Arts and Entertainment

Eight local bands to battle for Rockathon supremacy

Guitarist Russ Thornburg will perform with the Kenmore-based band Jar in Old Fire House Teen Center
Guitarist Russ Thornburg will perform with the Kenmore-based band Jar in Old Fire House Teen Center's fourth annual Classic Rockathon, April 9-10 in downtown Redmond. Jar is scheduled to compete in the showcase starting at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 10.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Eight local rock bands have been selected for the semifinal round of the fourth annual Classic Rockathon at the Old Fire House (OFH) Teen Center, 16510 NE 79th St., in downtown Redmond.

Four bands will take the stage each night on Friday, April 9 and Saturday, April 10, with performances beginning at 8 p.m. All ages are invited, admission is $6 per night and all proceeds go toward programs at the OFH.

The Friday, April 9 lineup includes Electric Foot from Issaquah, Infinity Undone from Sammamish, Gentlemen GaGa from Seattle and Fit for Hounds from Issaquah.

On Saturday, April 10, performers are Night Terrors from Bellevue, Jarrison from Woodinville, Black Lightning from Redmond and Jar from Kenmore.

Four Rockathon finalists will be announced at the end of the April 10 showcase and will move on to compete at 8 p.m. Friday, April 30. Admission for that show will again be $6 for all ages.

At this year's Classic Rockathon, musicians between the ages of 13-19 were invited to put their touch on hits originally recorded between 1950 and 1995, including any style from rockabilly to heavy metal, punk rock, grunge and more.

It's always an interesting mix of great material at the Classic Rockathon.

For instance, the band Jar is said to be influenced by The Doors and Led Zeppelin. Fit for Hounds draws inspiration from The Strokes, The Hives and more. The Group Gentlemen GaGa met while rehearsing at the School of Rock in Seattle for a Talking Heads show. So you just never know what vintage tunes you'll hear.

The contestants are vying for recording time in the OFH Media Lab, musical gear and gift certificates from local music stores.

This year's Rockathon judges include Andrew McKeag, booking coordinator for Experience Music Project/SFM and guitarist for the Presidents of the United States of America; Carrie Akre, former vocalist for Hammerbox and Goodness; Kelli Faryar, program coordinator for Northwest Folklife; and Andy Harms, program director and DJ at radio station 107.7 FM, The End.

Student producers of this year's Rockathon are 16-year-old Shane McLaughlin from Redmond High School, 16-year-old Nzynga Hendricks from Eastlake High School and 19-year-old Bellevue College student Kester Gascoyne.

Producing the Rockathon gives local young people a chance to explore the inner workings of the music industry.

McLaughlin noted, “We've worked very hard to make this the best Classic Rockathon ever! With all this hard work put in, you wouldn't want to miss out on the fun from this year’s Classic Rockathon shows.”

Hendricks referred to the Rockathon as "a learning and exposure opportunity for everyone involved. It is all about being young, learning and experiencing a possible new craft. One thing we have learned is if you don't do it now, then when will you do it?"

And some of last year's Rockathon producers are coming back as performers. Michael DeYoung will play drums with Infinity Undone and Jessica Campbell will be the vocalist for Black Lightning.

For more information about the Classic Rockathon, visit www.theoldfirehouse.org or call (425) 556-2370.

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