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Picket Ranger. Jet Black Stare and Warner Drive

Volcano music scribes tell you where to go

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Friday, July 6

BLUEGRASS picket range bluegrass band

Wikipedia says Picket Range is a small, extremely rugged subrange of the North Cascades in the northwestern part of the American state of Washington. MySpace says it’s a bluegrass band from, of all places, Seattle. So, I get it, bluegrass is considered to be mountain music and Picket Range is a mountainy sort of elevation. It makes sense. But have you ever tried hauling an upright bass up the face of a mountain? Or even a foot hill for that matter? I wonder if delivers there?

Anywho, Picket Range will haul their fiddle, banjo, upright bass, mandolin and acoustic guitars down to Tacoma for a hootenanny at Mandolin Café, a much simpler commute. The boys in Picket Range refer to The Mandolin Café as “grandma’s old house” because Tony Bentley, guitarist and vocalist in the band, says his grandparents used to own a house on the same lot where the venue sits today. I don’t know if that’s creepy coincidence or just a strange twist of fate, but something tells me this is a show you don’t want to miss.  — Angela Jossy

[Mandolin Café, 8 p.m., no cover, 3923 S. 12th St., Tacoma, 253.761.3482]

Saturday, July 7

ROCK warner drive

I’ve never been a huge fan of pop-punk. I think Green Day blows. However, often a band will catch me off guard, and I find myself whistling one of their tunes. So was the case with the Los Angeles hardcore band Warner Drive. 

With gnarly guitar licks, the quartet mixes it up with a combination of punk and straight-ahead rock ‘n’ roll. If you’re looking for socially conscious punk, look elsewhere; this band is as quirky as the Offspring and as unruly as Nashville Pussy. 

The 21st century-formed group has been tearing up cities across the nation and landed some respectful gigs including opening for the Killers and a spot on the 2005 Vans Warped Tour.  The group’s first album, 2006’s Fully Loaded, is just that, fully loaded. With an angst-driven attitude and tasteless humor, the LA boys power through 12 nasty originals. Produced by Mike Clink (Guns N’ Roses, Megadeth) and James Michael (Deftones and Motley Crue), the disc walks a tightrope between punk and metal, but is balanced so neither genre overpowers the other. In between the carnage is the soft ballad, “Broken” for a nice break in the madness. — Tony Engelhart

[Hell’s Kitchen, 5 p.m., all ages, $7, 3829 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.759.6003]

Sunday, July 8

ROCK jet black stare

Vancouver, B.C.’s Jet Black Stare got its name from front man Rod Black one lazy afternoon.

“I was in my room staring at various pictures on my wall of famous people — Elvis, Cash, Jimi etc. — and I noticed they all had that desire (strong eye features) in their eyes,” explains Black. “So I said to myself, it was like they were looking right through me, kinda like a Jet Black Stare, true story.”

Black started performing when he was just 6 years old. He was 13 when he joined his first rock band.

“I guess I just always knew that I would only be happy playing music,” he says. Black has shared the stage with bands such as Everclear, Gin Blossoms, The Trews and Jeff Martin.

Jet Black Stare is known for its Buck Cherry/Black Crows/Hinder style rock. Black and co-writer/producer and lead guitarist Jeff Johnson will be performing this week as a duo instead of the full band.

“I still think every one will get the idea of JBS’s sound,” says Black. “The band will be back in the fall for a full U.S. tour.”

A JBS album is in the works and will hopefully be available the next time the band comes to town. Jet Back Stare will perform in Tacoma this week on the Rock Stage at Art on the Ave from 12:35 p.m. to 1 p.m. For more info, visit — AJ

[Art on the Ave, with Sammy Barrett, Jeff Angel, Atomic Outlaws, Cadillac Radio and Top Heavy Crush, 12:35 p.m., no cover, Sixth Avenue and Cedar St., Tacoma,]

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