Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

December 15, 2014 at 7:43am

5 Things To Do Today: Cedar Shakes, Polar Plaza, Olympia Jazz Senators, Jay Mabin ...

Cedar Shakes perform at Le Voyeur tonight.

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MONDAY, DEC. 15 2014 >>>

1. We like Travis Champ for the same reason we like fried pickles, Schlitz in a bottle and all breeds of big dogs - they're all good things that come without an ounce of pretense or posing. Poet Champ came into some Oregon coastal notoriety with his poetry collection, Old Nehalem Road. He set his poems of boyhood memory, baseball and the fate of boys to war to song, inhabiting a masculine world, one that is shared artfully through old school country style. Champ's hooks and emotive guitar chords are set against his semi-monotone, yet smooth and resonant vocals. James Owen Greenan's drums offer crisp rhythms even in the slower paced songs. Jon Feeder's bass release tasty melodic bass interludes. Together, they are The Cedar Shakes, performing an old time Americana sound with a punkish flair. Catch the band at 10 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

2. Franciscan Polar Plaza is the place to be once winter hits. Think you can find something better to do than busting out some ice skates? Yeah, good luck with that. Polar Plaza is on its fourth year of setting up an ice-skating rink decked out in wintery goodness at Tollefson Plaza, just across from the Tacoma Art Museum in downtown Tacoma. With three fabulous years behind them, the Plaza folks put their heads together and found a few key ways to make this ritzy rink even better for 2014. Skate from 4-9 p.m. today.

3. Drawn from a vast custom library, the Olympia Jazz Senators perform a full range of big band jazz. You might hear an authentic Glen Miller dance tune straight from World War II, followed by Count Basie, Stan Kenton, Buddy Rich or a cutting-edge new composition by one of the Senators. Catch the big band at 8 p.m. in Rhythm & Rye.

4. Born in Chicago in 1955, Jay Mabin's musical influences began at an early age when he was exposed to a wide variety of jazz and blues both at home and at numerous coffee houses and concert stages in the Northwest. When Mabin turned 14 he had the opportunity to perform with the legendary blues duo Sonny Terry and Brownie McGee. Terry became his mentor and showed him the basics of the blues. Jay also studied with jazz greats Toots Thielemans and Howard Levy whose revolutionary systems of harmonics for the harmonica has given Mabin the tools to create one of the truly original voices in jazz harmonica. Catch him with The Blues Perpetrators at 8 p.m. in The Swiss.

5. Rockaraoke at Jazzbones will either be your novel opportunity to act as frontman, or be completely intimidating. Perpetually packed with people, Rockaraoke boasts a unique twist for karaoke in Tacoma: instead of a backing track, you get a three-piece band playing behind you. Check it out at 9 p.m.

LINK: Monday, Dec. 15 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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