The Thermals at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham

Japandroids at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25, 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

Japandroids at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25, 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

The Thermals with Japandroids at Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25 2010

– text by Shawn Conner/photos by Robyn Hanson

Just over the border, a little more than an hour south of Vancouver, lies Bellingham. Perhaps best-known for the hulking shopping mall Bellis Fair, the town is also home to D’anna’s Cafe Italiano, a terrific little Italian restaurant; the Copper Hog, a gastropub with a great beer selection and decent menu (esp. during Happy Hour); an Irish bar where we once had a great time getting drunk and playing trivia; and the Wild Buffalo.

Japandroids at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25, 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

Japandroids at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25, 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

The city’s main (as near as I could tell) live music club, the Buffalo hosts a variety of acts, sort of like the Buffalo. On Saturday night the place was filled with college-age kids there to see The Thermals and Vancouver’s own Japandroids.

Japandroids at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25, 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

Japandroids at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25, 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

While The Thermals definitely have the tunes, esp. on latest Kill Rock Stars album Personal Life (most memorably with the song “Separate”)the Portland trio’s stage show kind of paled in comparison to Japandroids’ more physical, head-banging activity. Although Japandroids’ songwriting and instrumental limitations mean the duo can’t quite pull off a 30+ minute set, there was no denying their power as a live act. Rockers East Vancouver indeed.

The Thermals at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

The Thermals at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

As for the Wild Buffalo, well, I’d go back in a heartbeat. It might seem a little far, but the bar’s easygoing vibe (including some wild-assed art on the walls) and just the fact of it being in a different city makes it a worthwhile trip, especially if you don’t mind shelling out a few bucks ($60 for the Coachman Inn, not far from “downtown” Bellingham). The only downside: while waiting for Japandroids to start, I was forced to endure the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses”. Blech.

Japandroids at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25, 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

Japandroids at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25, 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

The Thermals at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

The Thermals at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

The Thermals tour dates:

09.29 – Fargo, ND @ The Aquarium (Dempsey’s Upstairs) – w/ One For the Team
09.30 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club
10.01 – Iowa City, IA @ The Mill *
10.02 – Madison, WI @ The Annex *
10.03 – Chicago, IL @ Logan Square Auditorium *
10.04 – Bloomington, IN @ Rhino’s *,
10.06 – Detroit, MI @ Magic Stick *
10.07 – Cincinnati, OH @ Mayday *
10.08 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom *
10.09 – Toronto, ON, Canada @ Lee’s Palace *
10.10 – Ithaca, NY @ Castaway’s *
10.12 – Philadelphia, PA @ First Unitarian Church *
10.13 – New York, NY @ Irving Plaza *
10.14 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club *
10.15 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat *
10.16 – Raleigh, NC @ King’s *
10.17 – Columbia, SC @ Tin Roof *
10.19 – Athens, GA @ 40 Watt *
10.20 – Nashville, TN @ Exit/In *
10.21 – Birmingham, AL @ Bottle Tree *
10.22 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks *, #
10.23 – Austin, TX @ Red 7 *, #
10.24 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater *, #
10.25 – Norman, OK @ Opolis #
10.27 – Santa Fe, NM @ Corazon #
10.28 – Denver, CO @ The Bluebird Theater #
10.29 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge – w/ Elf Power, #
10.30 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux #
11.15 – San Francisco, CA @ Independent %
11.16 – Los Angeles, CA @ El Rey %
11.17 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room
11.18 – Tucson, AZ @ Congress
11.19 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah
11.21 – Oakland, CA @ New Parish

The Thermals at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

The Thermals at the Wild Buffalo, Bellingham, Sept 25 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

Leave a Reply

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!