Don’t know what to do this weekend? We’ve got you covered; here are this week’s top picks for entertainment in the Yakima Valley.
• The Rad Trads
Dear sweet lord in heaven did I ever want to hate The Rad Trads. They've got the whole goofy-suburban-kid-jam-band-disguised-as-funk-band aesthetic. Their songs are self-consciously clever. And they call themselves The Rad Trads. But I cannot help but like them. They're just good. They're not dark or brooding or cool. They're just good. They play tight, catchy, soul-inflected pop-rock. And it's good. They're a good band that plays good music. I wish I could tell you otherwise; it would be better for my rock-crit cred or whatever if I hated them. But I like them. They're good.
Look, if you read this section regularly, this will sound repetitive, but still it must be said: Brewminatti has for years now provided almost weekly entertainment at a much higher level than a tiny venue in a tiny town should be able to provide. This is just one more example. You know where Greyhounds, the Austin, Texas-based R&B-American duo, is playing the night before Brewminatti? The Tractor Tavern, one of the best and most important music venues in Seattle. Greyhounds is among the most highly regarded Austin acts out there, drifting seamlessly from classic country to raucous soul. And they're coming to Prosser. It's kind of amazing.
• Drag Me Out to the Arts
6-8 p.m. Friday; starts at Collaboration Coffee, 18 S. First St.; free; www.facebook.com/collabcoffeeyakima, 509-823-4018
This started in conjunction with last month's Yakima Pride celebration, but now the art walk led by drag queen Viktor Rhee Marché is going to be a monthly event. And I am delighted by that. Ms. Marché is, by all accounts, a lively and knowledgeable guide to downtown Yakima's public art. And the walks, which are billed as "fun-filled, campy tours," sound like a blast. They meander through downtown, stopping for refreshments as well as art. They start at Collaboration Coffee and end at "Abundance," the sculpture outside the Larson Building at the corner of Yakima Avenue and Second Street.
• Sama Dams
Sama Dams, a buzzy Portland trio, bills itself as avant-indie, experimental and post-rock. The "avant-indie" thing is maybe tongue-in-cheek, like Pere Ubu calling itself "avant-garage." (If not, we're talking levels of pretentiousness I'm not sure I can endorse.) At any rate, those descriptions are a little grandiose. The band certainly does play songs that disregard elements of established structure. And they're trippy in their rhythmic angularity. But they also sometimes sound a little too musical to fit those genres. This isn't a confrontational band, using noise to make radical statements. It's a band that plays music. Fortunately, it's also a band that plays good, interesting music, if not perhaps as far-out as it would have you believe.
• Iris rhizome sale
9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday; Yakima Area Arboretum, 1401 Arboretum Drive; free admission; www.yvirissociety.org, 509-945-1444
The beauty of an iris makes the flower seem delicate and ephemeral, so I always figured chumps like me shouldn't even bother with them. Know what, though? They're actually pretty resilient, versatile and hardy. In fact, they're great for Eastern Washington, because they're drought-resistant and heat-tolerant. You can actually grow them. I promise you can. And the best place to get started is at this Yakima Valley Iris Society's annual iris rhizome sale. Not only can you buy rhizomes to start your own iris garden, you can get advice and expertise from Iris Society members, who'll be on hand doing planting, growing and care demonstrations throughout the event.
-- Pat Muir