6:30 p.m., The Singer Tina
Big Stick: 5 p.m., Michael Dayvid (acoustic covers)
Birdsview: 6 p.m., Aloha Danny (folk)
Fireside: 7 p.m., Carr Parker (acoustic covers)
Greene’s Corner: 6 p.m., Aprylle Dawn, Gabby Castro (singer-songwriters)
Honey Moon: 8 p.m., Dream Goats, Louis Ledford, Anna Alessandra (folk)
Karate Church: 8 p.m., Pure Halcyon, The Trundlers, Blushbutton (rock)
Mount Baker Theatre: 7:30 p.m., J.P. Falcon Grady and Guests
Shakedown: 9 p.m., Hillstomp, The Pine Hearts (punk blues)
Shambala Bakery: 7 p.m., Open Mic
Skylark’s: 8 p.m., Rose (eclectic covers)
Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., NOT.GREENDAY,  Warp Detour, Stubborn Will (Green Day tribute)

Saturday, April 15

Beach at Birch Bay: 4 p.m., Shannanagins  (rock covers)
Blue Room: 9 p.m., Magenta Wave, Teo and the Cosmic Neighborhood, Kazmyn (rock)
Birdsview: 6 p.m., Jim Marcotte
Brown Lantern: 9 p.m., Savage Blues Band
Conway Muse: 8 p.m., Stardrums & Lady Keys
Fireside 4 p.m., Singers’ Saturday
Gateway1890: 7 p.m., Adrian Clarke (acoustic covers)
Make.Shift: 8 p.m., BennyCamps, Sammy Brue, Collins Beach
Main Street: 8 p.m., The Takers (hard rock covers)
Rockfish: 7:30 p.m., Badd Dogg Blues Society
Shakedown: 9 p.m., Mount Saturn, Aerial Ruin, Ceras (metal/heavy psych)
Skylark’s: 8 p.m., Quickdraw String Band
Stones Throw: 6 p.m., The McHughs (folk)
Wild Buffalo: 9 p.m., Dirty Monkey x Jantsen, guests (electronic)

Sunday, April 16

Birdsview: 4 p.m., Norman Baker
Kulshan: 5 p.m., Katie & Kevin (folk)
Main Street: 6 p.m., Open Mic
Old Edison: 5:30 p.m., Jenny & The Tomcats

Monday, April 17

Blue Room: 8 p.m., Nuages (jazz)
FireHouse: 3:30 p.m., Marvin Johnson (jazz)
Kulshan: 6 p.m., Imperfect Gentlemen (acoustic covers)

Tuesday, April 18

Archer: 7 p.m., The Piper’s Despair (Irish folk)
Aslan: 8 p.m., Jazz Night
Boundary: 6 p.m., Paul Klein on piano
Culture Cafe: 7 p.m., Open Mic
Menace: 7 p.m., Invitational Blues Jam

Wednesday, April 19

Wild Buffalo: 8:30 p.m., The California Honeydrops 

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: or Twitter: @JSBhamMusic.

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