On Friday, Chinook Fest held its first lineup announcement party at the Crocodile. Attended by a packed house of excited and curious concert-goers, the entire evening was a celebration in itself, and the lineup announcement was just the topping on the sundae. Filled with music from the Nick Foster Band, SweetKiss Momma, the debut performance from Seattle supergroup Rust on the Rails (not currently searchable online), and finally a rocking close with Robert Jon and the Wreck.
I was having some trouble trying to pinpoint Nick Foster’s genre. Sometimes soul, sometimes country, sometimes rock, Mocha Charlie suggested that perhaps they were best described as “Rock Americana,” and I agreed, because that’s closer than anything I could come up with. Led by Nick Foster on an acoustic guitar, the songs are polished with slick basslines and jazzy piano riffs that sooth the soul and make you sway. Add in their gorgeous vocal harmonies, and you’re hooked. Their set was lively and fun, and since it was Nick’s birthday, in between songs the crowd made sure to remind him to have a happy one. Hope you had a happy birthday, Nick .
The next band in the lineup changed it up a bit. Sweetkiss Momma walked on the stage, stated “we are a rock and roll band,” and then provided evidence to back up their claim. Though their original songs are as rockin’ and catchy as can be, what really stuck was their fantastic cover of “What I Like About You” that had the crowd singing along. This band has an infectious upbeat attitude (with just a hint of sass) that resonates throughout the room. You just know they’re there to have a good time and will make sure the crowd does, too.
Up next was a rare treat. So rare, in fact, that it has never happened before. Rust on the Rails is a group of already established musicians that decided one day that they wanted to get together and do something awesome. Cody Beebe of Cody Beebe & The Crooks takes the lead vocals and guitar, while Blake Noble, also on guitar, brings his signature percussive style, hammering strings and creating rhythms on the well-worn, taped-up guitar body. Eric Miller (also of the Crooks) wields the responsibility of bringing the bass, while violinist Tim Snider adds some flare with his electric violin (which, I must say, is pretty awesome to watch.) To complete the group, Scott Mercado of Candlebox owned the back of the stage with various percussion. Then . . . they played. There was an explosion of sound that only the melding of these musicians’ styles could create. The worldliness of multiple beats, the folk sound of the fiddle, and the heavy rock and roll all came together to create an entirely original entity. I’ve never heard anything quite like it. A highlight of their set was when they called some friends on stage to help sing “Man of Constant Sorrow.” They were joined by Nick Foster, as well as Matt Dessert of Whiskey Syndicate and Tayler Lynn of Vaudeville Etiquette, both bands that are also on the bill for the fest. If that song was any indication of things to come, this fest is going to be a hollerin’, hootin’ good time.
Last, but certainly not least, Southern California’s Robert Jon and the Wreck took the stage. This band was styled to impress, complete with cowboy hats and more facial hair than a coffee shop in Ballard. The keyboardist notably had the most impressive Afro I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how he saw the keys, but damn did he play them. Their style only accentuated their rock sound. Perhaps the loudest band of the evening, they ended the night with their driving rhythm guitar and infectious hooks that kept the energy high until the end of the night.
And of course, as promised, here is the full lineup of Chinook Fest 2014. Boasting all of the acts present at the announcement party, it doesn’t stop there. Pickwick, The Silent Comedy, Planes on Paper, Mikey & Matty, Coldnote, and many more will be making this one unforgettable weekend in Naches, Washington. Be sure to grab your tickets before they’re gone!