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Saturday, May 30, 2020

Bands from both U.S. coasts rock The Alternative Library

Bellingham band Blue Star plays at The Alternative Library Wednesday, Oct. 12. // Photo by Alex Van Valkenburgh
Bellingham band Blue Star plays at The Alternative Library Wednesday, Oct. 12. // Photo by Alex Van Valkenburgh

The Alternative Library rocked on into Wednesday night with four different bands playing unique sets that set them apart from each other and vibed with the crowd.

Earl Torgeson, Top Shack, Community Center and Blue Star gathered a crowd on Wednesday, Oct. 12. The show was for all ages and had a $5 cover charge. Inside the venue the seats were lacking, but the jams were not.

The first band to play was Earl Torgeson, a project created by Ryan Torgeson. Earl Torgeson is a new band that was founded two months ago. Their set  at Alternative Library was their first show.

The band members of Torgeson have been playing with each other for a few years, only recently becoming a band. Inspiration for Torgeson comes from the songwriter Harry Nilsson and the band Pavement.

“We just want to have fun, and play music for people and get a good response,” Torgeson said. “It is all for fun.”

Torgeson’s favorite song he has recorded is Western Dream, a single on their Bandcamp page.

Top Shack, the second band to play, had a harder sound than any of the others, and showed up to the show with their dog. The drummer, Von Gifford, described their rock and roll as a mosh-up of grungy-blues-punk. Top Shack has been together for a year and is from Glacier, Washington. They have one album out called “Anarchy House Presents Top Shack,” and another in the works.

The third band, Community Center, came all the way from Baltimore, Maryland to play. Community Center tours the U.S. and Canada six months out of the year. The band’s latest album is called “Horns and Thorns.”

“We just want to have fun, and play music for people and get a good response. It is all for fun.”

Ryan Torgeson, band member and creator of Earl Torgeson

“We did shows for a year straight; we did 280 shows in a year. The songs that were our favorite from those travels is what made it onto that album,” band member Brian Loeper said.

“I think our writing process allows us to create some pretty interesting stuff,” band member Amanda Rife said. “We all will start with a general idea, but write our parts separately from one another.”

Community Center has a wide range of sounds to their music. Throughout the show members behind the mics would change instruments between songs, like switching from keyboard to a piano accordion.

“They were really dynamic, they had really good music writing and lots of instruments. They really enjoyed themselves, it was fun to watch,” Blue Star band member Joy Westermann said.

The last band up was the Blue Star from Bellingham; a duo with soft sounds. The band released their first album this past June called “#dontcallthecops,” but have been together for the past six years both as a band and a couple.

“The last band that played, it was beautiful. She was great at violin, and just enjoyed hanging out there and zoning out,” a member of the audience said.

Blue Star’s next show is the Spooky Cover Show, which is on Friday, Oct. 28, and Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Make.Shift.

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