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MONDAY, DECEMBER 9, 2013
“Jammin” In Spokane Seattle rockers Pearl Jam play Spokane arena
Tyson Juarez Features Editor
Bassist Aaron Birdsall, drummer Andy Birdsall, and guitarist James Birdsall practice their “chops” in a small living room. The three brothers have played high energy shows all over Coeur d’ Alene and Spokane. Beau Valdez/Sentinel
Local band not just for the birds NIC student tours with brothers in successful rock band Christina Villagomez Webmaster It’s not the first time 25-yearold NIC Student Andy Birdsall has had a car run out of gas while he was with his older brother James. It’s not the second time either. But finding yourself stranded on the side of the road is just one of many professional hazards a musician’s touring life has to offer. It’s not always a low fueling issue that has left the Birdsall brothers walking to town. There was the time they had a van’s transmission blow up. And of course, the time they had a van catch on fire in the middle of Hollywood. “We’ve blown up three vans,” Andy said. The adventures and occasionally hardships The Flying Mammals have experienced on and off the road would bring any band close together, but the group’s three talented musicians share an even tighter bond as brothers. “When were away from every one else, were all we have,” said eldest brother and lead vocalist, Aaron Birdsall. The arts, especially music, are in the Birdsalls’ blood, with the brothers only being the latest in a long line of performers and music teachers. “Before they were born we were singing to them,” said Kathryn Birdsall, the trio’s mother. “They were onstage performing from when they were babies. Even if it meant just being baby Jesus in a Christmas play.” As soon as the boys were old
enough to sit up, Kathryn said she had them on a piano bench, becoming familiar with the instrument even if it meant just bashing keys for a little while. “They really love music,” Kathryn said. “They wake up singing.” Although the brother’s five other siblings chose a variety of different career paths in a variety of different places, Aaron said he’d love to just have one big family super band some day. It’s an experience he said he sometimes gets a taste of at family gatherings where everyone sits down and plays together. Family is such an ingrained part of the brother’s music, it car-
ried into naming their band. “The Flying Mammals is a play on our last name,” Andy said. “Birds fly, but we’re mammals.” The name has proved to be even more fitting with time, as the brothers incorporating actual aerial acrobatic performers into their shows. The acrobats were sort of an accident though. So were the stage fires, trampolines and belly dancers one might see at any of their shows. Necessity, after all is the mother of invention. “People like to sit with their back to the band and never bother to lift their head up from their
PBR,” Aaron said. “The extra performance stuff came from that. We just want people to look up and turn around.” And when the venues they play won’t allow for stage extras? Andy plays the drums blindfolded; Aaron plays his bass and keyboard at the same time. James makes dubstep with his guitar pedals. “We individually perform with more energy but we also try to tie in extra stuff,” Aaron said. In the end though, it’s still just about the music for the brothers. “We’re trying to just make music we would want to listen to,” Aaron said.
Flying Mammals guitarist James Birdsall soulfully strums on his Fender Strat while performing during a practice session. Beau Valdez/Sentinel
New tradition comes to NIC Teshuvah Ministries hosts Hanukkah event to kick off holiday season Connor Coughlin Staff Writer The Lake Coeur d’Alene Room of the SUB was dimly lit on the evening of December 3rd. Lights strung up around the room warmly illuminated the faces of those who were just taking their seats and those who were already sitting comfortably, sipping cups of spiced wassail that had just been served to them. Over a hundred people gathered into the room that evening to take part in a celebration of Hanukkah, the ancient Jewish Festival of Lights. The event was put on by the North Idaho
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College Diversity Events and Teshuvah Ministries, a local Messianic ministry. Rebekah Garvin, a student at NIC and one of the founders of the Teshuvah Ministries, hosted the event. “The goal of this program is to introduce people of all backgrounds to Israel’s history and culture through feast and celebration,” said Garvin. “We hope this program will serve as a preview to our teachings and people will be interested in joining us again.” Throughout the course of the event the crowd was exposed to
numerous cultural Jewish traditions. Traditional foods such as potato latkes and kugel were served and the audience was encouraged to join the “Le Dance Dancers” in traditional dances. Aside from the festivities the event had to provide, a great portion of the night was spent on teaching the history of Hanukkah. Every table competed against one another in a quiz to test each individual’s knowledge of the holiday. There were also a number of movie shorts screened as well as an dramatic retelling of the Hanukkah story that audience members took part in.
At the height of the festivities, Rebekah and her family lead the audience in the lighting of the Menorah, a tradition in which a candle is lit each night throughout the course of the eight-day holiday. As each person lit their candle they were asked to dedicate it to “a person who has brought light into his or her life this past year.” Going back to the second century BCE, Hanukkah is the commemoration of rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem by Judean rebel group known as the “Maccabees.” The rededication took place after their victory against the Syrian Army.
About a week ago I had the privilege of seeing one of Seattle’s most renowned grunge acts Pearl Jam, and let me tell you it was quite the show. The band played a legendar y set in front of 12,000 dedicated fans on November 30 at the Spokane Arena, their first appearance in Spokane in 20 years. Pearl Jam’s lead vocalist Eddie Vedder made sure to greet his audience and bring up the subject of their absence by saying things such as: “this will be a show that was 20 years in the making” and “we have owed you guys for awhile now.” The concert was extremely long; matter-of-fact, I believe it was just about the longest concert I have ever been to. The band played for a total of three hours with a few separate encores, acoustic sessions, and other activities the band did to interact with the crowd. One such case is when Vedder called out an audience member who was willing to shave his head just so the band would play a song he requested. Let me mind you that this guy had been growing his dreadlocks for awhile and they were about down to his knees. But crazily enough, Vedder and the rest of the band brought the kid up on stage and let him head bang alongside them one last time before they shaved his hair down to almost nothing. What I guess I’m tr ying to say is that Pearl Jam puts on one hell of a show. For being a band that is getting there in age, they still bring plenty of energy and hype to their performance. The band definitely put off the vibe that they are in the business for their fans and that aspect is the most important thing to them. Along with that, the set list they played was phenomenal. If you are a long time fan or a newcomer, Pearl Jam definitely likes to play plenty of songs from each one of their albums, making the concert a great experience for any fan. Ever ything else aside, Pearl Jam’s set also consisted of a ver y well put together light show and the sound quality was, in my opinion, as close as you can get to perfect. I definitely recommend catching this act before they get too old to tour, and luckily enough I don’t think that will be happening for awhile. At the conclusion of the show, Vedder told the audience they will be back for sure, saying that Spokane is something they have been missing out on. I know for sure I’ll be there again because this last show was the best 70 bucks I’ve ever spent. Tyson Juarez is an editor for The Sentinel. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of The Sentinel. Respond to this column online at nicsentinel.com.
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