Music Critics' Picks: Mama Rags, The Blackberry Bushes, The Pine Hearts, Lures

Jan. 3-4: Live music in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

By Volcano Staff on December 31, 2013


From the '60s to their last waltz in '76, the Band was irreplaceable in formalizing a Northerners' take on Southern rock that was less about passing trends and swilling beer than it was about a reverence for the form and the tradition. These elements were already on their way to leaving the genre, but the Band did well to hold them close without seeming like opportunistic posers. Seattle's the Mama Rags are another group of Northerners taking on Southern rock with gleeful aplomb, combining the rousing barroom ditties of the Band with the streak of sweaty melancholy that colored Creedence Clearwater Revival (who themselves were the bayou by way of Berkeley, Calif.). While the Mama Rags are a very new band, it'll be exciting to watch them progress and anticipate their debut EP, which is supposedly forthcoming. {REV. ADAM MCKINNEY}

THE MAMA RAGS, w/ Ice Teeth, 10 p.m., Le Voyeur, 404 E. Fourth Ave., Olympia, no cover, 360.943.5710


I did my usual rounds of checking Facebook and fliers, I asked a few friends what was going on, and yet, I still couldn't find any awesome music happening the first weekend of the year. The after-holiday slump strikes again. Then, just as I should have anticipated, The Pig Bar came through (natch). This venue has gained reputation as a solid music source in Olympia, providing quality, free music every weekend. This weekend is no exception with The Blackberry Bushes String Band Friday night and The Pine Hearts Bluegrass Band Saturday night. It's worth noting that The Pine Hearts feature members of the Oly Mountain Boys, meaning that talent is a given. Expect all the twang, love and classy licks that come with this finely-aged genre of music. {NIKKI MCCOY}

THE BLACKBERRY BUSHES, Friday, 8:30 p.m.; THE PINE HEARTS, Saturday, 9 p.m.; The Pig Bar, 619 Legion Way, Olympia, no cover, 360.943.6900


Listening to Lures' latest single, "Vacant," and noting that it was released in October, it's hard not to think that they missed the prime release date by a couple months. Lures' brand of energetic surf pop is ideal to be danced to all summer long. Relaxed vocals croon over churning guitars before abruptly and delightfully veering off into an effortlessly catchy chorus. It's the sort of thing that takes you by surprise. Just when you're convinced that Lures is just another in a long line of increasingly indistinguishable garage-psych bands, they reveal themselves as soulful purveyors of indie rock hiding beneath all of that hazy reverb. The pristine harmonies and chiming guitars remind me of the long-lost and much-loved Basemint, if that's the sort of thing that pricks up your ears. {REV. AM}

LURES, w/ Hands In, Peter Tietjen and the Balloon Power Challenge, Week of Wonders, 8 p.m., Bob's Java Jive, 2102 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, cover tba, 253.475.9843

See Also

Music Calendar for the greater Tacoma and Olympia area