5 Things To Do Today: China Davis, Puyallup Fair, "ETHNOBOTANY," Smart People ...

By Volcano Staff on September 5, 2014

FRIDAY, SEPT. 5 2014 >>>

1. China Davis is a band that is firmly rooted in the foundation of Americana and singer/songwriter tropes with the ability to take in a larger conversation of rock and alternative elements. Along with singer and principal songwriter Ben Fuller, China Davis features the guitar work of Fuller's younger brother Ted Fuller and long time friend and bassist Eric Balcom. Drummer Andy Stockton, also of Clearly Beloved, rounds out the group on drums. Now, with their latest album, Arctic Days, the band is set to build on a foundation of good songs and seasoned workmanship. Read Timothy Grisham's full feature on China Davis in the Music & Culture section., then celebrate with the band at 9 p.m. in The Swiss Restaurant and Pub.

2. It's that time of year again ... school is back in swing, the weather is cooling down and the Washington State Fair at the Puyallup fairgrounds opens today. From Fisher Scones, which have been around for a century, to the appropriately named Totally Fried, which even offers lemonade in a fried state, there's always another bite to grab at the Fair. Of course there's also burgers, pizza, barbecue and international cuisines, as well as a number of wine gardens, cantinas and bars for the older than 21 set. Click here for what's new. Click here for special activity days.

3. Plants were here before us, and they will survive us. Silent partners in our evolutionary endeavors, they may also make fruitful creative companions. Moss + Mineral gallery and store knows this, and will spread the green word through October 12 at the W.W. Seymour Conservatory in Wright Park. ETHNOBOTANY: An Artists' Study of Plants shines sunlight on 12 regional and national artists who venture into the world of ethnobotany through art installations made from a variety of organic and non-organic media. According to pre-show hype, "The scientific field of ethnobotany aims to ‘describe and explain complex relationships between cultures and (uses of) plants, focusing primarily on how plants are used, managed and perceived across human societies.' These uses include as food, clothing, currency, medicine, hallucinogenics, and shelter. The works in Ethnobotany: An Artists' Study of Plants make often surprising connections between botanical life, art, contemporary circumstances, and science." Two green thumbs up. An opening reception from 6-8 p.m. features the wonderful indie music of Alex Tapia.

4. Casey Neill and the Norway Rats are steeped in Portland's eclectic music scene. From dusty rockers to seafaring folk expeditions, the band comes across like the sort of people who gleefully dig through crates of forgotten troubadours from the '60s and '70s. Featuring the essential keys and accordion of Jenny Conlee (of the Decemberists and Black Prairie), the Norway Rats create incredibly textural indie rock that sounds like an elevated bar band playing as the terrible rays of morning light seep in through the windows and past the crowd of swaying insomniacs. Catch the band with Trees and Timber and June Madrona at 8 p.m. in Northern.

5. Tonight's "Smart People" DJ dance party, organized by Tacoma's Mr. Melanin, celebrates the birthdays of several "regulars." Hosted by Gallery of Ambition's Neon Dion, this monthly dance night features Mr. Melanin, theMAYOR from The Breaklites and special guests spinning R&B, electronica, indie rock, house and disco in an improved setting of coolness. Dancing is awesome, but you'll catch yourself gazing at the turntable skills. It's OK. It really begins at 9:55 p.m. at The New Frontier Lounge.

LINK: Friday, Sept. 5 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area