Turn up the ‘Volume’

By Alla Drokina, Eagle Life Writer


Crowds will gather in Spokane from May 30-31 to experience a musical buffet and turn up the “Volume” with the Inlander’s music festival.

Eighty bands, from local bands to regional musical talents within the Pacific Northwest, will perform to an expected large audience at eight different venues in downtown Spokane.

“Volume” caters to every kind of music lover. Styles range from indie folk, rock, dance, metal to hip-hop and country. Some of the venues are open to all ages, like The Bartlett, while others are only open to 21 and older, like Club 412.

The whole point is to relax and have a great time.

“Every year this festival has grown by leaps and bounds, and this year is no exception,” said Leah Sottile, journalist and original co-coordinator, along with Patrick Kendrick, of “Volume.”

Highlights include poetry by Kurt Olson and Lauren Gilmore at The Bartlett on the evening of May 30. Food trucks will be located near Club 412 and Mootsy’s. Some venues, such as Big Dipper, will offer certain drink specials. Singer and pianist Cami Bradley ― the sixth finalist of this year’s past season of “America’s Got Talent” ― will be performing May 30 at 10 p.m. at The Bartlett.

“The camaraderie is what mostly excites us about this festival. It’s like playing baseball with a thousand teammates,” said Tyrell Tompkins, Lavoy’s lead singer. “Everyone’s there for the same reasons, and we’re all there for each other, and even if that’s not true, it’s the way I like to imagine it.”

Lavoy is an indie rock band that moved to Spokane in 2013 from Wasilla, Alaska. Their influences include Talking Heads, The Beatles, The Killers and Billy Joel. Lavoy plays on May 30 in Club 412 at 11:15 p.m.

“It’s pretty cool to have lots of bands who are playing ‘Capitol Hill Block Party’ and ‘Sasquatch!’ playing our little festival this year,” Sottile said.

Various venues are creating a more vibrant music scene in Spokane.

“The Pacific Northwest music scene is really great right now. Focusing on Spokane, we have a lot of great things happening,” said Justin Hynes, vocalist of Summer in Siberia. “The Bartlett is a great venue that really puts the music first, and that’s important. It isn’t a bar that has shows, it’s a music venue that serves alcohol. The Big Dipper also just reopened, which is great. Both of those venues are all ages, which is great for downtown venues of that size.”

Summer in Siberia is a Spokane band of three. Its sounds can be best described as alternative new wave. They play on May 30 in Mootsy’s at 11:30 p.m.

What is contagious is the enthusiasm. It is apparent when performers talk about “Volume.”   There is a sense of amiable admiration between the bands. Their role will not only be performer, but also audience member for other bands playing.

Sea Giant is a two-man progressive synthpop band based in Spokane which consists of Kyler Ferguson and Conor Knowles. Their influences include Future Islands ― who have also played at The Bartlett this past year ― Fleet Foxes, Chvrches and The Smiths. They can be heard playing on May 31 in Neato Burrito at 5:30 p.m.

“This year, I’m most excited to see Flee the Century, Summer In Siberia, Lavoy, Mallows and Psychic Rites if I can fit it all,” said Connor Knowles of the two-man band Sea Giant. “Maybe try to catch Terrible Buttons’ set since it’ll be their last show ever.”

Large crowds drawn by the festival can seem intimidating, but not for Matt Mitchell. “The bigger the crowd, the easier it is to play,” Mitchell said. “The crowd feeds off our energy and vice versa … it’s a snowball effect.”

Mitchell is the frontman for the six-piece, Americana-roots rock band, Folkinception. Folkinception combines piano, organ, fiddle, accordion, drums, cello, bass and more to form its harmonious melodies. They will be rocking Irv’s Outdoor Stage on May 31 at 10 p.m.

For Mitchell, it is also encouraging to see how the Pacific Northwest music scene has developed.

“I’m super stoked about all of the band’s we’ve got going this year,” said Sottile, “but I’m particularly excited about bands like The Flavr Blue. That’s the side project band of Hollis from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ song ‘White Walls.’ It’s a super fun band and I fully expect it will turn into a full blown dance party.”

Audience participation is a key role in the festival’s success, and enthusiasm from the audience is appreciated by the musicians.

“A great audience can be any number of things,” Hynes said. “As a performer, sometimes it’s nice to see some movement, head bobs and whatnot, something that lets you know they are paying attention, and they like what they hear. Even just being approached by someone after playing, to exchange a few words, makes them great.”

Some bands may be well-known by others familiar with their genre, but at a music festival one can stumble upon a band from a genre they do not normally listen to.

“I’ve come across some really amazing bands while I was waiting to see someone else at festivals, and there is usually something for everyone,” Hynes said. “No matter what you like, there will probably be something you will enjoy at ‘Volume.’”

Wristbands providing entrance for the whole weekend are $17 in advance. On May 30, they increase to $25. Day passes are also available for $15.

“When Patrick [Kendrick] and I look at the schedule,” Sottile said, “we feel like we’ve planned a festival that we would be excited to attend ― so that seems like we did a good job.”