5 Things To Do Today: James Coates, Polar Plaza, Jerry Miller, Bucharest Drinking Team ...

By Volcano Staff on January 5, 2015

MONDAY, JAN. 5 2014 >>>

1. Club hopping can be overrated, especially when the weather is a snarling blast of rain and cold that makes one think twice about even leaving the couch. Some nights we like to stake out a place at a venue and hang out for a while, maybe have a meal, a few adult beverages and listen to music that doesn't invite itself into our head with an axe handle. Smoke + Cedar fits that bill Monday nights with its new music series. Tonight, venerable singer-songwriter James Coates will perform at the restaurant.Arrive at 7:30 p.m. to catch this gentleman armed with only an acoustic guitar and a whole lot of heart, who generates all sorts of comparisons to Bob Dylan and Ryan Adams. (Hey, no pressure, James, OK?)

2. Bundle up, pinch your cheeks until they glow and strap on a pair of silver skates, Hans Brinker, for a glide across the frozen expanse at Tollefson Plaza. The Franciscan Polar Plaza, located on the corner of Pacific Avenue and South 17th Street, is open from 4-9 p.m.

3. Moby Grape was one of the most versatile San Francisco rock bands to emerge out of the summer of love. Sadly, through a combination of inner turmoil and bad management decisions, the mighty Moby Grape broke up in 1969. However, their debut album is still considered one of the best of all time by many critics, in part because of the nimble fingers of guitarist Jerry Miller. Miller was named one of the top 100 guitarists of all time by Rolling Stone above Eddie Van Halen, Johnny Winter and Randy Rhoads. The Tacoma native has enjoyed a rich career sharing the stage with countless musicians including members of the Doobie Brothers and Carlos Santana. Miller performs at 8 p.m. in The Swiss.

4. Olympia's Rhythm and Rye will host two of its favorite honk bands at 8 p.m. - The Bucharest Drinking Team and Artesian Rumble Arkestra. The Bucharest Drinking Team, a band that borrows stylistically from great Balkan brass bands such as Fanfare Ciocarlia and Boban Markovic, mixes in a liberal shot of Romanian folk music and a penchant for '80s disco from behind the Iron Curtain to bring you a high-proof Eastern Bloc Party, complete with dancing, drinking, and music. The utterly delightful punk marching band Artesian Rumble Arkestra play a variety of jazz standards and atypical covers reflecting the broad diversity of its members' favorite music: samba, rock, Balkan, New Orleans, gospel, reggae and pop. This will be a sight to see ... and hear.

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. Jan. 5 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area