Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

July 5, 2014 at 9:06am

5 Things To Do Today: Ben Union, South Sound BBQ Festival, Hellgate, Spamalot ...

Ben Union plays solo tonight at The Spar in Old Town Tacoma. Photo courtesy of Facebook

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SATURDAY, JULY 5 2014 >>>

1. He's not the new king of pop yet, but Ben Union makes a pretty good Adam Levine. Union frames his prodigious and rock solid talent - soulful vocals, a danceable funk groove, irresistible pop hooks - with passion and showmanship. Imagine the music of Maroon 5 and Train being forced occasionally through the Red Hot Chili Peppers backbeat, grabbing Fred Hammond's soul and then pumped out Levine's larynx, and you have a pretty good idea of the kind of sound Ben Union and his band can produce. While most of Union's songs don't stray too far from the characteristic blend of funk and soulful rock, some of his best moments are the more mellow tunes, such as "Angeles" - which will most likely be front and center at 8 p.m. as Union will perform solo at The Spar in Old Town Tacoma.

2. The craft of blacksmithing is waning, even as the art of wrought iron is on the rise, working its way into art schools. But it's the craft-its usefulness, its dignity and its allure should draw you to Fort Nisqually's Crafts of the Past - Blacksmithing demonstration from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ray Baker trained with the NorthWest Blacksmith Association and has participated in workshops with master smiths from Colonial Williamsburg. He has mentored several budding blacksmiths at the Fort, where he has been volunteering for 15 years.

3. Who doesn't like meat off the grill? Well, vegetarians we suppose, but still. Barbecue is pretty damn popular. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. the LAcey Chamber of Commerce looks to jump all over this fact with the South Sound BBQ Festival, which returns to Huntamer Park. Admission is free, and yes - the chicken wing eating contest is back.

4. Louie G's Pizza takes its rock as seriously as its oversize pies. Restaurateur Louis Galarza installed professional-grade light and sound equipment, then threw his doors open to the types of bands you may not expect with your meatball calzone. At 6 p.m. he's hosting Montana's heavy-metal trio Hellgate as part of the all-ages Killhate Tour, a fist-pumping demonstration against police brutality and hate crimes everywhere. That's right, Hellgate shreds with a conscience. Guitarist and lead vocalist Joel Floyd West snarls through such retro rockers as "Dear Me" and "Death of Faith" with clarity and conviction, while Scott Daniels' crunching bass lines supply the perfect counterpoint. Also: fried pickle spears. Rawk!

5. Lakewood Playhouse never seems to disappoint and their most recent production is no exception. People who don't like Monty Python humor, also known as fuddy duddies, might want to skip it but for everyone else, Spamalot (books and lyrics by Eric Idle) will have them laughing, whistling and singing even after the show. Director John Munn's brilliant cast and crew could not have done a better job. Read Joann Varnell's full review of Spamalot in the Music & Culture section, then catch the show at 8 p.m.

LINK: Saturday, July 5 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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