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Fisherman’s Village ’16: Winning

Fauna Shade at Fisherman's Village Music Festival (Photo by Christine Mitchell)

The third annual Fisherman’s Village Music Festival featured nearly eighty Pacific Northwest bands, and a significant portion of those bands hailed from the festival’s hometown, Everett. The weekend was a family-friendly event, with all-ages stages the rule until 11PM and a special kids’ show early Saturday afternoon. Attendance was the heaviest it has ever been, probably thanks to the festival’s ‘pay what you can’ model.

What follows is a collection of highlights and moments from what is growing into a successful, established event put on by the Everett Music Initiative:

  • Battleme put on a performance early Friday evening that was incongruous with their 7PM set time in the best way possible, as frontman Matt Drenik swaggered and bounced around the stage, screaming into his mic as his bandmates spewed pure rock from their instruments. Friday was a not-to-miss night, with amazing soul band Grace Love and The True Loves doing their thing, followed by the dirty, fuzzy rawk of The Grizzled Mighty.
  • The Bait Shop stage, which was situated at Tony V’s Garage and was curated by The Stereo Wire, was host to a bill stacked with local bands peppered with Seattle stalwarts. Sundries anchored Friday night’s lineup, their blues-punk sound pairing perfectly with lead singer/guitarist Sadie Ava’s emotionally saturated vocal and lyrics. Playing directly before Sundries was The Skyemonkey, a guitar-drum duo that played hard and fast, with Timothy Hill delivering his own rich vocals and animated stage presence. But it was Everett’s Crystal Desert that took home the crown for performance of the night, their angular punk and physically twisted delivery coming across like a musical kick in the teeth.
  • The Anchor Pub was host to its own stacked bill on Friday that technically wasn’t part of the Fisherman’s Village bill, yet drew a sizeable crowd anyway due to its proximity and lack of cover charge. Local acts dominated at The Anchor, with Sleepwell Citizen playing the first of three shows in three days in Everett and new act Shookup playing their first official live set.
  • Saturday’s kid-friendly show at the Historic Everett Theatre had the littles rocking out to Pig Snout, a band consisting of father Justin and his two grade school children, Lucien and Dahlia. Justin took on guitar duties as Lucien and Dahlia switched duties on drums and keyboards…and it was awesome. Everett Maker’s Market featured a Vintage Fair around the corner from the festival, and it was filled with all sorts of quaint and quirky items culled from the ages. The Maker’s Market happens every month; June 18th is its Block Party and will be well worth visiting.
  • There were five stages on Saturday for the crowd to take advantage of, and the acts ranged from quiet folk by Tomo Nakayama at Cafe Zippy to playful EDM performed by Manatee Commune at The Marina (Historic Everett Theatre) and flat out rock and roll around every other corner.
  • If there was a defining moment for the festival, it was when hometown heroes Fauna Shade played a hypnotic set on the outdoor stage in the middle of downtown as the sun sank below the horizon. Festival goers filled the closed-off block to capacity, and the local pride was something you could nearly cut with a knife. Lead singer Scotty Smith seemed truly humbled and a little dazed as he told everyone, “This is really, really weird.”
  • Iska Dhaaf’s show was incredible…how could this be the same band we all thought we knew from before they moved to Brooklyn? It was as if the band had suddenly shaken itself awake, filled with energy from an amazingly good night’s sleep. If beats per minute is any indicator, Iska Dhaaf’s new album The Wanting Creature is sure to satisfy the urge to move.
  • Sunday played out in a relaxed manner; the perfect comedown to a hectic, electrified Saturday that had partied on into the wee hours. The acts were split between the Way & Co. sponsored outdoor Colby stage and The Stereo Wire’s Bait Shop stage, with folkier acts like Jess Lambert and The Winterlings playing out in the drizzle. Everett bands dominated The Bait Shop stage, ensuring that those who hadn’t had their fill of harder music were satiated. Again, in a strange twist, the grungy, metalheaded Woodshed barreled through their set at 1PM, and they refused to acknowledge the early time of day. Instead they focused on rocking as hard as possible, and with a smile (and shark hat) to boot.
  • Sleepwell Citizen played their third and final consecutive show at the festival in a sort of celebration of their rebranding, having previously called themselves John, Paul, and The Apostles. A local favorite, their set had festival goers tossing their hair and emcee Henry J. Yarsinske coming on to cover a Weezer song with the band. The Moon Is Flat had the perfect vibe for a Sunday afternoon, their psychedelic, slowburning jamming easing the hazy heads of those present.
  • Johnny Lee Ledford and The Rococo-A-Go-Go brought a dollop of rockabilly blues along with a dollop of pomade, with frontman Ledford slinging his Epiphone guitar right and left whilst decked out to the nines in a powder blue blazer and upswept hairdo.
  • Duke Evers didn’t have quite as much panache as Ledford, but they had sex appeal in spades as made evident by a group of squealing female fans. But make no mistake: Duke Evers is a rock band. Joshua Starkel may make the ladies sigh, but he’s an expert at shredding with the best of them.

All in all, this Everett Fisherman’s Village Festival was easily the best yet. From its utilization of hallowed Everett venues to its takeover of an entire street block, its profile has raised considerably. It can only get bigger from here on out.

Christine Mitchell has been poring over album liner notes pretty much since she acquired the skill of reading, and figured out the basic structure of rock songs at an early age. Whether it’s the needle popping into the first groove of the record, the beeps that signal the beginning (or end) of a cassette tape, or digital numbers ticking off the seconds from zero, music brings Christine happiness, ponderous thought, opportunities for almost scientific study, and sometimes a few tears. When she started attending live shows two decades ago, a whole new piece of the puzzle clicked in and she has been hooked ever since.